[Interview] N. Justin Chinyanta, Chairman and CEO, Loita Group
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A Zambian national residing in Johannesburg, South Africa, N. Justin Chinyanta is the founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Loita Holdings Corporation. Mr. Chinyanta is a specialist and an expert in the financial markets of Sub-Sahara Africa, with over twenty years of professional experience in commercial and investment banking in the region complemented by an extensive network of senior level African private business, donor and government contacts. He has played a leading role in developing African capital markets in Southern East Africa, pioneering debt paper structures for issuers in Uganda, Kenya, Zambia, Malawi and Tanzania. Additionally he has structured trade and project facilities in excess of USD 6 billion for Loita's various clients in the region.
Mr. Chinyanta is the Executive Vice` President for the Southern Africa Chapter of the Africa Business Roundtable (ABR), and for the past 10 years has served on the Expert Roster of the United Nations Institute for Training and Research for the Debt, Financial Management & Negotiation Programs.
Please tell us about your company.
Loita is a leading pan-African investment banking boutique that has always led the advising on, structuring and issuing of pioneering commercial paper and bond issues for private sector borrowers across Africa.
Founded in 1992 by myself and a group of international bankers originally in Kenya, the Loita Group has since grown into a unique pan-African group, headquartered out of Mauritius, with a dedicated team of professionals from around the world. In 2005 and 2006, Loita was voted by Africa Investor magazine as the best Financial Consultancy to Africa.
What can African governments do, individually and jointly, to elevate the continent’s private sector?
Get out of the way and reduce 'crowding out' effect of borrowing from the private sector through perennial issuing of treasury bills and bonds to finance deficits.
The African Business Roundtable, of which you're a member, has inked several strategic partnerships and forged useful alliances over the years, always to the benefit of Africa’s private sector. What can we expect for the future?
Increased partnerships particularly with pan-African multilateral banks such as the AfDB, Afreximbank, TDB and AFC. Also consider partnerships with credit enhancement institutions such as Guarantco, Africa Guarantee Fund and Africa Trade Insurance to assist in derisking projects and obligors in the private sector.
Since the ABR was formed 32 years ago a lot has changed in the world. Technology has transformed the way everything is done. How does the Roundtable stay on top of these disruptive changes?
Not well enough. Greater emphasis should be placed on partnerships with key players and drivers of digital technology such as the telcos - Safaricom, MTN, Orange, etc. Also crucial is exposing members to KYC platforms such as the Afreximbank's Mansa, which the ABR is actually doing very well.
How prepared would you say Africa is to become a knowledge economy?
Some African countries are better prepared than others. Kenya (and Mauritius to some extent) is leading both Africa and the world in this regard and best practices could be adopted from there for the continent.
Are there, or will there be seats on the board for the youth at the ABR?
This is an imperative. Given the appalling unemployment statistics of Africa's youth and the fact that the future belongs to the youth, we must find ways to integrate them onto the topmost governance levels of the ABR, including the board.
About the African Business Roundtable
The African Development Bank Group set up the African Business Roundtable in 1990. Today the ABR is Africa’s foremost and continent-wide association of businesses and business leaders, and is the representative of the African Business Society to the United Nations. An independent, non-partisan, non-profit private sector funded organization, The African Business Roundtable is an NGO in Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (ECOSOC) and is the only organization representing the African Private Sector within ECOSOC.
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