Business & Economy

Thursday, 31 October 2019 14:53

A new international business network launches to connect Africa and Scotland

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Africa Scotland Business Network

A new Scottish diasporic business network with enormous support from business and government is launching in Africa. The launch event of the Africa Scotland Business Network will take place on 6 November at Bowmans in Cape Town, playing host to the likes of Scottish government, local and international businesses and strategic partners.

The Africa Scotland Business Network (ASBN) is a dynamic, Scottish diasporic network based in Africa connecting the fast-developing African continent with the progressive spirit and booming industries of Scotland. It’s a fully independent membership network of highly skilled business people and companies founded by a diverse team of successful Scottish and African entrepreneurs. Africa Scotland Business Network will strengthen economic, social and cultural ties between the two lands, leveraging the massive potential to increase trade and relations between Africa and Scotland.Working with a range of strategic partners in both regions, ASBN connects its trusted members to the right contacts, new business opportunities and international resources such as industry, marketing and geographical expertise. Membership benefits also include highly curated networking and business events intended to inspire progressive ideas and, more importantly, new business relations between its multicultural members.

Claire Alexander, a Scottish entrepreneur living in South Africa and co-founder of ASBN says, “I’ve not only observed the strength and size of the Scottish diaspora in Africa but also the similarities in our identities and business values. Our people share a unique spirit, a deep sense of culture, creativity and entrepreneurship. The inevitable move was to create a collectively led business network built by entrepreneurs, one that embraces our common ground as well as prospering in the rich diversity of the African business ecosystem”. In this instance, international networks are essential to building direct relations between members and countries. Fortuitously, the Scottish Government's new strategy paper “Scotland, a trading nation” clearly sets out their intention to become a stronger and more connected country; one that is reaching out to existing trading partners as well as new ones they wish to develop mutually beneficial ties with.

ASBN’s partner network includes heavy weights such as the Scottish Africa Business Association (SABA), Scottish Business Network (SBN), Scottish Development International (SDI) and Scottish Enterprise (SE).“SABA believes that Scotland's strengths in sectors such as Oil & Gas, renewable energy, education and training, agriculture, aquaculture, technology and financial services matches closely the priority sectors of many governments in Africa, and given our shared history, affinity and diaspora networks there is huge scope for increasing trade and prosperity for all”, articulates Frazer Lang, CEO of SABA.Andrew Monaghan, Head of Africa at Scottish Development International says, “Support from SDI can unlock the gateway to relevant agencies and institutions that will be instrumental in ensuring platforms like ASBN can tap into what their members need. SDI has extensive dealings and relationships, not only with our industries and private companies, but also in the education and training sectors, government, media and the voluntary sectors”. With their support they would like to realise a greater and more distinctive relationship between Africa and Scotland.

They would like to see more focussed events that take African business to Scotland and vice versa.CEO of Wesgro, Tim Harris says, “Networks such as the Africa Scotland Business Network are important to build relationships and open up business opportunities between nations and regions. Wesgro welcomes the launch of a Scottish diaspora network which will enhance relations locally between Scottish and African owned business people. In 2017, Wesgro undertook a trade mission to Edinburgh with now Premier Alan Winde to discuss ongoing collaboration and opportunities between South Africa and Scotland. We believe these meetings were successful and laid the groundwork for trade and investment prospects between us”. Alexander concludes, “We’ve worked hard to gain the trust and incredible support from top private sector partners and government. We can’t wait to see the network contribute to unfolding the immense potential here in Africa and in our shared economies”.The organisation also welcomes businesses from other countries who have a real interest in doing business with Scottish and African companies in the Africa Scotland Business Network.

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