Bob Geldof, KBE, has called for pension funds to invest more in Africa, rather than China, in a keynote speech at the National Association of Pension Funds conference in Liverpool.
Geldof told the conference delegates that it is easier to invest in Africa than China. “You go there and there are one thousand opportunities presented; this is the last continent to be built,” he said. Geldof attacked current political ideas and said the 21st century needed a new approach to business. “The defining metric of the 21st century must be co-operation, consensus and compromise, all things that in our political system people back away from. But what is the alternative? Competition. That defined the 20th century and look what it spawned.”
He added that pension funds have a vital role to play and should embrace it: “You might think you are in a dull old industry that is wrestling with Osborne’s latest pronouncements, but in truth, the economy is pushing you, regardless, to areas of great need; we need infrastructure for the economy, and we need housing. The only way to go forward with any of this is to embrace it and have sense of where things should be, and embrace that with deep conviction and commitment.”
Geldof is the chairman of a private equity fund 8 Miles which focuses on consumer-driven businesses and service providers in Africa. The 900 million population of Africa is expected to grow at 2% a year and the increased size of the working age group, which enjoys rising real incomes, are expected to drive the consumer economy. Africa’s external debt levels have reduced significantly due to debt relief programmes and better fiscal discipline.