The International Investment Africa Forum 2023 takes place this Wednesday on November 8 in Cape Town, South Africa. We look ahead to that with this Q&A session with Graham Sheward, CEO of our lead sponsor Hansard.
Sheward, pictured above, outlines Hansard's involvement in the Africa region and explains why visiting this region always feels like coming home.
To sign up to grab a slot at the inaugural II Africa Forum 2023, click here to register.
II: Why is Africa an important region for Hansard?
GS: The Middle East & Africa is one of four broad, key regions for Hansard, which accounted for approximately half of the new business received in our last financial year - so yes, it's fair to say that the region is important to us. The future for the region appears positive, so I am very much looking forward to spending some time on the ground to find out more & catching up with existing relationships.
II: What will you be speaking about at next week's II Africa Forum 2023?
GS: Our industry has seen such seismic change over the last 12 months, in various ways, & I am keen to spend some time sharing the unique perspective of a company like Hansard. I am confident that this will spark some interesting conversations at the event.
II: Hansard was voted by II readers as the winner of excellence in client services in Africa region. What is it that you do that makes you stand out
GS: In a competitive industry, where we are all striving for service excellence, it's difficult to truly identify exactly what separates Hansard from its peers. Although as regular recipients of many service awards over the years, I would like to think that this latest award simply recognises that we have embedded ‘service excellence' into our everyday culture, which is extremely encouraging & long may it continue!. My role, while in the region this week, is to collate as much feedback from distribution partners as possible, enabling Hansard to build on these positive foundations.
II: Tell us about your own love of the region, what is it that makes it special?
GS: I first visited South Africa in 2001 when working for Coutts/NatWest Offshore and found it an amazing country of contrasts.
It took 10 years to visit again, also on business, when I was based in Mauritius working for Barclays and reporting into Absa Corporate & Investment Bank in Johannesburg. I loved the buzz of working in a city like Jo'burg. I also had the opportunity to visit a number of other countries in sub-Saharan Africa which was a great experience.
Then, over time, my three daughters all moved to different schools, colleges and then University in the Western Cape over a 7 year period which saw our family centre of gravity shift to South Africa, and whilst we had all left by the end of 2019, we come back whenever we can.
Soon, my youngest daughter, who moved to Africa when she was 6 years old, will return after 4 years away, to attend Stellenbosch University. So, you can see that this beautiful country of amazing people has played a big part in our family life, and I'm delighted to be in Cape Town this week promoting the Isle of Man and supporting International Investment on their first Africa Forum event.