The current race for Africa has become like the California gold rush of 1848 with everyone dashing in to get a piece of the action, Robin Saunders, the American financier and managing partner of Clearbrook Capital, told the Mining Indaba on Wednesday.
During the same panel discussion, Invest Africa CEO Robert Hersov told the thousands of mining professionals attending the conference that the current inflow of investment was just the start, as Africa’s risk perception was declining and its capacity to reward rising.
“There’s a tsunami of money coming,” Hersov predicted.
Saunders said nowhere else in the world were investors able to chase yields in the high 20 percent. Sahara Group’s Tonye Cole described the present as an exciting time to be African and said that Africans who had left the continent were returning with music, hotels and businesses.
Very few Africans, Cole said, were thinking about being anything other than entrepreneurs.
Rothschild deputy chairperson Paolo Scaroni foresaw oil company exploration flowing into Africa at the expense of the Arctic, which was likely to be abandoned.
With the oil price at $50/bl, oil companies had three investment choices—Africa, Russia and the Middle East. With Russia now a no-go area and the Middle East complex, Africa had become the go-to continent.
Mara Group founder Ashish Thakkar said that investment in Africa was becoming attractive against the background of the level of African governance improving and sub-Saharan Africa was the place where everyone wanted to be.
“It’s Africa’s turn, added Hersov, who said all 14 of the people he had brought to Africa on a recent tour were now investing in the continent.
The panel heard that Africa was jumping ahead in mobile banking by applying new solutions and the time had never been better for the setting up of a chain of banks across Africa against the background of African banks currently being far more profitable than European banks.
The electrical power gap was huge and needed to be filled for Africa to advance and corporations needed to work with governments on water supply.
In a single generation, Africa had gone from being 30 percent democratic to becoming 60 percent democratic, with Rwanda seen as a better place to do business than Italy.
The world was now talking about Africa and not Brics and there was less talk of bringing western concepts like Silicon Valley to Africa and more talk of taking Africa to Silicon Valley.
Source: Mining Weekly