HOW FAR IS THE AFRICAN DREAM?

Each year, 25 May is celebrated as Africa Day, commemorating the ongoing quest for unity as well as the political and economic liberation of African people. 
While independence certainly hasn’t led to political stability and liberation in every African country – and in some countries there is still a long way to go – this was a huge turning point in African history. Unfortunately, achieving true unity remains a challenge as Africa is made up of 55 very different countries – and all at different levels of liberation. That said, governance is progressing and, although it will take more time to navigate through all the complexities, we shouldn’t forsake any movement towards achieving the African Dream of pan-Africanism.

Today, seven of the 10 fastest-growing economies in the world are in Africa and the continent is increasingly moving more into the global limelight as a promising investment destination – despite preconceived risks of investing in turbulent times. A significant amount of the growth that is being experienced and enjoyed in key markets across Africa is as a direct result of governments being able to successfully implement far-reaching economic and political reforms, thus creating more conducive business and investment climates.

The reality is that effective governance is integral to sustainable economic development. For instance, the best way to reduce poverty is through continued economic development, where successful development and economic growth is dependent on a functioning and responsible government that wants to implement change for the benefit of its people. To put this into clearer perspective, while Africa is enjoying a continuous flow of foreign direct investment (FDI), it needs to be noted that it is domestic investment that fuels national economies, and increasing inter-African trade will make Africa more globally competitive.

While both of these aspects are well accepted throughout the continent, there are still too many barriers in the face of political will to make changes towards economic integration. These challenges, however, shouldn’t discourage Africa’s political leaders (it should be noted that it took Europe a long time to establish the European Union). What is needed is stronger economic diplomacy to look after African interests, which in the coming 15 years will likely be influenced by at least one, if not all (and simultaneously), of the 9 mega trends that are expected to have the greatest impact on governments and citizens, alike, to 2030.


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