InvestWell co-founder Emem Rita Usanga says ‘looking inwards’ is key…
The 2015 Global African Investment Summit (TGAIS) will be held in London later this year, for international partners seeking bankable projects and aiming to improve their government access on the continent.
The presidents of Ghana, Liberia, Malawi, Rwanda and Uganda; several dignitaries of other African countries and global business leaders have already confirmed their participation in the economic development summit to be held on 1st and 2nd December in Westminster.
Former Nigerian president H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo will also take part as a chairman and speaker in TGIAS, which will feature project investment roundtable meetings and launch the African Entrepreneurship Programme – a new initiative supported by Obasanjo, The Duke of York and Aliko Dangote.
Commercial strategist and sales director of TGAIS Victor Cruz told AB2020: ‘TGAIS is all about transaction. Bringing together senior government representatives, serious investors and focused discussions on project origination, transaction and deal making – that’s our aim.’
Below, Victor breaks down all you need to know about one of the UK’s most anticipated events focused on the social and economic development of Africa.
‘The “Africa rising” narrative is quite dated. Leading African figures have been talking about Africa’s growth story for around 20 years now. It’s about time a platform was created to move away from the talk shop experience and finally have meaningful discussions about projects. If you look around in the marketplace nowadays, we are the only connector that incentivizes this project-driven discussion.
‘The only way to stop talking about the concept of the African growth story is to start to transact on some of these projects, and we’re actually seeing the affects of our concept.’
‘When we were building the concept of TGAIS, we learnt through research and speaking to African and London-based contacts that the problem wasn’t really about capital, it was about how to find bankable projects in Africa.
‘TGAIS is a platform where investors looking to deploy capital or diversify in to the continent can gain access to Africa’s most pressing bankable projects.
‘All the legwork is done for 12 months prior to the event, then all the government representatives, investors, developers and contractors get together for one big party where signatures are put in place.
‘We’ve seen loads of MOUs being signed, and have facilitated some really meaningful bilateral meetings. TGAIS is a pinnacle of our efforts, and the platform will evolve in to a place where people come to TGAIS just to sign deals.’
‘The project roundatbles at TGAIS have a country and sector theme, each moderated by someone who has experience in a particular area, such as power in Nigeria or agriculture in Malawi. It’s a fantastic scenario that really proves what our brand is about.
‘Through these roundtable sessions we allow government representatives and private sector from specific countries to have a direct conversation with potential investors – or what we call global partners. To transact in some of these projects you don’t only need capital, you need technical expertise, regulatory frameworks expertise, and co-investors that want to come in together.
‘The beauty of it is that we have people with different backgrounds and expertise discussing how to get the project off the ground, from feasibility studies and financing all the way to delivery stage.’
‘We already have a good connection with Rwanda, Ghana and Uganda from last year, and they’re back this year. If you’re an African government and you need to find foreign direct investment for national projects that you’re willing to advertise and position to our network of investors, you qualify.
‘[However] we’re not only talking to governments. We’re very ambitious and want to continuously increase our network; those who want to present projects that need immediate financing and are looking for foreign direct investment– we’re talking critical infrastructure and water resource projects, and especially sectors that can incentivize other sectors. For example, we cover so many power projects. Improving or closing on your power deficit can incentivize growth of so many other sectors, such as trading investment and agriculture.
‘Investors do have a preferred hit list of countries, but they vary from sectors, investment appetite and strategy. Foreign investors look at good, bankable opportunities across the entire continent.’
‘The main challenge is overcoming the first stages of originating bankability for a particular project. Finding that capital to transform a concept in to a bankable project. It’s no secret that the main issue is a chicken and egg situation, which goes both ways. For example:
Government: I have a water project.
Investor: Can I have more information about it?
Government: Oh, we don’t have any information about it.
Investor: What about a feasibility study or something of this nature?
Government: You’ll have to come in and put that in place.
‘Everyone is willing to work. Looking at the micro picture, we work very closely with governments in helping them to package their projects – I’m not talking about feasibility studies, or even pre-feasibility studies. I’m talking about packaging the project so that investors can initiate the digestion process.
‘We work [cost-free] with the likes of PWC, Norton Rose and Old Mutual. When a project lands we send them to these experts who can help in areas such as project financing, risk and writing aspects, insurance, regulatory frameworks, and technical expertise. That’s the role we play.’
African Entrepreneurship Programme
‘We have a role and responsibility to give entrepreneurship a voice. It’s all about understanding that entrepreneurship is one of the most important channels in helping to develop some African countries, and that goes hand-in-hand with education.
‘Working alongside Obasango, Aliko Dangote and the British Royal Family, the African Entrepreneurship Programme has been developed through local partners and several organisations, such as the IOE (International Organisation of Employees) to put together a very comprehensive marketing activity incentivizing local players [on the ground in Africa] to submit their projects through our website. They are then put through a steering committee, and the top five are flown over through our partnership with British Airways to have a full day workshop with PWC on project packaging, capital raising etc, depending on the sector. The following day they go to Buckingham Palace to pitch their projects to the Duke of York Prince Andrew, Dangote, Obasanjo, family offices, high net-worth individuals, some heads of state and about 200 “end investors” who can immediately work with them.
‘There’s already an initiative at Buckingham Palace called Pitch at the Palace, so we’re partnering with them annually.
‘We’re receiving amazing applications every day from some fantastic entrepreneurs in places like Kenya and Nigeria. Ghana is really strong as well, and we’re hoping to see more momentum from Malawi soon. It’s a long-term programme, and this is only year one. Hopefully going forward this isn’t going to become just an element, but one of the most important features of TGAIS.’
How to get involved
To attend the roundtables as an investor you must register to participate as a delegate, which you can do through our website. As a project owner we also have a link on our website where you can submit your projects as a private project owner or AEP (an early stage entrepreneur).
‘Once you put your project on to our website we follow it up immediately to understand the bankability of your project and how we can help.’
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