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24.04.2012 Business & Finance

Ghana hosts Ninth African Venture Capital Association Conference

By GNA
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Accra, April 23, GNA - Panelists at the Ninth Annual African Venture Capital Association (AVCA) Conference have observed that Africa needed to tell her story better to enable investors make informed decisions about the continent.

They contended that Africa had not performed badly and was now in its prime time but most often risk perception were overpriced and countries were termed no go areas.

Venture Capital Trust Fund (VCTF) in collaboration with Ghana Investment Promotion Council (GIPC) is co-hosting the Conference from April 22-24 in Accra.

The conference on the theme “Africa the rising Giant” provides an opportunity for key players in the private equity investment industry to converge and discuss important topical issues and promises to be both insightful and thought-provoking with exciting roundtable discussions leading the debate on Africa Rising in a World of Crisis.

It will cover diverse topics such as: Getting Africa ready for primetime; LP perspectives on investing in Africa; a current overview of private equity in Africa; fundamentals of private equity in Africa, and regional perspectives on private equity across the continent.

In a speech read for Vice President John Dramani Mahama, a Deputy Finance Minister, Mr Seth Terkper noted that due to Africa's significant transformation and impressive growth in recent years Africa which was described by the May 13 edition of the Economist as the “Hopeless Continent” has changed the perception to “Africa rising”.

He said Africa had always attracted investment but the different thing happening now was the strong growth as well as good returns on investment adding that Africa was now regarded as an important investment destination and the “next frontier” in emerging terms.

Vice President Mahama said Africa was attracting more permanent sources of investment funds to lubricate the wheels of commerce better through stock and private equity initiatives and through existing commercial and investment banking.

“As Africa begins a journey to catch up with the emerging world, it must be aware of these opportunities as well as several pitfalls – in order not to be complacent in a fiercely competitive world” he said and called on investors to see and categorise the 50-plus African countries on a league or rating table to differentiate the good and stable performers from the bad ones beyond notions and re-colonisation of the continent.

He said Africa must learn from global crisis that had brought many advanced countries on their knees and that countries such as Ghana could not sacrifice her macroeconomic successes on the altar of poor monetary and fiscal policies.

Mr Daniel Duku, Chief Executive Officer of Venture Capital Trust Fund, co-host of the conference said the fund was established by government as a means of providing alternative financing for Small Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which led to an VCTF ACT in 2004.

It has since partnered five indigenous funds who have invested in more than 46 SMEs in all sectors of the economy, he said and noted that it had increased the total pool of funds available for SMEs, by up to three times its initial endowment to 62 million dollars.

VCTF, he said would outdoor new strategies aimed at providing appropriate vehicles for both local and international investors to participate in Ghana's booming economy through private equity fund investing.

“It is a fact that existing private equity investment has proved challenging across Africa, although several efforts have been made in the past through innovative deal structuring."

To address this challenge, VCTF in collaboration with the Ghana Stock Exchange is supporting the establishment of an alternative market for SMEs, which would serve as an efficient and more efficient means of exist for private equity funds.

For new investors to the continent, Mr Duku was optimistic that they might be seeking to explore the great continent in the next few months and that existing investors could attest to the development of the African continent and added that the rising Africa would be incomplete without mentioning Ghana, a country among its fastest growing economies.

Ms Michelle Kathryn Essome, Chief Executive Officer of Africa Venture Capital Association, said the conference would showcase opportunities in Africa through the in-depth discussion and analysis examining risks - macroeconomic, currency, political and rule of law - which needed to be addressed and mitigated to create an enabling environment for private equity and venture capital in Africa – with the goal of attracting a broader range of investors from around the world.

AVCA is an industry association supporting African private equity and venture capital investors through conferences, training, research and information dissemination.

It represents African private equity and venture capital firms, institutional investors, foundations international development institutions and global professional service firms.

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