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Financing as an Essential Instrument of Economic Growth in Africa
23 October 2019
14:30—16:00
KEY CONCLUSIONS
Economic relations between Russia and Africa are actively developing

Turnover between Russia and Africa has doubled over the last 5 years and amounted to just over USD 20 billion in 2018. On the one hand, this is a very good trend, but on the other hand, this figure remains very modest — Nikita Gusakov, Chief Executive Officer, EXIAR.

We have a completed deal with the Angolan Ministry of Finance: we are now in the process of implementing a deal with an oil company in Ghana to finance their working capital. It suggests that these transactions are possible, but they are not very large – up to USD 50 million — Alexander Krasnoselskiy, Member of the Executive Management Board, Chief Business Officer, Gazprombank Switzerland.

The fast-growing African economies open up ample opportunities for Russian companies

Egypt is developing quite rapidly today. We have grown by about 4% over the recent years, and this year we expect a GDP growth of 6%. <...> A domestic market is being created, and it is developing. Egypt can be viewed as an important partner, as an important place to create this new market and develop free trade. <...> Egypt is the largest market for Russian investments in the world. Egypt needs more. Egypt needs new sources to support the projects that we are implementing today. I think we have ample opportunities to develop our cooperation — H.E. Mohamed Maait, Minister of Finance of the Arab Republic of Egypt.

We view the African continent as a very fast-growing point of economic development in the coming decades, and we truly believe that this economic development will bring both prosperity and success for the countries themselves and create good opportunities for cooperation with Russian companies. African markets are becoming more and more interesting for Russian producers, and in its turn, Russia is becoming more and more interesting for African partners — Daniil Algulyan, Deputy Chairman, State Development Corporation VEB.RF.

The African free trade Zone is the driver that will certainly determine the development of the region. We are confident that the creation and the launch of this zone will have a dramatic impact on the poverty reduction in Africa and on the growth of domestic consumption in the region, which means that across the entire consumption and industrialization, we will see new prospects and new opportunities. <...> As for our part, we see Russia's opportunities to participate in infrastructure projects in order to address the problem of weak connectivity of African countries and to ensure the necessary progress here — Andrey Slepnev, Chief Executive Officer, Russian Export Centre .

ISSUES
Poor development of all-African market

Regional integration is essential for us in South Africa. We support the agreement on free trade that has been just signed. <...> We also must increase trade among African countries. In Europe, domestic trade accounts for 67% of all existing potential, and in Africa this figure is still below 20%. This is a serious problem — H.E. Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises of the Republic of South Africa.

High financial risks

Currency risks and the problem of debt growth in general are extremely important for the development of financing. There is a need to balance out the interests of development and the country’s ability to service its debt — Nikita Gusakov, Chief Executive Officer, EXIAR.

Foreign currency borrowing is a serious problem. <...> Many African countries now face certain difficulties that arise from this situation — H.E. Pravin Jamnadas Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises of the Republic of South Africa.

Many Russian companies are ready enter the region – they have things to offer. The problem of payments, payment discipline, and guarantees, of course, exits — Andrey Slepnev, Chief Executive Officer, Russian Export Centre .

We should not use financing to create certain imbalances, excessive lending to projects, so here we should look more and more at how we can finance without increasing the debt burden, first of all, for the state budgets — Daniil Algulyan, Deputy Chairman, State Development Corporation VEB.RF.

SOLUTIONS
Creating conditions for cooperation between Russian and African banks

We have created a special platform that is designed specifically to provide information and to help Russian banks better understand the cost structure in Africa, so that Russian banks can properly assess their own resources and powers for investing in the African continent — Amr Kamel, Executive Vice President for Business Development and Corporate Banking, African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank).

We seek and strive to establish long-term partnerships with reliable and proven partners who have expertise on the African continent and who, on the one hand, we can share our expertise our capabilities and resources with, as well as use the resources of these local partners in cooperation with them. <...> We place great hopes on our cooperation with Afreximbank. <...> The platform we are talking about today is a kind of public-private partnership because it involves government-owned financial institutions that are state corporations, stock and private companies — Daniil Algulyan, Deputy Chairman, State Development Corporation VEB.RF.

Sberbank is ready and will follow its clients to the African continent. <...> In this case, risks are distributed in part to the client, in part to our African partners and are closed by Afreximbank, as well as a number of other financial institutions. But for us, as a Russian institution, it is very important that we have EXIAR. We take risks of the African continent much more easily under the coverage of EXIAR — Alexander Vedyakhin, First Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board, Sberbank.

One of the possibilities for the bank's participation in financing is to use the infrastructure of local banks. <...> We are ready to take some part in the financial instruments provided to local companies by local banks and participate in them financially. <...> This is how, we share the risks, we use the expertise of local banks and their experience in cooperating with local companies — Alexander Krasnoselskiy, Member of the Executive Management Board, Chief Business Officer, Gazprombank Switzerland.

Government support for financing export

Thanks to the Export Center and Sberbank, we signed a memorandum of understanding worth USD 5 million, which will aim to simplify financing mechanisms for trade. This will be a mechanism to support Russian exports, technological, agricultural, and other equipment so much needed by the African continent, which will close this lack of capital for this financing — Atanas Bostandjiev, Chief Executive Officer, Gemcorp Capital LLP.

The material was prepared by the Russian news agency TASS