Why Africa Should Not be Ignored
According to African Development Bank President, Akinwumi Adesina, Africa is a continent that should definitely not be ignored or underestimated. Here is why.
Speaking to institutional investors, private sector representatives and provincial government officials at a public and private sector investor roundtable in Calgary on the 25th of September 2018, Adesina stated that “Given the size of its markets, growth, and huge potential across multiple sectors, Africa cannot be ignored.”
Adesina appeals to the attending investors in energy, gas, oil and banking sectors, to see the continent in a new way. “Look at Africa from a different lens. For too long Africa has been viewed primarily with a development lens, rather than an investment lens.” He continues, “We do not often hear about opportunities, but Africa is leading in many ways. E-commerce and Fin Tech offer tremendous prospects. Today, 760 million Africans have access to mobile phones, a clear indication that the continent can truly be disruptive.” Adesina uses statistics to reveal to mass potential the African continent holds. “By 2030, the combined consumer demand and business spending in Africa are expected to reach $6.7 trillion. Our task is to unlock this huge potential”
One of the major topics of interest in Canada is trade diversification. Adesina focuses on this by speaking of the African Continental Free Trade Area, predicted to be the “largest trading block, with a collective GDP of $3.4 trillion.”
Investors at the roundtable reveals much interest in investing in the continent, but also many concerns. Questions posed to speakers revolved around risk perceptions, regulatory issues, and the need to ensure fair playing fields for global investors. Adesina responds to these concerns by saying that, “perceptions of risk, and policy and regulatory environment issues are real challenges. However, we must ensure that investors see the Bank as the partner of choice. We are constantly innovating. For example, we just closed a landmark $1 billion synthetic securitisation transaction, a first in the history of multilateral development banks. Risk is important, but it should not be an excuse not to invest in Africa.”
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