Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Africa as an Investment Destination

In the past six months we have fortunately seen an unprecedented interest in Africa as an investment destination. Interest in African commodities was always there and the surge in commodity prices has helped companies to take notice of other areas as well.

For the first time, banks, financial institutions and private equity firms have started looking to invest in African services and markets.

This was in part helped by the fact that countries like Sierra Leone, Congo and Rwanda have successfully moved ahead from their war torn past to promote good governance and economic liberalisation.

Interest in Africa was palpable in Kampala when we organised the Commonwealth Business Forum in November 2007. Leading multinational and private equity firms including Blackstone, CDC, Barclays showed interest in investing in the Continent.

However, unfortunately because of the Kenya crisis, the goodwill is wearing away. This unrest will affect the whole of East Africa. It will be difficult to sustain investors’ confidence under such circumstances. Kenyan and other African leaders must find a speedy solution to the crises.