Monday, 8 June 2015

10 reasons why Africa is the Continent of Opportunity

I have just returned from a wonderful training and development event in Senegal which I helped to deliver with colleagues from the Presencing Institute. 

Using the U-Process to initiate cross-continental organisational transformation we explored a range of issues but focused in on innovative ways of using assets for sustainable development.
CEO's prototyping the future

It was organised by the African Alliance of YMCA's and provided my colleagues and I an opportunity to work with and train some of the most interesting, committed and talented individuals I have ever met. These were the National General Secretaries (also known as National Chief Executive Officers for YMCA's) in some 18 different countries. 

Despite all of the problems that the continent is struggling with (and there are many), all I can say to the West is - look out Africa is where we are going to see some wonderful and exciting happenings. 

Sunset in Senegal

1.       The population is young and innovative and unlike many parts of the world, Africa's children want to learn and they are hungry for education
2.       During the start of the millennium, Africa’s GDP grew by 4.7% a year
3.       Whilst there are issues about the way that the Chinese have taken vast amounts of resources out of the continent there are also more large infrastructural projects that have been successfully brought to completion – meaning that local people have greater accessibility to other parts of their own country
4.       Since independence, many countries in Africa have moved from being Low Income Countries to becoming Middle Income countries.
5.       Considerable numbers of African migrants with experience skills and knowledge (some of which they acquired in the west) are looking to return home taking these resources with them.
6.       Since 2000, African countries have cut their combined foreign debt from 82% of GDP to 59%
7.       Over the same period, nations have reduced their budget deficits from 4.6% of GDP to 1.8%
8.       Over a decade the Nigerian economy has been growing at an average rate of around 7% a year.
9.       One of the things holding back the continent is energy accessibility - once that nut is cracked (in the form of solar which relies less on expensive infrastructural projects) then it will be much easier to take advantage of the business opportunities that exist.
10.   Peer-to-peer banking and mobile banking is becoming established and likely to thrive freeing up business and development opportunities.