Reasons why we’re in the best position ever to face the investment avalanche (part 2)

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1.       Globalised world= more scrutiny

On some level, most of the world’s leading economic powers have their eye on Africa. This is not to say some Big Brother network has been established on the continent, but there are eyes watching, especially now. And everyone will be quick to point out the problems with how everyone else is interacting with us. This is terrific for us and it would do us good to listen and learn.

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 2.       Multipolar world= more options

This is the first time since independence when Africa TRULY has options on who to turn to for economic development. African states gained independence during the Cold War and essentially had to choose between the capitalistic Western bloc of EuroAmerica and the socialist Eastern bloc of the USSR. African nations made their choice and were shackled to that choice for decades. After the fall of the Berlin wall and the USSR, the world essentially became uni-polar with the domination of EuroAmerica. Africa had no choice but to go to them for loans and aid. This ear ushered in the disastrous SAPs which African nations had to implement and adhere to as they really had no other choice. Now, finally, with the rise of the BRIC a multi-polar world has emerged and Africa truly has options. It would do Africa good to make use of the current paradigm, make the best of all offers and make prudent economic decisions. This is the brightest it has looked for Africa in a while.

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3. More economically integrated continent= more negotiating power and more intra-African trade and investment

Regional economic blocs are helping immensely: EAC, COMESA, SADC, ECOWAS all of them and others are functioning as continental unifiers. The natural progression of the blocs would be for regional blocs to interact and make agreements with each other thereby creating cross-continental economic integration. Side note: I don’t think political unity is important as espoused by Pan-Africanists; most of our nations are too young for that. But ECONOMIC unity is much easier to achieve and we should go ahead and continue on this path. The economic integration is facilitating intra-African investment, ‘Intra-African investment, as a proportion of the total number of projects, has also more than doubled. As a result, in 2011 intra-African investment accounted for 17% of all new FDI projects on the continent’[1]. This trend is set to continue to grow. GREAT news!

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 4.       We believe in ourselves more= more confidence to achieve

Africa and Africans are used to being bashed by EVERYONE. Oh Africa is poor, corrupt, incompetent and the people are lazy, uneducated, ignorant…it goes ON. BUT I think that as Africans ourselves, we are beginning to view ourselves in a more positive light. We are beginning to see our strengths and good qualities such as resilience, innovation, creativity, determination even optimism. Many of us believe that the direction of the momentum has finally shifted and we are now on the way up. So despite the commentary on Africa is still largely negative (though less so than before), Africans aren’t listening to that anymore. In fact in a survey, Africans were asked (among other things) whether they would invest in Africa, ‘A very high proportion of African respondents have positive views on the progress already made and on the continent’s attractiveness as a place to invest and do business, both now and into the future’.[2] This may just be an indication that we are finally seeing that we NEED to believe in ourselves if we are to become a continent our children would be proud of being a part of. We are confident ready to deal with what comes. Indeed, we are truly beginning to believe in ourselves…and THAT is the best news Africa has had in a long time.

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[1] Ernst and Young (2012), ‘Ernst & Young’s 2012 Africa attractiveness survey Fact and figures’, http://www.ey.com/ZA/en/Issues/Business-environment/2012-Africa-attractiveness-survey—Africans-leading-from-the-front–a-look-at-facts-and-figures

[2] Ernst and Young (2012), ‘Ernst & Young’s 2012 Africa attractiveness survey Fact and figures’, http://www.ey.com/ZA/en/Issues/Business-environment/2012-Africa-attractiveness-survey—Africans-leading-from-the-front–a-look-at-facts-and-figures

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