Sometime in October several African Presidents, led by Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, will converge in London to talk investment and the bottlenecks hampering it.
The event is the first Global African Investment Summit, which is also expected to be attended by most of the East African Community Heads of State.
Two years ago, Mouhamadou Niang, a manager in the Industries and Services Division of the African Development Bank’s Private Sector Department said, “You really cannot be productive if you don’t have access to electricity, if you can’t get your goods to market, if your employees cannot come to work because there’s a traffic jam or there’s a flood on the road.”
Improving and building infrastructure ranks as the highest priority for African governments. Lack of it, is holding backinvestment and economic growth. The World Bank says infrastructure needs in sub-Saharan Africa are estimated at $100 billion annually.
Consequently any meeting that dodges the issue is basically a waste of time. However, foreign investors are excited about sub-Saharan Africa’s growing middle class. The emerging oil and gas sectors across the continent are another attraction. Thisis because when developed, it will give Africans more spending power. It is these people who will demand high quality consumer goods and services similar to what is available in the northern hemisphere.
According to figures provided by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Foreign direct investment into Africa rose from $44 billion in 2010 to $56 billion in 2013. Most this money went to Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, and South Africa.
However recent Ernst amp Young report shows that this money was shared out between financial services (17.5%) technology, media, and communications (16.3%) and retail and consumer products (13.9%). Paul Sinclair, the Director of The Global African Investment Summit said recently, “The aim is to catalyse investment into Africa through a trusted forum that focuses on real opportunities.”
According to a press release, the Global African Investment Summit is designed specifically to present global investors with bankable projects in Africa. Representatives of some of the biggest asset managers and pension funds, who are looking to increase their exposure to Africa’s emerging markets, will meet with President Museveni and senior representatives from relevant ministries and parastatals.
“If you want to attract the world’s best investors you have to profile your country on the world stage. London, as a global financial hub, presents the perfect location for African governments to meet and discuss with investors from across the globe,” Sinclair said.
The release states that Museveni will be joined by the Presidents of Rwanda, Tanzania and Ghana and President Olusegun Obasanjo, former leader of Nigeria, as the heads of the formal government delegations.
The Global African Investment Summit will provide the opportunity for the governments to attract investors into key sectors including agribusiness, power, natural resources and transport infrastructure.
Sinclair said, “Investors from across the world will be looking at these projects African governments will be seeking those partners who can bring the most value to their countries in terms of funds, expertise, technology and job creation. Leveraging the power of the global market creates a win-win for African governments seeking to secure maximum benefits for their countries.”
Last week, PwC’s Africa Business Group chair, Paul Cleal said sub-Saharan Africa has shown resilient growth during the financial crisis. “According to the International Monetary Fund, it is expected to grow by 6% over the next four years with Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and others expected to achieve growth rates of 7% or more this year,” he said.
Source : East African Business Week