Youth ready to shape the future of Africa
In the Business Times an article by CEO of Barclays Africa in Maria Ramos carefully explores how the Youth are exploring new ways of changing their destiny. She gives a few examples, including that of 13 year old Kenyan born Masai Richard Turere who constructed a system of lights around his family cow shed to protect livestock agains predator lions. This is just one example but there is an atmosphere she argues that is permeating on this continent that sees the youth slowly moving away from archaic and traditional ways of progress at best. She also writes about Enuctus – a nonprofit organization that provides a platform for students to create community development projects to improve the quality of life and living standards of people in need. I also like the fact that she went into specifics with education by citing some numbers – the number of young Africans with Secondary is expected to rise to 59% in 2030, compared to 42% today. This will effectively mean that 137 million 20-24 year olds will have a secondary education. What this says to me is that much touted “Africa Rising” Narative is not a pipe dream at all. The visit I paid to the African Leadership Academy is not a fallacy, there is development and a lot of it is driven by Civil Society. Yes there is Burundi, Swaziland, Sudan and next years elections in the DRC to give us sleepless nights but the horizon isn’t as bleak as it was ten years ago.
While being positive about the continent, we need not necessarily wear blinkers or sugar coat the truth. By this I point you to an article written by CEO of the Steel and Engineering Industries Federation of Southern Africa – Kaizer Nyatsumba. He paints a desperate picture of the cost of doing business in South Attica. If you remember correctly Mkaya, President Jacob Zuma’s first state of the Nation address in 2009 promised a creation of 500 000 job opportunities by December that year and he further promised a reduction of regulatory burden on small business; which as we know is still being stifled by regulatory red tape. Fast forward to six years later and even after growth figures of 3.1 in 2010, 3.4 in 2011, we now registering a measly 2%. Nyatsumba bemoans the difficult regulatory regime and the middle finger that business Normally get from Political leaders.
The theme unfortunately remains the same on the continent and this is in an article written by Chris Baron on the CEO of SA’s biggest black controlled investment company – Kennedy Bungane. The AU summit is about to commence and the problem identified by Bungane is the slow pace of policy makers on the continent. A lot of companies are spreading through the continent and we need creative solutions to help that process along. The speed with which Africa has embraced Cellular technology with efforts such as Mpesa, should propelled us to create an economically agile cross border trading regime. Let’s hope that by the end of the week the AU Summit will have delivered some positive and expeditious regulations for big businesses across African borders