Starting from yesterday, the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) has brought leading African and international CEOs, senior executives and investors together in New York City to discuss ways to further invest in Africa.
The platform is called the Frontier 100 Forum and this particular meeting, the eleventh in the series, is themed; “Africa: Innovative Investing in Emerging Markets.” The forum is biannual and has a reputation for facilitating strategic connections between CEOs and investors leading to the discussion of critical issues.
In a press release to herald the eleventh Frontier 100 Forum, the IGD explained the rationale for choosing to focus on Africa. It said there are over 1 billion people in Africa, 20 percent of whom are under 24; over 60 million smartphone users, and 29 stock exchanges. Even though as the continent continues to battle with long-term infrastructure gaps, the forum is positioned to enable business owners and investors share their experiences in overcoming these challenges.
IGD’s President, Mima Nedelcovych, explained that the forum will lay emphasis on non-traditional and innovative investing. “There are two Frontier 100 Forums every year, one in Africa preceding the World Economic Forum and one in New York City. Investment is always the focus of our Frontier 100 Forum in New York. This year, the Frontier 100 Forum is adding a special emphasis on the non-traditional and innovative investors, new to the emerging African markets,” he said.
Discussions at the forum are expected to border on the different forms of investments available in Africa, including private equity and impact investing, the effects of the continent’s demographic profile on the business environment, innovations in technology. On key industries to explore, the agriculture, ICT, financial services, infrastructure and power sectors will be critically examined. Group meetings at the forum will also explore initiatives to close the skills gap on the continent.
“The role of IGD in Africa is a very serious one. There is a thin line between competition and collaboration that is not usually seen. Therefore, having a platform for companies who may be competitors outside to come together, share experiences and identify areas of synergy and collaboration is important,” said Farouk Gumel, a Frontier 100 Leader and Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Nigeria.
As a special highlight of this year’s meeting, the Frontier 100 African delegation will engage high-profile meetings with the U.S Department of Commerce, U.S Trade and Development Agency, U.S Export-Import Bank and other strategically chosen institutions in Washington D.C.
By Emmanuel Iruobe