(Africa Business)- The Singapore Africa Business Club (SABC) is a fully inclusive organization committed to the promotion of high quality business opportunities in Africa. SABC is the first business club based in Singapore that is exclusively focused on developing and facilitating business opportunities between entrepreneurs, investors, public organizations and individuals who are actively engaged in conducting business in Africa or have a keen interest in the economic opportunities available within this fast changing continent.
The objective of the club is to create a trusted business environment that is enabling in terms of encouraging contacts and developing business ventures between economic actors in Africa and Asia. Singapore, as an international gateway to Asia with a diverse business community, offers a pivotal role in fostering greater and deeper relationships with emerging Africa.
By sharing a common goal SABC intend to change the misperception on doing business in Africa, through its achievements but also with the support of its active members who will act as brand ambassadors of the African continent.
The pre-launch event was held on the 2nd of February 2011 in Singapore, at Fullerton Hotel. The over 70 participants who attended the event represented leading organizations from public, private and civil society institutions in Singapore which expressed a strong interest in doing business in Africa.
Top level representatives from International Finance Corporation (IFC), International Enterprise (IE) Singapore, Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Kalahari-IP played a valuable role in the discussions related to the role of Singapore as a vector of growth for Africa.
The overall goals for the pre-launch event were:
To engage discussions about the role of a business club in fostering energies around Africa from Singapore
To provide networking opportunities with academics, entrepreneurs, investors, corporate leaders and anyone passionate about business opportunities in Africa
To start exploring opportunities to engage in Africa’s emergence as a major economy
To offer access to the Club’s activities by registering as a member of the Singapore Africa Business Club
Launch and Keynote Address
The pre-launch event was designed to inform participants about the vision and objectives of the SABC initiative. To lead off, the two co-founders: Kevin Matthews and Frederic Gomer, gave a brief keynote address – who both recognised the need to provide an inclusive platform dedicated to fostering business opportunities in Africa and enabling the greater exchange of ideas, best practices, policy discussions on doing business in the Continent.
Developing Africa from Singapore…
During the pre-launch moderated by Karishma Singh, each of the invited speakers presented the commitment of their respective organization to the development of opportunities in Africa.
Amongst them, Alvyn Lim, Executive at Si ngapore Business Federation MENA presented the role of Singapore Business Federation as the apex business chamber that champions the interests of the Singapore business community, representing more than 17,000 companies in trade, investment and industrial relations locally and internationally. After a brief introduction of Mayecor Sar, Executive at Kalahari-IP, Alvyn presented the upcoming business mission to Congo (Democratic Republic of Congo, Congo) organized from Singapore in collaboration with Kalahari-IP.
The participation of Tunde Onitiri, Country Manager – Singapore for the International Finance Corporation (IFC) was also greatly appreciated. After explaining his role as overseeing all of IFC’s operations in Singapore in addition to managing relationships with key government and private sector partners, he also explained his responsibility for developing investment projects with Singapore-based sponsors and financial institutions.
Tunde shared with the participants his extensive experience in Mozambique and Angola where he spearheaded the development and execution of the IFC strategy and supervised the growth of the investment and advisory services portfolios in both countries. He also offered valuable insights on the specific challenges in doing business in Africa.
Finally, Rahul Ghosh, Divisional Director (Middle East and Africa) International Enterprise Singapore presented the second edition of the Africa Business Forum 2012. He explained the purpose of the Africa Singapore Business Forum, which is the premier business platform for exchanging business insights and promoting collaboration between Africa and Singapore. The Forum that will be held in Singapore in August 2012 will feature top minds in business and government as they delve into topics pertinent to Africa, Singapore and post-recovery Asia – such as achieving sustainable growth, identifying opportunities emerging in these regions and harnessing these new engines of growth.
Event participants were suggested to discuss openly the role of a business club in fostering energies around Africa from Singapore, and to share their personal experience.
Several interesting topics were discussed such as the dimension of corruption in the Continent and how its activity affected economic performance. More importantly, event participants agreed on the negative impact of corruption on the perception of foreign investors that is slowing down the economic development of most African countries.
Participants benefitted from hearing a myriad of experiences and lessons learned which contributed to demonstrate the growing interest in Africa as an economic opportunity.
“Just had to congratulate you on the extraordinary job SABC team did in putting on such a major event and starting an important conversation and engagement. It is clear with the passion SABC has shown it will provide a superb networking opportunity that will bring together key players involved in Africa’s economic boom”Participant’s comment from a leading private equity fund.
Event participants showed a strong interest in contributing to this major initiative and are looking forward to joining the SABC Club.
The SABC club will host monthly networking events and quarterly sectors briefing. For information about forthcoming events and membership registration, please contact us at [email protected]