Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

from Africa News blog:

Africa: Not just about commodities

GOLDFIELDS/High commodity prices have certainly helped African producers both because it means they get paid more for their exports and it encourages  investment to increase production.

But almost all the speakers at the Reuters Africa Investment Summit have agreed that the change in Africa is driven by more than just digging minerals out of the ground, pumping oil or growing crops for foreigners to consume.

“The Africa growth story is much bigger than a pure commodity story,” said J. Kofi Bucknor, Managing Partner of private equity firm Kingdom Zephyr Africa Management.

“It’s about disposable income growing, improving government, improving economic environments that have allowed investments to generate growth. I think that trend will be sustained irrespective of commodity price volatility.”

from Africa News blog:

Send us your investment bankers

MARKETS-STOCKS/Not so long ago, anyone with the talent and means was heading out of Africa in search of better paid and more fulfilling professional work.

That’s all changing and the emotional appeal of a return to the home country is playing a less important part in the Back to Africa decision than the jobs and opportunities suddenly opening up thanks to fast economic growth and expanding financial markets.

from Africa News blog:

African turmoil? Zambian president doesn’t think so

AFRICAINVEST-SUMMIT/ZAMBIA-POLITICS/One of the big questions at the Reuters Africa summit has been what impact the turmoil in North Africa is going to have south of the Sahara - something we’ve looked at on this blog too.

Zambian President Rupiah Banda doesn’t expect much on the political front, at least not in his country.

from Africa News blog:

U.S. banks push harder in Africa

NIGERIA/Two of the world’s biggest banks told the first day of the Reuters Africa Investment Summit that they planned to strengthen their presence in the continent as their own customers see their businesses here grow.

Citi’s Africa CEO, Naveed Riaz, said it may expand into three new African countries over the next 18 months to strengthen its corporate and investment banking business. He didn’t say which, but interestingly a return for Citi to Angola didn’t appear to be among the top targets despite its oil wealth.

from Africa News blog:

More graft means less money

KENYA-CORRUPTIONYou can’t discuss investment in Africa without looking at the risks and there is no doubt that corruption is among those.

Patrick Lumumba, director of the Kenya Anti Corruption Commission, has plenty of experience of trying to fight graft and has the death threats to show for it. He spoke to the Reuters Africa Investment Summit and had some harsh words for the continent’s leaders – including those in Kenya.

from Africa News blog:

Can South Africa grasp Africa’s opportunity?

AFRICAINVEST-SUMMIT/GORDHANWhile Africa becomes ever more attractive for local and foreign investors, the biggest danger for its biggest economy is that it fails to seize on the opportunities it has in the changing world, South African Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan told the first Reuters Africa Investment Summit.

Plenty of short term money has flowed into South African assets – something of a headache for its policymakers as a strong rand currency makes its exports less competitive even if it helps keep inflation under control.