Adjoa Adjei-Twum is Founder & CEO of Emerging Business Intelligence and Innovation (EBII) Compliance and an astute intellect in African Economic Development. She is a Financial Crime Compliance Expert with over a decade of international experience helping organisations meet their compliance requirements in the financial sector, especially in Anti-money laundering and Economic Sanctions.
Emerging Business Intelligence & Innovation (EBII) Group is an organization that serves as an emerging market interface for businesses in the western world and Africa. Our organization provides a critical link between companies in the West who are seeking opportunities for diversification and growing their businesses in Africa.
We believe that by creating an ecosystem of financiers and backers, we can help shape the right policies around risk assessment and investment decisions.
Ultimately, we aim to demystify the risk associated with Africa, providing real insight to investors through our EBII Compliance function, EBII Invest In Africa program, and EBII Leadership Forum. Our annual compliance summit focuses on helping African businesses and governments improve their due diligence in order to attract the right investments from within the African continent and outside the continent.
On 21st August 2020, EBII Group, supported by the Oxford University Innovation incubator program, is organizing a summit that brings together policymakers, financial institutions, governments, the investing community, and thought leaders to provide an impetus for further efforts in the areas of compliance; due diligence, anti-corruption and trade especially in light of the inception of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement AfCFTA.
The theme of the conference is ‘Attracting and Sustaining Investments in Africa Post covid19 – Staying ahead of the compliance curve.’ Discussions during the summit will be focused on policy, business opportunities, and how to lower investment risks to expand the discourse and action in Africa.
Bringing together policymakers, businesses, financial institutions and other market participants, the forum provides an opportunity to move beyond “market-matching” conferences. Real intel and knowledge to drive investments is the aim. EBII will also link investors with new sectors in Africa.
“Africa is the last frontier,” proclaims Mo Ibrahim, Chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation and of Satya Capital, an investment firm that focuses on Africa. The continent has huge resources, he says. “If you really want to make money you have to be there.”
Africa accounts for around 17% of the world’s population, but only about 3% of global GDP. Africa’s most appealing feature for many investors is its youthful population, with all the growth that this implies for sales of consumer products and services.
These statistics highlight the tremendous opportunities and risks ahead, it could be one of the major sources of growth for the world. In 2019 8 of the world’s 15 fastest-growing economies were African. In addition, the IMF predicted that between 2018 and 2023, Africa’s growth prospects would be among the highest in the world. With the onset of the Covid19 pandemic in early 2020, economies and markets contracted, and according to the World Bank, Africa is projected to be in a recession for the first time in 25 years.
Despite the gloomy outlook, there have also been some positive externalities of the Covid19 pandemic in the region. It has unearthed heretofore undiscovered pockets of innovation, like the ten minute Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kit from Senegal, that reveal the ingenuity and creativity of the people on the continent.
It is that innovation that forms the building blocks to transform the economies in Africa. As important as innovation is, it is however not enough to transform an economy. For that to happen it must be developed into a robust business. Funding is a critical aspect of growing a business and access to global markets at a fair rate would be instrumental to success.
PURPOSE OF SUMMIT
The summit is a call to action for African political and business leaders, policymakers, financial institutions, governments, the investing community and thought leaders to come together to discuss ways to combat stereotypes and agree on best practices around accountability standards, real ESG requirements, standardization of trade laws, investment and financial crime policies to attract and sustain the right investments post covid19. This is now very critical! Investors must sense the optimism and verve with which we aim to facilitate investment in Africa as we usher in the pivotal AfCFTA era, notwithstanding the impacts of covid19 on the bright horizons lying ahead for Africa.
A best practice compliance standards paper will be published after the Summit aimed at helping investors and investors navigate investing pitfalls and properly follow the due diligence process on the African continent. This is an opportunity for you to access African expertise and gain clarity on the African markets.
His Excellency Wamkele Mene the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, will be one of the keynote speakers for this summit. Under his incoming administration, we have seen the announcement of excellent initiatives that will attract unparalleled local and foreign investments into Africa post-covid19. He stated recently that Africa’s only tool for economic recovery on the continent is to accelerate intra-African trade post-covid19. He also mentioned that digitisation was already a priority for the AfCFTA before post-covid19, and its advantages were even more pronounced now. His participation as the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA will be crucial in bringing insights into the investments opportunities and ways of navigating the risk around these investments.
The EBII group has been bridging the gap between investors and prospects and emphasizing the fact that the right compliance framework is key to successful investment in Africa.
This is a day-long virtual summit and its structure has been designed with the aim of ensuring targeted deliberations and decision-making by the most active stakeholders, as well as the facilitation of a broader debate on key topics.
The summit will feature a welcome speech, an opening speech, and four keynote addresses. The keynote addresses will set the tone for the summit and lay the groundwork for the panel debates and deliberations.
During the summit, four-panel meetings will be held, covering
(1) African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Post covid19
(2) Conducting Investment due diligence in Africa
(3) Who is responsible for ensuring compliance and
(4) Facilitating the role and full participation of the African Diaspora in boosting investment in Africa.
The panel sessions will allow for a wider range of participants’ viewpoints to be heard, and for maximized consensus on action points.
What is Africa’s Economic Outlook Post COVID-19. This panel will consider the current market trends and opportunities in the following industries; Technology, Agri-business, Mining and Extractive Industries, Renewable Energy, and Financial Services trends.
African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) Post COVID-19 -The panel will discuss the opportunities for the Public sector, Private Sector, Local and Foreign Investors. They will also discuss what the expected utility of the AfCFTA is going to be, the processes and politics of the AfCFTA, the opportunities, the anticipated challenges are and how it can be mitigated. What countries have to practically do to position themselves to take advantage of the benefits of ACFTA.
The role of the African Diaspora in boosting investment in Africa, through a deeper investigation, the panel analyzes the main channels through which the Diaspora influences economic development in Africa and how their full participation can be effectively facilitated.
Conducting Investment due diligence in Africa, post COVID-19; This panel will discuss due diligence challenges posed as a result of the pandemic including regulatory, political and economic challenges and discuss ways of mitigating them when investing in Africa. The importance of integrating ESG and SDG factors into investments in Africa will also be discussed.
Changing investor perception of risk in Africa: This panel will highlight the current opportunity for African Banks and Governments to reposition strongly as vanguards of the policy environment and in so doing, purposefully change the narratives around investment risk in Africa.
An important outcome of this conference will be the discussions, conclusions, and recommendations, on the ways in which we can problem solve Africa’s access to valuable and fairly priced investment while simultaneously managing the risk exposure of investors.
By involving a wide range of participants in the conference, including those with critical perspectives, the conference will be a forum for honest debate, dialogue, and inspiration. The post-summit paper that will be published after the conference to ensure that this dialogue and feedback is widely disseminated and used as a guide for current and future stakeholders.
It will be a first step in developing a blueprint for the future of investing in Africa, and a complement to the efforts of the AU, AfCFTA Secretariat, AfDB, African Governments, and all associated regulatory bodies and stakeholders.