With the high levels of economic growth that many African countries are currently experiencing, the continent offers many opportunities for businesses looking for new export and import markets. Ed Kostenski, the chief executive officer of US-based private placement lending facilitator, Nationwide Finance, offers insight on financing and supplying equipment for projects in Africa.
How do you view the investment potential in Africa?
I believe that there are many bankable projects in Africa now, as most countries are undertaking major expansion projects, and the construction sector is booming. The project financing market is no longer confined to oil and gas, and telecommunications sectors. Investors are now looking at investment opportunities in Africa more keenly and broadly than ever before due to the high levels of economic growth. Unfortunately, not many companies with contracts for major projects on the continent are utilising offshore financing companies. Perhaps the financing companies need to put more thought and effort in self-promotion and proactively seek bankable opportunities in Africa.
What is track your record in Africa?
Even though much is happening in terms of removing barriers to trade and investment, red tape still exists in many countries, and this discourages foreign trade and investment in Africa. However, the adage ‘no risk, no gain’ is true for African opportunities. Take for example Nigeria and Angola, two countries that investors consider as difficult to do business – Nationwide Finance has successfully completed several deals in the two countries. We financed, supplied and shipped thirty new and used caterpillar motor graders and other equipment with a value of US$8.8-million, which were supplied to the Imo state government Road Authority for road upgrade projects. In Angola, we financed over 160 pieces of equipment comprising of dozers, loaders, graders, excavators, compactors, rock crushers, and temporary living quarters, totalling over US$20- million to INEA, a division of the Angolan government’s Road Works Department.
How would you advice African companies looking to import equipment?
For African companies or governments wishing to import equipment from the U.S.A, I would advise that they conduct due diligence on potential partners to ensure that they have a good track-record in financing, sourcing equipment and shipping. There are many manufacturers and sellers of all types of equipment in the U.S.A. It is important to ensure that the equipment is in good working condition before it is shipped.
Nationwide Finance is a US-based private placement lending facilitator that specialises in raising capital for private companies, governments, and banking institutions in emerging markets to facilitate trade, revolving lines of credit and project financing on a short-term basis. The company operates in many industries including infrastructure, heavy equipment, energy, housing, mining, oil and gas exploration, agriculture, transportation and communications. For queries on project financing, contact Martin Kabaki, regional director for Africa, Nationwide Finance at [email protected]