In spite of misconceptions about the African continent over the years due to lack of firsthand experience, the continent offers huge opportunities for investors, Tonye Cole, the Executive Director of Sahara Group, has said.
Cole made this assertion at a recent event in Cape Town, South Africa, which focused on Investing in Africa, among other issues.
Noting that investors are generally risk cautious and these misconceptions about Africa are stereotypes, which are not completely in tune with reality.
Cole said: “In reality, the opportunities in Africa are endless. Africa, a continent with about 1.1 billion people boasts of profound endowment in culture, human and natural resources. It has since emerged as the last frontier with the potential for sustainable growth and development.”
According to him, to realise its potential, the continent would require the support of investors as existing local capital capacity is insufficient to drive the opportunities in infrastructure development, agriculture and manufacturing, among others.
Cole said the foundation for attracting such offshore support would be a demonstrable and sustainable capacity to establish and abide by global governance codes in African economies.
He stated that to attract patronage for the investment opportunities presented by Africa, the following is required: Ethical local partners and experts who have an in-depth understanding of the terrain and robust governance systems.
The need for the local partners to work with investors to review the policies, processes and procedure that govern the industries in other to create the necessary and required environment for new investors.
“With continuing reforms in place, investor engagement in prospective projects and policy reviews, the financial challenges that threaten investments will, to a large extent, be resolved. Thereby attracting more foreign direct investment in supporting proposed viable ventures and also creating an environment that fosters trust and security for investors,” he added.
Cole noted that the continent also has to enhance its information database to facilitate accurate projections on returns in the process of investor commissioned due diligence and feasibility studies before investment.
Experts say regardless of the perception about Africa, the continent remains the only part of the world where investors can make up to 20 per cent returns on investment.
This is because the market allows for investors to come in and play in markets, which offer reviews in regulations to suit their investment portfolios.