East Africa’s highly diversified economies are growing northwards of 6 per cent in a highly integrated regional market which is already attracting significant levels of Foreign Direct Investment (“FDI”) relative to GDP.
Even before the region’s current oil and gas potential is taken into account, Africa’s most dynamic region presents a powerful investment case for South African corporates.
In an interview with The Nile Post, Stanbic Bank Uganda chief executive, Patrick Mweheire, said since most East African domestic content policies set a premium on local business empowerment, the scale of global investment in the region to date offers broader opportunities for growth through local partnerships.
“South African businesses across nearly all sectors have the opportunity to partner with well-capitalised East African firms needing increasingly advanced technical skills and knowledge to grow”, he said.
He further added: “East Africa presents South African corporates an opportunity to diversify out of a persistent low growth domestic environment – by deploying their skills and technology to, for example, leverage a minority interest in high-growth companies rapidly expanding across one of the world’s fastest growing regions.”
Mweheire further explained that there is need to identify and address any perceived challenges about doing business in East Africa while describing the opportunity from an informed position as a bank long-invested and operational in the region.
“East Africa’s economies are supported by capital-friendly and globally-focussed governments with political will to support and increase foreign investment, business growth and deeper regional integration. At the same time no other African region has so successfully deployed technology to leapfrog the need for legacy transactional infrastructure. With internet connectivity and even Wifi widely available across the region the number of mobile transactions far exceeds traditional bank transfers. This digital economy, literally in the hands of ordinary East Africans, has a huge multiplier effect on business and growth in the regions’ domestic and cross-border economies,” said Mweheire.