Capetown was abuzz last week as global thought leaders gathered for the World Economic Forum on Africa. In it’s 23rd year, the forum focused on the theme “Delivering?Africa’s Promise”, where discussions called for a paradigm shift and a new way of thinking as the continent continues to take its place on the global scene.
Guests and panelists touched on the complexities that some of the continent’s conditions lend to the challenge of taking its place at the table; solutions?were?proposed, but implementing ideals and best practices will require the combined and integrated efforts of African states.
We are ready for a changed, enhanced and improved economic outlook
It is not a matter of whether the continent is ready for an enhanced economic outlook. According to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister for the Economy & Minister of Finance for Nigeria “.…Africa is already experiencing a changed, improved and enhanced economic outlook”?Indeed. The continent has come a long way from being branded as the dark and ailing continent, where by all indication, there was no economic activity. Policy makers have learned their lessons and have made amends; the continent has been steadily rising even as it watches the global economy crumbling around it. Africa is not completely there yet, but can any other country government boast of economic perfection?
The key to sustained growth is inclusion
The continent will need to ensure that growth does not come with increasing inequality and is inclusive of all populations, particularly those who are deemed to be at the “Bottom of the Pyramid”. While these populations have not been traditional served by the main market, they will need to stop being seen as victims but innovative?entrepreneurs?who have a right to participate in the supply and demand of services in the market. Their creative energy will need to be tapped.
The model of Africa investing in Africa (AIA) will require a paradigm shift
The new buzzword- “AIA”, an acronym?which?suggests a new model of growth and sustainability, will continue to linger long after the conference. The creation of economic institutions between countries and a higher level of integration and synergies will be?necessary?to ensure not only continued growth, but sustainability. According to Pravon Gordon, Minisiter of finance for South Africa,?“The manner in?which?we can build regional institutions over the next five years that can give us higher levels of integration across some of he countries……is going to be a very useful challenge for us to overcome”?Building a monetary and fiscal base so that we are less dependent on foreign aid is neccessary to prevent the historical leakage of resources. Truth. The economic scrabble for Africa should not leave it feeling disenfranchised.
Investment in Information and Communications Technology (ICT) is vital to growth
Investment in ICT will be part of the efforts towards the strategic growth of the continent. The rapid expansion of mobile technology has opened up the market for further innovation, information exchange and transportation. Some would say that is has contributed to the growth of the youth movement, where now more than ever before, African youth are speaking up about the condition that affect them. Even more promising is that they are taking it a step further and backing their voices up by developing technological solutions to these conditions. This is a huge area that is bound to change the face of the continent.
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