Nigeria’s Tomi Davies, who is the president of the African Business Angels Network, will hold a keynote speech on the second day of Africa Works!, the largest event in The Netherlands that focuses on doing business in Africa. The 3rd edition will take place in November under the theme ‘Innovation in finance.’
Securing finance is an important hurdle for local entrepreneurs as well as foreign companies that operate in Africa.
“Access to finance is a very important theme for our members,” said Irene Visser, Managing Director of the Netherlands-African Business Council (NABC). “Companies that approach banks for investment funds in Africa are still met with skepticism, unfortunately. Existing possibilities are not being explored. Whether you are a startup or a bigger company looking for an investment of millions, Africa Works! is the place to be.” The third edition of Africa Works! will be organised together with development bank FMO and the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Entrepreneurs in Africa often meet unexpected challenges, and are faced with steep interest rates which are often well above 20 percent. Therefore, Africa takes the lead in coming up with innovative solutions which bypass the traditional banking sector. Visser: “In Kenya, only 10 percent of the people have an official bank account. But over 75 percent of them can send money, through their mobile phones. Technology creates new possibilities for them.”
Africa Works! is organised by NABC in cooperation with the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL). “Africa Works 2016 promises to be an important bridge that will help promote business cooperation and cross fertilization of ideas between Dutch and African businesses in diverse areas including business finance,” said Professor Ton Dietz, Director of ASCL.
The historical halls of the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) in Amsterdam have been chosen as the picturesque venue for Africa Works!, which will take place on November 10 and 11. The event will be opened by Klaas Knot, the President of the Central Bank of The Netherlands (De Nederlandsche Bank). Another prominent speaker is Amine Bouabid, CEO of the Bank of Africa – a bank which is active in 17 African countries, with total assets of USD 6 billion.
The gracious Ugandan BBC journalist Nancy Kacungira will moderate the event. Africa Works! Is expecting between 400 and 500 participants, ranging from fintech startups to prominent banks and financing institutions.