While the narrative on Africa is evolving, more and more Africans are joining in the conversation and taking ownership of the issues that impact the continent.
There are bright spots on the news on Africa; the population is projected to grow to 2 billion by 2050 and will soon have the largest workforce according to the Harvard Business Review. Additionally, Africa has a USD$2 trillion economy with about a third of its 54 countries garnering annual GDP growths of more than six percent. Of the top ten fastest growing economies in the world, six are in Africa and rich in natural resources, 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land is in Africa. Mobile technology is exploding and yet, attendants at the Davos meeting were cautiously optimistic on Africa’s performance.
From the world’s wealthiest Black man, Aliko Dangote on the risks of doing business in Africa to the star of West Africa, Ghana’s President John Mahama on the democracy dividend, here are the best quotes about Africa from the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2014.
- We are enjoying in Africa what I call the democracy dividend. The progress we are seeing, economic development are all part of the dividend of good governance, respect for human rights, rule of law. It has created an enabling environment that allows not only foreigners to come in and invest but for Ghanaians to invest. It has created an atmosphere for our young people to be creative, innovative… – President John Mahama, Ghana
- Majority of the African countries are now enjoying stable governance. Before you talk about economic growth, political stability is key. – President Goodluck Jonathan, Nigeria
- There is no easy fix or youth unemployment. Partnership between the public and private sectors can make a big difference. – Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of the Republic of Liberia
- The idea [the government’s ‘You Win’ campaign] is that instead of young people in Nigeria waiting to get employment, they should create their own jobs and employ their peers and employ other people. – Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister, Nigeria
- I have a dream that Africa should have one bloc – north to south – we could trade freely, people can move freely and that makes business sense. – Mohammed Dewji, Group Chief Executive Officer of Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania and Forbes’ youngest member of the rich list
- Africa’s risks are mainly perceived and not real. Unfortunately for us in Africa we are not really very good at telling our own story. But things are changing and people are beginning to understand that things are going very, very well – Aliko Dangote
- We need a race to the top so that we have policies and regulations that protect human rights, the environment and that reduce poverty. – Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director, Oxfam International
- We wouldn’t be investing as much in the rest of Africa if we didn’t believe. Africa will be the success story in the next decades…Africa is on the move and it is moving forward. – Julian Roberts, Group Chief Executive, Old Mutual
- Africa is the story. The big story is Africa. The Chinese and Japanese are fighting over Africa. This is a market of a billion people, of natural resources. – Dr Ahmed Heikal, Chairman and Founder of Citadel Capital
- We can only get our continent to have inclusive growth if we are educated and change our mindsets. – Doreen E. Noni, Creative Director, Eskado Bird