Ebenezer Onyeagwu, group managing director and chief executive officer of Zenith Bank Plc, has called for increased impact investment in Africa.
In a statement on Sunday, the bank said Onyeagwu made the call in a keynote address at the Africa Investment Risk and Compliance Summit 2021, organised by the Emerging Business Intelligence and Innovation (EBII) Group on July 30 at the University of Oxford, UK.
In the address entitled: ‘Leveraging Impact Investment Opportunities for Growth in Africa’, Onyeagwu described impact investing as an investment that yields optimal returns for investors.
He added that impact investing is one that prioritises value for all stakeholders and guarantees the continued sustenance and existence of humanity.
The GMD said such a form of investment is needed to enable the continent to achieve its full potentials.
He said Africa is “the new frontier” for global growth with huge investment opportunities in agriculture, healthcare, housing, infrastructure, electricity, and the creative sectors.
Onyeagwu expressed optimism that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) initiative will grant investors access to the entire continent.
“Therefore, I implore investors in the agribusiness value chain to focus attention on Africa for organic food production, instead of genetically modified food in other climes,” he said.
“As a socially responsible organisation, Zenith Bank continues to promote impact investment in Africa.
“For example, the bank has maintained strong advocacy for investment in Africa through its flagship sponsorship of ‘Inside Africa’ on CNN for 16 consecutive years.
“This is helping to highlight the immense creativity and talent that abound on the continent and the enormous investment opportunities.
“The bank leverages its in-depth knowledge of the African market to guide investors and hedge their exposures.”
Onyeagwu called for a paradigm shift for improved accountability in leadership.
He said the continent remains under work in progress, adding that leaders in the public and private sectors must champion the changes they want to see by paying close attention to responsibility and accountability.
The Zenith Bank MD also called for the de-risking of Africa through reforms, improved ease of doing business, respect for the rule of law and sanctity of contract and human capital development.