The perfect environment to meet the global business elite interested in Africa as a business destination, the Global African Investment Summit (TGAIS) has carved out a niche for itself as “one of the very few business platforms making investment happen”, affirms Director of Africa for event organizer dmg :: events (UK) Ltd., Paul Sinclair. Ahead of the next TGAIS summit in Rwanda, Mr Sinclair explains why investors are flocking to the event and the impact it is expected to have.
After the success of the 2014 and 2015 London editions, what do you expect from this year’s edition? What does it mean for TGAIS to debut in Rwanda?
Rwanda poses a landmark in our development and a crucial part of the TGAIS strategy. It was always important that the summit developed its foundations in London as a finance capital of the world. It was always my ambition to take a large-scale investment delegation to Africa and I am proud that the destination is Kigali, a city close to my heart and of course fast becoming the business center of choice under the amazing stewardship of His Excellency Paul Kagame and the quite formidable Rwandan Development Board.
Rwanda is a symbol of development for our continent and it is therefore both logical and obvious to hold this most prestigious summit in Kigali.
Would you say the summit has achieved through the two previous editions its goal to deliver international trade and investment to Africa's most dynamic region? What would be the key objectives to achieve in this new edition?
It’s a very simple answer: the summit has made a true impact on Africa with power, housing and healthcare investment being deployed in multiple countries. Whilst many successful summits discuss policy, TGAIS has maintained its position as the “real” business platform for Africa.
In your opinion, what are the key focus points that need to be addressed in this summit?
For me we need to focus on deals that can really be done. The likes of Inga Dam are prestige projects – projects that may take years to achieve and lack the more imminent need for FDI to transform industrialization and manufacturing.
In my opinion, TGAIS has achieved success in seeing projects realized on a far more impactful and manageable scale. Housing, power projects at 20-50MW, and hospitals are just some of the projects that will transform the lives of people across the continent.
We will maintain this path of change, as we are one of the very few business platforms making investment happen; this is our niche and this is why investors continue to flock to TGAIS year on year.
What’s the audience profile attending this summit? Do you think the new venue in Kigali will shape differently the audience from previous editions?
The audience has always been and will remain officials and professionals with the capacity to invest and participate in projects across Africa. As I mentioned before, we are not looking to develop aspiration, we are looking to develop social and economic development across Africa and to support the continent in realizing its potential through its integration with the global markets and to provide a true access to finance for both the African public and private sector.
Who are you partnering with in order to ensure the best possible delegation attends the summit?
We have many partners across Africa. Partners such as the UNECA, NEPAD and the Rwandan Government, who all offer guidance, support and insight into how we can engage international investment with project owners across all sectors. It is the support of such visionaries as Dr Carlos Lopes, His Excellency Paul Kagame, and His Excellency Olusegun Obasanjo, who make the summit a reality.
As I progress the brand for the good of Africa, it is the support of these luminaries who make you realize the continent has some of the best minds and economists who collectively will take Africa to the next level of development.
What opportunities does TGAIS offer as a business platform to potential investors attending the summit?
Quite simply it offers access to both public and private sector leaders in a business development environment. It can take months to meet serious partners and projects in Africa, and TGAIS fast tracks this substantially. It provides a safe environment to meet the global business elite interested in Africa as a business destination.
TGAIS recently communicated that the London summit has been deferred. Why? Will TGAIS stay in Africa in the future or will it come back to Europe?
The scale of the Kigali event is unprecedented; we want to begin the brand in Africa with 250-350 investors and a solid on continent launch. As we do this interview we have registrations of 1,200+ investors to attend and an event that we had never imagined.
The brand is key, trust from the community is critical, and we feel giving ourselves more time post Kigali to take the brand to higher levels is what our community deserves.
These summits are labor intensive, and as Kigali has grown beyond our belief we have had to enlist more of the team than we had projected to manage the investor numbers. Therefore we will defer London to ensure the quality of the brand is continued and investors attending can expect the best-of-breed investment summit for Africa.
Paul Sinclair is Director of Africa for dmg :: events (UK) Ltd., with overall responsibility for The Global African Investment Summit (TGAIS). With extensive experience in developing investment and investors looking to deploy funding into the emerging markets, Mr Sinclair has a proven track record of delivering success for funding across Africa. With over 20 years' experience in summits and government events, he has a granular understanding of how to attract investment into frontier markets for both the public and private sector.
For more information about the upcoming summit in Kigali on September 5-6, 2016, visit TGAIS-COMESA Rwanda.