Spotlight – Dr. Owusu Kizito Interviewed on New York Stock Exchange Television, NY
Mike Norman: Hey everybody! Mike Norman here for Contrarian Media where we like to bring you news and information that is free of mainstream media distortion and misinformation. You know me.
Anyway, my guest today is Owusu Kizito, Dr. Owusu Kizito who is a financial and management consultant and the President of Investigroup Company. Dr. Kizito, thank you very much for coming on the show.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Thank you.
Mike Norman: Now I know you specialize in working with small to medium-sized companies. You have business connections in Africa, which we’re going to talk about because obviously that’s a very interesting region now for investment, also kind of – you got to know what you’re doing over there.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yeah.
Mike Norman: But let’s talk first here principally about your work here in the United States, working with small companies, medium-sized companies. How do you see the economic environment right now in terms of small businesses getting capital, sales, the overall general economic environment? What’s your perception?
Dr. Owusu Kizito: My perception is quite clear. We are moving up right now. The economy is on the upswing and businesses are making capital available.
There are venture capital companies. There are angel investors.
The banks are making capital available to small and medium-sized businesses now. At first it was not that good but right now it’s getting better and better.
Mike Norman: So what about in terms of – like we see the economic GDP growth, not very strong, one and a half to two percent. Yet it sounds like what you’re saying is that for the companies that you’re working with, they’re feeling a little bit more optimistic. They’re seeing their conditions improve. That’s correct, right?
Dr. Owusu Kizito: That’s correct, totally. At first, 2008, 2009, 2010, it was worst, worst, worst. They were always complaining. Not even taking the [0:02:06] [Indiscernible] opportunities.
But right now, they are calling us and wherever you go, it happens. We take their projects.
We help them and we hear always that the banks were not helping them but now they are.
At least they’re taking good applications. They’re approving them.
The banks are not that very lenient with the small companies but the medium sizes are quite there on the upswing.
Mike Norman: So they have been able to access bank credit.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yes.
Mike Norman: All right. So that’s a positive sign definitely.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yeah.
Mike Norman: Now, in terms of hiring, in terms of employment, how is – what sort of impression do you get there?
I mean we’re seeing pretty decent jobs numbers. We’re seeing unemployment rate now down to five percent.
Are companies still a little bit hesitant or reluctant to hire? Are they utilizing more technology?
Are they asking existing employees to do more, all of the above?
Dr. Owusu Kizito: I think it’s much of all of the above.
Yes, they’re trying to hire but they are quite – a little bit – not very optimistic about their hiring more and more but they are still hiring.
I wouldn’t say they stop their hiring. Of course they’re using technology, leveraging technology and asking the existing employees to do more but they’re still wanting to add more to their payroll.
Mike Norman: Now I want to switch gears a little bit because I know you’ve – you’re originally from Ghana.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yes.
Mike Norman: You have family there.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yes.
Mike Norman: Africa, to many US-based investors, it’s still kind of a mystery. They’re not sure.
We know the Chinese are taking now a lot of interest in Africa. Chinese companies going over there, investing heavily.
You’ve been there recently. What do you see from being over there in terms of economic conditions, in terms of opportunity and also politically?
Dr. Owusu Kizito: All right. Africa is up and coming now. We see – we’re doing pretty good now than looking at the past.
The past is always something else like you were mentioning. But now, let’s put Ghana in focus. That’s where I am from.
Mike Norman: Right.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Ghana is very open for business.
You will see all sorts of companies going over there. Big banks are going there.
Citigroup is there.
Barclays Bank over there, HSBC going there and a whole lot of banks are attempting to go there.
I went to China October of 2014, so about a year ago. Some banks are planning to come to Ghana.
In fact they want to set up the first bank that will be dealing in their renminbi, the Chinese currency.
Mike Norman: Oh, is that right?
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yes, in Ghana and I am at the forefront of facilitating that with some ministers in Ghana.
Not only that. Ghana has crude oil, so Chinese investors are all over Ghana trying to tap into the oil.
Mike Norman: So crude oil is a relatively new development in Ghana.
Ghana I think previously has been known mainly for coco production, coco exports. Now crude oil, which potentially could be a huge bonanza for Ghana.
It also talks – I guess it also suggests another source of world supply for crude at a time when crude prices are very, very weak.
So you’re seeing this now in the process of development.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: It’s an opportunity for Ghana.
I mean to get into the big crude oil business right now. As we know, the market is not that great for the crude oil. But Ghana, they are seeking investment to build their pipelines, to make it work.
So the Chinese investors are all over there, trying to get those contracts, to be able to build those pipelines and those are – I would say the machinery in order to make it work for Ghana.
So I think it’s a big opportunity and the Chinese are taking advantage.
Mike Norman: That’s kind of the story that we hear is that it’s mostly China being very aggressive in terms of its push into Africa.
But you mentioned Citigroup. You mentioned a bunch of American banks.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yeah.
Mike Norman: What other American companies that stand out for you are present there?
Dr. Owusu Kizito: What other American companies?
Mike Norman: American Express, probably financial – more financial-based companies.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yes. JPMorgan Chase.
Mike Norman: Right, right, right.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: That’s interesting. You’re looking into going to Ghana.
So I think that’s very interesting.
Mike Norman: How about industrial companies?
I mean you mentioned oil. Are we talking about ExxonMobil?
Are we talking about big heavy equipment manufacturers like Caterpillar?
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Chevron.
Mike Norman: Chevron.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yeah, Chevron.
Mike Norman: Again a big oil manager.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yeah, big oil. Yeah.
Yeah. Chevron I think is what comes to mind right now. Yeah, going to Ghana. In fact – and TECHSICO [0:07:05] [Phonetic].
Mike Norman: TECHSICO?
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yeah, TECHSICO. Yeah, they are also in – in fact, they’re already in Ghana but I think they are trying to build their investments to make it better.
Mike Norman: How does somebody get involved? Like let’s say you wanted to get some exposure over there and you’re not going to travel over there. You’re not savvy in the connections. Is there any way through a publicly-traded vehicle here in the United States? Is there any way for US investors to get some exposure there that you know of?
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Yes. First of all, you have to work with the embassy, the Ghana Embassy in the United States right down the street. I think 49th Street. You have to go there and you request what you want. You ask their trade attaché and they will help you to navigate the waters. So definitely that’s your first stop. Then of course the internet.
Mike Norman: But that would be like direct investment in companies over there. We’re not talking about publicly-traded stocks here or ETFs or some kind of fund, Africa fund that you know of that has let’s say a Ghana representative in that fund.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: That I would say not necessarily. I mean – but you still have to go through the embassy to be able to get a lot of this information because like you said, it’s murky and you don’t want to get bent somehow. Yeah, so my suggestion is go to the embassy. Yeah, then you get more information. You can use the internet. But I think it’s more – it’s good to talk to somebody in the embassy to get more information and of course there are people that are all over. They will tell you to do this, do this, do this, do this but you have to verify. You trust and verify.
Mike Norman: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, see, and Africa has traditionally been like kind of – the land of opportunity and promise but at the same time, many times, it has ended up to be kind of a false start or a disappointment. Just quickly, how do you categorize it now, characterize it now? Is it another false start or are we really on a trajectory long term now of progress, development, returns?
Dr. Owusu Kizito: It is definitely on a trajectory to growth, a lot of growth and opportunity for investors here in the United States. In fact the Western countries to go to Africa. You see, I believe in trusting but at the same time …
Mike Norman: Trust but
Dr. Owusu Kizito: You will verify.
Mike Norman: We’ve heard that one before.
Dr. Owusu Kizito: Certainly. So once they get all the information, investors get all the information, they go through the verification process and make sure it’s working. The government is open I believe and everybody will work together to …
Mike Norman: All right. Dr. Kizito, it was great having you here. By the way your website Investigroup.com. Also you have another website ClearFinancialService.com. Thank you very much.
All right. That’s it for now, folks. This is Mike Norman for Contrarian Media. See you here next time. Take care. Bye-bye.
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Transcription by Prexie Magallanes as Trans-Expert at Fiverr.com