Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — MININGREVIEW.COM — 04 May 2010 – Investment in Africa from countries such as China and India has rekindled optimism in a continent that sits on the world’s biggest deposits of platinum, chrome and diamonds, attracting a record number of delegates to this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa.
South African President Jacob Zuma, World Trade Organisation head Pascal Lamy and Absa Group Limited CEO Maria Ramos are some of the more than 1 000 attendees in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for the conference, which begins tomorrow.
Bloomberg News reports that bankers may make up the largest group of delegates as they look to profit from an economy expanding at double the pace of rich nations and a market that has just surpassed 1 billion people. Banks like Barclays Plc and Standard Chartered Plc aim to be dealmakers as rising industrial powers such as China look to the continent to supply raw materials, and India buys up land to feed its growing population.
“Africa has a yet-to-be-tapped investment, trade and market potential,” said Kuseni Dlamini, CEO of Johannesburg-based Old Mutual Plc’s South African unit. “I’m always on the look for investment and other value-enhancing opportunities.”
Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy will probably expand 4.7% this year, double the pace of 2009, according to the International Monetary Fund. Commodity exporters, including Angola, which vies with Nigeria as the continent’s largest oil producer, and Botswana, the world’s biggest diamond supplier, will lead the growth.
Capital flows into Africa rose 16% in 2008 to a record US$62 billion (R465 billion) even as foreign direct investment that year fell 20% worldwide, according to the World Economic Forum.
“China needs Africa as much as Africa needs China,” said Ridle Markus, Africa strategist at Barclays Plc’s Absa in Johannesburg. “We’re optimistic about the growth outlook for Africa. Commodity prices are supporting that growth and China is driving it.”