Africa – making the case for investment in infrastructure
The IoD always speaks out on behalf of members and advances the case for business in government. One of the ways that we keep our advocacy work on track is through our Special Interest Groups (SIG).
Our Special Interest Group for Africa works to stimulate business opportunities, increase networking and grow awareness of British businesses in Africa – and African businesses in Britain. It is chaired by Nigerian entrepreneur Joel Popoola.
On 6 September 2022, the SIG is hosting an online event exploring Africa’s infrastructure, challenges and opportunities.
Africa is one of the world’s fastest-growing economic hubs but challenges including Covid, rising energy costs and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have exposed and worsened critical infrastructure needs in many African counties. More resources are needed to aid the continent’s long-term economic and social growth.
Chief among these requirements are investment in clean energy and railways.
In a statement responding to the government’s International Trade Strategy, which was criticised by some for directly linking Britain’s aid budget to trade deals, Joel Popoola added some much-needed nuance to the debate.
“As Africans we must ask ourselves – what do we want from overseas aid? Do we want to be a charity case or a business partner? As a business leader, I know what I prefer the sound of,” he said.
“One path sees nations in Africa, with something of a perpetual colonial status, eternally dependent on handouts from former rulers. The other sees us raised up – and raising ourselves up – to the status of equals.
“As the head of the IoD’s Special Interest Group for Africa, I want Africa and the UK alike to benefit from stronger trading relationships.”
September’s event will pose the question: If you had £100m, in what country or asset class would you invest it in Africa?
Speakers include Dan Kerr of recruitment and project manpower specialist Samuel Knight International and Dr George Oluwande of Abisol Consultants, a provider of technical and managerial services in the power sector.
Amid challenging global economic conditions, the path ahead is not entirely clear but the IoD intends to stay at the forefront of the discussion around Africa. Follow the latest news and views via our Global Business page.