The Africa Finance and Investment Forum 2015 was officially opened today in Cape Town, and proceedings will continue over the next two days. The Forum brings together over 250 delegates from the entire continent and the rest of the world, and will focus on innovative financial solutions to foster the growth of Africa’s businesses, and showcase the financial challenges and opportunities of the African continent in agriculture, health, infrastructure and energy. Opening the proceedings, Idit Miller, Managing Director of EMRC, explained that the priority of the Forum was to “achieve growth through sustainable policies in the key sectors of health, agriculture, infrastructure and energy”.
The core theme of this year’s Forum is Access to Finance & Entrepreneurship. A number of key experts will be discussing topics such as improving access to finance for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), the growth of impact investment, as well as in-depth sessions on the financing of Africa’s health, infrastructure, energy and agricultural sectors.
The highlight of today’s proceedings was a Private Public Dialogue on Impact Investment, overseen by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the African Union. The panel provided a platform through which representatives of the public and private sectors in discussed concrete interventions to catalyze the impact investment sector and contribute towards the achievement of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 and the recently ratified Sustainable Development Goals. The Dialogue is expected to lead to an official announcement of the UN Cape Town Declaration on Impact Investment in Africa at the end of the Forum. Speaking during the panel discussion, Lebogang Motlana, Director of UNDP’s regional service center for Africa, explained that the meeting was one of several “intended to initiate a continental discussion around the concept of Impact Investment, how to attract investors and how to foster enterprise, and specifically social enterprise, to the benefit of all Africans”.
The Forum’s first day further showcased innovative financial solutions to strengthen African SMEs by analyzing the challenges and opportunities in agriculture, health, infrastructure and energy; and also to encourage the creation of partnerships via one-on-one business meetings, ensuring that participants leave with concrete results.
AFIF will also incorporate the “AFIF Entrepreneurship Award 2015”, a competition supported by the Rabobank Foundation, as well as the The « Pfizer Health Entrepreneurship Award » and a Pitching Session by The Innovation Hub (South Africa).
Held for the first time in Africa, AFIF 2015 is organized by Brussels-based EMRC, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the European Investment Bank (EIB); German Development Finance Institution DEG/KfW, along with Old Mutual Investments Group, Agri Academy, Pfizer, Rabobank, BlueCloud, ICD and the International Finance Corporation IFC.