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Johannesburg Ocorian Forum discusses role of IFCs in promoting South African business

Johannesburg Ocorian Forum discusses role of IFCs in promoting South African business

Ocorian Forum

Following hot on the heels of the Mauritius, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Dubai Ocorian Forums, we provide a recap of the key discussion points highlighted in our Johannesburg, South Africa edition which took place on 23 May 2019.

Global investment professionals, business intermediaries, cross-border economic operators, bankers, investors and policymakers, gathered in Johannesburg to discuss the important role of International Financial Centres (IFC) in attracting and channelling investment flows to boost African economies and businesses.

"The traditional idea that IFCs are tax havens has been turned on its head tonight"

The Forum provided a platform to explore the pivotal role of International Financial Centres (IFCs) as accelerators of growth and encouraged the sharing of best practices from across the international investment market, shedding light on the mounting importance of good corporate governance to investors using, primarily Private Equity vehicles to invest on emerging markets across Africa.

Under the theme: The role played by International Financial Centres in securing and enhancing Investor Value: Opportunities for South African business, the Forum explored South Africa’s attractiveness in terms of corporate governance and risk management, both key ingredients to attracting investment flows.

Ahead of the event, Business Development Director for Ocorian in South Africa, Alan Witherden said, “South Africa is high on the agenda of international investors looking to benefit from the country’s business potential. At the same time, South Africa is proving to be a major investor in cross-border operations on the continent. Whether we look at inbound or outbound investments, South Africa is very dynamic and looking at what brings value to investors through the lense of corporate governance and IFCs is thus critical.” 

With concerted efforts by President Cyril Ramaphosa to attract $100‐billion of investment into the country over the next five years, the topic has never been more relevant as foreign direct investments will play a vital role in boosting South Africa’s economy and addressing its perennial unemployment challenge.

As addressed by Richard Arlove, Ocorian Regional CEO, AMEA, “Investment markets such as South Africa for the Southern African region and elsewhere on the continent have the power to mobilise investment funds from Private Equity investors, who increasingly look at impact in addition to securing financial returns. IFCs have the eco-system needed to promote good corporate governance, thus giving comfort to these investors. Africa as a continent is home to many diverse markets, each with unique opportunities. Through this Forum and our greater Ocorian network, we hope to share insights and best practice to further propel its growth.

Boasting a panel of reputable industry specialists and a crowd of over 100 attendees across the business spectrum, corporate governance as a lever of growth and enabler of value to further promote South Africa as a regional investment and business hub was a focal discussion point. The panel unpacked the role of IFC’s as facilitating a tried and tested template which could be applied to enhance investment and ensure more cash flow, profit and capital gains. This would be done by ensuring protection of business IP, strategic consulting in structuring businesses to be favourable to investors and assistance with closing the governance gap experienced in certain regions.

Ocorian Forum attendee Brenda Stern shared her thoughts on the key takeaway from the event: “Tonight, has been particularly encouraging. Risk resistance towards Africa has changed. IFCs play an important role in that, as they allow multiple jurisdictional investors to come together and invest in a project. Increasingly, we are living in an interconnected world, so we look for neutral spaces where we can come together as businesses and are not constrained by one framework. Mauritius is a great example. The panel tonight highlighted that we need to see IFCs as conduits to retain and promote value of companies. The traditional idea that IFCs are tax havens has been turned on its head tonight.”

The Ocorian Forum series is scheduled for forthcoming editions to be held in Ghana and in India. 

To discuss how Ocorian can support your business, contact one of our representatives below.

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