Investing in African DFIs: Sustaining Growth on the Continent

On April 12, 2023, Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) hosted its Africa Finance Forum titled “Investing in African DFIs: Sustaining Growth on the Continent,” at Winston and Strawn in Washington, D.C. The event aimed to focus on key financial institutions and members involved in the African financial investment sector.

The event began with welcome remarks from the President and CEO of Corporate Council on Africa (CCA), Florie Liser, who stressed the importance of collaboration between potential investors and African DFIs. The event then moved on to a roundtable discussion moderated by Jeremy Schwer from Winston and Strawn, LLP.

During the discussion, the panelists discussed the current investment focus for DFIs in Africa, the industries that are the most attractive for investment, and how to balance an industry and an investment focus against governmental priorities. DFIs were encouraged to bring the government into transactions to really understand a lot of the policies and regulatory issues with infrastructure to make a difference.

The panelists also acknowledged that DFIs have evolved and now have different approaches to different investment groups while looking at track records and levels of success. They highlighted the importance of focusing on women-led funds as they are part of the markets that have been ignored. The reason why women are limited is that they do the effort of creating a large company and help the local economy by creating local jobs, but they are limited when they try to transfer into the industrialization of it. Therefore, there is a need to change the way women are viewed and address social class barriers that limit their potential.

The panelists also reached a mutual agreement that investments are crucial in continuing to grow the continent. They noted that Chinese investment has significantly improved total factor productivity, and American and European investments differ from Chinese investment in approach and priorities.

The event ended with a networking reception where attendees had the opportunity to further discuss the topics covered during the roundtable discussion. The Africa Finance Forum provided valuable insights into the investment landscape in Africa and the importance of collaboration between investors and African DFIs.