Looking for the silver lining in the current financial mess takes a special breed of optimist. Combine that with a quest to redefine the hedge fund as a force for good and you can start to sound downright quixotic. Ghanaians can easily find out if the drug they bought is legitimate by texting a scratch-off code and receiving instant authentication.

Yet that’s what the founders of New York-based Uhuru Capital Management have set out to do. The firm will manage a conventional fund of hedge...

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