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Apr

RDR_6148The IE Africa Club is open to all IE students (African and non-African), who have seen it fit to create awareness of the African continent, its rich culture and the myriad of opportunities that the continent offers. The vision of the IE Africa club is to promote Africa as a continent of opportunity, debunk myths about the continent and act as a link between Africa and Europe particularly in academia and business.

On Wednesday, April 10, 2013 the IE Africa Club presented an event featuring experts on emerging markets to discuss the growing sectors investors should focus on when looking to do business in Africa. The theme was “mapping investment opportunities in Africa” with a purpose to question the opportunities available on the continent and direct investors on the sectors of growth and about where to start.  The invited speakers included:

Chidi Okoro, Managing Director for GlaxoSmithKline, Nigeria
Jason Duloquin, Account Manager RMED region at First Point Group
Neeta Somers, Political Counsellor & Second in charge at South African Embassy in Spain
Balexis Kilonzi Kasombo, First Counsellor, Embassy of The Republic of Kenya in Spain
Daniel Pulaski, Partner at Emzingo Group.

RDR_6189The event also featured programmes on the continent currently supported by IE Business School. The IE Africa club president, Funmi Odushola encouraged students to sign up for these various programmes in order to gain practical experience in African markets. Some of the opportunities presented included: AMIP, the African Markets Internship ProgrammeFinancieros Sin Fronteras and Emzingo.

The event was opened by the Dean of Programs, Martin Boehm followed by a master class by Professor Newton Campos, IE professor of Entrepreneurship in Emerging Economies. Professor Campos presented his five years of research focusing on how foreigners can create successful ventures in developing countries. The main requirement for success he says, is building trust and developing local networks.

Daniel Pulaski, a partner at Emzingo and an IE alum discussed his work at Emzingo Group, specifically, the NexGen Fellowship Program and its focus on human capital investment.  The mission of the program is to develop people through social impact in order to inspire responsible leadership and connect businesses to citizens in the environments they operate in. Pulaski explained that, individuals and organizations alike need to be culturally aware and sensitive about the historical, political and cultural aspects of their communities in order to better integrate and to be successful.

RDR_6180Neeta Somers, the Political counsellor and Second in charge at the South African Embassy in Spain, spoke about current and future business trends in South Africa and in Africa as a whole. She provided statistics to support the growing middle class in Africa stating that Government’s investment in the public sector is accelerating growth rate in other sectors. The infrastructure, energy and manufacturing industries are a mentioned few currently experiencing significant growth in Africa. Ms. Somers added that the South African government plans on investing 121 billion USD in public sector infrastructure. There is also a surge of investment in alternative energy such as wind farms particularly in South Africa.

RDR_6115Balexis Kilonzi Kasombo, First counsellor, Embassy of the Republic of Kenya discussed the continuing growth trend in Kenya making it the most developed economy in East Africa, and whose recent New Constitution (2010) and Vision 2030 project ensures a growing industrialization of the country and continuous economic growth.
The key sectors experiencing growth according to him in Kenya are: Agriculture (accounting for 23% of Kenya’s GDP, 60% of foreign exchange earnings), tourism, transport infrastructure and energy. Kenya is in the process of creating the Konza Techno City and is also building a new port which will serve as a connection to southern Sudan and Ethiopia.
RDR_6122Chidi Okoro, Managing Director at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in Nigeria was the keynote speaker for the evening. He challenged the assumptions of the audience and urged people to think critically about the current data available about Africa. He highlighted the African continent, if seen as a country, is the 6th largest economy in the world and stated that it has a huge need for infrastructure development. As such, there are many fields for investment opportunities. Africa he says, does not need not aid but investment and knowledge transfer instead.
Mr. Okoro explained that while people are discussing ¨the industries to watch” in Africa; these are the same industries he would advise “not to watch” as all of the industries will be expanding exponentially and require active participation.

The event came to a close with a cocktail where the audience interacted with the speakers and other distinguished guests. It was a fantastic event and one that the Africa club should consider organizing more than once a year.

Comments

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