Not so long ago, anyone with the talent and means was heading out of Africa in search of better paid and more fulfilling professional work.
That’s all changing and the emotional appeal of a return to the home country is playing a less important part in the Back to Africa decision than the jobs and opportunities suddenly opening up thanks to fast economic growth and expanding financial markets.
As came out of the Reuters African Investment Summit, banks need talented and experienced staff who also understand Africa and there just aren’t enough of such people on the ground to meet the needs.
There are lots of suitable people in the world’s big financial centres, where African professionals who left in search of better lives have now honed their skills in senior jobs.
While there might be an excess of investment bankers for the likes of some in sluggish Western economies, there is lots of demand in Africa.
“The biggest competition we see here is the competition for people,” John Coulter, JP Morgan Chase’s CEO for sub-Saharan Africa, told the Summit.
While many African countries have plenty of experienced retail and commercial bankers in their domestic markets, investment banking skills are rare.
“There is a very strong need for strengthening skills in project finance, in capital markets, in investment banking, even asset management,” the governor of Nigeria’s central bank, Lamido Sanusi, told the Summit in Lagos.
© Reuters 2011