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Japan eyes Africa as the new investment frontier, says Frost & Sullivan

Convergence across industries is resulting in the rapid emergence of new business models as well as substantial investment opportunities for the African continent. As Frost & Sullivan Senior Partner, Dorman Followwill, highlighted in his opening presentation at the Growth Innovation Leadership (GIL) 2015 Africa congress that took place in Cape Town last week – Africa is the continent of the greatest opportunity today.

Japanese companies have already started looking to Africa for investment. “Africa has less than 2 percent in Japanese investment so there is plenty of potential here,” stated Frost & Sullivan Regional Director for Tokyo, Japan (APAC) Robin Joffe. “Japanese companies are now specifically looking to invest in emerging countries.”

The economy of the continent is at the precipice of change where today’s converging forces will become significant in shaping the visionary future. “Companies will need to evolve and identify ingenious business processes to tackle transformative changes if they are to stay ahead of the curve,” remarked Frost & Sullivan Global Director for Growth Implementation Solutions, Mark Simoncelli. Citing examples of implementation of innovative solutions, Simoncelli also shared his insights on the emergence of new business models in Africa.

Not only do more Africans have access to mobile phones than clean water and electricity, but there are also 400 million unique mobile subscribers in Africa, with only 150 million using traditional bank accounts. This leaves 250 million Africans with access to mobile phones; however, without access to a traditional bank account – creating incredible potential for the financial services industry.

Other key highlights from the day included: Rapid-fire presentations of how convergence and connected efforts across industries – Energy, Healthcare, Chemicals, Automotive and ICT – are changing Africa; The CEO Panel discussion which highlighted the impact of connectivity and convergence, as well as investment into Africa; and a GIL Bite on “Highlands Trout: A South African Success Story on Aquaculture in Japan”, delivered by Reginald Labuschagne, Financial Director of Highlands Trout. 

The afternoon session ended with an executive address from Birgitta Cederstrom, Global Commercial Director for GIL, where she recognised the 2015 Growth, Innovation and Leadership Award recipient: Neftaly Malatije, CEO of Southern Africa Youth Project for his exceptional zest in transcending all obstacles to establish entrepreneurial opportunities for the African youth. 

GIL 2015: Africa partners – T-Systems, Orange Business Services and DHL also shared their success stories and their vision for Africa in 2020, inspiring the leaders and other key decision-makers in the audience.

“The 2015 congress, which attracted over 280 C-level executives from various African countries and a wide range of industry sectors, was an epitome of how absolutely essential it is to identify innovative strategies, collaborate, advance existing relations, and to build on the relationships that we have forged here today,” concluded Frost & Sullivan Operations Director, Hendrik Malan. “Frost & Sullivan is proud to be a part of the burgeoning community of established as well as innovative leaders in Africa who are transforming the continent.”

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