September 22, 2015
News /
Posted by NCID

“To invest in this continent you need to understand it as a local”, Terence McNamee, deputy director of the Brenthurst Foundation, said at the presentation of the book ‘Africans Investing in Africa’, an event organised by NCID.

The book was originally conceptualized in 2011, thanks to a collaboration between the  Brenthurst Foundation (South Africa) and the Tony Elumelu Foundation (Nigeria) and was published this year.

“At the time [2011], the ‘Africa rising’  phrase was really gaining traction globally, Africa was no longer seen as the hopeless continent”, said McNamee. According to him , Africa had experienced roughly 5% annual economic growth during the previous ten years, which made it the fastest growing region in the world over that period . “This growth was related to the chinese investments in the continent, but also with some policy changes by the African governments that were implemented at the macroeconomic level”, explained Terence McNamee.

But at the same time, the nature of this accelertion raised the question: ‘why were there not more African firms working on the continent?’.

The book analyses every sector from the energy to tourism to achieve the central purpose of the book, understanding the gap between international and regional/local investment in the context of this economic growth. “The key aim of the book –said Terence— is that we are trying to promote debate and scholarship around those economic, political and social experiences that either hinder investment or conversely stimulate investment”.

“The more Africans themselves trade and invest across borders, the more sophiticated those economies are going to be. They will grow and they are will have more start-up opportunities”, said Terence McNamee.

But there is still a long way to go, according to McNamee as he explained three factors that impede investments internationally and regionally: lack of mobility of the labor force across countries, lack of formation and skills of the local labor force and the instability of policies when changes of government occur.

“There is huge desire for companies to hire locally as much as posible but in some highly sophisticated industries, the number of people with those necessary skills are lacking”, said Terence McNamee.

About the book:

“Africans investing in Africa. Understanding business and trade sector by sector”  is a book edited by Terence McNamee, deputy director of the  Brenthurst Foundation, Mark Pearson, economist and consultant to African governments and Wiebe Boer director, Group Strategy and Business Development at Heir Holdings.

The book gathers articles by various experts, economists and politicians, like Albert Butare, former Minister of State for Infrastructure in the Republic of Rwanda, John Endres, CEO of Good Governance Africa or Adrian Kitimbo, visiting research fellow at the Center for Dynamic Markets, Gordon Institute of Business Science, University of Pretoria.

Paul Collier, director of the International Growth Center at Oxford and author of the book “The Bottom Billion” introduces the book, explaining that this is a timely book to given the present economic and social context of Africa.