September 25, 2015
News /
Posted by NCID

Energy and infrastructure are the two sectors with the highest potential to attract and support Spanish investment in Africa, according to Enrique Manzanares, former Economic and Commercial Counsel at the Embassy of Spain in Johannesbourg (South Africa). Manzanares offered his insights as part of the presentation of the book Africans Investing in Africa at the NCID.

Focusing on the energy sector, he sees an especially the promising future in the natural gas extraction following significant discoveries in Mozambique, Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia. In terms of demonstrated inroads, he succinctly stated that Spanish companies have had “a lot of success” with renewable energies in Africa.

In the infrastructure sector, he pointed out that seven Spanish companies are in the top 20 best companies in this field: “They have demonstrated to be very competitive and they have a very good reputation in the world, they could carry out big projects in this region of the world”. For this to be possible, he highlighted the governments need to incentivize these investments through a better regulation of the sector. As a good example, Manzanares explained Mozambique’s case: “they have an effective legal framework and along with South Africa and Nigeria they are the best countries for international investments even though if Mozambique is a smaller economy”.

The fastest growing regions in the last decade

Likewise, he pointed out that Spanish companies could also introduce themselves in the food sector in South Africa, as both countries are in different hemispeheres they have different harvest seasons. “There is a lot of potential to exports these goods, in fact, it has been already happening with citrus fruits”, he said.

Along with Enrique Manzanares, Terence McNamee, deputy director of the Brenthurst Foundation (South Africa) lead the presentation of the book as one of its three editors. This book was produced in collaboration between the Brenthurst Foundation and the Tony Elumely Foundation (Nigeria).

McNamee noted that Africa has been growing at an average of 5% every year for the last decade, which makes this continent the fastest growing region in the world in that period. Presently, the main investors in Africa according to him are: China, Brasil, India, Turkey and Europe.     

“Some of that had to do with China’s near insatiable demand for Africa’s resources, but it was also due to the fact that African governments began to implement much better macro-economic policies”, said McNamee.

Along with that, he added that another factor is the political stability in the continent. “Perhaps is the most stable since the end of colonialism,” he said and continued: “In 1989, only five African countries had held competitive elections in the previous 10 years. But over the next decade, between 1990 and 2000, 40 states would hold multi-party elections.”

Africans Investing in Africa explores intra-African trade and investment by showing how, where and why Africans invest across Africa; to identify the economic, political and social experiences that hinder or stimulate investment; and to highlight examples of pan-African investors.