Agriculture

African institutional investors call for partnerships to build resilient economies

The African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum has today issued a Call to Action to build resilient African economies. Noting the potential for devastating economic impacts on the African continent by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

The Forum, comprised of leaders of Africa’s pre-eminent sovereign wealth and pension funds, are determined to form new and innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships to address the economic fallout of COVID-19, increase investment in African infrastructure, and realise the aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA).

The Call to Action, supported by an array of organisations including the International Chamber of Commerce and the African Union’s Continental Business Network, recognises that efforts must be informed by two urgent and mutually reinforcing components: *immediate priority responses to protect African capital markets, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), regional supply chains and the AfCFTA from the economic fallout of COVID-19; and *multi-stakeholder partnerships across government and industry to foster industry shifts and a regulatory requirement fit for African economies and industries to stabilise, grow and thrive.

Commenting on the Call to Action, Hubert Danso, the Chairman of the African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum said:

“COVID-19 is both a health and an economic crisis. As custodians of the livelihoods of millions of Africans, we are acutely aware of the economic difficulties to come. That is why we’re issuing this call – to work with policymakers and development financial institutions to co-create the conditions necessary for post-pandemic economic recovery.”

Read the full Call to Action here.

For more information contact: Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman, Africa investor, Chairman, African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum Email: amofokeng@africainvestor.com www.aiswpff.com
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Covid-19 disrupts African flower producers

African flower producers are struggling as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts supply chains and demand dries up amid national lockdowns

14 MAY 2020 - 05:00 CARIEN DU PLESSIS
On her company’s farm in the fruit-growing Breede River Valley in the Western Cape, Adene Nieuwoudt’s usually neat dahlia plantations resemble a small jungle. The soft pastel and deep burgundy blooms have become too heavy for the thin stems, and they’ve fallen over. "We’re not picking flowers any more," she says, because they are not being bought. "We’re leaving them to bloom out and then we’ll pull up all the plants."   Nieuwoudt, the owner of Adene’s Farm Flowers, made international news in March when her flowers adorned an old-age home just before SA went into a five-week hard Covid-19 lockdown. "Everything was cancelled. We normally supply 100 weddings and events a week, and suddenly it dropped to three, and then to nothing," she says. "We can supply only funerals now, and that’s a drop in the ocean." Though things are bad, Nieuwoudt says she’s lucky to have had a good season — it usually peaks from December to April — and she has enough savings to last her a few months. "But you must still go on with the farming and prepare for the next season. You need to pay for bulbs, compost, spray poisons, electricity, water and salaries," she says. Nieuwoudt’s small business produces only for the local market and employs 22 women — but she’s one of thousands of growers in Africa who had to destroy their flowers when governments closed borders and banned large gatherings in an effort to slow the coronavirus spread. Demand dropped sharply and it became difficult for exporters to get their wares out. The gradual easing of the lockdown in SA means flowers can be sold in shops again — but it’s just small amounts, and there’s still uncertainty about whether cash-strapped consumers will buy such a luxury at all. In Kenya, Africa’s number one flower exporter, farmers are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel after their sales almost dried up in March. Kenya Flower Council CEO Clement Tulezi says Europe, Kenya’s largest market, is slowly waking up again, with lockdowns easing and shops reopening. "What we saw at the start of April was that the orders were beginning to come back," he says. Current orders are about 65% of what they would normally be at this time of year. Dutch organisation Royal FloraHolland, which organises the international market for flowers, has announced measures to get the industry going again. It’s "already preparing for a restart to full capacity within the constraints of the 1.5m [physical distancing] rule", it says in a statement. Some aspects of the market were already changing prior to the outbreak of Covid-19, it says, with e-commerce, for example, "currently growing by a factor of four". Tulezi says: "The challenge now is how to get that product to the market." Almost all passenger flights have been cancelled and freighters that operated from Nairobi have shifted to better-paying routes. Those that do operate charge double or triple what they did before. "The price on the [flower] market is still what it was before, so if you’re paying for the freight, you are not recouping your investment," Tulezi says. "We are now dealing with the difficulty of getting in more freighters." Nairobi is down to four, from the usual 12 to 15. It means that there is a capacity of 1,300t a week — far short of the usual 3,500t the industry needs to export. Flowers are also competing for space with fruit and vegetables, Kenya’s other big export. "There is a big demand on cargo flights; therefore people elsewhere pay top dollar," Tulezi says. Last week Dutch cargo airline Martinair was supposed to come to Nairobi, but its plane broke down. It’s something this industry can ill afford: cut flowers need to get from the farm to their destination in 1½ days. "The supply-chain turnover [time] is very, very short. Even then we have to ferry the flowers under a conditioned environment, so it has to move as quickly as possible to the consumer. Any delay in terms of freight means you have lost the produce," says Tulezi. There’s not been much cushioning from the government other than some tax reductions. Tulezi says the industry has put proposals to the government about the support they need, such as subsidising jet fuel for cargo airlines. "The cost is high. We have to pay for both northbound and southbound flights," he says, because the planes return empty from Europe. There’s also the option of leveraging airlines within the East Africa region for freight services — possibilities include Kenya Airways, Ethiopian Airlines, RwandAir and Uganda Airlines. But the government hasn’t signed the necessary treaties for this to happen yet. "Those discussions are on, but we haven’t seen tangible [results]," he says. Kenya is among the top three flower exporters in the world, with a turnover of $1.3bn and employment of about 70,000 people. The sector is among the country’s top foreign-exchange earners after remittances and tea. In March its exports dropped to 20%. "We were right on our knees for the entire month of March," Tulezi says. Farmers experienced the destruction of their produce — and investments — in the Netherlands as the auctions collapsed. They continued harvests throughout March, but disposed of the flowers locally and sent 60% of the workforce home on forced leave — paid and unpaid. The Kenyan government has offered some relief by way of exempting low-paid workers from paying taxes. March marked the end of a four-month peak season in the country. Another peak is due in May and June, Tulezi says. "Then it’s low season until November." Neighbouring Ethiopia, the continent’s second-largest flower exporter, has experienced similar problems to the other markets. The Addis Fortune newspaper reports that in March the country exported less than 20% of the 160t of flowers usually shipped daily to Belgium, France, Germany and the Middle East. Ethiopia’s flower industry is worth almost $300m a year, and is among the biggest in the country after coffee and khat, a chewable recreational stimulant. The flower sector employs 150,000 people and there are fears that 50,000 could lose their jobs for good. Tewodros Zewdie from the Ethiopian Horticulture Producer Exporters Association told Reuters that many employees have been given annual leave for now, rather than being laid off. "We hope the situation will improve in the coming couple of months," he says. The country’s flower industry has asked for a working capital injection from banks, the suspension of loan repayments and a refund of VAT paid, on the assumption that it will be recouped. Smaller exporters, such as SA, are also facing challenges. Air freight is not only four times more expensive than usual, it’s also very unreliable, says James Kingsley of The Flower Company, which handles exports from Cape Town. "Martinair comes to Joburg three times a week at the moment, and it’s a bit of a milk run from Amsterdam, through Harare and Nairobi. If the plane is filled up from Nairobi, [the flight does not continue] to Joburg," he says. Also, the plane tends to wait for the big loads before taking off, which means the flowers could wilt before they reach their destination. Direct international flights to Cape Town right now are scarce, and the BidAir cargo flight to Joburg, from where there are three cargo flights a week, costs triple the normal price. "Our challenge is that Cape flora is a heavy product," he says. A hike in freight prices could easily take the price of one king protea from R30 to R100, which makes the flower too expensive. "It’s quite a challenge for us right now," says Kingsley. To return to normal, the industry needs passenger flights to resume and borders to open — but that could take a while. There’s one upside. "Fortunately it’s our off-season at the moment," Kingsley says. "But farmers are saying that if they come out of 2020 on a zero, it’s good" — implying that the outcome may be far worse.

Protecting the flower pickers

Many workers will be left destitute in the wake of Africa’s wilting flower exports due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Most are women. “[The pandemic] has brought to light long-standing problems in global supply chains,” says Evelien Vleeshouwers of the Women@Work campaign at the Dutch NGO Hivos. “Low wages, reliance on casual labour, gender inequality and a lack of social protection make people at the beginning of the supply chain suffer the most.” Roses exported to the Netherlands, the biggest flower market in the world, are grown in Africa because of the climate and cost. “At the beginning of the flower supply chain it is often women who pick the flowers,” Vleeshouwers writes in a blog on the NGO’s website. Women are considered more delicate and therefore “better fit to handle flowers”. But it’s low-paid work — in the region of $70-$80 a month. And many in the industry earn below the world poverty line of $1.90 a day. Flower pickers also often work as casual labourers, meaning they have little protection. At home, the women are also vulnerable, as it often falls to them to look after the sick, meaning their risk of getting infected with the coronavirus is high. Kenya Flower Council CEO Clement Tulezi says the council’s members last month discussed protocols around keeping workers safe. Farms are audited every day for safety and hygiene, he says. “There are temperature checks on farms and we have introduced masks, so everyone wears masks on the farm and when going home.” He says that since last week farmers have been doing training and education on Covid-19 for workers, and they plan to extend this to their communities and families. “As we speak we have not had any cases on the farms, but we are not saying that will not happen,” says Tulezi. “If it happens, the government will come and close down the farm, as is happening to other businesses, and put everyone under quarantine. They will close for 21 days, and we can’t afford that.” BY BUSINESSLIVE.CO.ZA | CARIEN DU PLESSIS
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ICC joins global trade organisation heads for summit on impact of COVID-19 on Africa

ICC Secretary General John W.H. Denton AO, participated in a historic summit this week to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

Convened by Africa investor (Ai), the Summit brought together the heads of global trade organisations and recognised the importance of pioneering partnerships and collaboration with the private sector and international organisations in restoring trade confidence and flows in the fight against COVID-19, and in building trade resilience in anticipation of future pandemics.

The importance of accelerating the adoption of African eTrade, Paperless Customs and RegTech innovation also featured highly on the agenda.

“We are delighted to partner with Africa investor,” Mr Denton said. “ICC remains committed to addressing issues impacting the private sector in Africa through pioneering collaboration and our growing presence and outreach on the continent.”

The Summit was Chaired by Chaired by Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman, Africa investor (Ai), Chairman, African Union Continental Business Network (CBN). Participants included Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization (WCO), Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), Vinco David, Secretary General, Berne Union and Hennie Heymans, CEO, DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa.

The Summit, which took place on 30 April, highlighted the urgent need for harmonised regulation to help the African private sector – in particular SME’s – to digitise their businesses, to be able to trade and compete in the ‘Post COVID-19 Contactless Economy’, where ‘Trade and Customs Distancing’ will be the new normal.

The African private sectors’ AfricaPLC Industrial eTrade Platform initiative was welcomed as a critical African eTrade and Finance enabler. The initiative is supported by ICC, Ai, DHL, the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), Standard Bank, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) Continental Business Network (CBN), ABSA and Trade Development Bank.

The virtual summit saw commitment from leaders to collaborate on a range of trade initiatives to combat COVID-19 and build trade resilience in Africa, in support of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

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Africa investor (Ai) Convenes Heads of Global Trade Organisations Summit on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

Africa investor (Ai) confirmed today it convened an historic Summit with the heads of global trade organizations, to discuss partnerships and the impact of COVID-19 on the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

The Summit was Chaired by Hubert Danso, CEO & Chairman, Africa investor (Ai), Chairman, African Union Continental Business Network (CBN) and included Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, John Denton, Secretary General, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization (WCO), Yonov Frederick Agah, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), Vinco David, Secretary General, Berne Union and Hennie Heymans, CEO, DHL Express Sub Saharan Africa.

The Summit was convened as leaders’ recognized innovative partnerships and collaboration with the private sector and international organizations, will be critical to restoring trade confidence and flows in the fight against COVID-19 and in building trade resilience in anticipation of future pandemics.

The importance of accelerating the adoption of African eTrade, Paperless Customs and RegTech innovation featured high on the leaders’ agenda.

Leaders highlighted the extent to which the COVID-19 pandemic has created an urgent need for harmonized regulation to support the African private sector, especially SME’s, digitize their businesses, to be able to trade and compete in the ‘Post COVID-19 Contactless Economy’, where ‘Trade and Customs Distancing’ will be the new normal. The African private sectors’ AfricaPLC Industrial eTrade Platform initiative, supported by: Ai, DHL, ICC, Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPS), Standard Bank, the African Union Development Agency (AUDA) Continental Business Network (CBN), ABSA and Trade Development Bank, was welcomed as a critical African eTrade and Finance enabler.

The leaders renewed their commitment to collaborate on an array of strategic trade initiatives to combat COVID-19 and build trade resilience in Africa, in support of the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA).

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Africa.com – President of Ghana to Speak at Africa.com Webinar on Crisis Management for African Business Leaders

Johannesburg, South Africa, April 25, 2020 - / The President of Ghana, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, will address what is possibly the largest ever gathering of senior African business leaders.  The media holding company, Africa.com, has produced a webinar series, Crisis Management for African Business Leaders, to address the unprecedented challenges African executives are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Over 3,000 participants are expected from 81 countries - 41 countries on the African continent + 40 countries throughout the world.

President Akufo-Addo will be the lead speaker on a panel moderated by Hakeem Belo-Osagie, Chairman of FSDH Holding Company and Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer of Business Administration.  The panel, “This Isn’t the West - How Africa’s Informal Sector Responds to COVID-19” will also feature The Honorable Nasir El-Rufai, Governor of Kaduna State, Nigeria; Ahmed Mushfiq Mobrarak, Professor of Economics, Yale University; and Amandla Ooko-Ombaka, Senior Engagement Manager, McKinsey & Co.

The participants in the webinar are comprised of many of the most senior private sector players on the continent, most of whom carry one of the following titles: CEO, chair, managing director, president, principal, partner, CFO, chair, finance director, chief, director, executive director, group head, general manager or manager.   In addition, participants include senior government officials, leading academics, and heads of non-profit organizations.

Africa.com Chair and CEO Teresa Clarke commented: “President Akufo-Addo’s leadership of the pandemic has been tailored to the unique social, economic and cultural conditions of his country.  We are very pleased that President Akufo-Addo has accepted our invitation to address the pan-African business community about this critical issue, and provide his perspective on how African leaders in both the public and private sectors may navigate these complex choices.”

“This isn’t the West - How Africa’s Informal Sector Reacts to COVID-19” will take place on Wednesday, April 29 at 9:00 EDT (New York |14:00 WAT (Nigeria/UK)  15:00 CAT (South Africa) |16:00 EAT (Kenya).

The panel discussion is part of a four part series on crisis management developed by Africa.com and faculty members from Harvard Business School. For more information and free registration, please visit virtualconferenceafrica.com.

About Africa.com Africa.com is a media holding company with an array of platforms that reach a global audience interested in African business and lifestyle. Interests include Africa.com Business Publishers’ Network, the website at www.africa.com, the website at www.iafrica.com, email newsletters, various social media platforms, and internet domain names ending with the “.africa.com” extension. Africa.com operates from Johannesburg, Lagos, and New York, and has a presence in Cape Town and Nairobi.

Media Inquiries Laura Joseph Phone: +27 82 332 0473 Email: laura.joseph@africa.com

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African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Refine COVID-19 Response Recommendations

African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Refine COVID-19 Response Recommendations

Africa investor (Ai) today convened the 2nd African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum COVID-19 Virtual Round-table, an exclusive Forum of the continent’s most influential Chairmen, CEO’s and CIO’s of African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Funds, to discuss the role and response of African institutional

investors in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic across Africa.

The Forum was Co-Chaired by Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman Africa investor Group (Ai), Chairman, African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum and Uche Orji, CEO of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.

Roundtable participants discussed refining and giving structure to the areas of focus raised in the inaugural roundtable, which were based on the following 2 thematic areas of focus:

  1. Immediate Priority Responses, to protect African capital markets, SME’s, Supply Chains and the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) from the economic fallout of Covid-19
  2. Partnerships with Regulators, to foster industry shifts and the next normal regulatory environment required for African economies and industry to thrive and grow.

The following 7 Recommendations were generated as result of the discussion:

  • Recommendation 1: Collaborate on assisting SME supply chain and trade support through digitization (trade and fintech - esp healthcare and agriculture related),
  • Recommendation 2: Pursue ESG compliant infrastructure co-investment partnerships, (energy/healthcare/agri)
  • Recommendation 3: Develop and communicate seminal pandemic combative institutional investment models
  • Recommendation 4: Champion Institutional Investor research insights,
  • Recommendation 5: Motivate governments to consider directing some of their Quantitative Easing/Emergency funding towards SWF’s to allocate and invest into their local and regional economies
  • Recommendation 6: Engage in policy partnerships with Central Bank Governors on framing the new regulatory environment and investment needs of the post COVID-19 economy
  • Recommendation 7: Coordinate and correlate responses with global peer institutional investor and private sector industry bodies.

Africa’s institutional investment community, which are responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars of assets, which they manage and invest on behalf of their members and future generations, reaffirmed their commitment to support African governments and policy makers with planning and executing economic recovery programmes, so African economies can stabilize, grow and thrive in the new post COVID-19 economy.

The Round-tables Recommendations will form the basis an industry  Statement, that will be shared with African Heads of State, Central Bank Governors, Development Partners and Industry Peers.

For more information contact: Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman, Africa investor, Chairman, African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum Email: amofokeng@africainvestor.com

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Africa.com – Poll Reveals 70% of African Businesses Expect their Revenues to Decrease by More Than 10% Next Month

Johannesburg, South Africa, April 23, 2020 - / In a live poll conducted by Africa.com on April 22 as part of its webinar series, Crisis Management for African Business Leaders, nearly 70% of webinar participants predicted that their business revenue will decrease by more than 10% next month.  47% indicated that they expect their revenue to decrease by more than 25% next month, and 24% indicated that they expect revenues to decrease by more than 50% next month. Only 20% indicated that they expect revenue to remain the same or increase.

Approximately 1,500 business leaders participated in the poll.  Participants came from 41 countries across the African continent, with the largest representation coming from Nigeria, followed by South Africa, Kenya, Ghana and Ethiopia.  60% of the participants have one of the following titles: CEO, managing director, president, principal, partner, CFO, chair, chief, director, executive director, group head, general manager, or manager.  Of the remaining 40%, the leading titles are analyst and consultant.

The largest sectors represented are financial services and professional services, followed by energy and manufacturing.  A smaller tier consisted of real estate, health care, agriculture, health care, and media, arts & entertainment.

The live poll preceded a panel discussion on Liquidity - Managing Cash Flow When Sources of Revenue and Funding Dry Up moderated by Kunle Elebute, Chair, KPMG, with the following panelists:  Welela Dawit, CFO, GE; Admassu Tadesse, President and Chief Executive of the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB); and Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive, Standard Bank Group.

Africa.com Chair and CEO Teresa Clarke commented:

 “The poll results are supported by the qualitative data we collected from the 10,000 registrants for the webinar series.  We asked registrants what their greatest concern is with respect to COVID-19.  Responses were open ended, and we received 10,000 responses ranging from 10-100 words.  By far, the greatest concern expressed was reduction in revenue.  But interestingly, many commented that while they were concerned about revenues, it was because they were concerned about being able to pay their employees.  One respondent commented, ‘In Africa, we care more about people than profits.’”

The panel discussion is part of a four part series on crisis management developed by Africa.com and three faculty members from Harvard Business School.  The next webinar discussion will take place on Wednesday, April 29, and is moderated by Hakeem Belo-Osagie, Chair of FSDH Merchant Bank and Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer of Business Administration.  That webinar is entitled “This isn’t the West - How Africa’s Informal Sector Reacts to COVID-19.”

For more information and free registration, please visit virtualconferenceafrica.com.

About Africa.com Africa.com is a media holding company with an extensive array of platforms that reach a global audience interested in African content and community. Africa.com’s interests include a business publisher’s ad network, content syndication, the website at www.iafrica.com,  email newsletters, various social media platforms, and internet domain names ending with the “.africa.com” extension. Africa.com operates from Johannesburg, Lagos, and New York, and has a presence in Cape Town and Nairobi.

Media Inquiries Laura Joseph Phone: +27 82 332 0473 Email: laura.joseph@africa.com

  Poll Report Pie Chart - Revenue - CLICK HERE
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Africa.com – Liquidity: Managing Cash Flow When Revenue and Funding Dry Up

Johannesburg, South Africa, April 20, 2020 - Africa.com has convened the largest ever gathering of Africa’s CEOs, managing directors, finance directors, private equity and venture capital investors, bankers, asset managers, corporate law partners, senior executives and diplomats. Over 8,000 business leaders from 81 countries - 41 countries on the continent and 40 countries throughout the world, registered for Africa.com’s “Crisis Management for African Business Leaders,” a four-part webinar series hosted by Africa.com and faculty from Harvard Business School. The next session of this weekly series will take place on April 22, 2020 at 15:00 South African time, on the topic of Liquidity: Managing Cash Flow When Revenue and Funding Dry Up. Speakers include: Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive, Standard Bank Group Kunle Elebute, Chair, KPMG, Africa Welela Dawit, CFO, GE Africa Admassu Tadesse, Chief Executive, TD Bank Teresa Clarke, Chair & CEO of Africa.com said, “When we surveyed the 8,000 registrants for the webinar series, liquidity was the number one concern. Business leaders are worried about how they will fund their companies when their revenues have plummeted. African business leaders are also very concerned about how they can support their employees, their communities and their nations when their own resources are drying up.” The webinar series features panel discussions led by faculty from Harvard Business School, in conversation with African business leaders including: ● Sola David-Borha, Chief Executive, Africa Regions, Standard Bank ● Welela Dawit, CFO, GE Africa ● Kuseni Dlamini, Chair, Massmart ● Kunle Elebute, Chairman, KPMG Africa ● Nolitha Fakude, Chairman, Anglo-American Management Board ● Foluso Phillips, Chair, Phillips Consulting ● Funke Opeke, Founder and CEO, MainOne ● Jay Ireland, Former President and CEO, GE Africa ● Admassu Tadesse, Chief Executive, Trade and Development Bank ● Fred Swaniker, Founder & CEO, African Leadership Group ● Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive, Standard Bank Group ● Rob Shuter, President/CEO, MTN Group Ltd. More information and free registration at virtualconferenceafrica.com About Africa.com Africa.com is a media holding company with an extensive array of platforms that reach a global audience interested in African content and community. Africa.com’s interests include a business publisher’s ad network, content syndication, the website at www.iafrica.com, email newsletters, various social media platforms, and internet domain names ending with the “.africa.com” extension. Africa.com operates from Johannesburg, Lagos, and New York, and has a presence in Cape Town and Nairobi.

Media Inquiries Laura Joseph Phone: +27 82 332 0473 Email: laura.joseph@africa.com

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African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Funds United in Fight Against COVID-19 in Africa

Africa investor (Ai) today convened the African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable, an exclusive Forum of the continent’s most influential Chairmen, CEO’s and CIO’s of African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Funds, to discuss the role and response of African institutional investors in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic across Africa.

 

The Forum was Co-Chaired by Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman Africa investor Group (Ai), Chairman, African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum and Uche Orji, CEO of the Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority.

Research indicates African economies GDP could decline between 3-8% in 2020, as a consequence of Covid-19, resulting in the continent suffering economic paralysis and losses of between $90 billion and $200 billion.

The Covid-19 shock will squeeze fiscal space in the continent, as deficits are estimated to widen by 3.5 to 4.9 percentage points, increasing Africa's financing gap by an additional $110 to $154 billion in 2020.

Africa’s institutional investment community responsible for hundreds of billions of dollars of assets, which it manages and invests on behalf of its members and future generations, is uniquely placed to support African governments and policy makers, (through its unparalleled expertise on long-term investing), plan for and anticipate long-term investment needs, risks and priorities, so African economies can stabilize, grow and thrive in the new post COVID-19 economy.

Roundtable participants discussed the role African Institutional investors can play in support of broader government and development finance related initiatives to fight COVID-19 with a particular focus on:

1. Immediate Priority Responses, to protect African capital markets, SME’s, Supply Chains and the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA) from the economic fallout of COVID-19, and 2. Partnerships with Policy Makers, to foster industry shifts and the next normal regulatory environment required for African economies and industry to thrive and grow.

In spite of the direct impacts COVID-19 has had on investors portfolios, Roundtable participants shared a number of impressive initiatives currently being undertaken to fight the Corona virus, with a strong commitment to deepen partnership on interventions, including but not limited to, collaborating on assisting SME supply chain and trade support through digitization (esp healthcare and Agriculture related), pursue ESG compliant infrastructure co-investment partnerships, (esp healthcare and Agriculture related), develop and communicate seminal pandemic combative institutional investment models and research insights, motivate for governments to consider directing some of their Quantitative Easing/Emergency funding towards SWFs to allocate and invest into their local and regional economies, engage in policy partnerships with Central Bank Governors on framing the new regulatory environment and investment needs of the post Covid-19 economy and coordinate and correlate responses with global peer institutional investor and private sector industry bodies.

For more information contact: Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman, Africa investor, Chairman, African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum Email: amofokeng@africainvestor.com
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Africa.com Convenes Top African Business Leaders with Harvard Business School Faculty to Respond to COVID-19

Join Top African Business Leaders Online for Four-Part Webinar Series Johannesburg, South Africa, April 12, 2020 - / As COVID-19 takes hold of African economies, African business leaders are challenged with new risks and uncertainty.

Africa.com has partnered with faculty of Harvard Business to lead a four week webinar series, “Crisis Management for African Business Leaders.”

 

The webinar series will feature panel discussions led by the faculty, in conversation with African business leaders including: ● Kuseni Dlamini, Chair, Massmart ● Kunle Elebute, Chairman, KPMG Africa ● Foluso Philips, Chair, Philips Consulting ● Jay Ireland, Former President and CEO, GE Africa ● Admassu Tadesse, Chief Executive, Trade and Development Bank ● Fred Swaniker, Founder & CEO, African Leadership Group ● Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive, Standard Bank Group

The four webinars are as follows: April 15 Leadership in Times of Crisis, led by Linda Hill, Ph.D., Harvard Business School Professor of Business Administration, Faculty Chair, Leadership Initiative April 22 Liquidity - Managing Cash Flow When Revenue & Funding Dry Up, led by Kunle Elebute, Chair of KPMG Africa April 29: This Isn’t the West - How Africa’s Informal Sector Reacts to COVID-19, led by Hakeem Belo- Osagie, Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer of Business Administration May 6: Strategic Planning in the Face of Uncertainty, led by Andy Zelleke, Ph.D., Harvard Business School Senior Lecturer of Business Administration

All webinars take place on Wednesdays, for 1.5 hours, commencing at: 9:00 EDT (New York) | 14:00 WAT (Nigeria/UK) 15:00 CAT (South Africa) | 16:00 EAT (Kenya)

Teresa Clarke, Chair and Executive Editor of Africa.com, said “We are moved beyond words with the generosity shown by African business leaders and Harvard faculty to set aside their own tremendous challenges today, in order to share their best thinking with other African business leaders on how they are taking companies forward and protecting the communities they serve.

Registration is free at virtualconferenceafrica.com

About Africa.com Africa.com is a media holding company with an extensive array of platforms that reach a global audience interested in African content and community. Africa.com’s interests include a business publisher’s ad network, content syndication, the website at www.iafrica.com, email newsletters, various social media platforms, and internet domain names ending with the “.africa.com” extension. Africa.com operates from Johannesburg, Lagos, and New York, and has a presence in Cape Town and Nairobi.

Media Inquiries Laura Joseph Phone: +27 82 332 0473 Email: laura.joseph@africa.com

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