Africa has the second fastest growing economy in the world, with the growth expected to become faster in 2013, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The local media Monday quoted a statement from the 2013 WEF, which rounded off in Davos, Switzerland, Sunday to have said that in spite some flash points, the continent remains a major investment destination for many investors.
“Africa is already the world’s second fastest growing economy after expanding five per cent a year in the past two years, well above the global average.. and it is projected that the continent’s GDP is likely to hit a 5.3 per cent growth this year,” the statement said.
Several investors who spoke at the meeting also pointed to the huge potentials and opportunities on the continent.
They said if attention was given to infrastructure, good governance and curbing of conflicts, the various socio-economic problems facing the continent would be reduced.
Chairman, SABMiller, United Kingdom, Graham Mackay, was even more optimistic that the present economic growth can be doubled, “If certain bottlenecks were taken out.”
Mackay, whose global brewing business was set up in South Africa more than a century ago, also has extensive investments across the continent.
He singled out infrastructure development as probably the key driver to Africa’s continued economic progress.
On his part, the Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Enterprises, India, Sunil Bharti Mittal, observed that the political and economic situation in Africa is changing fast.
Mittal, who has thriving telecommunications companies across Africa, stressed the need for African leaders to provide security for investors and wade off terrorists groups.
“The narrative in Africa is changing and changing very fast. There is no question that you are seeing more and more countries moving on to the democratic process and moving up the growth curve. From the standpoint of investors and people coming into Africa.
“I think what is important to see is commitment from the political leadership to secure investments, ensure there are no major fall-outs of any terror activities which have recently developed and, importantly, manage foreign exchange in a manner which does not deliver shocks,” Mittal was quoted to have said in the statement.
The Chief Executive Officer, International Crisis Group (ICG), Belgium, Louise Arbour, warned about the risk of the current armed unrest in Mali destabilising West Africa.
He however added that the fight against terrorism should not obscure equally important underlying issues that Africa must address, including governance, political-economic exclusion and very weak institutions.
Two African leaders that spoke at the occasion said efforts are on to consolidate on the present gains through mutual co-operation, integration and collaboration in achieving peace security as well as stability of the continent.
“We realise that intra-African trade is not enough and are working hard on that. Africa is not consumed with conflict. We are also dealing with the economic issues. We’ve just discussed and agreed to integrate three of the five economic regions, creating a free trade area of more than half a billion people,” South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma said.
President Goodluck Jonathan of Nigeria acknowledged that there are risks in Africa, like everywhere in the world, adding that efforts are being made by the continent’s leaders to deal with the situation.
“In Africa, political instability is no longer one of them. Presently, about three African states have conducted successful elections two times and most African states have stable political systems,” he said.