Business News of Monday, 19 September 2016
Source: Stanbic Bank
An exciting line up of policy makers and business leaders from West Africa and China are scheduled to address delegates attending the Standard Bank West Africa Trans-regional Conference in Accra, Ghana next month.
This is the second inter-Africa trade and business conference to be hosted by Standard Bank in 2016.
Keynote speakers include Dr. Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, Ghana’s Minister of Trade and Industry and one of Africa’s pre-eminent public servants and an authority on mass communication; Dr. Wenbin Wang, CEO of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) Africa and Non-executive Director of Standard Bank Group; and Mr. Olusegun Awolowo, CEO of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council.
Mr. Vish Ashiagbor, Senior Partner and Head of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Ghana will present a synopsis on the regulatory, business and economic environment in the West Africa region.
Mr. Alhassan Andani, Chief Executive of Stanbic Bank Ghana, will lead a discussion on the economy of Ghana, market opportunities and challenges faced by commercial businesses. The Chief Executives of Standard Bank’s operations in Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire and Angola will lead similar discussions on their respective markets.
Delegates will also hear from Nigerian jurist and academic Dr. Olajumoke Omoniyi Oduwole, Senior Special Assistant on Trade and Investment to the President of Nigeria, as well as Ghanaian business entrepreneur Mr. Michael Adubofour, MD and founder of Mike Adu Company Ltd.
Stanbic Bank says the strong line-up of speakers underscores the significance of West Africa as an investment destination, and the need for business and government leaders across the continent to network and explore opportunities and partnerships for growth.
Scheduled to take place on October 3 – 5, the West Africa conference is aimed at Stanbic Bank’s commercial banking clients from across sub-Saharan Africa who are interested in expanding their operations or partnering with businesses in the West Africa region across a range of sectors such as retail, infrastructure, agriculture, construction, manufacturing and information technology. It will draw delegates from Ghana, Nigeria, Angola, Côte d’Ivoire, China, South Africa as well as clients from southern and eastern Africa.
Dr. Manessah Alagbaoso, Head of Commercial Banking at Standard Bank Rest of Africa, says despite a slump in commodities, West Africa offers multiple avenues for investment and is home to three of the ten fastest growing economies in Africa, according to the International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook 2016. “Africa is alive with many possibilities if we look beyond the short-term challenges, and West Africa is definitely a region of focus. We are seeing good growth figures coming out of countries like Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal,” says Dr. Alagbaoso.
“Our experience at Standard Bank shows there is a great deal of opportunity in many sectors and markets across the continent if businesses are encouraged to look beyond the short-term. Positive changes such as government policies to promote commercial businesses, regular and democratic elections, improved literacy rates and education, and the most youthful population in the world have highlighted to us that with the right kind of support, advice and innovation, the growth position promises to be significantly enhanced in the years ahead,” he says.
The West African conference builds on the success of the inaugural summit held in Kenya in April 2016, where Standard Bank hosted clients from Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Malawi, South Africa and Kenya, and participants were given an overview of East African economies and explored business opportunities and partnerships in the region.
Dr. Alagbaoso says Standard Bank plans to ride on the momentum garnered from the East Africa dialogue to create more opportunities for businesses on the continent to meet, network and eventually establish sustainable relationships.
“When we say Africa is our home and that we drive her growth, it is our responsibility to extend ourselves beyond just banking: we must add value by providing exposure, information and our expertise to our clients to foster an environment that facilitates their growth and success,” he says.