Private Equity in Africa 2011 Summit takes off in London as Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister Tendai Biti says things are not that bad in his country

Tendai Biti - Zimbabwe Finance Minister

At the Private Equity in Africa 2011 summit hosted by This is Africa (An offshoot of The Financial Times), I met up with Zimbabwe’s Finance Minister, Tendai Biti, who happened to be one of the guest speakers also invited to address the summit. In a brief chat with the MDC strongman, I asked him about the present economic and political climate in his country. In his response, Biti was very optimistic, contrary to the feel you get in the media that things are not that smooth with Mugabe still at the helm, Tendai Biti said despite the apparent obstacles, the coalition has been able to forge a partnership to move the country forward in its strides to overcome the problems that has hindered progress in the past. He said one shouldn’t believe all the hype in the media, as there is indeed progress, and hinted that a short trip to Zimbabwe will not give any impression of a die-hard situation compared to neighbouring Zambia and other countries in the region. Biti has consented to present Zimbabwe’s present economic situation in an article to be written exclusively for Newstime Africa.

This is Africa magazine and the Emerging Markets Private Equity Association (EMPEA), has done a fantastic job putting this leadership summit together and bringing a combination of keynote addresses, lively panel discussions, and informative case studies to provide the latest information and forward thinking on key issues facing the industry. There was a host of business, finance and investment professionals, to discuss the way forward for Private Equity investment in Africa. The keynote address was delivered by the Governor of Lagos State in Nigeria, H.E. Babtunde Raji Fashola, Other speakers and participants included Tom Barry, Chairman of Kingdom Zaphyr Africa Management; Hisham El-Khazindar, Managing Director of Citadel Capital, S.A.E; Nadeem Lodhi, Principal, Abraaj Capital; Peter Schmid, Partner Head of Private Equity, Actis; Runa Alam, CEO and Partner, Develpment Partners International LLP(DPI); Martin Poulsen, Chief Private Equity Officer, African Development Bank Group; Andre Roux, CEO Ethos Private Equity; David Wilton, Chief Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation (IFC), and a host of other top dignitaries from the business world. The moderators were David Read, Head of International Development, (EMEIA), Ernst & Young and Roderick Evison, Acting CEO CDC Group plc.

Last year’s event featured the outstanding President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone, who called for more investment into Africa and highlighted on the difficulties facing private investment in Africa. The Sierra Leone president also said that Africa was ripe for business and called on major international firms to take on africa’s abundant potential in the areas of Mining, Agriculture and Tourism.

© 2011, Ahmed M Kamara. All rights reserved. – The views expressed here are purely those of the author and not necessarily those of the publishers. – Newstime Africa content cannot be reproduced in any form – electronic or print – without prior consent of the Publishers. Copyright infringement will be pursued and perpetrators prosecuted.

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