IGD Frontier 100 Forum: African and Global Business Leaders, Investors Gather to Boost U.S. Investment in Africa

Categories: Featured , Member News

  • Global Business Leaders offer strategies to bolster private sector investment opportunities to scale African companies and growth sectors.
  • Fireside Chat with top U.S. government officials and congressional staffers laid out plans for greater private sector engagement in U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy 
  • Forum hosted the Africa investor (Ai) Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable

 

WASHINGTON D.C. – October 30, 2017 – Top African and global business leaders and investors gathered for the Initiative for Global Development’s Fall Frontier 100 Forum in Washington on October 11-12, to build momentum and catalyze action on increasing greater U.S. investment in Africa and deepening business relations between U.S. and African companies.

The Fall Forum was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and Covington law office in Washington, DC.

The invitation-only forum convened for two days on the theme “Growing the ‘Middle’: Investing in African Companies for the Continent’s Economic Transformation”, where leading CEOs and senior executives from companies operating on the African continent, investors, and African and U.S. policymakers put forth solutions to bolster investment opportunities to scale African companies and growth sectors.

Investment in the Sub-Saharan African region continues to lag behind other regions of the world, despite the growth and maturation of Africa’s private sector. The forum sessions sought to put forth solutions and specific targets to bolster investment in the region to fuel rapid job creation and the continent’s economic transformation.

“African companies are the engines of growth in Africa. Our Forums go beyond the typical networking and business discussions. As business leaders, we are all about action and solutions. We know how to solve problems in innovative and collaborative ways to accelerate investment and growth on the continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, IGD President & CEO.

An interactive tri-sector collaboration session led by a team from PYXERA Global generated lively discussions among forum participants on how to create effective partnerships between the public, private and social sector through simulation games and role-playing activities.

An investor dialogue captured the perspectives of an investor, Hurley Doddy, Managing Director and Founding Partner, and Co-CEO of Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) and an investee, Bunmi Akinyemiju, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Venture Garden Group, on the opportunities and challenges of finding the right investment partner.

Akinyemiju said a company’s success to scale depends largely on its founders, diversity of skills and the need for both local and diaspora talent. Yet from an investor perspective, Doddy emphasized that to attract investors, a company must structure itself to surpass the founder for the long term. In the end, Akinyemiju whose company has received more than $20 million in investment, noted that finding the right investor is “like a marriage” and the investor and investee must possess aligning interests.

A full-day of forum sessions featured engaging panel sessions on attracting private equity investments, financing Africa’s agro-processing industry, and exploring franchise investment opportunities.

The Fall Forum hosted Africa Investor’s Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable with key leaders from the development finance industry with counterparts from the institutional investment community to generate new partnership strategies and vehicles available to de-risk and finance African infrastructure investment assets.

Burkina Faso’s Finance Minister Rosine Sori Coulibaly, in her luncheon remarks drew attention to investment opportunities in the West African country: “Burkina Faso is back and ready for business,” said the Honorable Sori Coulibaly.

Creating an enabling policy environment for investment and engagement with the U.S. and African private sector took center stage on the forum’s opening day.

Top U.S. government officials laid out their agency’s priorities to strengthen engagement with the private sector for sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa during a Fireside Chat at the Ronald Reagan Building.

Mark Green, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and former IGD President & CEO, pointed out that the goal of foreign assistance must be to end the need for its existence. “The only sustainable way of reaching that goal is by tapping into private enterprise, turning to all of you to help tackle the challenges, and the opportunities that we all see,” Administrator Green told private sector leaders.

Jonathan Nash, acting Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) spoke about MCC’s mission to reduce poverty through economic growth and outlined the agency’s achievements in Africa in creating strategic partnerships, building new market opportunities and encouraging American firms to invest in African businesses.

Presenting his remarks immediately after a Capitol Hill hearing on the U.S. Foreign Operations budget, Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs for the U.S. Department of State, spoke about proposed budget cuts to U.S. foreign assistance and underscored the importance of having more American businesses invest in Africa to propel growth.

A policy roundtable on shaping U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy highlighted an urgent need for the U.S. to foster stronger business partnerships for African companies to take full advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the signature U.S.-Africa trade law. Both Republican and Democratic Hill staffers on panel agreed that bipartisanship is key in increasing the budget for Foreign Operations and moving U.S.-Africa related legislation forward.

An evening reception, sponsored by the African Development Bank, paid tribute to Babacar Ndiaye, former President of the Bank, who recently passed away in Dakar, Senegal. Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, shared progress on the “High 5s”, the Bank’s agenda for Africa’s economic transformation.

The Fall Forum closed with an evening reception to roll out a grassroots campaign on increasing U.S. investment in Africa. The grassroots campaign is part of IGD’s Africa Investment Rising campaign, a multimedia communications and advocacy effort aimed at changing the narrative on doing business in Africa.

Forum sponsors included the African Development Bank and African Export-Import Bank as Collaborating Partners; Covington as Platinum Sponsor; Ex-Im Global Partners as Gold Sponsor; Clin d’Oeil Magazine as Silver Sponsor; and Africa investor as Organizational Partner.  

 

CONTACT: Shanta Bryant Gyan, Initiative for Global Development at email, sbryant@igdleaders.org  or call 202-412-4603

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