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WEF’s promises for Africa growth

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The World Economic Forum is underway in Durban, South Africa, this week, with a particular focus on the continent of Africa, its opportunities, challenges and future growth.

The global economy is no doubt facing some major challenges. Sluggish growth, leading to stagnant global trade, subdued investment and increasing policy uncertainty world-wide, are just a few. Further to this, with economies worldwide on the cusp of a fourth industrial revolution, which is expected to drive significant change to global industries and business models, there is also major concern around jobs of the future, and potential job loss – with pressures mounting on industries to drive innovation, harness technology and to create a new way of working and growing.

Kunle Elebute, national senior partner, KPMG in Nigeria and chairman, KPMG West Africa, said: “While Africa is presented with a number of challenges – some closely aligned to the global view and others completely unique, the continent also holds many opportunities for future growth. However, these opportunities can only be unlocked, if we tackle them systematically and if we focus on the core of what drives an economy – infrastructure, its people, and its ability to innovate and improve growth.”

Africa’s growth and development is intimately linked to infrastructure development on the continent, and in many instances, the lack thereof.

Key challenges

In fact, possibly the biggest obstacle for the continent to adapt to this next revolution is the lack of sufficient infrastructure. It is well known that there is a direct correlation between infrastructure and; building or accessing markets, workforce productivity and – generally – economic growth and social development. However, the reality in Africa is that it faces a number of key challenges within this sector including:

  • Economic hubs or nodes are geographically dispersed, where there are 1000’s of miles of very rural land in-between them.
  • There have been very few collaborative strategies, planning or development of cross-border infrastructure projects – where rather, most countries have been focused on what they need to do in-country to improve infrastructure networks.
  • There are limited funds available to fund long-term development infrastructure projects, or to maintain the ones that are built. This has left a financing gap in this sector, perpetuating bottlenecks that make these projects less attractive to investors – both foreign and local.

“Addressing these key issues and devising collaborative plans that focus on regional integration and cross-market support will be critical this year,” continued Elebute.

Furthermore, as the world starts moving more rapidly towards the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the impact of digital transformation needs to be looked at. This sector bodes immense opportunities to further bridge the digital divide between emerging and developed markets, as well as provides great opportunity to support and advance the millennial generation and entrepreneurs in Africa – the future business owners and leaders.

Adapting to the Fourth Industrial Revolution therefore is a strategy that can be more inclusive, as it will empower African states to harness the technology and the skills available to them, as well as enable these states to continue to form part of the connected, global economy.

Such a movement would need to encompass key strategies, underpinned by significant investment into R&D on the continent, a realignment of education to increase talent pools and skills transfer and the opening up of cross-border trade – making business in Africa easier and less complicated to stimulate growth.

“Innovation and job creation also play a pivotal role in the economic development of the continent”.

To this end, innovation and job creation also play a pivotal role in the economic development of the continent and there is no doubt that a stringent focus will be placed on these two areas in this year’s WEF conference.

It is about unlocking regional growth in Africa, understanding the demographics and how they can work for the continent, and developing solid strategies to mitigate the skills gap and drive forth sustainable job creation opportunities – through encouraging innovations and enabling a better Africa.

Elebute added, “Africa has very often done things differently, leapfrogging the banking sector with the advent of online and mobile banking, for example, and using innovation to create growth and opportunities. This is evidence of the power of technology and in the coming years more focus needs to be placed on harnessing the power of what new technologies can offer and, as industry players, finding ways that we can better use it to create opportunities.”

Significant change

This year’s WEF will get organisations thinking about the implications of technology on their own businesses. Core to this is understanding the impact it will have on the workforce across Africa. Statistics indicate that one of the top five labour market shifts that are affecting strategy include the changing workforce, at 43%, driven strongly by workforce technology. This is scaring employees and employers alike however, it is more about adding additional value to what would have been a transactional process than replacing the human element. Elebute indicates that this is one of the definite shifts we will see into the next year and beyond.

Nhlamu Dlomu, KPMG executive board member, partner, head of people and change, agrees and indicates that Africa has been doing the same thing for years and certainly, the continent is on the verge of seeing significant change.

“Changing the way Africa employs, educates and manages existing or potential employees is set to be a sure focus. And entrepreneurship is at the centre of this – harnessing the 59% of millennials who are entering the job market and demanding a different workforce strategy, using entrepreneurs to provide core business functions instead of expanding the business head count and creating opportunity for skills transfer and development – across and inter-Africa,” said Dlomu.

Africa is on the brink of a workforce revolution – driven by technology and new job seekers – and it is now that policies need to be adapted, businesses need to realign what they once knew and – as a collective – the continent needs to define new strategies to move forward, with conviction.

“Africa is a massive continent and more governments therefore need to start thinking smartly around their urban areas, planned infrastructure projects, job creation and the power of connectivity and digital transformation – as this can significantly reform their strategies; towards investment and development that will underpin their adaptation to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, and will empower and enable their nations to leapfrog,” concluded Elebute.

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Africa speaks

A Global Entanglement: Involving The Displacement Of Migrants Exacerbated During Crisis

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Dr KIM LAMONT-MBAWULI

The world is experiencing unprecedented existential crisis. We living in a moment of global entanglement comprised of escalations and accelerations such as accelerated mobility both of goods, ideas and information and people. As a result COVID-19 virus resulted in a global crisis. According to Dr Eric Makoni, the traveller or globe trotter is always on the move has defined by the moment of global entanglement. Of which the intensification thereof has resulted in the escalated movement of the virus.

Unfortunately, there are skewed power relations there is easier movement for some than others. Regrettably the darker side of modernity are those that are exposed to a low socioeconomic status such as migrants. The precariat move is driven by hunger, poverty, wars, unemployment and natural disasters from one area in search of greener pastures.

According, to Boaventura de Sousa Santos the large Majority of the world’s population is not the subject of human rights. They are rather the object of human rights and discourses. On the other hand, various laws that govern mobility of the poor, have frequently resulted in their confinement and poverty. In some instances, it has rendered them permanent wanderers, refugees, and immigrants.

MIGRATION

According to Tapiwa Diamond, migration involves the movement of people from place to place either internally within one country or sometimes from country to country. Migration has an effect on human capital on both individual and household level. It is deeply embedded in rational policy calculations, entrenched political position, impassioned public debate and the subject of emotive narratives and personal stories. It is inherently political it is the human costs of conflict and perilous journeys in search of safety. There is a plethora of compelling factors that
push people to migrate, with a clear dream of something better, something more attractive, a mirage of a better and safer future. If considered carefully it means that the migrant journeys are path unknown for a better tomorrow.

FORCIBLY DISPLACED

Forced displacement (also referred to as forced migration) is the involuntary or compelled movement of people away from their home or region. According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) defines
‘forced displacement’ more narrowly as: displaced “as a consequence of persecution, conflict, generalized violence or human rights violations”.

Subsequently, resulting in acquired vulnerabilities that are specific to them, including catastrophic losses of assets or trauma. It perpetuates the vicious circle wherein there is a lack of economic opportunities, and it traps them in poverty. These vulnerabilities set them apart from other poor people in the communities where they live, broad-based poverty reduction efforts may not suffice to relieve their plight and special interventions are needed. To sustain host communities, development actors should help manage the shock caused by an inflow of forcibly
displaced persons. The arrival of large numbers of people in specific locales creates both risks and opportunities. In most situations, it transforms the environment for designing and implementing poverty reduction programs. In some exceptional cases, it creates new dynamics for the entire country and national development strategies have to be adjusted accordingly. In addition to this pandemics like COVID 19 have exacerbated crisis situation for migrants

According to the IOM there are 272 million international migrants worldwide are more vulnerable than others because of personal, social, situational and structural factors. Persons displaced internally and across borders are particularly at risk.

IMPACT ON MOBILITY

With measures introduced by governments to ‘flatten the curve’ of infections, the COVID-19 pandemic is already greatly impacting mobility and migration. Travel restrictions were passed to contain the virus, including by prohibiting entry of residents from other countries, and some countries have closed their borders entirely. Labour migration has been temporarily suspended in some countries while, in others, migration processing and assistance to asylum seekers are being slowed down. These mobility restrictions and concerns over exposing refugees to
the novel Coronavirus have forced the International Organization for Migration and the United High Commissioner for Refugees to temporarily suspend refugees’ resettlement travels.

Refugees often settle into host communities which are among the poorest in their countries or in remote or border areas, where residents are already struggling to obtain jobs and adequate public services. While some migrants may be healthier than their receiving community, others have health vulnerabilities which can be due to; socioeconomic status; being in crowded or otherwise suboptimal environments; restriction to eligibility or access to services, including health services as a result of the  migration status; or cultural-linguistic barriers or access to health information.

IMPACT ON MIGRANT CHILDREN

According UNICEF analysis based on United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, migrant and displaced children are among the most vulnerable populations on the globe. In 2019, around 33 million children were living outside of their country of birth, including many who were forcibly displaced across borders. At the end of 2018, a total of over 31 million children were living in forced displacement in their own country or abroad due to violence and conflict. This includes some 13 million child refugees, around 1 million asylum-seeking children, and an estimated  17 million children displaced within their own countries.

It is estimated that 3.7 million children live in refugee camps or collective centres. Further to this COVID-19 threatens to bring even more uncertainty and harm to their lives. A UNICEF study titled, “Steps Up COVID-19 Preparedness, Prevention, and Response Measures” demonstrated that almost 4 in 10 children and young people on the move do not have access to facilities to properly wash themselves in countries like Somalia, Ethiopia and the Sudan. Notwithstanding the fact that half of those respondents were aged between 14–24 years in a UNICEF poll and
self-identified as migrants and refugees and further indicated that they did not see a doctor when needed.

This has become a harsh reality for many children around the world. Children in situations like these may face the added risk of being detained by immigration authorities, potentially exposing them to violence, abuse or exploitation. Migrant and displaced children across contexts are at risk of missing out on accurate public health information, due to language barriers or simply being cut off from communication networks. Undocumented children living in foreign countries may fear contact with public authorities. Meanwhile, misinformation on the spread of COVID-19 has exacerbated the xenophobia and discrimination that migrant and displaced children and their families face.

IMPACT ON HEALTH

The lack of or inappropriate health insurance, often coupled to insufficient financial resources, may negatively impact migrants. Undocumented migrants can find it more difficult to access care, as outside activity needs to be registered with authorities or they may be reluctant to enter medical facilities for fear of being reported if no appropriate firewalls exist regarding data sharing with the immigration and law enforcement authorities.

  • Crowded living environments may also affect the implementation of preventive measures such as social distancing.
  • This is for instance the case for undocumented migrants in administrative detention, refugees in camps or migrant workers in highly populated migrant camps.

VACCINE ROLL OUT AND MIGRANTS

COVID-19 vaccine distribution has begun, and U.S. refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) populations, who are dis-proportionately affected by COVID-19, face well-known barriers to vaccination. If not addressed, these barriers likely will result in a lost opportunity to save lives. The recent report from the National Academies Press, Framework for Equitable Allocation of COVID-19 Vaccine (Framework), offers specific and helpful recommendations for conducting an equitable vaccine campaign, although implementation thereof remains.

Migrants in SA particularly undocumented are concerned about not being vaccinate. The vaccine is being rolled out to health workers. What’s required when you receive the shot; is to show that you have got an ID. For those who are
undocumented the documentation process make it difficult to obtain a vaccination. Albeit it has been explicitly stated that all adults, regardless of their documentation will receive the vaccine– irrespective of nationality or residence status – would receive the vaccine during the roll-out because “it is in the best interests of all that as many of us receive the vaccine as possible”.

However, Migrants have said that there is a lack of clarity in terms of how the vaccine roll out will be undertaken because of the systemic Xenophobia or uneasiness when providing health care to non-citizens. In a recent study, published in Plos one, in December on healthcare providers and migrants accessing medical services in Gauteng, respondents/Participants in the study reported that they had witnessed discrimination and differential treatment when it came to migrants.

In Conclusion

In this age of global entanglement, Covid has made us realise inter alia the following;

1) we are not invincible.

2) we need each other as human beings.

3) we need to respect the natural environment all the people in it.

4) when fully understand the spirit of Ubuntu and solidarity that another world is possible – and it must be realised.

This new world must be predicated on common humanity, respect of the spirit-world, respect for the (non-human world), and the centering of knowledge’s marginalised by global capitalism. After all, there is only one earth
that we all live in.

 

A U T H O R  S H O R T  B I O

Dr Kim Lamont-Mbawuli is the CEO of Simanye Clinic, Head of Litigation at Ebi Okeng Attorneys Inc, Chief Legal Officer at Alternative Energy and Chairperson for Pan African Network for Investment and Development. During the period between 2007 to 2012 she completed her Honours in Human Biology, MSc in Medicine (Med) and PhD (Med). In 2015, she completed an MPhil in Intellectual Property Law. In 2019 she graduated with her LLB at Unisa, she completed her Practical legal training with LEAD and was Admitted Attorney of the High Court of South Africa. She is an Attorney at Law/General Practitioner.

 

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Open Letter to President Joe Biden

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President Joe Biden © The U.S WhiteHouse 

The Legacy Premier Foundation joins the rest of the world in saluting and congratulating you and the amiable Vice President – Madam Kamala Harris, on your outstanding triumph in being elected the 46th President and Vice President of the United State of America. It was an all-round resounding victory that showcased your fruitful political career over the years. It was also incredible to know about your magnanimity in clinching the presidential seat. How beautiful It is to see one who gives so much get rewarded! You are an icon as you have consistently expressed your genuine thoughts, and the electorate has regarded this honorary virtue.

Reiterating the words of Fashina, et al.(2018), their study revealed evidence of a long relationship among economic growth, foreign aid, human capital and other growth determinants namely; real domestic investment, foreign direct investment and trade openness. It is also evident in the study that among other factors considered responsible for economic growth, foreign direct investment and trade openness appeared the most viable for explaining growth attainment in Nigeria as there were more statistically significant factors. On this account, we would trust that you will keep on offering the truly necessary help; support and aid for Africa-oriented programs. Currently, we need a great deal of help in the advancement of Africa development.

Going down memory lane, since the escalation of World War II, there has been a significant development in Africa’s general foreign exchange. The development contrasts well to that of other continents, for example, Latin America. The estimation of imports, notwithstanding, has exceeded exports bringing about an unfavourable lopsided exchange for most African nations. One way to overturn this is through foreign aid and grants.

Over the years, there has been a huge surge in African commodities by and large, and this can be credited to the increment in the demand for essential commodities during World War II and in the prompt post-war refurbishment period. Thus, the fulfilment of independence by most African nations, particularly in the mid-1960s was trailed by an offer for economic development that is fortified by the export-expansion drive.

Another wholesome reason for the rather slow growth in African exports is the perseverance of the present circumstance that has been essential for the explanation of the economies of numerous African countries.

To salvage this, the African Union has launched the operational phase of the Africa Continental Trade Area (AfCFTA), which could become the world’s largest trade area, going by number of participating nations, once it’s fully operational. Nigeria is on the verge of developing a national AfCFTA strategy. In Nigeria today, we have the road, maritime and air transport options well utilised, but the railways would have an edge over the others when the trading bloc starts operations because of its relatively lower costs. Nigeria therefore is positioning itself to take very good advantage of these policies to come.

After years of talks, the end goal is to determine one marketplace for goods and services across the 54 African countries, allowing the free movement of business travelers and investments, and making a continental union to streamline trade; which thereby attracts long-term investment.

There is also the “African Growth and Opportunity Act,” (AGOA) which has been the foundation of U.S. monetary commitment in the last twenty years, with the nations of Sub-Saharan Africa and has assisted with expanding two-path exchange between the U.S. and Sub-Saharan Africa.

AGOA builds on existing US trade programs by expanding the (duty-free) benefits previously available only under the country’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) program. Duty-free access to the U.S. market under the combined AGOA/GSP program stands at approximately 6,500 product tariff lines, including the tariff lines that were added by the AGOA legislation. Notably, these newly added “AGOA products” include items such as apparel and footwear, wine, certain motor vehicle components, a variety of agricultural products, chemicals, steel and many others.

In conclusion, we see that the agreement will expire by 2025, but we want to see to it that this applaudable act is extended further to help bolster economic development in the whole of the Africa continent.

For this, we humbly request for aids and policies targeted towards trade openness, laxity on stringent policies against migration and support on democratic practice that will enhance human capital and socioeconomic development on the continent. We also offer you our wholehearted partnership in your future works, and we expect your tenure achievement to be all-encompassing and all-reaching.

This wouldn’t just imbue more credibility to your governance, it will be a far-reaching policy towards igniting hope in the heart of the African populace.

We look forward to meaningful collaborations through our organization, Legacy Premier Foundation – a global intergenerational non-profit organization committed to empowering and developing underserved communities through human capital and socio-economic empowerment.

We remain open to a meet and greet opportunity with your team.

God bless the President
God Bless Madam Vice President
God bless the United States of America

Signed: Dr Remi Duyile, Legacy Premier Foundation Management

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What’s Happening To Democracy In Africa?

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Yoweri Museveni and Bobi Wine (Source: PML Daily)

Nobody was genuinely surprised that Uganda’s Electoral Commission declared the incumbent, 76-year-old Yoweri Museveni of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) the winner of the country’s violent Presidential ballot. It was a forgone conclusion. The victory is Museveni’s sixth since fighting his way to power in 1986. Although his 35-year rule has been extended, this time around the desperate groans for change were felt across the entire world.

African leaders have a long history of using violence and fear against political opponents. At the time of writing, Bobi Wine, Uganda’s 38-year-old musician turned formidable political opponent, is under house arrest. Wine insists that the election was rigged against him and his life is under threat. Many of his supporters and close political allies have been tortured and detained by the country’s security forces. After his arrest in November at least 54 people died following protests. This is taking place all under the watchful gaze of the media, the United Nations and the African Union. At one point Museveni ordered the shutdown of the internet. 

2021 will be a busy political season for the African continent with more than 13 countries heading to the polls to elect new leaders. The invasion of the Capitol and the legacy of President Donald Trump is proof that Africa can no longer look outside of its borders for positive influence. Constitutional change, fair elections, independent courts and free media is fundamental if Africa is to truly govern itself. Without these basic pillars of a democracy, civil war is the inevitable outcome.

Somalia 

Presidential Election
February 8th 

Incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed will face former president Sharif Sheikh Ahmed. The threat of political violence still lingers as the tensions among key parties remain high and electoral preparations are lagging.

Niger

Presidential Election
February 21st 

Former prime minister Mohammed Bazoum of the ruling party will go head-to-head with former president Mahamane Ousmane. Niger is attempting its first peaceful transfer of power since gaining independence from France 60 years ago.

Republic of Congo

Presidential Election
March 21st 

The President of the Republic of Congo, Denis Sassou Nguesso, who is one of the world’s longest-serving leaders is seeking a fourth term. His challengers include Mathias Dzon, who is the former Minister of Finance between 1997-2002 and Guy-Brice Parfait Kolélas, who came second in the highly contested 2016 presidential election that Sassou Nguesso won. Congo is an oil-rich but impoverished country. It is in the grip of a deep economic crisis, triggered by the slump in oil prices but worsened by long-standing debt and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Cabo Verde

Legislative Election, March
Presidential Election, October

President Jorge Carlos Fonseca is stepping down in 2021 following the conclusion of his second and constitutionally limited five-year term.

Chad

Presidential Election, April 1
Legislative Election, October 24

President Idriss Déby is seeking his sixth term in office, having previously overseen the removal of term limits in 2005 and then their restoration in 2018—though they are not to be applied retroactively. The 68-year-old former military leader came to power in 1990 following the toppling of the despotic Hissan Habré. 

Djibouti

Presidential Election, April

Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the small but strategically vital country of Djibouti in the Horn of Africa, announced in late December he would be running for a fifth term in presidential elections this April.

Benin

Presidential Election, April 11

Benin will hold its presidential election on April 11, 2021, the country’s election commission announced Tuesday. The first round of the election will take place on April 11 in the West African nation, the Independent Election Commission said in a statement. A second round will be held on May 9 if none of the candidates passed the 50% threshold, the commission added. Although current President Patrice Talon said that when he was elected for the first time in 2016, he would remain in the government for only one term, his candidacy for a second term is seen as almost certain.

Ethiopia

Parliamentary Elections, June 5

Ethiopia will hold a parliamentary election on June 5 as Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed seeks to quell political and ethnic violence in several regions. Abiy’s Prosperity Party, a pan-Ethiopian movement he founded a year ago, faces challenges from increasingly strident ethnically based parties seeking more power for their regions. Africa’s second most populous nation has a federal system with 10 regional governments, many of which have boundary disputes with neighbouring areas or face low-level unrest.

São Tomé and Príncipe

Presidential Election, July 31

President Evaristo Carvalho is seeking his second 5-year term in presidential elections in July. Carvalho was previously prime minister, president of the national assembly, and minister of defence. São Tomé and Príncipe enjoys a competitive multiparty democracy and a history of peaceful transfer of power between parties. The 2021 elections are expected to be freely contested and transparent.

Zambia

Presidential and Legislative Elections, August 12

Presidential elections will be held in August 2021. The election will be the sixth (and, he says, last) attempt by opposition leader Hakainde Hichilema of the United Party for National Development to win the presidency. Hichilema was the business-friendly candidate in 2016 who campaigned on fixing the then struggling economy.

The Gambia

Presidential Election, December 4

The Gambia’s upcoming elections will be the first since Yahya Jammeh lost power in 2017. President Adama Barrow’s first term has largely been about rebuilding after more than 20 years of Jammeh’s rule. This mammoth task requires reforming every sector of the country, not least of which the economy and the security sector and finding avenues for the country’s youthful population. 

Libya

Presidential and Parliamentary Elections, December 24

In November 2020, Libyan politicians convened by the UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) to sketch out a plan to reunify the country agreed that Libya would have elections on December 24, 2021—the 70th anniversary of Libyan independence in 1951.

By: Juliana Olayinka (Broadcast Journalist)

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