Thursday, March 26, 2015

Investing in Africa is safe


By Samuel Hinneh (Johannesburg, South Africa) Dr Kaire Mbuende speaking at the RICS Africa Summit 2015 Dinner The African continent is one of the safest place to undertake any sorts of investment in the production of goods and services, says Dr Kaire Mbuende, former Namibian Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Namibia to the United Nations.

 With the liberation of the African economy to create conducive environment for foreign direct investment such as repatriation of profits, tax holidays together with protection of investments, Africa is the right place for investors, Dr Mbuende says. The continent has the highest returns on investment globally, about 30%, offering the investors great incentives in the business environment, he noted, during the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Africa Summit 2015 Dinner, prior to the summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
 However, Dr Mbuende emphasised that foreign direct investment especially in the extractive sector such as mining, have failed to create internal markets in Africa, instead, created majority of external markets. “Africa needs to diversify investment for the internal market in the extractive sector to boost economic development on the continent’’. “The regional integration needs to allow for flow of goods and services through regional blocs working together to offer larger markets,’’ he stated. The challenge in Africa over the years lies in infrastructure development in terms of moving goods and services on the continent.

The challenges also present opportunities for investment in the sector. Martin Bruhl, head of international investment management at Union Investment Real Estate, a major German open-ended fund provider says inventors are looking for growth, and Africa is seen as the new Asia for growth, given that growth in China and parts of Europe is slowing down. ‘’Investors are looking for safety in investment and there are some risks in investment in Africa, such as economic behaviour, corruption, however, there are lots of potentials in Africa, but the continent needs to build human capital,’’ he stated. Another challenge is lack of standards to investment, professionals such as surveyors with international pedigree, as well as investment in standards to drive economic development in Africa, Bruhl stated. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capital is growing which means more spending power in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to Kganya Kgare, an emerging economist at Stanlib, a multi-specialist investment company, based in South Africa.

 Sub-Saharan Africa is recognised as one of the fastest growing regions of the world – both in terms of economics and population, attributable in part to reduced trade barriers, strengthening governance and improved political stability.

 The RICS Africa Summit 2015 which took place from March 24 to 25, 2015, discussed urban development and creating internationally competitive, innovative cities; maximising land use for high population projections; and planning, housing and development requirements for rapid urban growth. RICS promotes and enforces the highest professional qualifications and standards in the development and management of land, real estate, construction and infrastructure and currently works in Ghana, Kenya and South Africa.

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