Business leaders praise US-Africa summit - CNBC Africa

Business leaders praise US-Africa summit

Special Report

by Trust Matsilele 0

US president Barack Obama looks forward to doing business with Africa. PHOTO: White House

The African Development Bank (AfDB) president Donald Kaberuka said the summit offered US business leaders a chance to get accurate information on opportunities presented by African economies.

(READ MORE: Barclays Africa commits $500 mln to power Africa initiative)

“It was important for government officials and business leaders to come here and close that information gap, to talk about the future and opportunities in the continent,” Kaberuka told CNBC Africa.

“There are people still stuck in the Africa of yesteryear and they have difficulties with understanding the situation prevailing in the region.”

Kaberuka explained that there was an attempt to define Africa with a narrative of the past.

Commenting on the relations between US and Africa, he noted that the global dynamics had shifted the balance of power with the US now treating Africa as a partner.

“I think it is a very important point of departure in a sense that for the first time we are redefining the relationship between the US and Africa in a respectful and mutually beneficial way,” said Kaberuka.

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“Over the last ten years there have been tectonic shifts in the world economy, global trade and inside Africa.”

Kaberuka added that the AfDB was looking for prospects of increasing the share of private equity which was currently very limited in terms of what can be done in Africa.

“The lack of liquid stock exchanges is a problem because investors looking for exit are looking for a mechanism so I hope to see more private equity,” he said.

“I am hoping that after this conference there will be a mechanism to follow up with some of the large equity funds in the world.”

Kaberuka dismissed some media reports suggesting there was a new scramble for Africa.

(WATCH VIDEO: Scramble for private equity in southern Africa)

“I don’t call this a scramble for Africa but rather a rush for opportunities.”

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