Scottish Africa Business Association appoints John Paterson as new chairman
Scottish Africa Business Association (SABA), an organisation which is creating export opportunities for Scottish companies, has appointed John Paterson as its new executive chairman.
Mr Paterson is a globally-focused businessman and corporate specialist who has an extensive track record of senior positions with some of the best-known names in international business, including Shell, BAT and Clyde Blowers Capital.
Mr Paterson will head a board comprised of business big-hitters, former politicians, academics and finance specialists, as well as liaising with an advisory council which includes the High Commissioners of Kenya, Ghana and South Africa and the director of CBI Scotland.
Mr Paterson said: “For a number of reasons, Scottish business has no real voice in Africa at the moment and businesses here are in danger of missing out on one of the world’s most exciting growth stories.
“There is substantial African business to be had in areas in which Scottish enterprises excel, such as oil and gas, renewables, infrastructure, agriculture, aquaculture, fintech, health and education.
“African countries have felt in the past that the UK is too fragmented to allow easy engagement with potential trade partners and Scottish businesses may have taken the view that opportunities on the continent were difficult to identify.
“SABA is creating a whole new trade model which will help deliver tangible commercial benefits to both sides by identifying specific opportunities.”
Instead of traditional trade missions in which a large number of companies are competing for work in a small number of sectors, SABA’s role is to find out what kind of trade is required, how it is to be funded and then to identify Scottish suppliers with the capability to fulfil the requirements. Essentially, it is acting as a deal broker.
One of Mr Paterson’s first major events in the new year will be the UK-Africa Investment Summit (UK-AIS) in January, which will be hosted in London by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and in which SABA will represent Scotland. It will be preceded by the UK-AIS Manufacturing event.