Chief Executive Officer of Diamond Bank, Uzoma Dozie, has urged European entrepreneurs and investors to step-up their investment stakes in Africa, noting that the fundamentals for sustainable growth and development in the continent has remained positive.
Addressing investors, captains of industry, corporations, thought leaders, opinion and policy makers in the UK, during the presentation of the ‘Companies to Inspire Africa 2017 Report’ by the London Stock Exchange Group, Dozie stated that returns on investment in Africa is strong, pointing that many companies in the continent are as profitable as their peers in other parts of the world.
According to him, the continent is dotted with huge number of start-ups and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, which are structured to catalyse the continent’s economic and industrial growth. He said that the continent’s 1.2 billion people with more than half of the population below 25 years, is a huge demographic advantage to investors as it presents one of the biggest markets and workforce in the world.
“It is a great pleasure to give this ‘Keynote Address’ at this important event. For us at Diamond Bank, we are passionate about Africa and the opportunities…. For investors looking for returns either in the short term or long term, Africa remains an investment destination of choice. Despite the recent challenges in some African Economies, the forecast is that Africa will still grow more rapidly than the OECD countries. The outlook is positive and this is the time to explore the opportunities that exist in Africa.”
He stated that although, the risk elements may be high investing in Africa but the returns neutralizes the challenges. “Yes, there are risks associated with investing in Africa but then business is all about taking risks and striking the right balance between risk and returns. Yes, there are challenges with investing in Africa; infrastructure is still relatively poor to support businesses, power supply is epileptic, there is political instability and security challenges, but with over 50 countries, over 1.2 billion people with more than half of this huge population under 25 years, the opportunities are enormous and more than compensate for the investment risk”, he noted.
According to Dozie, who was represented by Femi Jaiyeola, the Chief Compliance Officer, the challenges in the continent should serve as an investment stimulant especially as forecasts on returns and growth by analysts show that investors have nothing to lose in the long and short term. He added that Diamond Bank has remained resolute and focused on its innovative and digital-led retail strategy, pointing that this has helped in deepening financial inclusion in the most populous African country.
He said: “Changes are happening in Africa: trade barriers are being dismantled with intra Africa trade holding a lot of potential; customers’ profile are changing with educated, young urban professionals who are brand-aware and sophisticated in terms of their consumption; ongoing digital transformation; and importantly, African economies are beginning to diversify beyond commodities. These are positive changes for discerning investors and businesses.