Thought leaders discuss growth in Southern Africa

Tourism will be a key driver to spearhead Southern African growth in the aftermath of Covid-19. Image credit: WhyAfrica

Thought leaders discuss growth in Southern Africa

 Industry thought leaders discussed the key sectors and industries expected to spearhead economic recovery at the Southern African edition of law firm Hogan Lovells’ African Business Leaders recently.

Global Law Firm Hogan Lovells welcomed industry thought leaders at the Southern African edition of its Africa Business Leaders series, focusing on tourism, hospitality and fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) as the key sectors and industries projected to spearhead economic recovery in the region.

Private sector experts and investors across the sub-region, led by core members of Hogan Lovells Africa practice, gathered virtually to discuss patterns and prospects for Africa’s economic revival, draw a plan for its recovery and analyse the services sector in the region.

Facilitated by Andrew Skipper, Head of Africa practice at Hogan Lovells, the session featured thought leaders who shared industry knowledge to help facilitate growth in Southern Africa.

Ronak Gopaldas, Director, Signal Risk gave insights on some of the socio-economic challenges countries in Southern Africa have faced, the resulting setback to the economy, and ways to improve.

He stated that during the pandemic, the continent was affected by the three Cs: Covid-19, commodity prices and capital flight; resulting in navigating the three Ds: death, diseases, and dysfunction.

He highlighted further that the three main areas to focus for accelerated recovery include: integration, innovation, and industrialisation.

The panel discussed opportunities open to Southern African economies through tourism and how this can be of impact for recovery.

Sustainability at the heart of recovery

Hogan Lovells partners Laurie Hammond and Ben Higson expanded on the investment opportunities to enhance recovery through a sustainable supply chain. ‘‘Putting sustainability at the heart of investment is getting acknowledged as good business itself. The opportunity is here for businesses to leapfrog and do things smarter and better. Businesses that can find sustainable solutions to invest in the region get to key into those opportunities,” Hammond said.

She maintained that mineral reserves and natural resources are core active sectors while power is also key to economic growth. Other areas highlighted include IT and Telecommunications.

Higson stressed that mining and energy are key, but government policy and foreign currency control can act as determinants to investor’s decisions. There are also strong growth projections and interest from investors bringing the opportunity for partnerships and joint ventures between private and public sectors.

The series rounded up with a fireside chat between Wessel Badenhorst, Managing Partner, Hogan Lovells South Africa and Jean Craven, CEO Barak Fund Management.  They focused on the funding projects in the supply chain in South Africa and the impact of global regulations in shaping the approach to restructuring the economy.

The economic outlook for Southern Africa is open for growth despite the effect of Covid-19. There are many options among sectors to improve on what exists. With an effective supply chain and joint efforts from the private sector and government, the impact becomes evident,’’ Badenhorst said.

“It is important to create platforms like this to enhance opportunities for growth on the continent. From the discussions we have had, there are huge expectations towards attracting investment in the tourism and hospitality sectors in South Africa, especially as borders continue to open after the pandemic,” said Andrew Skipper, Head of Africa practice at Hogan Lovells.  

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