What does today’s UK-Africa Investment Summit mean for Africa?
Today at the UK-Africa Investment Summit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson presented the UK to Africa as the ‘investment partner of choice.’ We find out more.
Today was the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit. The event, which took place in London and welcomed 16 African leaders, sought to present the UK as an investment partner of choice to the nation and its leaders.
The UK’s commitment to renewable energy is a large aspect of the appeal of building upon business relations between the two nations is the UK’s advancements in renewable energy. The UK was the first major economy to set a legally binding target to reach zero emissions by 2050. In addition to this, it went a record 83 days without using coal in 2019. From building upon these relations, African businesses can harness British technology in order to further its own renewable energy initiatives, and the UK can open new markets in a post-Brexit landscape.
Those in attendance included: President Sisi of Egypt, President Kenyatta of Kenya, President Buhari of Nigeria, President Akufo-Addo of Ghana and President Kagame of Rwanda, and African business leaders including CEO of Standard Bank Gert Vogel and CEO of Investec Hendrik Du Toit.
Prominent business executives from the UK were also in attendance, including: CEO of Vodafone Nick Read, CEO of BP Bernard Looney, CEO of Standard Life Aberdeen Keith Skeoch, CEO G4S Ashley Martin Almanza, CEO of Associated British Foods George Weston, and CEO of the London Stock Exchange Group David Schwimmer.
The event had already seen a number of new partnerships emerge, including a partnership between Africa’s leading data provider, Asoko Insight and UK’s Department for International Trade (DIT), to create a digital DealRoom at the summit, which would facilitate UK investments in Africa.
Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner for Africa at the Department for International Trade, Emma Wade-Smith OBE, said: “The UK-Africa Investment Summit will showcase the UK’s unique offer to Africa and the breadth of exciting investment opportunities that exist across the African continent. We want the UK to have the biggest positive impact of any foreign investor, in terms of creating and sustaining quality jobs, and supporting inclusive growth and sustainability.
“The launch of the digital DealRoom platform at the Summit will bring together bankable projects in Africa and the UK investment sector which would not otherwise have the opportunity to connect with each other. Our partnership with Asoko Insight marries the UK’s world-class financial services sector together with tangible African growth opportunities, which will serve as an excellent legacy resource post the Summit.”
Asoko’s co-founder and CEO, Rob Withagen, said of the upcoming DealRoom: “Sourcing deal flow in Africa is a challenge, despite the pressing need by private sector companies, especially in the mid-cap space. We’re pleased to be able to help UK investors cut the time and resources they spend searching for prospective deals and speed the pipeline of investment that is at the heart of the Summit and the UK’s ambitions for its relationship with Africa.”
For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief MEA.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.