They’re calling it the Davos of Africa and its first task will be a herculean one. The first ever Africa Investment Forum will sit down in Johannesburg to work out how to channel a large chunk of an estimated $111 trillion, that will be sitting in the world’s investment funds, by 2020, at low interest rates.
This investment drive is the brainchild of the business-minded eighth elected president of the African Development Bank Akinwumi Adesina.
“There will be no political speeches what we want is transaction, transaction and transaction,” Adesina told journalists at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg where the investment conference will be held from November 7 to 9.
“I know you like Vuvuzelas (football horns) in this country, so I expect everyone to take their Vuvuzelas out to Africa for investment.”
Adesina, the former agriculture minister of Nigeria, believes Africa is the world’s final frontier and wants to channel investment into power, roads, rails and ports to encourage more to put their money into the continent. He believes he can win over an often sceptical world investment community.
“We have to get rid of this false perception that Africa is risky for investors. We can convince these investors with simple truths.”
The conference will be held in South Africa’s Gauteng province the investment capital of Africa with first world infrastructure. The province, that houses Johannesburg, has 71% of all the investment in South Africa and creates 35% of the country’s GDP. It also accounts for between 8 and 12% of the continent’s GDP.
“This is going to be the Davos of Africa. We don’t want it to be a talk shop, we want it to be a transaction shop,” says David Makhura, the Gauteng Premier.
Journalists asked Makhura about whether investments would be safe.
“They will be very safe. We have strong institutions and an independent judiciary. We are back on track – we had a few problems with our institutions but now we have strong leadership sorting it out,” says Makhura
New President Cyril Ramaphosa, who was out looking for investors at the other Davos in Switzerland, in January, weeks before he took over the top job, has set his country a target of $100 billion in new investment.