The Africa Hotel Investment Forum organized by Bench Events ended today in Addis Ababa. At UNWTO’s request, Bench Events were asked to present the investment community’s perspective of what Brand Africa represents. They conducted a survey on doing business in Africa and media influence and then presented the results at http://www.africa-conference.com/index.php/forms/unwto-presentation. The summary and presentation are worth reading.

Not surprisingly, most of the respondents who have not done business in Africa were often influenced negatively by media coverage and perceived the barriers to entry as negative. As Bench Events reported,  “the organisations/individuals stay out of market because of perceived risks and negative perceptions portrayed to them but, once business has been transacted, it seems that those misconceptions are eased and the issues become more about processes. It would infer that getting people into the market is a great way to break down barriers BUT, once in, Governments need to enforce easier working practices.”

A key lesson from the survey is that Governments have a critical role to play in building investor confidence and facilitating processes. This is a lesson, of course, not just for Africa, but for every destination. Make it as easy as possible for investors to enter your market and your destination will benefit. That means good governance, transparency, streamlining regulatory processes, and assisting with both hard and soft infrastructure.

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