Published On: Sat, Jun 18th, 2016

South Africa’s Richest Man Christo Wiese Says Stick Around and Have Deep Pockets

“Africa is on the move...consumers are more affluent and better educated. Inflation has been tamed, armed conflict and violence is down”

Christo-Wiese

 

Christo Weise, owner of Pepkor Holdings, the chairman of the nation’s biggest retailer Shoprite Holdings Ltd., 5 top retailers in the world with 6, 000 shops in three continents,  has some advice for companies looking to tap the spending power of Africa’s 1.2 billion consumers: stick around and have deep pockets.

 

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The 74 yeras old said in an address to the Consumer Goods Forum’s global summit in Cape Town: “Make very sure Africa is where you want to be, ” Bloomberg reports.

Wiese, 74, who has a net worth of $6.6 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires index, said “I am an Africa optimist. Whatever the negatives, there are many positives.”

There were more than one optemistic businessman including Martin Sorrell, the chief executive officer of WPP Plc, the world’s largest advertising company, Gareth Ackerman, the chairman of South African retailer Pick n Pay Stores Ltd., Nestle SA Chief Executive Officer Paul Bulcke and South African Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

What the optemistics say?

  • The slowdown in many African nations and other emerging markets is likely to be temporary, with their economies expected to grow twice as fast as developed markets for the foreseeable future,
  • The populations are growing and they have more money
  • Africa attracted $71.3 billion of foreign direct investment last year, down from $88.5 billion the year before, accounting firm EY said in its 2016 Africa Attractiveness report last month.
  • South Africa, Morocco, Egypt and Kenya were ranked the top investment destinations.

The continent’s poor transport links, inadequate power supply and excessive red tape are the biggest constraints to investment and growth, according to Wiese. In some cases, the company has had to build its own roads to enable customers to access its stores, he said.

BLOOMBERG by MIKE COHEN AND PAUL VECCHIATTO

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