Global Law Firm Hogan Lovells welcomed industry thought leaders at the Southern African edition of its Africa Business Leaders series, focusing on tourism, hospitality and FMCG as the key sectors and industries projected to spearhead economic recovery in the region. Private sector experts and investors across the sub-region, led by core members of Hogan Lovells Africa practice, gathered virtually to discuss patterns and prospects for Africa’s economic revival, draw a plan for its recovery and analyse the services sector in the region.
Facilitated by Andrew Skipper, Head of Africa practice at Hogan Lovells, the session featured thought leaders who shared industry knowledge to help facilitate growth in Southern Africa. Ronak Gopaldas, Director, Signal Risk gave insights on some of the socio-economic challenges countries in Southern Africa have faced, the resulting setback to the economy, and ways to improve. He stated that during the pandemic, the continent was affected by the three Cs: Covid-19, commodity prices and capital flight; resulting in navigating the three Ds: death, diseases, and dysfunction. He highlighted further that the three main areas to focus for accelerated recovery include: integration, innovation, and industrialisation.
The panel comprised
- Richard Morgan, Head of Government Relations, Anglo American;
- Semoli Mokhanoi, Director of SADC and Head of Business Development, Mergence;
- Juan Jose Gari, Head of Renewable Energy Projects, IEP Group;
- Hans Klopper, South Africa Head, BDO Restructuring; and
- Wayne Godwin, Senior Vice President, Middle East, and Africa; JLL Hotels
They discussed opportunities open to the South African economy through tourism and how this can be of impact for recovery.
Hogan Lovells partners Laurie Hammond and Ben Higson expanded on the investment opportunities still open to the region to enhance recovery through a sustainable supply chain. ‘‘Putting sustainability at the heart of investment is getting acknowledged as good business itself. The opportunity is here for businesses to leapfrog and do things smarter and better. Businesses that can find sustainable solutions to invest in the region get to key into those opportunities’’. Hammond said. She maintained that mineral reserves and natural resources are core active sectors while power is also key to economic growth. Other areas highlighted include IT and Telecommunications. Higson stressed that mining and energy are key, but government policy and foreign currency control can act as determinants to investor’s decisions. There are also strong growth projections and interest from investors bringing the opportunity for partnerships and joint ventures between private and public sectors.
The series rounded up with a fireside chat between Wessel Badenhorst, Managing Partner, Hogan Lovells South Africa and Jean Craven, CEO Barak Fund Management. They focused on the funding projects in the supply chain in South Africa and the impact of global regulations in shaping the approach to restructuring the economy. ‘‘The economic outlook for Southern Africa is open for growth despite the effect of COVID 19. There are many options among sectors to improve on what exists. With an effective supply chain and joint efforts from the private sector and government, the impact becomes evident’’ Badenhorst said
Speaking on the South African edition and the achievement of the series, Head of Africa practice at Hogan Lovells, Andrew Skipper said,
“It is important to create platforms like this to enhance opportunities for growth on the continent. From the discussions we have had, there are huge expectations towards attracting investment in the tourism and hospitality sectors in South Africa, especially as borders continue to open after the pandemic. At Hogan Lovells, we stay committed to enhancing growth in these sectors through partnership and support. We are committed to understanding, operating in, investing in, and respecting the continent. The various sessions at the Business Leaders series have shown the diverse peculiarities and strengths of each region in the quest for Africa’s development. It is pertinent that each region collaborates to promote innovation and provide more opportunities to attract investment’’.
The South African edition completed the 2021 Business Leaders. Previous editions explored growth opportunities in sectors relevant to investments in various regions:
- The West Africa leg focused on Energy, Technology and Logistics as growth catalyst,
- The East Africa leg explored new investment opportunities in the Agriculture sector and insights into the new wave of investments in technology and data infrastructure in the region;
- The North Africa leg had a discourse on investment opportunities in Infrastructure, Healthcare, Technology, and the booming manufacturing ecosystem in the region.