Investing in Africa's Emerging Markets

7 May 2009 00:00

Chatham House, London



Press registration


This conference focuses on the immediate and long term prospects for investing in Africa's fastest emerging economies.

In partnership with British American Business

What is the future for Africa's new emerging markets?

In recent years, interest in Africa's emerging economies has been growing, from both sovereign and private investors, driven by surging commodity prices, inward investment flows, increased macroeconomic stability and strengthened governance.
Many increasingly dominant global players such as China, India, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Brazil have been moving fast to secure investments.

In the context of the current worldwide economic downturn, the conference will ask what the immediate and long term prospects for investment in Africa's rapidly emerging markets are. Have investors retreated to their home markets? If so, how long will this last? Can businesses in the emerging economies turn widespread economic recession to their advantage?

Focusing on the fastest emerging economies in Sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana and Angola, this major event will feature leading policy makers, economists and financiers speaking on new and growing opportunities for investment in Africa.

This conference will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Information for journalists >>

Press can request a press pass using the form below.

THURSDAY 7 MAY 09.00 - 17.30

Chair Dr Robin Niblett
Chatham House

09.00 Opening remarks from the Chair

Keynote Speakers

HE Professor John Atta Mills (on the record)
President of Ghana

The Rt Hon Lord Malloch-Brown (on the record)
Minister of State for Africa, Asia and the United Nations
Foreign and Commonwealth Office, UK

09.35 Questions and discussion

Session One
Assessing the Business Climate

Chair Alex Vines OBE
Research Director, Regional and Security Studies and
Head, Africa Programme, Chatham House


  • The fastest growing markets and their political and economic contexts
  • How will the global economic downturn and financial crisis affect Africa's emerging markets? What are the immediate and long-term prospects for growth? How strong are the fundamentals? How strong is Africa's internal market?

09.50 Keynote Speaker (on the record)
Thierry Tanoh
Vice President, Sub-Saharan Africa, Western Europe, IDA and conflict-affected states
International Finance Corporation

Business Climate

  • Where are the new business hubs and centres of excellence?
  • Have there been any significant regulatory developments? How will these changes affect the investment climate?
  • To what extent does business continue to function in times of political instability?
  • What are the sources of good quality data to underpin investment decisions?
  • To what extent do leadership quality, political stability, electoral process, governance, the rule of law, economic reform and debt relief influence investors' decisions? What role does the media play in perceptions of these?
  • How do businesses overcome the challenges posed by infrastructure in the emerging markets? What role will infrastructure investment play in Africa's immediate and long-term economic development?

10.05 Keynote Speaker
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi (on the record)
Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
FirstBank Nigeria

Patrick Smith
Africa Confidential

Questions and discussion

11.00 Refreshments

Session Two
The Future of the Financial Sector

The financial sector is growing to support increased investor activity from outside Africa and between African countries. This session will look at how the markets are developing and deepening.

  • Are any of the emerging African financial centres likely to play a role internationally?
  • Are regulatory changes being made to make the investment climate more attractive?
  • Where are the prime sources of investment? What are the relative roles of the public and private sectors in providing access to finance?
  • How dependent are the emerging economies in Africa on banking finance?
  • The financial markets are at different stages of development across the continent. Focusing on the fast emerging markets:
    o where do the prime opportunities lie for the banking sector?
    o what can international banks offer to emerging markets?
    o how readily is credit available for business?
    o which new investment products are emerging?
    o what is the availability of banking facilities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), consumers, and microfinance?

Chair Dr Richard Cockett
Africa Editor
The Economist

11.40 Ekow Afedzie
General Manager
Ghana Stock Exchange

Milan Meetarbhan
Chief Executive
Financial Services Commission, Mauritius

Ken Ofori-Atta
Executive Chairman
Databank Financial Services Ltd, Ghana

Dr Chris West
The Shell Foundation

12.35 Questions and discussion

13.05 Lunch

High Level Banking Roundtable

Chair Dr Nkosana Moyo
Senior Adviser

14.05 Arnold Ekpe
Chief Executive Officer
Ecobank, Togo

Tony Elumelu
Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer
United Bank for Africa Plc, Nigeria

Yassine Benjelloun
Head of Treasury and Capital Markets
MediCapital Bank

Session Three
Foreign Direct Investment: State of play and prospects for growth

  • As the fastest expanding African economies become more widely recognized, what are levels of foreign direct investment (FDI)?
  • What is the impact on African economies of recent falls in demand for commodities? What is the long-term outlook? What are the options for value-added processing and industrialization?
  • Where are the largest sources of FDI? What sectors are they investing in and where? How is FDI holding up in the context of widespread recession?
  • Will Sovereign Wealth Funds play a significant role?

Chair Joel Kibazo
Associate Fellow
Chatham House

15.00 Keynote Speaker
Conrad Clifford (on the record)
Chief Executive Officer
Virgin Nigeria Airways

Razia Khan
Regional Head of Economics, Africa
Standard Chartered Bank

Riaan Meyer
Associate Researcher, China in Africa Programme
South African Institute of International Affairs

15.35 Questions and discussion

16.05 Refreshments

Session Four
Emerging Sectors: Opportunities for growth

  • What are the strong sectors? What are the growing sectors? Where are opportunities for growth?
  • Will commodities prices continue to provide an opportunity for states to diversify their economies?
  • In which sectors and where is value being added and retained?

Chair Roderick Evison
Managing Director, Africa and Latin America
CDC Group plc

16.35 Dr Aguinaldo Jaime
National Agency for Private Investment, Angola

Christopher J Kirubi
Haco Industries, Kenya

Godwin Obaseki
Chief Executive Officer
Afrinvest, Nigeria

16.55 Questions and discussion

17.25 Closing Keynote Address (on the record)

Manuel Nunes Junior

Minister for the Economy, Angola

17.35 End of Conference and drinks reception

© Royal Institute of International Affairs and BritishAmerican Business 2009