VENTURES AFRICA – Leading Indian business enterprises, Bharti Group, is set to effect major expansion plans in Africa, which, it says, has high growth potential and needs huge investments for infrastructure development.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday; Founder and Group CEO of Bharti Group, Sunil Bharti Mittal, said the group hopes to deepen its commitment in investing in Africa but says infrastructure could become a major challenge for the continent’s growth.
He highlighted the fact that Africa would need a lot of investment in infrastructure.
“Africa is a very large continent that (still needs) a lot of investment in infrastructure,” Mittal said. “It (infrastructure) is to my mind the greatest risk to Africa’s growth story. If you can have hard infrastructure in place, that is where the governments must concentrates.”
He added that the $93 billion (investment) in infrastructure (in Africa) is not enough. “It is a large continent, it has got a lot of catching up to do,” Mittal said.
He also urged African governments to spend as much as possible on infrastructure. “Governments should go for broke, and get as much infrastructure built as possible. Can you imagine if Africa was to start investing heavily in infrastructure?”
“The commitment that people like us have made in the continent (Africa) is good. We want to expand in Africa,” Mittal said
“From the point of view of investors, one of the things to see is the political leadership, to secure investments, to ensure that there are no major fallouts of any terror activity which have recently developed, importantly manage foreign exchange which does not deliver shocks, develop robust financial sector like India, deeper stock markets and the rest will follow,” the Bharti boss added.
Mittal’s Bharti Airtel is one of the world’s biggest mobile phone companies (in terms of subscriber base) in Africa with operations in more than 15 African countries.