Africa Investment Forum 2019 - "Build Mutual Trust to Attract Capital to Africa," Says Investors' Panel

Photo: AfDB
In a Day 1 panel session, the discussions were about the potential for leveraging assets under management by institutional investors worldwide to support investment in Africa, participants included (L-R) the moderator Hubert Danso, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Investor Group; Uche Orji, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority; Adam S. Boehler, Chief Executive Officer, United States International Development Finance Corporation; Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive Officer, Africa Regions, Standard Bank; Akinwumi A. Adesina, President, African Development Bank (AfDB).
13 November 2019
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African Development Bank (Abidjan)

Panellists included Adam Boehler, Chief Executive Officer of the United States International Development Finance Corporation; Rob Hersov, founder of the Invest Africa platform; Uche Orji, CEO of the Nigeria Sovereign Investment Authority; and Sola David Borha, CEO of Africa Regions, Standard Bank.

Linda Mateza, CEO of the South African Eskom Pension and Provident Fund; Lerry Knox, CEO of the Sovereign Infrastructure Group; and Richard Ingram, Executive Director of the Teachers' Retirement System of Illinois also participated in the panel.

African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina said: "Africa is not a continent solely of risks, but of opportunities too. We need to be less bureaucratic, to be agile in order to work with the rest of the world. We need organic collaboration. Africa needs to sell its success stories. It is important to develop this type of communication."

Hersov said: "To mobilize investment on the African continent, it all comes down to trust. Many of our investors have never set foot in Africa, because they believe that everything happens on the trading floors of the United States. So why come to Africa? This is a problem to solve and see the opportunities: of the 54 countries that form Africa, we have 16 in which we can invest."

Richard Ingram added that US investors had realized the importance of African markets. However, he said: "There is a need to remove certain obstacles in their perception and to invest in projects where demand is already present." Knox took this thought further, saying a regulatory framework needed to be established.

Orji recommended the building of trust to attract capital to Africa, calling for "the creation of co-investment funds. We must work in synergy. The sovereign wealth funds of Morocco, Angola and Nigeria have a role to play. If multilateral development banks wish to invest, we will help them." Mateza supported this idea: "Let us invest in Africa and from Africa. Kenya provides an example to follow of teamwork and synergy."

President Adesina closed the panel by saying, "The multilateral banks will work with you, the African sovereign wealth funds, to invest in the right places."

The inaugural edition of the Africa Investment Forum was held last year by the African Development Bank in partnership with Africa50, the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the Trade and Development Bank, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, the Islamic Development Bank, Société Financière Africaine and the European Investment Bank.

The second edition is being held from 11 to 13 November in Johannesburg, the economic capital of South Africa.

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