Wednesday, 17 June 2009

WEF: Investment Climate and Climate Change

The World Economic Forum in Cape Town last week brought together the public, private and non-governmental sector, as well as media and commentators on Africa.

A quick summary of some of the sessions I attended...

Investment Climate: A Better Way of Doing Business
  • Jeremy Ord: Executive chairman, Dimension Data: Need the right infrastructure for business – including telecommunications, otherwise foreign investors will stay away.
  • Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya: Have to knock down the hurdles to doing business, such as lengthy legal and operational processes - but this has to be permanent, not temporary measures.
  • Cecilia Ibru, CEO, Oceanic Bank International: Banks need to re-establish trust with consumers and business customers.
  • Omari Issa, CEO, Investment Climate Facility: African media needs to be part of changing the perception of Africa as a good place for business, as investors still often look to international media for info – needs to come from the inside.

    Addressing Climate Change: An African Imperative
  • Buyelwa Patience Sonjica, Minister Water & Environment, SA: We need to demystify climate change, so everyone understands the meaning, the impact.
  • Ulla Tornaes, Minister of Development Cooperation, Denmark: Climate change is a global issue that needs global solutions involving all stakeholders – public, private sector and civil society.
  • Marcus Aguis, Chariman, Barclays, UK: Investors are looking for future business opportunities that make sense, ways to diversify our income – that will include emissions trading. The capital will be there for investments that address climate change.
  • Robert Godsell, Non-executive chairman, Eskom Holdings: Not a question of development or climate change mitigation – has to be both. Should always be development. Business people are always more optimistic than scientists and academics. The two powerful forces for future solution will be technology and market forces.
  • Tom Boardman, CEO, Nedbank: We can’t underestimate the scale of this issue. We can’t treat the parts – needs a big solution. Technology is important, but takes a while to come on stream, so before we can adapt we need to mitigate. Preserving rainforests is one of the best returns on investment we can make. Already 200 mn people in African under ‘water stress’, with or without climate change. We can’t afford to lose another decade.

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