PRESS RELEASE AFRICA THE NEXT FRONTIER FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH- EQUITY BANK CEO Africa’s meltdown fundamentally different from that in the West New York, 22nd September, 2009… Africa is poised to be the next big investment region in the world despite the current global economic downturn. Equity Bank Chief Executive Officer Dr James Mwangi said Africa’s economic potential remained largely untapped and asked international investors to take advantage of the enormous investment opportunities that continue to beckon from the continent. Addressing the Ai Africa Investor Conference at the New York Stock Exchange, Dr Mwangi said Africa was not directly affected by the global economic downturn like the west, even though its capital authorities markets had seen some downturn as international investors tried to forestall further meltdown. “Africa is the next frontier for economic growth in the world as investment opportunities in the continent are still highly profitable. The potential for highly profitable foreign investment in Africa is enormous, but many investors remain unaware of current opportunities” said Dr Mwangi. Dr Mwangi, who addressed a forum of top CEOs from Africa at a forum titled: “Recapitalisation in the current market downturn,” noted that Africa's exposure to the global meltdown was fundamentally different from that in developed countries as its economies are mostly based on hard cash. This means that lack of bank liquidity that translated into lower lending was not the main problem in Africa, unlike in the West and what affected most economies in Africa was the depressed global demand for natural resources that provided the lion's share of incomes. Dr Mwangi said Kenya had positioned itself as an investment destination in the region with key reforms in several key areas including political reforms, constitutional reforms, and financial sector reforms. The country had also embarked on Implementation of Vision 2030 which will put Kenya as a globally competitive and prosperous nation with a high quality of life by 2030. Dr Mwangi said the future for economic growth in Kenya and the East Africa region remained robust, adding that Equity Bank had continued to post good performance with its continued growth path with full operations in Uganda and Southern Sudan. Speaking on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals in Africa, Dr Mwangi said Equity Bank was complementing the government of Kenya by empowering the education of women in a bid to achieve universal primary education, “We empower parents to generate income which encourages self sustenance and keeps children in school” Dr Mwangi said. He said this was done through existing products in the bank like Fanikisha which target women, and availing education loans and saving products targeting parents who have young children in school. The Africa Investor conference brings together African CEO’s to engage global emerging market investors .
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