As investors know, Sub-Saharan Africa is a high growth area, where businesses will grow and prosper over the next decade. Its potential is enormous and its consumer market from the middle classes is expanding. As a result, the economic diplomacy of the United Kingdom is now deployed in this region which was not, for it, a traditional target.
African markets are dynamic. They all have one imperative: to create jobs and have significant socio-economic benefits in order to satisfy a booming youth. For most African heads of state, achieving such results quickly while adapting their economies to the reconfiguration of global supply chains and the energy transition is a daunting task.
Africa’s competitive advantages in several key sectors are however evident, the skills gap is narrowing and decision-making have improved through advances in technology and better leadership. African governments are now in a better position to take advantage of their resources and markets, which investors know to be highly profitable.
I had the privilege of working closely with decision makers and entrepreneurs from the southern Sahara for almost ten years. I was able to fully appreciate their efforts to create an enabling policy environment, address institutional shortcomings and attract strategic investments to create the conditions for inclusive growth.
Thus, in order to reinforce the progress made in recent years and to respond to the health crisis linked to Covid-19, Togo, the first African country to have its health passport recognized by the European Union, has launched innovative projects in the field culture, in the hotel industry and in real estate.
In Senegal, the health sector is also undergoing a profound modernization (“smart” health card and manufacturing of world-class drugs). These advances have been made possible thanks to a dynamic ecosystem, effective public-private partnerships and an impressive talent pool.
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Côte d’Ivoire also has great ambitions in terms of integrating global value chains and, at the same time, gives local businesses every opportunity. Thanks to access to quality cotton and logistical infrastructure, proximity to markets and changing global consumer trends, the government has made considerable efforts to revive its textile industry, emphasizing on sustainability and traceability.
Similarly, Gabon and also the DR Congo are taking better and better advantage of the carbon absorption capacities of their tropical forest as well as their extraordinary biodiversity to engage in global discussions on climate change. This will be the case at COP27, which will be held in Egypt in November. This conference should allow Africans to be better heard and to benefit from fairer economic prospects.
In the Sahel region and despite security difficulties, Burkina Faso’s banking sector is booming. Niger, for its part, is boldly betting on agri-food processing and renewable energies. All these actions reflect the desire of African leaders to focus on industrialization, the main engine of prosperity.
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Energy and agribusiness are thus among those key sectors in which the private sector is expected to invest and innovate, transforming lives and tackling inequalities on a large scale. Across the region, governments, businesses and multilateral institutions are already building integrated power pools to global standards, expanding access to electricity in rural areas through smart off-grid solutions, and transforming food chains. thanks to special transformation zones.
It is an immense satisfaction to see French-speaking Africa presenting its potential and its assets to the community of investors in London. High-ranking officials and business leaders will certainly take advantage of this momentum to support the socio-economic transformation of this booming region.
This approach not only makes good business sense; it constitutes a necessary stage in favor of sustainable development and the reduction of poverty in the world, it is likely to attenuate the risks of political instability and the phenomenon of forced migrations. There is nothing like healthy competition in bilateral trade relations to help emerging countries move towards the progress.