Investment in Africa: The reality behind the headlines. A Dentons Horizon Brief

Held on Tuesday, January 22, 2019


  • Nicholas Westcott (Royal African Society)

  • Ben Shepherd (Chatham House)

  • Razia Khan (Standerd Chartered)

  • Rupert Boyd (Africa Alpha Investment Partners)

  • Joel Kibazo (JK Associates)



The next in our series of Horizon Briefs – partnering with Dentons (now the world’s largest law firm) – covers the UK government’s pledge to deepen economic and trade ties with Africa, with the aim of overtaking the US to become the biggest G7 investor in the region by 2022.

That’s heady stuff – and (as someone whose PhD thesis was on foreign investment in Nigeria) it is a commitment that I personally welcome. But, equally, as someone with long experience of Africa, I can remember other initiatives that have gone nowhere. Is it different this time? Are we really serious about liberating Africa’s real potential? To discuss these (and all the other related) issues, I am delighted that we have been able to pull together an exceptionally knowledgeable panel:

  • Nick Westcott, Director of the Royal African Society, and a former senior official with the FCO and EU. He is a former High Commissioner to Ghana and Ambassador to Côte d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Togo.

  • Ben Shepherd, consulting Fellow in the Africa programme at Chatham House. He was the FCO’s specialist on Central Africa and African conflict from 2004 to 2011.

  • Razia Khan, chief economist for Africa and the Middle East at Standard Chartered. She also serves on the WEF’s Global Future Council on Migration and was named as one of the “100 Most Influential Africans” (she was born in Botswana) by New African magazine.

  • Rupert Boyd, founding partner at African Alpha. He spent 25 years in investment banking with Morgan Stanley and Standard Bank, before co-founding AAIP in 2012. He also sits on the boards of several Africa-focused companies.

  • Joel Kibazo, founding partner of JK Associates. He began his career as a journalist (with the BBC and FT), before moving to the Commonwealth Secretariat, the African Development Bank and FTI Consulting. He set up his own boutique at the beginning of 2018, specialising in African business and finance.

No one seriously doubts Africa’s potential – but unlocking it has always been tricky. Nonetheless, the upside potential is huge. If you (or a colleague) would like to join us for what I am sure will be a stimulating discussion, please let us know by emailing or by calling the Centre on 0207 621 1056. As usual, there will be coffee, tea and buns.

Sincerely yours,

Andrew Hilton