The Group Managing Director/ Chief Executive of Zenith Bank, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has called for increased impact investment in Africa for the continent to attain its full potential.
He made the call during his keynote address at the Africa Investment Risk & Compliance Summit 2021 organised by the Emerging Business Intelligence & Innovation (EBII) Group held at the prestigious University of Oxford, United Kingdom, last Friday. Mr Onyeagwu delivered his keynote address after the special keynote address by His Excellency,
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana & Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, who was the Special Guest of Honour. Her Excellency Dr Amani ABOU-ZEID, The African Union Commissioner in charge of Infrastructure and Energy, also delivered a keynote address at the Summit.
Delivering the address with the theme: “Leveraging Impact Investment Opportunities for Growth in Africa,” Onyeagwu described impact investing as an investment that yields optimal returns for investors, value for all stakeholders, and guarantees continued sustenance and existence of humanity.
He decried the shallowness of Africa’s financial market as depicted by the fact that no African exchange is among the Morgan Stanley developed markets index and that only two African exchanges (Egypt and South Africa) are in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, and just six African exchanges in the MSCI Frontier Market Index.
He noted that although the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that the global investors’ appetite for impact investing could total as much as $26 trillion, only approximately eight per cent of the assets of impact intent funds were focused on Africa.
According to him, this is not significant enough, and Africa appears to be in the room but not on the table, considering that Africa is in dire need of investment and the continent’s 1.3 billion people represent about 17 per cent of the global population of about 7.8 billion.
Citing the immense opportunities in Africa that represent enormous investment proposition for discerning investors, including the huge population, large market and active labour force, and the rich natural endowment,
Onyeagwu described Africa as “the new frontier” for global growth. He made a case for increased impact investment in Africa, noting that investment opportunities on the continent cut across agriculture, healthcare, housing, infrastructure, electricity, and the creative sectors.
Onyeagwu exuded immense optimism on the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (Af- CFTA) initiative, which would create a single, continent-wide market for goods and services, business and investment as being in one country on the continent grants investors access to the entire continent.
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