Africa Rising… It Depends
Dr Martyn Davies was the guest speaker at the Conversation and Networking event of the Australian Business Chamber of Southern Africa (ABCSA) on May 13. The topic was ‘The Business imperative of the First Mover Advantage in the African Economy’. He had just returned from the World Economic Forum (WEF) that was held in Abuja, Nigeria.
Dr Davies’ discussion certainly provoked a profound perception of Africa. He shared a quote by a Chinese official who said, “Africans are coming to China with a begging bowl made of gold.”
The WEF in Abuja took place at the same time when some 200 school girls were kidnapped and converted to Islam. Nigeria has recently attained the status of the largest Economy in Africa. Its 160 million population is seen as a consumer market ready be exploited.
In his conversation Dr Davies compared African countries, pointing out stark differences between them, concluding that there is no country called Africa. Taking each countries demographics into account won’t be helpful either he suggested. He also argued that democracy and freedom does not necessarily guarantee stability.
In his opinion Rwanda is one of the best performing countries on the African continent in several areas including the efficiency of government and the ease of doing business.
The event’s main sponsor was the Australian Trade Commission. In his opening remarks Graeme Wilson, High Commissioner of Australia to South Africa, pointed out that mining investment in Africa from Australia was the highest in the world, saying that the various projects and programs being conducted on the African continent have taken a long term view.
Congratulating South Africa on its peaceful elections, High Commissioner Wilson referred to the strong relations between the two countries and the envisaged visit of Julia Bishop, Australian Foreign Minister to South Africa in the second half of the year. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa will visit Australia during the course of this year, he said.