Entrepreneurship, innovation and technology are at the forefront of doing business in Africa, UK–South Africa trade commissioner Emma Wade-Smith said on Monday.
Addressing delegates at the South African launch of the LSE’s inaugural ‘PwC Companies to Inspire Africa Report’, she stated that there was a misconception that doing business in Africa was difficult and this was outdated.
“A key challenge is to change that perception. It is important to demonstrate that there is innovation, creativity and dynamism across the continent, which the report points out,” she said.
Wade-Smith highlighted that the UK and South Africa already have a strong and diverse commercial relationship, and that more than £8-billion worth of trade and investment took place between the two economies last year.
“British companies are heavily invested in South Africa and are responsible for creating and sustaining thousands of jobs. We are also all committed to supporting economic transformation in the country,” she said.
She added that British companies also supported skills development, which is at the heart of all local business needs.
Also speaking at the launch, LSE Emerging Markets Strategy co-head Ibukun Adebayo said the report was important in demonstrating the importance of small, medium-sized and microenter-prises (SMMEs) and entrepreneurship across Africa.
“According to the World Economic Forum, SMMEs create around 80% of Africa’s employment and account for 90% of businesses across the sub-Saharan African markets,” he said.
Adebayor added that finding capital for those companies is challenging and that the report was trying to create visibility for entrepreneurs.
He added that the LSE is also continuing to work in partnership with African stock exchanges to help develop robust, efficient and transparent capital markets to raise finance for companies like the ones listed in this report, and thousands of others, to realise their potential.
The report was produced in partnership with African Development Bank Group, CDC Group and PwC, and is sponsored by Citi, Diamond Bank and FTI Consulting.