Africa Investors Looking Beyond Negative Headlines -World Bank

Written by Kevin Mwanza

Written by Pascal Fletcher | From Reuters

Investors in Africa are increasingly able to see beyond negative headlines of violence in nations like South Sudan, Nigeria and Kenya, but they also seek more protection against risk for their business ventures, a senior World Bank official said.

“There was a time when Africa for many investors was just like a big, big country,” Michel Wormser, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), said.

“When something happened in one side of Africa, it seemed to affect perceptions of the whole continent,” he told Reuters in Johannesburg on Tuesday during a visit to South Africa and Namibia.

“This is not the case today. Many investors understand the difference between countries and even understand the difference within a country between regions and sectors,” he said.

The World Bank agency provides political risk insurance and credit cover for investors in developing nations often emerging from years of conflict.

Wormser said most investors in Africa now had enough sophistication to discern long-term opportunities despite a flurry of negative news, ranging from civil war in the world’s newest nation, South Sudan, to bombs by suspected Islamist militants in Kenya and the abduction of more than 200 schoolgirls in Nigeria by Islamist group Boko Haram.

“There is more understanding of the riskiness and more ability from investors to distinguish between what is media hype and what is the reality on the ground, and the likeliness of their investment to yield what they expect,” he added.

“Africa continues to be a land of great opportunities.”

Read more at Reuters