Africa offers tremendous opportunities for investment. This was the overarching theme of the 6th annual Africa Investors’ Conference (AIC), hosted by Standard Bank and ICBC Standard Bank in London recently.
South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan re-enforced this in his engagement with investors attending the AIC when he said: “Africa still offers opportunities for investment.”
He said that there were many remarkable success stories of South African companies that had expanded into Africa. He hoped that recent events, such as Brexit, would not have an enduring impact on emerging markets, including Africa.
David Munro, chief executive of corporate and investment banking at Standard Bank explained that Africa remains a critical contributor to global growth and commercial opportunities.
“Over the last two decades, Africa has remained resilient through a number of global crises and its overreliance on Western economic relations has shifted to be more inclusive trade and investment regimes, thereby elevating the continent’s long-term prospects and lowering its dependency on a single region. Indeed, Africa markets may now present an even more compelling alternative investment propositions than in the past.”
Head of investment banking at Standard Bank Bill Blackie said the AIC was a critical part of Standard Bank’s promise to help Africa realise its potential. “This is a truly Africa-focused event and the benefit is that it connects international capital to the international investment community.”
Head of corporate and investment banking for the rest of Africa Victor Williams said the Africa story continued to be of interest to the international investment community.
Head of Africa equity sales at ICBC Standard Bank Matthew Pearson said feedback from investors that had attended the AIC had been fantastic.
“One investor in particular said that three days of intense meetings at the AIC is literally equivalent to him having to spend three weeks travelling across the continent.”
Head of CIB International Gert Vogel said the AIC is a “very powerful platform to showcase what Standard Bank, in partnership with ICBC Standard Bank, can offer its clients.”
Chief executive at Standard Bank Sim Tshabalala said Standard Bank remained “absolutely committed to serving our UK, European and Chinese clients, and indeed all our clients, wherever they may be based, whatever the immediate turbulence and whatever the post-Brexit arrangements turn out to be.”
The AIC was attended by 43 corporates from a broad range of sectors, including financial services, mining, construction, chemicals, hotels, leisure, telecoms, food and retail. More than 190 investors from over 100 companies attended.
It is designed to connect international investors to leading policymakers and some of Africa’s most successful companies, sharing plans and ideas with a view to finding key opportunities for growth on the continent.
The conference format consisted of one-on-one and small group business meetings that allowed attendees to network and discuss investment opportunities in Africa.