Investing in Africa: Who Will Become the New Champion?

How viable are investments in Africa? What kind of future can potential investors on the continent expect? Which countries and sectors of the economy are most attractive to investors? The participants in the session ‘Investing in Africa’, which will be held on 23 October as part of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum in Sochi, will try to find answers to these and other questions.

Africa’s GDP is expected to reach USD 29 trillion by 2050 and will exceed the combined GDP of the U. S. and Eurozone for 2012. Africa does not only consist of raw materials and agricultural resources, but also has rapid population growth as well as huge untapped opportunities for industrialization, electrification, and the development of logistics. These are all growth points, but they also have risk components, especially at the initial stage. In addition, the education industry is booming in Africa, while the share of the middle class and the availability of financial and telecommunication services is relatively high. Many countries have already been down this path, but whose experience will be the most applicable and effective, and for whom?

The discussion will include the following panellists: President of the Republic of Seychelles Danny Faure, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade of the Republic of Kenya Monica Juma, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco Mohcine Jazouli, Minister of Investment Promotion, Public and Private Partnership Responsible for Improving the Business Climate of the Gabonese Republic Jean-Fidele Otandault, Qalaa Holdings Founder and Chairman of the Executive Board Ahmed Heikal, CalBank Limited CEO and Managing Director Frank Adu Jr., Naspers Group CEO Bob van Dijk, and Rwanda Mines Petroleum and Gas Board CEO Francis Gatare. The session will be moderated by Renaissance Capital Global Chief Economist Charles Robertson.

Interest in investing in regions with rapidly growing economies is especially acute given the slowing production growth around the world. “North Africa is geographically and historically close to Europe and is now ready for industrial development. East Africa is close to the developed countries of Asia and is also steadily trying to catch up with them. We are all well aware of South Africa’s strong positions, and West African countries feature a higher average literacy rate. Economic growth as a result of the industrialization of East Asia has been explosive and swept over the region for many decades – in fact, it has yet to end. And a lot of people regret that they did not get in on the ground floor. Egypt is vying for the title holder in terms of industrialization for the coming decade. You need to seize the moment and see who will be next,” Robertson said.

The Russia–Africa Summit and Economic Forum will take place on 23–24 October in Sochi at the Sirius Park of Science and Art. The events are being organized by the Roscongress Foundation, and the co-organizers of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum are Russian Export Center and Afreximbank.

To participants in the Russia–Africa Economic Forum

Ladies and gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome you at the opening of the Russia–Africa Economic Forum.

The rich history of relations between Africa and Russia has never seen an event of a similar scale. Members of government agencies and business community, and experts are meeting at this Forum to substantively discuss the current status and prospects of cooperation and a wide range of topical issues of the world economy.

Today, the countries of Africa are well on their way towards social, economic, scientific and technological development, and are playing a significant role in international affairs. They are strengthening mutually beneficial integration processes within the African Union and other regional and sub regional organizations across the continent.

In recent years, the traditionally friendly ties of partnership between Russia and Africa have gained new momentum, both at a bilateral level and in various multilateral formats. In addition to preserving our past experience of successful cooperation, we have also managed to make significant new steps forward. Trade and investment are growing dynamically, and new joint projects are under way in extractive industries, agriculture, healthcare, and education. Russian companies are ready to offer their scientific and technological developments to their African partners, and share their experience of upgrading energy, transport and communications infrastructures.

I hope that the Forum will help identify new areas and forms of cooperation, put forward promising joint initiatives that will bring the collaboration between Russia and Africa to a qualitatively new level and contribute to the development of our economies and the prosperity of our peoples.

I wish the Forum’s participants fruitful work and all the best.

Vladimir Putin

The Russia–Africa Summit, which is taking place in Sochi on 23–24 October 2019, encapsulates the historically friendly relations between the African continent and the Russian Federation. This Summit carries great significance as it is the first of its kind to emerge during a period of major global and international transformations. In response to the aspirations of the people it is representing, the Summit intends to build a comprehensive framework for expanding Russian–African relations into broader horizons of joint cooperation across different fields.

The African nations and Russia share a common understanding of international relations, based on the principles of respect for the rule of international law, equality, non-interference in the internal affairs of states, and the peaceful resolution of disputes. Both sides affirm their commitment to support multilateral actions to oppose new international threats, be they terrorism and extremism in all their forms, or declining growth rates. The two sides share a firm conviction regarding the importance of developing trade flows and supporting mutual investment in such a way as to ensure security, peace and development for the African and Russian people.

African countries have huge potential and opportunities that will allow them, once efforts to streamline their economies have been achieved, to emerge as real global players. In recent years, the nations of this continent have achieved major successes spanning the political, economic, social and administrative spheres. Africa has flourished in terms of growth over the past decade, reaching a continent-wide growth rate of 3.55% in 2018.

The African Union Summit, which was held in Niger in July 2019, continued the efforts of the African countries and saw the African Continental Free Trade Agreement come into force, along with its operational instruments. The agreement is one of the key objectives of Agenda 2063, an African development strategy that has been created to address the African people’s desire for prosperity and decent living standards.

These successes are opening up wide-ranging prospects for cooperation between African countries and the Russian Federation, and confirm the determination of African governments and their people to cooperate with multiple partners in order to establish mutually beneficial relations.

With this in mind, we express our hopes that the Russia–Africa Summit will help in the establishment of constructive strategic relations, based on partnership between two sides across various fields, and in the service of fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the African people and their friends in Russia.

President of the Arab Republic of Egypt
Abdelfattah ALSISI