CI VIEW: Republic of Congo seeks non-natural resource sector investments, President

 

WASHINGTON (CI Africa)The Republic of Congo is keen to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) in industry, services and agriculture, President Denis Sassou Nguesso told Capitol Intelligence. [President Denis Sassou Nguesso interviewed by Capitol Intelligence using CI VIEW at the National Press Cub.]

While FDI in the central African nation has to date been concentrated almost exclusively in the oil sector, the president is particularly keen to see investment in telecommunications, information technology and logistics.  Republic of Congo Economy Minister Gilbert Ondongo told Capitol Intelligence that the country is making great efforts to diversify the economy in order to reduce its dependence on oil.

He said he hopes major oil companies such as Chevron (NYSE: CVX) and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) will make direct investments to promote the country’s non-natural resource sector.  

[Republic of Congo Economy Minister Gilbert Ondongo speaks to Capitol Intelligence using CI Glass at National Press Club]

Mamadou Beye, Chevron’s DC-based International government affairs chief, said he would be very open to discuss helping non-natural resource sector companies do business in the Republic of Congo.

Ondongo said that the Republic of Congo is talks with the US financial group Citigroup and Standard Bank of South Africa to establish local banks of the two international groups, Ondongo said.

At present, the Republic of Congo has a mere dozen of banks, the minister said, and the government is keen to see the establishment of the nation’s first investment bank.

The Congolese government would also like to see the foundation of a national development bank with the help of international institutions, he added. Minister Ondongo added that tourism is another priority sector for FDI in the Republic of Congo.

Jose Viega, the head of Africa for Sao Paulo, Brazil-based ASPERBRAS, said the group is building 12 hospitals in Congo, with much of business being paid by Brazilian companies.

A US group operating in the Republic of Congo is Shawnee, Kansas-based Seaboard Corporation (NYSE: SEB) that operates in the logistic and agriculture sector at Port Noire and whose executives were present at the President of Congo’s speech at the National Press Club.

While Africa is now the world’s greatest growth market, providing global companies average annual return on investments between 30% to 40%, many private sector companies fail in Africa for not taking the basic steps of good business practices on the African continent. In fact, the successful investors in Africa such as Microsoft, General Electric, Coca-Cola, and Pepsico all involve a multilateral development agency in any transaction in Africa such as the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), the African Development Bank (AfDB), the US government’s private sector arm Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), and the World Bank’s insurance and political risk division, Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA). 

Former Barclay’s CEO Bob Diamond is in advanced talks with OPIC regarding the co-financing of African financial services groups by his new company Atlas Merchant Capital with Mara Group founder and CEO Ashish Thakkar. 

[Mara Group founder Ashish J. Thakkar speaks to Capitol Intelligence using CI Glass at General Electric Africa Ascending summit in Washington, DC.]

 

In fact, Bob Diamond is in Washington, DC as part of the US-Africa Leaders Summit along with GE CEO Jeff Immelt, Carlyle co-founder David Rubenstein, Standard Bank co-CEO Sim Tashabalala, Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent,  Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris Blackstone CEO and co-founder Stephen Schwarzman, Walmart CEO Doug McMillon and IBM CEO Virginia Rometty.

By PK Semler in Washington, DC. For more information please call +1-202-549-3399 or email pks@capitolintelgroup.com Copyright of Capitol Intelligence Group – Turning Swords into Equity (™)