Managing Director, Head of Corporate and Investment Banking for EMEA, Citi
It is my pleasure to congratulate the businesses nominated for this Companies to Inspire Africa book as well as London Stock Exchange Group for this initiative to support vibrant African businesses which are regional pioneers in their fields, as they grow and seek to achieve scale.
Those of us who have travelled to Africa over the past 20 years have seen its economic pulse rise to unprecedented levels. As of 2016, Africa is home to six of the fastest-growing economies in the world. It boasts an increasingly urban population of 1.2 billion people and a resilient and creative class of entrepreneurs across the continent. It is also endowed with abundant natural resources that are being increasingly transformed into manufactured products, creating more added value across the continent. As we look ahead, such a confluence of growth factors will translate into unrivalled opportunities for seasoned investors.
At the epicentre of Africa’s economic growth and sustenance, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) provide 80% of the continent’s employment and are pivotal contributors to job creation, innovation, and industrial and regional development. On a continent where the business environment is making continuous progress and governments are gradually, but still insufficiently, mobilising resources to address the infrastructure needs, it is critical to increase African corporates’ access to the flows of capital that will allow them to fully unlock their potential. Access to capital is a prerequisite and an enabler of development for individuals, companies and governments as well as societies in general.
“Those of us who have travelled to Africa over the past 20 years have seen its economic pulse rise to unprecedented levels”
Citi has been present in Africa for more than 60 years, with a footprint spanning 16 countries. We combine our global expertise with in-depth knowledge of local markets to provide innovative and tailored banking solutions to our clients. We are committed to building a bridge between dynamic SMEs that are long on growth opportunities but short on capital, and investors seeking attractive returns. In this respect, we are honoured to have led landmark transactions that have witnessed international players shape their strategy on the continent (Coca Cola’s acquisition of Chi in Nigeria, and Kansai Paints’ acquisition of Sadolin Paints in East Africa) and African champions list on international stock exchanges.
We are excited to be involved in the burgeoning equity capital markets for African companies and contributing to its gaining in size and liquidity. We are resolute in our commitment to supporting investors willing to capitalise on Africa’s economic growth as well as local corporates scaling up businesses, going from local to regional champions and playing an increasing role in international trade. We believe all these factors will jointly contribute to make the African economies more productive, and bring more economic and social prosperity to all Africans.
Manolo Falco, Managing Director, Head of Corporate and Investment Banking for EMEA, Citi