Exploring the ground shift of investment to emerging markets, Joshua Hawley shares valuable insights on the dynamic market prospects in Africa and the GCC, as well as US Capital Global’s strategic vision for serving the needs of clients in these emerging markets.
Partner Joshua Hawley leads US Capital Global’s Africa and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) division. An internationally sought-after speaker, Hawley is widely acclaimed as a thought leader on leading-edge topics such as AI, FinTech, digital assets, blockchain, and Web3. With successful FinTech and financial consulting firms across several continents, Hawley focus has been integrating legacy systems and asset classes with new technologies. A seasoned financial professional, he established US Capital Global’s offices in Mauritius (2019) and Dubai (2021).
Q: What drew you to the UAE and what led you to US Capital Global?
A: I first visited Dubai in 2017 as an expert in blockchain and digital assets, having recently founded the Mauritius Blockchain Foundation. My speaking engagements around the world allowed me to build a strong international network. It was during this time that I met Jeffrey Sweeney, Chairman and CEO of US Capital Global, when the group was exploring digital assets. The UAE’s status as a major international trading and financial hub, similar to Singapore and Hong Kong, attracted my interest.
Q: What is it like doing business in the GCC?
A: The GCC is strong in capital resources, particularly equity investments from family offices. While it offers numerous Sharia-compliant investment products, Sub-Saharan Africa is actually a larger producer and consumer of Sharia products as the GCC becomes more Westernized. The UAE, for example, recently changed its week format to mirror the European week.
Q: Can you share your insights on the current opportunities in Africa for middle-market businesses? What sectors or industries show the most potential for growth?
A: We are seeing a ground shift of investment towards emerging markets, especially Africa, particularly mining, energy, and trade finance. Tanzania and Uganda are key markets in East Africa. The region’s vast resources present opportunities in minerals, agriculture, and large-cap energy infrastructure. West Africa, a major agricultural and commodities center, as well as a significant oil and gas producer, also offers strong opportunities for trade finance and working capital. Major energy projects in Africa will drive manufacturing and trade, all requiring financial structuring, advisory, and funding.
Q: What specific challenges or considerations arise when offering finance in Africa and the GCC? How does US Capital Global navigate these challenges to ensure successful outcomes?
A: The lack of standardized diligence and underwriting practices poses a significant challenge in the GCC and Africa regions. Each project and country have their own set of distinct legal and financial considerations, making a copy-paste approach impossible. In such vast geographic regions, projects will have their own specific structuring or underwriting requirements, such as securing Central Bank approval or managing complex lien structures for term loan surety. US Capital Global relies on expert in-country advisors to navigate these complexities, ensuring principal protection, profit repatriation for capital projects, and successful outcomes.
Q: What unique value does US Capital Global bring to the table when it comes to syndicated debt and equity finance in Africa and the GCC?
A: With over 12 years of experience in the region, I have developed a sophisticated network of professional advisors, funding sources, and service professionals, providing resources to fulfill our clients’ debt and equity requirements. US Capital Global is an international financial group with offices across four continents. We offer a complete suite of financial services, from corporate finance and M&A to financial consultancy and wealth management. We frequently structure customized, multi-jurisdictional solutions for our clients.
Q: How do you differentiate yourselves from other financial institutions operating in these regions?
A: As one of the few American investment banks with an active presence in the region, we bring over two decades of experience in middle-market structured debt and equity finance. Our active involvement in Africa and the GCC sets us apart, and we are committed to being part of these communities for the long term.
Q: Looking ahead, what are US Capital Global’s growth plans and aspirations for expanding its footprint and capabilities in Africa?
A: We have strategic plans to expand into East and Southern Africa, particularly South Africa, with its well-established funding pipeline and its interest in entering North American and European capital markets. We are continuing to forge new funding relationships in Africa and expand our consulting partnerships with regional experts and originators, ensuring our commitment to growth and success in the region.
To learn more about US Capital Global and its GCC and Africa division, email Joshua Hawley, Partner, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call +971 50 764 0788.