The group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of United Capital Plc has called on Africa to change it’s narrative if the continent is to find solutions to her challenges.
Peter Ashade made the remarks while opening the Pan African E-Conference on Saturday.
The E-conference, the first of its kind, was held under the theme; “Fostering Innovative Cross-Border Financing Solutions in Africa.”
It was held via zoom and streamed on the company’s YouTube channel and discussed the financing solutions across Sub-Saharan Africa needed to close the massive funding gaps in key sectors across the continent.
“Over the years, cross border financing across sub Saharan has played a limited role in effectively addressing the funding gaps across economic sectors in the continent. For instance, the FDI inflow from China has surged from $.5 billion in 2003 to $43bn in 2017. Meanwhile, France, Netherlands, UK, USA, remain the largest investor economies in Africa with over $60bn investments. As of 2017. Contrary-wise, data on intra-regional investment is scarce. However, the AfDB estimated that between 2006 and 2016, intra-African greenfield investments grew from $4 billion to $10 billion, while the number of intra-regional M&As doubled from 238 deals in 2006 to more than 418 in 2016. While this progress is laudable, so much more is still required given the depth of the needs we have in the continent,” Ashade said in his opening remarks.
He added, “More recently, the social economic impact of the global devastating COVID-19 has further exposed the vulnerabilities of the region as it continues to grapple with infrastructure development challenges compounded by the capital flight safe haven destinations. Obviously, this begs for innovative home grown financial solutions to help strengthen Africa economic resilience and perhaps make the continent into a new phase of growth.”
United Capital is a leading African investment banking, asset management, trusteeship, and securities player, providing a bouquet of diverse financial services to individuals, companies, and governments, enabling growth at all levels.
Ashade revealed that as United Capital Plc, they are committing to helping Africa find solutions to some of her problems.
“Now, home grown, for us at United Capital Plc, we are contributing our quarter as a responsible financial institution and a reputable capital market operator by creating platforms such as this where our distinguished panellists comprising the continent’s finest professionals can provide insight into the work of experience on how to change the narratives. There is indeed need to change Africa’s narrative in terms of providing the home grown solutions to our challenges,” Ashade said.
The conference moderated by CNBC Anchor, Esther Awoniyi, included panellists like; Wale Shonibare, Director, Africa Development Bank (AfDB); Gbenga Makinde: CEO, UBA Benin Republic; Yofi Grant, CEO, Ghana Investment Promotional Center and Fola Fagbule; Senior Vice President, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
Speaking at on the same E- conference, Gbenga Makinde, listed a number of Pan African banks on the continent saying they are part of the what financial institutions are doing to close the financial gaps.
“We have Pan-African banks that have actually gone into Pan-African expansion across the continent. We have three headquartered in Morocco, two in Togo, and UBA group with presence in 20 African countries,” Gbenga said.
He added, “This is what speaks to what I said, African solutions to African problems, we are not looking at international financial institutions but if we have the likes of UBA doing this, then we are able to have a lot more of Pan African banks in the various regional blocks, financing infrastructure providing those solutions, it will go and be the turning point for Africa development. And let me say this, for intra-regional trade to thrive, there is that profound need for clear understanding of the local markets, and there is no one who will understand these local markets more than we the Pan African Banks and that’s what we are doing today and that’s why w we are stepping in to fill the gaps.”
Gbenga also revealed that for this to go far, there is a need for Africa to handle certain things right including corporate governance.
Yofi Grant, said the real transformation that needs to take place is mental.
“I think the biggest ideological reformation that needs to take place is mental, and my President Nana Addo has hit on it many times, and he stated by saying a Ghana beyond aid and now adopted to be an Africa beyond aid an Africa. We should exercise our minds away from cheap capital or cheap funding that takes us off the objective of we developing ourselves because no one is going to come and develop us,” he said.
Legal framework, good corporate governance and political stability, he mentioned as a summary of what is needed for Africa to develop more than any other continent.
Wale Shonibare, emphasised the need for African nations to capitalise on regional markets in the post COVID-19 environment.
“I think we are taking baby steps, obviously the AFTA has been signed, the key thing is that it’s very important for us to improve cross border trader. In Europe, cross border is 69, in Asia, its 59, in Africa it’s 17%, we don’t trade amongst ourselves, we really have to change that. In the post COVID environment, you will find that trade is going to be more regional, more local, people are not going to travel like they used to, so its very important that we look into regional markets…we have to rely on the savings of Africans,” Wale said.
Fola Fagbule, pointed out inflation as one of the biggest impediments to capital in Africa.
“If we want to achieve the best possible results in terms pf best capital formation in Africa, the way to do it is to defeat inflation which is good macroeconomics, good fiscal stability.”
Since it was founded over 55 years ago, United Capital has cultivated and sustained a heritage of excellence in the finance space in Africa.