Event Details

Eleven of the fastest growing economies in the world in 2024 will be in SSA, and the continent is attracting plenty of interest from multinational corporates as well as regional governments.

UAE interest in East Africa, in particular, has grown as the country tries to develop commercial links and secure access across the strategic Bab al‑Mandab strait in the Red Sea. The UAE has particular interests in port development, food security and mineral resources in East Africa, where it recently concluded a comprehensive economic partnership agreement (CEPA) with Kenya in February 2024 and where DP World recently signed an agreement to operate part of Tanzania's Dar es Salaam port.

Imports from East Africa into the UAE more than doubled from 2019 to 2022, and non-oil exports and re-exports have also grown strongly. The UAE will continue to expand trade and investment links in SSA, although it will face competition for influence from other foreign powers, including China and Saudi Arabia.

So join us on 30 May, in the company of the EICN's SSA Director Sam Rolland, and a panel of regional business leaders with responsibility for Africa, as we go hunting for the continent's hotspots.


12 noon: Arrival, registration, lunch and networking

12.45pm: SSA Forecast, Sam Rolland, Director SSA, EICN

1.20pm: Panel discussion: Hunting Africa's Big 5

2pm: Close and networking

Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.


  • Sam Rolland (Director, Sub-Saharan Africa of EICN)

    Sam Rolland

    Director, Sub-Saharan Africa of EICN

    Sam Rolland is the Network Director for Sub-Saharan Africa at EICN. He is a trained economist specialising in understanding the complexities of the global economy, and how regional issues affect domestic business. Sam advises global teams on appropriate strategies to navigate a complex world by driving agility and future-readiness.

    Prior to joining the EICN, Sam spent time in both the public and private sector, first as an economist within the Economic Policy division of the National Treasury, and then as a consulting economist at Econometrix and Deloitte. During his time in the private sector, Sam specialised in analysing events and government policies to dilute these into constructing business strategies. Sam also spent time in Switzerland as an economist for airline industry body IATA.

    Sam holds a masters degree in economics from Stellenbosch University, and has studied further at the Institute for Social Studies in The Hague, the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College in New York state. Sam also sits on the board of the Western Cape Primary Science Programme, a non-profit organisation focusing on the improving educational outcomes in under-resourced schools in Africa.

    view more
  • Sami Mainich (President at Dow Africa)

    Sami Mainich

    President at Dow Africa

    Sami Mainich is the President, Dow Africa and based in our offices in Dubai, UAE. In his capacities, Mainich is accountable for capitalizing on market opportunities and work closely with Dow businesses to drive and implement accelerated growth strategies across this dynamic region.

    After working several years in a variety of sales and business development roles for the chemical industry in North Africa, Mainich joined Dow in 2011 as Regional Director to grow the company’s business and physical footprint – through the incorporation of Dow Algeria (2012) and Dow Morocco (2014). In 2015, he relocated to Dubai, UAE, to join Dow’s Packaging & Specialty Plastics business as Sales Director and enable growth opportunities across the Middle East, Africa and Turkey region.

    In 2017, Mainich was named Strategic Development Director for the IMEAT region, completing various market research projects to enable the region’s digital transformation and accelerate cross-business opportunities. In 2018, he relocated to Algiers to lead the greater North Africa and Levant geographies. In April 2020, he took on additional responsibilities as Chair of the Dow Africa Steering Committee (The Africa Steering Committee is an initiative launched by the regional leadership to align and streamline efforts to boost Dow’s competitiveness and participation in key markets across Africa). In June 2021, Mainich added West Africa in his geographic scope.
    Mainich holds an Engineering degree in Polymers from the Ecole Européenne de Chimie, Polymères et Matériaux of Strasbourg (France), and has completed an Executive MBA from the Ecole Supérieure Algérienne des Affaires in Algeria. He speaks fluent French, English, Arabic, and is conversational in German

    view more
  • Hakim Berrah (Africa Desk Lead Lawyer at Clyde and Co)

    Hakim Berrah

    Africa Desk Lead Lawyer at Clyde and Co

    Hakim is a senior lawyer based in Dubai with extensive experience advising companies in Africa on the full spectrum of their legal needs.

    He is a consultant with over 14 years of experience advising clients on both contentious and non-contentious matters across multiple jurisdictions and sectors in Africa.

    He assists clients with local and cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, structuring, foreign direct investment, commercial transactions and regulatory advice across the continent.

    Hakim's client base includes local and multinational companies across Healthcare, Hospitality, Construction, Transportation, Technology, Energy, Real estate, Finance and Education.

    view more
  • Vikrant Bhansali (CEO, UAE of United Bank for Africa)

    Vikrant Bhansali

    CEO, UAE of United Bank for Africa

    Vikrant leads UBA's business in the Middle East & North Africa (MENA) region and is the CEO of United Bank for Africa in Dubai. He has had a distinguished banking career of over 25 years working in Sub-Saharan Africa, the United Kingdom, MENA and India.

    Prior to joining UBA, he worked for DIFC Authority (Government of Dubai), as Chief Representative – International Markets. His banking & financial markets career included roles as Regional Head of Institutional Sales, Sub Saharan Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, Prior to which he was Managing Director, at Société Générale in London where he was responsible for the bank MENA regional expansion strategy.

    Vikrant has also held senior management positions with Morgan Stanley in London; Citigroup in London, Dubai and Bahrain; HSBC in India; and Arthur Andersen & Co. in India.

    Vikrant holds an LLB, Bachelor of Law degree and is a Chartered Financial Analyst from the CFA Institute in USA. He also qualified as a Chartered Accountant from the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India, where he ranked 18th in the All-India Merit list. He is also empaneled as a consultant for IFC (World Bank Group) and serves on other Boards as an Independent Non-Executive Director.

    view more