STORY OF HOPE AND OPTIMISM:SMILE BELOVED AFRICA
BLOOMBERG media has just released their world economic growth rate forecast for 2015. India, China and Kenya took the top 3 positions in that order. For Africa, the narrative is changing after years of struggling with poverty, ignorance, disease and social and political upheavals.
With Europe and North America still experiencing slow recovery from a long economic recession, African economies grew more than 5 per cent for the last 10 years according to the International Monetary Fund. Revised estimates say Kenya’s economy could grow by 6 per cent in 2015.
Across Africa, military coups and civil wars now provide less headline news. Democracy, the rule of law, multi-party elections and human rights are the new catch phrases. The second largest continent in the world is now a Billion People Opportunity waiting to be discovered. Foreign Direct Investment is on the rise as shown by huge infrastructure projects like highways, standard gauge railways, ports and petro-chemical plants.
Despite the current drop in international commodity prices, new discoveries of oil and other mineral deposits are expected to drive the growth of African economies in the foreseeable future.
Students in the Diaspora would be well advised to invest in education in the fields with potentially high job growth rates such as exploration and tapping of resources like gas, solar energy, oil, coal, wind and geothermal in Africa.
Soon the size of the African middle class will rise to 300 million people. Huge business and job opportunities are expected in information technology, electronics, telecommunication, health care, media, finance, insurance, retail and housing sectors to meet the consumer demands of Africa’s nouveau riche. Even a tiny per cent of this market will be worth millions of dollars in business volume.
Drinks Business Review for example, estimates that the beer market in Africa will grow 5 per cent annually in the next 2 years as more Africans switch from the usually unhygienic and sometimes toxic home brew sector to the commercially produced lagers and malts. Coca Cola should know.
This is an exciting developing story of optimism and business opportunities in Africa. Political and business leaders are pushing ahead with efforts to create viable regional economic blocs, customs and monetary unions and possibly political federations. Escape from poverty now seems achievable. The future never looked so bright.
But the danger looms wide. Terrorism and political militancy are on the rise across Africa. In recent years, Boko Haram and Al-Shabaab militants have killed and maimed many people and destroyed millions of dollars worth of businesses and property. Warring parties in South Sudan and militias in Eastern DRC and Burundi are no less dangerous.
These militants present a real threat to the emerging story of a vibrant and resilient African Dream. Only massive investments in education, health care, security and social inclusion can ensure victory over those ethnic and religious bigots who want to turn the clock backward in Africa.
By Leonard Njoroge, Diaspora Messenger Contributor, Email: [email protected]