Day one of ‘Realising the Growth Opportunity’ kicked-off in apt African fashion slightly later than scheduled. Nevertheless, the Safari Park’s beautiful surroundings and ambient weather lent itself perfectly to some early networking.
John Raquet Managing Director of gasworld welcomed guests, “Good Morning ladies and gentlemen, and honorary guests, thank you all for coming. Welcome to the second African Gases Conference. This is gasworld’s sixth conference and it is traditional that each year we like to hold these at emerging, exciting regions. The aim of this particular conference is to discover what the drivers for growth are in this region.” Raquet concluded by emphasising attendees’ shared faith in the region. He remarked, “I truly believe that Africa has great potential for our industry overall.”
Following this, proceedings were formally initiated in style with an array of venerable speakers. Key sponsor Carbacid’s Chairman, Hon James Wanjigi opened by calling attendees into action, “not tomorrow, or next year, but now”. He remarked, “We must address the challenge ahead. By a concerted action, designed to exploit the vast potential on which we are sitting. The vast amounts of money that may be required may seem scary but all we really require is a sense of direction and commitment. On our part, as Carbacid, we have an aggressive agenda in front of us and nothing will stop us from driving forwards. Ladies and gentlemen, our future of this region and great continent rests in you.”
Putting into action Wanjigi’s rousing speech, were the first speakers of the day; Nick Mbuvi Corporate Banking Director for East Africa at Barclay’s bank and Minister Moses Mosibo, Acting Commissioner for Mines and Geology. Mbuvi’s presentation, ‘Economic / Financial Investment Climate in Africa’ outlined the progressive economy and overall potential of the region.
He began, “Through my presentation I hope to convince you that Africa is a growing continent, and that now is a time for Africa.” Mbuvi went on to describe Africa’s recent resilience to the global financial crisis, “Africa has been in a unique position, outside of Africa this was one of the worst financial crises in recent history. Nevertheless, a lot of African countries during 2008-2009 posted growth and rebounded very quickly. Meanwhile the statistics in Europe show that it is still in recession. Clearly, we can say that something is going right for Africa, indeed Africa never really went down.”
Subsequent speaker, Mosibo, reiterated Mbuvi’s confidence in the region and welcomed attendees to this African confluence. He stated, “I wish to welcome all of you to Kenya, please feel most welcome... Kenya is a free country with a lot of opportunities and therefore you will be most welcome.”
He added, “All of us like change - change for the better, and I do believe we can say that there is change sweeping across Africa. In Kenya right now we are looking at a number of changes... Welcome to Kenya, the land of opportunity.”
Prior to lunch, delegates were treated to three further presentations. Stephen Vilijoen, from Kryo Afrika maintained the financial theme, by addressing ‘Investing in Africa’. Following on from this, John Raquet of Spiritus Consulting, broached current day markets and trends, and taking a more technical turn, Javier Santiago of SA Calcium Carbide closed the morning session by discussing Carbide Supply in Africa.
Delegates adjourned for lunch which today has been generously sponsored by Union Engineering; discussion is rife, debate is in flow and the delicious spread looks apt to set the flavour for an engaging afternoon.