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Ajen Sita: ‘Africa’s rise over past decade real’

Ajen Sita: ‘Africa’s rise over past decade real’

Oct 18, 2014

Staff writer, Media Club South Africa

A new report by global financial services group Ernst and Young, Africa 2030: Realising the Possibilities, released on 7 October, highlights Africa’s tremendous economic progress over the past two decades with the message: Africa’s rise is real.

“Despite the clear evidence of sustained progress, there are many who remain sceptical about Africa,” the report says. “It is important for us to continue to provide evidence of the continent’s progress, so that decisions are driven by facts rather than often outdated perceptions.”

The first chapter highlights this evidence, summarising the key drivers of African growth since the end of both the Cold War and apartheid. It builds on EY’s annual Africa Attractiveness research series which, since 2011, has highlighted the continent’s steady rise. The research includes investor surveys and analysis of foreign direct investment and broader socioeconomic trends, and has helped provide quantitative substance to the growing perception that African markets offer exciting growth and investment opportunities.

“Africa’s rise over the past decade has been very real,” EY Africa chief executive Ajen Sita said in a statement. “While there are still a number of sceptics, we have developed a robust data and knowledge base to help provide quantitative substance to support the business case for Africa. The evidence of Africa’s clear progress is irrefutable.”

Africa 2030: Realizing the Possibilities also summarises the views of a diverse group of leaders with interests in Africa on what the future of the continent might look like, identifying the factors that could drive change and success.

“As important as it is to continue to provide evidence of the continent’s progress, it is perhaps more important to shift the focus towards the future of Africa, and what it will take to sustain and accelerate the progress we have seen over the past 15 years,” Sita said.

Communication technology driving change

A key factor, mentioned by many of the contributors, is the proliferation of mobile telecoms, the convergence of technologies and the ability for these to drive financial inclusion, government efficiency, trading opportunities, and the delivery of education, healthcare and other services to both urban and rural people.

Optimism comes through, tempered by notes of caution. A consistent theme in the contributions is that trade between African countries is substantially lower than it could be. Laws and regulations still impede cross-border trade – a stumbling block that must be removed to achieve African prosperity.

Agriculture also gets attention, particularly the need to move from traditional subsistence agriculture to large commercial operations able to produce on the scale required by a continent in transition.

For the full story from Media Club South Africa, please click here

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