Zambian born prominent African investment banker Justin Chinyanta says Africa still offers plenty of opportunities despite the many challenges present on the continent.
Mr Chinyanta who is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Loita Holdings Corporation Africa said natural resources are plentiful on the continent but need to be developed to full potential.
He said which African entrepreneurs face challenges of poor infrastructure such as electricity-load shedding, unreliable telephone networks, poor road systems, cumbersome border delays, abundant labour but limited skilled resources and burdensome and frequently changing regulatory requirements including the difficulty of accessing capital.
Mr Chinyanta whose Loita Capital has arranged over $3Billion of deals throughout the continent was speaking in Lusaka during the Nyamuka Zambia National Business Conference.
“If African entrepreneurs do things differently, in my view, it is because of the exigency of the developmental issues they face, This means that they must run twice as hard as the entrepreneur in the West and East to just stay in the same place, but still they thrive,” Mr Chinyanta said.
He added, “That is not to say that Africa does not present opportunities for the entrepreneur, young populations are willing to try new ideas, really handy for a market.”
Mr Chinyanta has since called for the setting up of venture capital fund to fund viable SMEs in Zambia.
“In this regard I am passionate about enabling the accessing of capital by SMEs in particular. Let us see a venture capital fund specifically to focus on the funding of viable ideas and Greenfield enterprises. Such a fund (unlike the CEEC) should not be an initiative of government but a PPP (Public Private Partnership), the private sector (through a body such as the Zambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry-ZACCI) in joint venture with government but managed by the private sector,” he said.
He added, “Personally I would like to cede some capital to such an initiative, it makes great business sense. In addition to addressing the SME capital requirements, technical advisory capacity and business culture enhancement (including the fostering of a culture that respects debt) would also need to be included as part of the total package.”
Mr Chinyanta is a Zambian trained lawyer with a Bachelor’s degree in law from the University of Zambia and is a specialist and an expert in the financial markets of eastern and southern Africa, with over twenty years of professional experience in commercial and investment banking in the region.
Prior to forming Loita Holdings Corporation, he held senior positions with Citibank and HSBC Equator Bank in Africa.
Mr. Chinyanta sits on various Boards of private African corporations and NGOs as well as serves on Zambian Investment and Business Advisory Committee.
He is also the Executive Vice President for the Southern Africa Chapter of the Africa Business Roundtable and has been appointed on the Expert Roster of the United Nations Institute for the Training and Research for the Debt, Financial Management & Negotiation Programmes.
Mr Chinyanta was invited by Harvard University Weatherhead Center for International Affairs (WCFIA) to become a Fellow.