Bring Africa closer to Scandinavia.
By Michel LOBE EWANE
Madeleine Taylor has just been co-opted to join the Board of Directors of a leading Danish financial institution, the Nordic Global Investment Foundation (NGIF). Another promotion for the one who, last July, was appointed Strategic Director for the development of projects and investments of this institution. In her mission letter, the former Special Advisor to the Government and Special Representative of the Republic of Guinea Bissau in Scandinavia (from 2019 to 2020) will be responsible for representing the Nordic Global Investment Foundation (NGIF) on the continent. Its Focus, the financing of infrastructure projects in the social and humanitarian field meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set by the United Nations.
Holder of a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Audiovisual Academy of Paris, Madeleine Taylor specialized in Engineering of International Affairs at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure de Paris. The Guinean Franco-Bissau obtained a certification in innovation management and digital transformation at the International Business Management Institute in Berlin, and another in business development and leadership at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). Maintenance.
Financial Afrik: You have just been trusted by the Nordic Global Investment Foundation (NGIF). What is the specificity of this institution in its approach as an investor?
Madeleine Taylor-Mendy: Indeed, I have just started within the Nordic Global Investment Foundation (NGIF) as Strategic Director of Development of infrastructure projects and non-reimbursable financing for the African Continent. This appointment follows on from my career in the Nordic countries.
It is an honor for me to be able to contribute to this new turn in the relationship between Africa and the Nordic countries. It is an approach that promotes fairness in economic relations, the active participation of the local population, the construction of sustainable infrastructure, better governance, more integrity and transparency in business. My mission and that of my dedicated team by region is to coordinate all major projects in Africa seeking funding that meet the requirements and criteria of the NGI Foundation.
Within NGIF, you are one of the people responsible for guiding and channeling investments to Africa. In what spirit do you intend to fulfill this mission?
This is a real opportunity for sustainable development and above all for establishing a real social project in Africa. But it is also an invitation for government and / or private project leaders and for investors to participate in the construction of an inclusive Africa that we have all dreamed of, which takes into account the participation of all. This vision marks the end of an era of dependency in a system where Africa tended to reach out for aid and sink into the debt cycle. The NGI Foundation’s strategy intends to promote, without conditionalities, the development of Africa, by completely freeing it from its burden and reducing the obligations related to debts accumulated for many years.
Can you be more explicit when talking about reducing debt obligations?
In fact, through a demanding and responsible funding program, Nordic Global Investment Foundation (NGIF) wants to contribute to sustainable development in Africa and focus on its main resource: human potential, with a growing youth that represents between 60% and 70% of the population and women in gender parity. In its commitment, the Nordic Global Investment Foundation offers per project, 80% local employability.
Project finance programs that meet the requirements of the Nordic Global Investment Foundation are financially contributed, which is not a loan and is non-repayable. This amount must be supported by a 20% contribution of “collateral” which can be a bank, a financial institution, an investment fund or the beneficiary state itself. This sum is not used but is returned at the end of a specific term. This is an approach that should lift African countries out of the interminable debt cycle.
All the methodology of the Nordic Global Investment Foundation and our work tools are based on the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals). For us, this is about deploying funding that will have a lasting impact on the populations and partner companies that we will meet, through our business.
Nordic Global Investment Foundation wants to support African public and private actors towards ethical, equitable and sustainable economic development.
You are a specialist in relations between Africa and the Scandinavian countries. What do you think makes these countries unique in their economic relations with Africa?
Scandinavians, more pragmatic, have a new approach in Africa, more focused on inclusion and helping people take their destiny in hand. They are convinced that real innovation must be driven through an ecosystem in which the aspirations and local resources provided are found. My experience of over 15 years in the Nordic countries has allowed me to forge solid relationships with the confederations of Danish, Swedish and Norwegian companies and with investment funds that are ready to invest in Africa.
What can these countries concretely contribute to the development dynamic of the continent?
Scandinavia is a small region in northern Europe – made up of three countries: Denmark, Norway and Sweden. She capitalized on her unique resource based on sincerity, personal development and intercultural awareness. By turning to Scandinavia, this is an opportunity to really write a future that will lead to a more consistent and generalized development of Africa. Their territories are among the richest in the world thanks to a democratic system and an economy structured around the collection of taxes, with companies at the cutting edge of technology and sovereign wealth funds among the richest in the world. In Scandinavia, ethics and anti-corruption reign supreme, traditions lacking in Africa and preventing the flourishing of a continent full of resources, raw materials and other riches. I do not consider myself to be a specialist in the Nordic countries. More sincerely, my real conviction is based on the role of skills transfer that each member of the African diaspora must play in the country where he was trained.
What do you think would be the best approach to be developed by African economic actors, be it the private sector or the State, to make the most of the partnership with Scandinavian investors?
I will answer what the Board of the Nordic Global Investment Foundation would answer: “The future belongs to Africans. We just have to help them while respecting them. If we join forces, we can do it together, we can multiply our efforts to realize the vision of living a better life tomorrow. From the Executive of Governments to Operators (TPCs) to Private Investors in Africa who aspire to inclusive change will be welcome to study our grant programs to build Africa. ”
Without delay, Madeleine Taylor Mendy jumped into action. The first African country with which she started discussions is Mali. Following an interview with Modibo Koné, the Ministry of Environment, Sanitation and Sustainable Development, a business trip is in preparation to meet the President and Prime Minister of the Republic of Mali. Another issue that has advanced is that with the Central African Republic. To Félix Moloua, Minister of State in charge of Planning, Economy and International Cooperation and Hervé Ndoba his colleague of Finance and Budget, the Strategic and Development Director of NGIF presented a solution for optimizing the collection of micro -taxes levied on the informal sector and offered by the Swedish company Red Flash Mobile AB. The two members of the Central African government have shown interest.
At the same time, the Chairman of the NGIF was preparing for a business trip to Nairobi, Kenya where he was to meet members of the Kenyan government. The offensive of Madeleine Taylor-Mendy, “the Amazon of Guinea-Bissau” as she is nicknamed, has now been launched.