Those investing in emerging economies must generate a greater sense of trust and abide by sustainable principles if they are to yield positive returns. Bongani Investment Group is doing just that

As consumers have come to value and admire the grand ambitions of sustainability, so too have businesses sought to instil company-wide ideologies inspired by similar ethical concerns. Corporate philanthropy has, of late, become a highly investible trait, and sustainability a foundational pillar of corporate social responsibility; organisations are expected to demonstrate highly principled means of undertaking business if they are to be considered successful on all fronts.

However, in instances wherein administrative and bureaucratic issues obstruct progress, methods of sustainability are too often neglected in favour of unadulterated profit-making potential. Nowhere is this more strikingly the case than in emerging markets: with corporate governance often far short of Western standards, investors too readily submit to corruption. One such nation – in which transparency is lacking, corruption is all-too-common, though the potential for growth is great – is Angola.

Obstacles to investment

Though macroeconomic stability has been improved by the government having introduced extensive reforms, and foreign exchange reserves have been rebuilt (notably by a thriving extractive sector) Angola’s attractiveness to investors is hindered by a marked lack of transparency. The World Bank’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ ranking places Angola at 172 of 185 participating nations, in part representing the obstacles to those looking to invest there.

The Heritage Foundation’s 2012 report on the nation notes that Angola’s “overall regulatory environment remains constrained by a lack of commitment to policies that support open markets.” This again signalled the importance to investors of instilling a greater sense of economic freedom

in the country, particularly in pushing regulatory changes.

Africa strategist at Standard Bank, Yvette Babb, says of the investment climate: “What’s been critical in the past 18 months has been creating a better business environment for companies to operate in Angola – improving the stability of the macro fundamentals as well as opening up to foreign investors and ensuring they are able to follow the many requirements in terms of license and registration. That has been the most significant recent shift – there is increased transparency and an increased ambition to create an institutionalised framework for macroeconomic management.” Babb moreover states that: “The [changes] that were started under the IMF are likely to have a long shelf life as there seems to be a strong commitment to improving domestic processes.”