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Investing in Africa was the theme of the ABAX forum held yesterday evening at Voila Hotel, Bagatelle, which came across as a significant line of discussion at a time when the island’s Expanded Africa Strategy is reaping rich dividends.

The guest speaker for the event, where more than 50 people were present, was Gachao Kiuna, CEO of TransCentury Group.

Counted by Forbes among the 10 youngest power men in Africa, Gachao Kiuna sits at the helm of affairs of the Nairobi Stock Exchange-listed Private Equity powerhouse, TransCentury Group. The company’s diversified portfolio is spread across sectors such as financial services, food and agriculture, energy, real estate and infrastructure in both East and South Africa.

Although infrastructure investment needs for Africa are currently estimated at around a whopping $93 billion a year, which in fact is crucial for the continent’s sustained growth in infrastructure, the forum discussion made it clear that, while difficult, it was not impossible.

“It is a matter of fact that most African countries have not been able to progress from a middle income economy, but it is not impossible. And, the example has been set for African countries with Botswana rising to the challenge,” said Gachao Kiuna.

“In this process of Africa’s ambitious growth, Mauritius is playing a crucial role, but one must made it clear that we must now be ready to invest from Mauritius itself and no longer merely transit investment funds through it,” he added.

He also added that the story of Africa, be it is a shining success or a miserable failure, resides on three important pillars: being able to achieve 20% of investment of GDP; investment to be concentrated on critical growth sectors; and finally, Domestic Direct Investment (DDI) to be regarded as more important than FDI.

In this African growth story, Gachao Kiuna also stressed the importance of creating jobs for youth by focusing on key sectors.

“Skills are needed to equip our youth for a bright future, and one must realize that they are not acquired in secondary school. We need polytechnic academies and vocational trainings to arm our youth with necessary skills to benefit the growth of corporates and hence drive up the growth of the economy,” he said.

Finally, he ended on the note that, while it is true that investing in Africa involve risks, but the avenues of opportunities and possibility of high rewards in investing in Africa are also omnipresent.

“People should be ready to get out of their comfort zone and be ready to see the opportunities in investing in Africa,” he concluded.

About Abax

Abax is an international provider of corporate management and advisory services. It focuses on delivering business solutions to multinationals and private equity funds investing in Africa and Asia.

Headquartered in Mauritius, it is a leading management company, duly licensed by the Financial Services Commission and with USD 16 billion of client assets under administration.

It also operates offices in Australia, Cyprus, Kenya, Singapore, South Africa and United Arab Emirates.

Additionally, through it international network of partners, it also provide services in many other financial centres and markets.

Image (Cecilia Samoisi): In this process of Africa’s ambitious growth, Mauritius is playing a crucial role, but ‘we must now be ready to invest from Mauritius itself and no longer merely transit investment funds through it’, said guest speaker Gachao Kiuna, CEO of TransCentury Group (left), at the ABAX forum yesterday.

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