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