Investments bank, Renaissance Capital, has held its 5th Annual East Africa Investor Conference, which opened yesterday in Nairobi.
The three-day event being held over three days (18-20 September) is an opportunity for those who view East Africa as a potential investment location to network with the region’s companies looking for growth capital.
The firm, says it expects to conduct more than 150 one-on-one meetings between international and domestic investors, and leading corporates from different sectors in the East Africa region such as consumer and retail, pharmaceuticals, insurance, media, utilities, oil & gas, telecoms, finance, cement production and brewing.
Central Bank Governor, Dr Patrick Njoroge gave a keynote speech and said, “Africa is the continent of the future in terms of numbers in population, workforce and the future of work. Numbers are stacked in Africa and people are here looking to make investments.”
“Exchange rate policy is that we should have a flexible exchange rate. The only thing to do is to minimise volatility,” he added.
This year’s conference is themed around the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)-based approach to investments and discussions between corporates showcase how improvements in ESG can have a positive impact on performance and valuations.
While giving his opening speech, Renaissance Capital CEO, Stanley Kariuki commented: “This year we are focusing on the ESG approach to investment because we feel that it is about time we looked at the broader impact and contribution that companies can make as they go about their operations. Countries that invest with a focus on ESG can overcome many other challenges, and the inclusion of the ESG approach to investment can lead to improved business and economic performance, generating greater benefit for Kenya and the African continent as a whole.”
The ESG panel session gathered speakers representing companies from different sectors of the East African economy.
Geoffrey Odundo, CEO, Nairobi Stock Exchange as one of the panelists said, “The Nairobi Stock Exchange wants to see the impact of ESG standards on communities. One of the important elements of setting these standards is running a diversity programme, ensuring that more women are brought on board.”
Nevin Bradford, CEO, CIPLA QCIL: “CIPLA was set up to have a positive impact on the availability of pharmaceuticals in Uganda and across the continent. Our ultimate intent is to always make the most up-to-date available malaria and HIV treatment for Africa and African patients.”
As a pioneer company in Kenya in business sustainability reporting, Safaricom PLC was represented by its Chief of Corporate Affairs, Steve Chege.
Mr Chege said, “We incorporate ESG through getting innovative products to cater for all our clients’ needs. We apply nine of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which are championed by different divisions. Through technology, we have been able to measure our carbon footprint, including having cooling systems for data centres.”
KenGen through its Director of Finance and ICT, John Mudany said whenever they are launching projects, they work with the community in order to restore livelihood, empower the community and raise employment. “Any project or investment is preceded by an environmental check, where potential investors are taken to the sites to do their own research and surveys,” he said.
Now in its fifth year, Renaissance Capital’s East Africa Investor Conference is the Firm’s major regional investor event, in addition to the North Africa Investor Conference, the Pan-Africa Investor Conference and the Russia Investor Conference.