Africa’s ‘fu­ture will not take care of it­self’

Finweek English Edition - - SPOTLIGHT - BY LIESL PEYPER

Africa is a con­ti­nent of contrasts and con­tra­dic­tions that evokes a range of sen­ti­ments from in­vestors, the re­cent World Eco­nomic Fo­rum on Africa and other barom­e­ters show.

The 25th World Eco­nomic Fo­rum ( WEF) on Africa, hosted in Cape Town in the first week of June, was a lowkey af­fair com­pared to other years. Only Egypt’s pres­i­dent Ab­del Fat­tah El-Sisi and our own pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma graced the event, com­pared to more than 12 heads of state at last year’s event in Nige­ria and nine in 2013 in Cape Town.

Some me­dia re­ports as­cribed the low turnout of pres­i­dents and prime min­is­ters to the fact that the African Union (AU) sum­mit was tak­ing place only a week later in Jo­han­nes­burg. Or could it be that Africa’s star is wan­ing?

It’s all a mat­ter of per­spec­tive, said Ajen Sita, chief ex­ec­u­tive of EY Africa, at the launch of the com­pany’s Africa At­trac­tive­ness Sur­vey. EY re­leased its re­port, which mea­sures the con­ti­nent’s ap­peal among more than 500 busi­ness lead­ers from 30 coun­tries, in con­junc­tion with the re­cent WEF.

“Five years on since the f irst sur­vey, eco­nomic growth on the con­ti­nent is likely to be at its low­est since 2010, while for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment (FDI) projects are lower and in­vestor sen­ti­ment has soft­ened some­what,” Sita said.

Nev­er­the­less, EY be­lieves there are am­ple rea­sons to be op­ti­mistic, one of which is that growth in Sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa’s econ­omy is ex­pected to be around 5% in 2015. “This mixed pic­ture is not sur­pris­ing,” Sita said. “It ref lects the di­ver­sity and com­plex­ity of this great con­ti­nent – there is never a one-siz­e­fits-all an­swer and per­spec­tive re­mains im­por­tant.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.