Industry Updates

Key highlights from the Global African Investment Summit

21 Dec 2015

The Global African Investment Summit took place on the 1st and 2nd of December at Central Hall in Westminster, London, where over 1000 qualified global investors came together to learn about the investment opportunities available on our thriving continent.

CEO Judi Sandrock and Peter Burdin
MEDO CEO Judi Sandrock and London Representative Peter Burdin attended the prestigious event, which offers the world valuable insight and a window into African project origination and global finance. The event is Africa’s premier investment summit for bankable project transactions in sectors including power, agriculture, financial services, capital markets, oil and gas, and critical infrastructure.
Sandrock and Burdin offer key takeaways from day one and day two of the summit:
Day 1:
  • The African continent is being recognised as the next destination for investment, due to the increase in governance and the rapid implementation of information and communication technology.

  • The growing middle class is pursuing education for their children and housing for their families. The continent can once again become the bread basket for the world through farming optimisation and water management. Entrepreneurs and their small businesses will drive this development to an extent that has never been seen anywhere else before.
Panel contributions from Rocco Falconer of Planting Promise were a stand out of the day, where Falconer’s view is that community and social impact do not come as a compromise to return, but to create additional value. His view uses “and” rather than “or” and includes:
  • Adding value through collective growing of crops with small holder farmers – collective agri processing

  • The building of brand for the products to escape commodity traps – through brand and volume accessing markets in the UK and Europe

  • Communities benefiting through the high yields of their farms, education, water and sanitation funded through profits from product export sales
Falconer adds, "Be very careful when creating expectations, as your project cannot be a panacea for all challenges faced by a community. Don't promise what you don't already have in the bag”.
He says that impact and “social return on investment” needs to be measured to allow for continuous improvement and reporting to investors. In order to do this, a baseline measurement is required prior to project commencement, and the impact measured regularly thereafter.
Sandrock shared a job creation project in South Africa’s Northern Cape. The 62 jobs created for women increased the income of the community, yet the greater value came from the headmaster of the local school. The children were coming to school fed in the morning and could learn effectively. This qualitative impact had a greater lasting effect than the tangible wages injected into the community.
Day 2:
Beginning with a spectacular panel of African leaders who shared their views on growth, the conclusion was a list of job creation activators:
  • Education to develop employable and portable skills

  • Removal of red tape infrastructure development so that products can move; people can move; power and water are available

  • A leadership mind-set change, thinking beyond single digit to double digit growth as China did

  • Technology availability and access to Internet

  • Beneficiation of minerals and agricultural products

  • Private sector companies taking on the role as change agents and not just focusing on profits

  • A zero tolerance for corruption
Designed to transform Africa’s economies for global competitiveness, The Global African Investment Summit is a crucial event, providing many – those with an ultra-high net worth; those with family offices, sovereign wealth funds and international DFIs; and those with pension funds – an opportunity to invest in the gold mine of Africa.

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Sarah Martin
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