The 3rd Annual Africa Summit
8th April, Stockholm Sweden
Africa is rising with its cultural diversity, untapped natural resources, tourist products and getting more international attention making it the most promising continent in the world. The continent also has emerging markets which are open for various business opportunities, giving them great potential of becoming the world’s leading industrial zone.
The 3rd Annual Summit on Africa’s investment opportunities for Swedish and some international companies was organized by the
Swedish financial newspaper Dagens Industri (DI). The event took place on the 8th of April 2016 at the Sheraton hotel in Stockholm, Sweden.
The theme for the year was Business Opportunities in Africa. This summit was a means to open up Swedish and other foreign companies, investors and entrepreneurs who are seeking knowledge about investments and trade opportunities in the continent.
The event kicked off with an opening remark from the moderator Ms. Karin Grundberg Wolodarski who is also a reporter from Dagens Industri.
The event brought together some prominent Swedish Ministers, diplomatic heads of mission, investors, experts, industrial decision makers, entrepreneurs and interest groups who came to network and to listen to those who already have businesses in Africa, Ambassadors’ showcasing various investment opportunities and also those who came to deliver their success stories about the continent.
Experts during the event gave their analysis, some tips and areas that are still to focus on and also countries where Swedish investors have yet to explore opportunities. Companies that already had huge investments in the continent showcased how they succeeded and advised entrepreneurs to invest as fast as possible.
The event had many sessions. There were sessions with panel discussion, some segments with speed interviews that was conducted by the moderator. These different sessions were quite interactive as the moderator gave the audience the chance to ask direct questions to the presenters and also to the panelists.
Africa is experiencing rapid growth and development. The continent is open for business and also to Swedish investors.
"When we talk of Africa we talk about 54 individual countries!"
The Deputy Director-General, Head of Department at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Africa Department, Pereric Högberg presented a broad picture of the continent’s investment opportunities and stressed on the need for people not to look at Africa as one but as a continent with 54 individual countries. The minister also cited some examples
like South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Botswana as countries with great investments potentials.
He mentioned in his presentation the tremendous work done by the African Union (AU) in maintaining peace and security in the entire continent. This work by the AU should therefore serve as an attractive factor to encourage foreign investors to the continent.
The minister also mentioned external actors like China but insisted that remittance by Africans in the diasporas has made some great impact in the continent’s development.
During his presentation, he emphasized on the strong historic relations Sweden had with Africa and that Sweden is still maintaining these relations through the presence of Swedish Embassies in the continent. This he said was the perfect opportunity for Swedish investments in the continent. He also said that the image of the continent is changing and since there is already Swedish presence in there, Swedish investors should do even more. He mentioned the presence of Norway and Denmark; they could collectively do investments together.
Ending his presentation the minister concluded that there are various opportunities for Swedish companies in Africa and Sweden’s engagement with the African Union was part of ensuring safety for Swedish companies. He said the problem was still how people perceive the country and the image of the country abroad.
Four Ambassadors representing different African countries took the floor to showcase the various sectors, and the investment opportunities their countries can offer.
The Ambassadors who were present were, starting from left; H.E Ambassador Woinshet Tadesse, Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E Ambassador Dr. Joseph K. Sang, Embassy of Kenya, H.E Ambassador Christine Nkulikiyinka, Embassy of the Republic of Rwanda and H.E Ambassador Mr. Lameck Nthekela, Embassy of the Republic of Botswana.
During this session each of the Ambassadors gave an overview of their individual country’s opportunities and the different sectors that needs Swedish investors.
Presenting opportunities for Swedish companies, the Kenyan Ambassador gave the following sectors: agriculture as key area for investment, the energy sector with green energy, trash production, solar energy, thermal and wind power, the ICT, mining, retail industries, waste management.
The Rwandan Ambassador introduced the following sectors; manufacturing, agriculture and tourism, due to the hospitality of the Rwandan people, tourists are most welcome to enjoy the country and the ICT.
From Botswana the Ambassador gave the following sectors that need Swedish investors; he said Botswana is taking trade and energy in the regional way to facilitate trade between the SADEC regions. Transport, infrastructure, railway, and bridge to connect to Zambia to facilitate regional trade, solar energy and ICT are all areas to attract Swedish companies.
The Ethiopian Ambassador started with saying that the population of the country as being stable. The sectors are renewable energy, manufacturing, health, (pharmaceutical) and mining.
"Africa in the near future will no longer be on the receiving end of technology but will be the driver of technology."
The key to success and 50 years’ experience doing business in Africa was presented by Tobias Becker, Head of Africa Program, ABB. He presented a picture of how big Africa can be as compared to the other continents and a picture of the 2010 stadium in South Africa which was a successful construction by ABB.
During his presentation he said that looking at the population growth in Africa through the lenses of a manufacturing industry; it shows how promising the continent can be. A glance at the continent’s population with about 75% of people who are younger than 25 years will definitely be enough to provide the necessary labour required by any manufacturing industry.
He also stressed the meaning of Africa as not only one country, but 54 individual
countries and also mentioned some promising countries that are still ‘fertile’ for manufacturing industries. The continent has a booming population growth with the willingness of these young and middle class people to do manufacturing jobs. He also mentioned during his presentation that Africa in the near future will no longer be on the receiving end of technology but will be the driver of technology.
"Go there to get personal experiences!"
His advice for investors was that they should not feel that it’s too late to invest in the continent but they should not delay. Also speaking of the perception that some people have about Africa, was the old fashion way of looking at a continent and that the media sometimes wish to have some juicy news and they use stories in order to get people’s attention to negative issues about the continent. Today Africa has developed and people should change their perception about the continent.
He also gave some of his own personal experience at the end of his presentation and one being that of complexity. He said Africa is rich in mineral resources, cultures and languages but he overcome all these during his time there and advised investors’ to look at the future of investing rather than the complexities.
He ended by saying the images people have about Africa is outdated and is distorted by the media’s ‘juicy catastrophes’ but Africa still have lots of arable land, abandon resources, young and growing population, huge renewable energy potentials, great and diverse cultures and a very creative continent.
During the event, a segment of experts presented the possibility and some most promising countries, the various sectors to invest in and also some business opportunities in the continent. East Africa’s opportunity was presented by Mr. Robin Pettersson, trade commissioner in Kenya who represented the Swedish Trade and Invest Council and Ms Juliet Kenya, Associate, Business Sweden. Both presenters highlighted the various sectors their companies are involved in, the possible investment opportunity in the East Africa region, some promising countries and also other sectors in which the Swedish investors could have the possibility of investments in the region.
that doing business with Africans does not only mean meeting business partners in a conference in Europe, shake hands and expect that the deal is done, it requires the person to go down to Africa, meet the domestic partners’ and a written rules, agree about what type of contracts and the terms of the contract before the deal is done.
He also said that the region is rapidly growing and has the world’s largest banks, leading business personals, retails, and tourist potentials. The region has become more democratic with power transition like in Nigeria and recovery from crisis in Ivory Coast.
During his presentation he said Swedish investors haven’t exploited this big potential maybe because of the language but this should not be a barrier so investors should look into these opportunities.
"...Swedish investors haven’t exploited this big potential maybe because of the language but this should not be a barrier..."
In the West, Peter Stein, who is partner and CEO at Stein Brothers started with his introduction as Africa being different and has become very normal like any other continent in the world. He said we should not look at one country when someone wishes to invest in the continent. He proceeded with the fact that the quality of African governance has become much more important and has attracted a lot of international attention.
The CEO proceeded by exemplifying that West Africa has ten largest economies in Africa and the second fastest growing region in Sub-Saharan Africa. He also mentioned some economies like Cameroon where there are some untapped potentials and amongst these ten largest economies in the region only six has been exploited so there are great potentials for investments in the region. Mr. Stein also mentioned during his presentation
Opportunities in Southern Africa was presented by a team that was composed of Ms Åsa Jarskog, the president of the Swedish Southern Africa Chamber of Commerce (SSACC), Mr. Arlindo Duate, Director of Intermetal SA and Vice President of Mozambique Chamber of Commerce and Ms Tidale Mwale, Senior Broker and Trader, Pangaea Securities in Zambia. During the presentation, Ms. Åsa Jarskog presented her organization’s prime objective as a platform for the growth in commerce between Sweden and the member states of her organization.
During her presentation, she adviced those who wish to invest in Southern Africa to; study the market either regionally or by individual country level, look at the infrastructure and the communication between countries in the Region. She also mentioned that 'relations are stronger than institutions so it will be better, she added, to have a good relation with someone than depending on some country's institution. For these reasons she insisted that investors should look for the right partners and they should think of doing sustainable business in the continent.
The sectors that she mentioned to invest in were extraction industries where there are available raw materials and to look at infrastructure industries as well.
Presenting investment opportunities and specific sectors in Mozambique, Mr. Arlindo Duate presented the ICT, Infrastructure, agro industry with about 70% of fertile land with just 20% been used traditionally and therefore the need for industrialized agriculture, and finally also the transport sector.
Ms Tidale Mwale presented Zambia’s opportunities during her presentation. She mentioned that the country is amongst the worlds biggest producer of copper and there are still a lot of potentials in the extraction industry. She said the copper industries have overshadowed many other sectors that need attention and also that there are other sectors like the manufacturing industry, agro, real estate, transport, construction, tourism and other sectors that require just low capital transfer. The country is an investment friendly country and the government has some policies that encourage investors to the country.
A panel with experts’ policy makers gave their analysis and the future development in Africa.
The panel was made up of The Deputy Director-General, Head of Department at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Africa Department, Pereric Högberg, Ms Patience Mususa, Senior Researcher at NAI, The Nordic Africa Institute, Mr. Tobias Becker, Head of Africa Program, ABB and Ms Gunilla Carsson, Senior Advisor at Africa Development Bank, board member at Gavi, etc.
Their discussion stirred a considerable debate about the future of the continent while the presenters were all optimistic about the developmental trends in the various regions of the continent. The panelists approached risks and conflict differently as a deterrence to investments while highlighting lots of business opportunities in the continent.
They also advised investors to be least worried about war and that the individual countries are growing too fast even after civil war with remittances from the Diaspora, saying that the continent seems to be doing pretty well. They also discussed about the rapid industrial revolution that has triggered development and that the continent’s movie industries like the Nollywood has outreached the Bollyhood industry, which is significant.
The Swedish minister for Development cooperation, Isabella Lövin, was also present during the event and her presentation on Africa was focused on energy and sustainable development.
In her presentation she mentioned poverty eradication, sustainable energy and gender equality as areas which we all need to engage on. She further stressed on renewable energy as a focused area. During her presentation she mentioned climate change and its devastating effect all over the world and that the effect could be clearly felt. In Africa for instance the effect of climate change has caused several droughts in the horn of Africa, starvation in some countries like Sudan and Ethiopia, social tension in Syria, insecurity in politics has also created violence in some part of the world.
The potentials that we all need to engage in, she added, were poverty eradication, access to energy, economic development and technology. In Africa, she mentioned how the access to clean water was difficult and that some women walk long distances to fetch clean water. She went further to explain how we should all use development aid wisely and also about the need for private investors to increase collaboration with the public sector. On democracy, she said inclusive politics will lead to long term sustainability, we should not only support governments but collaborate the systems and institutions and strengthen democratic development.
The event ended up with mingles and networking between investors, entrepreneurs, experts, diplomats and also interest groups with Africa in focus. We look forward to bring you the next edition of the Africa summit 2017.