Top CFOs reveal global crises can benefit Africa


CFO SA and Standard Bank dinner unpacks the advantages of Africa’s local supply chains.

In a week where global tensions have escalated and supply chains face even more pressure, top CFOs gathered around the dinner table at The Oyster Box in Durban. During the delectable three-course dinner, hosted by CFO South Africa in partnership with Standard Bank CIB, guests agreed that crises like the Covid-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war have given countries with shorter supply chains, like Africa, an advantage.

“Supply chain problems around the world are arising because of globalisation,” one CFO said, referring to the dependence of businesses on global supply chains like Russia and China, which have been disrupted by the pandemic and war.

While the rest of the world tries to turn to nationalisation to strengthen their supply chains, domestic markets in Africa have become even more integrated. At the same time, South African corporates are reaping the benefits of localisation programmes.

“Crises elsewhere in the world are good for business in Africa,” another CFO explained. The local supply chains, high unemployment rates and low cost of doing business are attracting more investors into the continent.

In addition, the rest of the world is turning to Africa to learn resilience skills that have proven invaluable in a world that’s becoming more unpredictable.

And while guests around the table remain cautious of loadshedding, civil unrest and the recent floods are making investors cautious as South Africa becomes harder to insure, it is also teaching local organisations to diversify and grow into other regions of Africa.

They further agreed that the only way to ensure that investment in South Africa continues is for the private sector to partner with the government to improve the country’s infrastructure, support local communities and improve the economy.

However, they acknowledged that it was hard to get buy-in from the government, and that it was also up to organisations to partner with other businesses.

As the evening came to an end, the CFOs around the table all shared their optimism about the great potential that lies in Africa. They concluded that it is up to South African organisations to tap into that potential and leverage their advantages to build a sustainable future for the country.

Those in attendance were:

  • Akesh Bansee, Unilever South Africa VP of finance
  • Alastair Petticrew, Bidvest Insurance FD
  • Anusha Ramraj, CCI South Africa FD
  • Caylynne Fourie, CFO South Africa managing editor
  • Clive Potter, Standard Bank South Africa head of corporate and investment banking
  • Doug Kasambala, Illovo Sugar Africa group FD
  • Georgina Guedes, CFO South Africa executive community director
  • Junaid Jadwat, Standard Bank KZN head of client coverage
  • Muhammad Kadwa, FR Waring CFO
  • Paulo Marques, InterCement South Africa CFO
  • Rob Aitken, Tongaat Hulett CFO
  • Sean Capazorio, Aspen Pharmacare CFO
  • Shaun Govender, Toyota Tsusho Africa CFO

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