The emergence of homegrown African multinationals over the past decade is one of the great African success stories of the 21st century.
Companies like MTN, UBA, Shoprite, Oando, Ecobank, Dangote, Equity Bank, to name a few, have been shining examples of pan-African success; homegrown brands that are re-writing the African story, and helping transform and integrate the continent through their cross-border investments. Because of these companies, intra-Africa FDI – ‘Africans investing in Africa’ – has seen a spectacular growth, never before seen in the continent’s history. Without a doubt, these companies are champions of Africa’s emergence.
The AfroChampions Initiative wishes to support African emerging multinationals by advocating a set of game-change policy initiatives to encourage intra-African FDI in the next 5 years. One of the big proposed ideas is to create ‘african hubs’ that attract and enable African multinational companies and investors to flourish. This is the ‘Hub project’ that we are developing and that we are putting forward in our discussions with the committees in charge of defining the legal framework of the future African Continental Free Trade Area.
The key reforms needed for the AfroChampions Hub project, are focusing on visa free access for African investors, creation of special work permits for Africans operating around ‘African Reference Projects’ (ARPs) fiscal incentives to encourage intra-African investments from individuals and companies, facilitation of company setup and JV setup. We are also considering promoting on a regular basis a database of identified ARPs.
Following the official announcement on the side-lines of the African Union Summit in January 2017, the AfroChampions team has been reaching out to all relevant stakeholders, with a specific focus on African companies and African institutions and officials. It is indeed our view that only a stronger, more frequent and constructive dialogue between private and public decision-makers will allow for this ambitious project to become a reality. The Hub project requires commitment, expertise and ideas from both sides.