Business & Economy

Thursday, 07 November 2019 14:42

Joint investment in business network by Africa and Scotland

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Africa Scotland Business Network founders with a few guests

An all-new business network creating cross-continental partnerships for trade and industry between Africa and Scotland has officially launched – the Africa Scotland Business Network (ASBN). ASBN is already supported by businesses and authorities alike both locally and abroad.

Founding member and entrepreneur Kaz Henderson comments, “Investment into Africa and South Africa is a hot topic at the moment. Over the past few days President Cyril Ramaphosa has addressed various international companies at the SA Investment Conference with the goal of building relationships and exploring ways to ignite growth together. There are also several industry events like AfricaCom, African Agri Investment Indaba and Africa Oil Week that aim to increase business on the continent. With such big events in the news, it’s energising to collaborate with businesspeople on the ground working towards the same goals. The launch of the Africa Scotland Business Network shows a real commitment to fostering stronger relationships between African countries and Scotland, creating real opportunities for all levels of business.”The Africa Scotland Business Network (ASBN) is an independent business network based in Africa. It connects African and Scottish professionals and enterprises to increase the potential for trade and relations between the two lands, as well as to strengthen social and cultural ties. In addition, the organisation welcomes members from other countries who have a real interest in doing business with the Africa and Scotland business diasporas.The network connects its members with relevant business contacts, new business opportunities and international resources such as industry, marketing and geographical expertise. It’s founding members represent key shared economies in Africa and Scotland including agriculture, agritech, oil and gas, renewable energy, technology, international business strategy, education and more.Working with a range of strategic partners in both regions is integral to building mutually beneficial relationships with each other.

To this end ASBN works with a range of government and private sector partners such as the Scottish Africa Business Association (SABA), Scottish Business Network (SBN), Scottish Development International (SDI) and Scottish Enterprise (SE).Speaking at the launch, Andrew Monaghan, Africa regional manager at Scottish Development International said, “We want to develop a trading relationship with Africa bigger than the one we have now. Through a progressive relationship where we both enjoy each other’s people, ideas and cultures, we can ultimately build business ecosystems. SDI is doing great work connecting Scotland with the world, but there are simply too few of us… we cannot cover this vast African continent. Suffice to say our strategy centres around forming mutually beneficial relations with people and organisations that can help us, and that is why we welcome the creation of the Africa Scotland Business Network and pledge our support to achieve our common goals.”

Claire Alexander, a Scottish entrepreneur living in South Africa and a founding member of ASBN says their primary objective when conceptualising the Africa Scotland Business Network was to develop a business network collective that could assist each other on the ground in Africa but also encourage African and Scottish business to take advantage of the immense opportunities in our shared economies. The venture has been developed and launched by entrepreneurs in Africa and Scotland that understand business, have international relations and showcase opportunities for businesses in Africa and Scotland. “We all experience different challenges in business. I know too well the value of a strong business network. They have been utterly intrinsic to the success of my own businesses here in Africa”, she says.At the event, Alexander said, “In Scotland we have a phrase “we're a' Jock Tamson's bairns”, the modern sense meaning "we're all the same under the skin, or we are all one". In the same way Africa celebrates Ubuntu “the spirit of Africa”, essentially the essence of humanity and the connectedness that exists between us. I am because we are. Now, can you imagine what we can achieve together as one dynamic network with this incredible support around us?”.

Steven Craig, founding member and Africa head of Craig International Pty, remarks, “I am delighted to be part of this initiative to support collaboration between Scotland and Africa. With our business headquartered in Aberdeen, Scotland, our division in Cape Town supports clients in the oil and gas industry throughout Africa. This network will enable us to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead in the vibrant, emerging markets across Africa and strengthen ties and promote trade links between the two”.At the launch event held on the 6th of November in Cape Town, the Africa Scotland Business Network recreated a little piece of Scotland in Africa, welcoming over 150 business leaders, government and diplomats from ten different countries. The next step is to host the first member event in Africa and, excitingly, to take a little piece of Africa to Scotland in early 2020 to promote the incredible opportunities that lie in Africa for Scottish investors.

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