The Great Debate UK
By Cari Guittard
The opinions expressed are her own.
A NEW NARRATIVE FOR AFRICA EMERGING
Africa’s abundance -- from diamonds and coffee to cacao, rare minerals, natural gas and oil -- is well known, though laced with images of corruption, genocide, and famine. Fifty-four nations comprise the African continent and yet how many of us can name more than a dozen of those countries and begin to differentiate their strengths commercially?
Many around the world see Africa as a monolith and through the prism of media and film which paint a decidedly negative picture. Google images of Rwanda show stark photos of starving orphaned children, mass slaughter and extreme deprivation. Which is why at a recent meeting with senior staff at the U.S. African Development Foundation (USADF) I was shocked to hear them extol the virtues of Rwanda. Rwanda was being held up as an example of an African nation leading the way in encouraging entrepreneurship and forging unique global partnerships. They even encouraged me to think of Rwanda as a travel and tourism destination. The “renaissance” in Rwanda is being seen across the continent and clearly a new narrative for Africa is beginning to emerge.
It is noteworthy that this month's Harvard Business Review profiles Africa as a major growth opportunity, citing a McKinsey study from last year with the following:
Over the past decade, Africa’s real GDP grew by an average of 4.7% a year -- twice the pace of its growth in the 1980s and 1990s.
The prospects for consumer-facing companies are bright. Africans spent $860 billion on goods and services in 2008.
The greatest opportunities are in retailing, telecommunications, banking, infrastructure-related industries, resource-related businesses, and all along the agricultural value chain.
According to UN data, Africa offers a higher return on investment than any other emerging market.
LISTEN TO ENTREPRENEURS. THEY WILL LEAD THE WAY
Matthew Elderfield, Head of Financial Regulation at the Central Bank of Ireland, will lay out his vision for a new Irish regulatory landscape at a Thomson Reuters Newsmaker on Wednesday 6 April.
‘Ireland: Re-shaping the Regulatory and Banking System’ will be hosted by Reuters’ Jodie Ginsberg, UK and Ireland Editor, and will be streamed live to the Reuters UK website as part of our rolling coverage from 0830 BST.
from The Great Debate:
Manoj Pradhan, left, a global EM economist, is an executive director at Morgan Stanley. Alan M. Taylor, right, a senior advisor at Morgan Stanley, is a professor of economics at the University of California, Davis. The opinions expressed are their own.
Policymakers have fretted about global imbalances for nearly a decade, but little consensus or clarity has emerged. Some saw problems created by surplus countries, others deficit countries. Many feared a fiscal-cum-balance of payments crisis in the U.S., but the crisis we got reflected private/financial failures. G20 proposals for collective action remain a work in progress. Uncoordinated policy actions triggered talk of currency wars.