Tony O Elumelu, Chairman of Heirs Holdings has asked BRICS business leaders to make room for African entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses beyond the continent.
Elemulu was speaking during a panel discussion held at the first BRICS Business Council meeting in Johannesburg this week before business leaders from BRICS and 19 other African countries.
Elumelu said: “A new crop of African entrepreneurs are emerging who have ambitions beyond the continent. They should be investing in the BRICS countries in the same way that BRICS are investing in Africa – this relationship needs to go both ways.”
He was speaking on “Specific measures and initiatives to increase business, trade, manufacturing, and investment ties between the BRICS countries and Africa”, a discussion moderated by Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank.
Elumelu added that as African business leaders, and as Africapitalists there were enough resources to make things happen in Africa on if we agree share the opportunities on the continent.
“There are enough of us to make a difference. We need to work together to find ways of increasing trade and investment ties between the BRICS nations and Africa,” he concluded.
Other prominent African business leaders at the meeting including Mo Ibrahim, Isabella Dos Santos and Johann Rupert.
Kaberuka talked on the need to up Africa’s infrastructure for businesses to grow while Angola’s Isabella Dos Santos said there was need for investment in ‘soft infrastructure’ stating broadband technology would have a transformative effective similar to mobile technology in Africa.
Mo Ibrahim talked about Africa’s poor global image and the importance of governance and the need for transparency, fighting corruption and improving education and health.
South African Johann Rupert, Chairman of Richemont and Remgro talked about the critical things he looked for as an investor – regardless of where his investment was located. He listed the four critical areas as: the rule of law, independence of the judiciary, security of property and transparency of markets.