Abu Dhabi, United Arab of Emirates-: Speakers from around the world explored in a session titled “Uncovering the Potential of South-South Investments in Emerging Markets” how to mobilize capital to convert discussions into real initiatives and energy that will translate to deals at the Investopia Conference 2023.
The discussion was led by Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, Regional Director – Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan, IFC, Nardos Bekele-Thomas, CEO, Africa Union Development Agency- New Partnerships for Africa’s Development (AUDA- NEPAD), and Obaid Amrane, CEO, Ithmar Capita.
The speakers presented various financial instruments and structures that are innovative and leading the way in driving capital in emerging markets, including blended finance, public-private partnerships (PPP), and sovereign wealth funds (SWF). They also emphasized the importance of South-South investments, which have been successful in the UAE and the GCC, and highlighted the need to focus on infrastructure, such as water, transportation, and IT, in African countries.
Khawaja Aftab Ahmed, highlighted the UAE’s position as a top destination for South-South investments, particularly in renewable energy and climate-resilient projects in Africa. He reaffirmed that the UAE’s leadership in these areas has made it a role model for other countries, with several nations following in its footsteps. He also said that private-public partnerships are playing an increasingly important role in South-South investments.
Nardos Bekele-Thomas emphasized the importance of collaboration between the African Union and the UAE in terms of governance and implementation planning. Critical sectors to the African Union, include health, manufacturing, blended finance, and infrastructure development, particularly in water, transport/rail, and IT. Bekele-Thomas further encouraged the UAE to support African infrastructure development, which would not only promote African trade but also create a whole market for South-South cooperation.
Obaid Amrane elaborated on the role of sovereign funds in emerging markets, and highlighted that most sovereign funds in these markets are development funds that target economic impact, and emphasized the importance of co-investment and co-development strategies given the scarcity in the region. He highlighted that sovereign funds get involved in the early stages of projects.
Investopia conference 2023 focuses on the theme “Envisioning Opportunities in Times of Change” and three sub-themes: Envisioning Opportunities in Today’s Economy, The Future of the Wealth of Nations, and Growth Opportunities in Times of Decarbonization. The conference this year includes 35 sessions and roundtables, and brings together more than 2000 participants like investors, government officials, thought leaders and entrepreneurs, from more than 40 countries.