THE world’s appetite to Africa is continuously spreading to all corners of the globe despite the economic downfall.
The highly praised Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI) Summit held in Kenya’s Capital City of Nairobi last month, is the latest ‘investor-relations’ gathering between Africa and the global community.
The TICAD was initiated by the Government of Japan as a platform for policy dialogue on the broader question of African development and it was the first time the forum was hosted in Africa and hence in itself, of great historic significance because it ultimately put Africa in the driving seat of its affairs.
Africa still woos the world
Addressing African leaders during the Summit, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged $30 billion investment to Africa’s infrastructure development, education and healthcare – the pledge would be spread over three years, starting from this year (2016) including $10 billion for infrastructure projects, to be implemented in partnership with the African Development Bank (AfDB).
More investment agreements signed
With no doubt, these kinds of gatherings come with lot of ‘investor-relations’ opportunities. At TICAD VI we witnessed a large number of commitments from different economies, one is of South Africa and Japan; both these countries signed an agreement, which will enforce these countries upsurge investment opportunities.
Furthermore, Japan has agreed to double the number of South African university students attending traineeship in Japan to 40.
The Japanese Government also extended a Sh10 billion grant to Kenya for building food security, sustainable agriculture and strengthening health systems. They will further strengthen their support for Ol Karia Geothermal Power Development projects through ODA loan and technical cooperation.
Good relations between Africa and the rest of the world shows that Africa is still open to foreign investors who are willing to contribute to Africa’s GDP. China,
Africa’s biggest ‘friend’ is now seeing constricted race from its rivals – in July this year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (with his delegates) visited South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Kenya – to boost ties with the so called ‘Chinese-playground-region’.
These ‘trade relations building’ agreements come at the right time as Africa’s economic performance held firm in 2015. According to African Economic Outlook 2016, Growth in real GDP is estimated at 3,6 percent higher than the 3,1 percent for the global economy and 1,5 percent for the euro area and the continent remains the world’s second fastest growing economy after East Asia.
In 2015, sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) grew faster than the continental average, at 4,2 percent, with East Africa leading the way at 6,3 percent Growth in Central, North and West Africa was above 3 percent, while Southern Africa grew by an average of 2,2 percent.
Ball at our leader’s court
By looking at these investment agreements and economic outlook forecasts, Africa is at the favourable position to make a better social living of its citizens and to take-over East Asia’s position as world’s fastest growing economy. However, the responsibility of implementing fruitful National Development Plans (NDPs) – that will benefit the larger communities – lies with our leaders.
Mthokozisi Ndlovu is a public relations and strategic communications professional based in South Africa.