Forbes Africa : The Future We Deserve

Through resilience under the pandemic to revolutionising sectors to expanding financial inclusion and promoting gender inclusion, it remains clear that Africa is a global powerhouse guiding the world market toward a brighter future.

As Africa works united to achieve a greater economic and social transformation through the initiatives of Agenda 2063 and the AfCFTA, it remains clear that the future of today has been built for many years upon Africa’s past. It is now time to see Africa reap the rewards that she so readily deserves for all the efforts that have brought these stellar achievements to light.

As world economies emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic, Africa’s economic projections have been revised, and the overall outlook remains positive, giving credence to the potential of Africa’s accomplishments and capabilities. East Africa as a whole continues to be the continent’s fastest-growing region and among the fastest in the world. While lockdowns generated multifaceted, negative impacts, somewhat unanticipated positive effects are emerging, which are now igniting a transformation of African economies towards greater self-sufficiency. Many African countries developed innovative responses to the pandemic through technology and digital infrastructure.

Digitisation and financial inclusion across the entire continent are facilitating the future of Africa through Agenda 2063 and the AfCFTA. While the African market unites, digital infrastructure ensures that it is accessible to all. Mobile money usage has increased by 330% in countries like Nigeria, leading to a banking transformation catalysed by a digital revolution. Many countries are experiencing similar phenomena and as a result, financial inclusion is witnessing widespread growth across the entire continent. Nicholas Achiri Asangwe, Managing Director of Ecobank Gabon, explains how their banking initiatives have pushed the digital innovation agenda further: “Through Ecobank’s one bank model, we design and manufacture products centrally and distribute them locally. This provides us with faster distribution so we can offer our products and services, regardless of their size.”

In terms of infrastructure to support Africa’s continued expansion, US$72 billion has been invested in projects that span across sectors and the continent. In collaboration with Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya and Djibouti have all invested in a standard gauge railway line. Rwanda is investing in energy projects and an international airport. Mozambique signed a US$14.9 billion deal amid the pandemic, the largest gas project ever financed in Africa. These projects are well supported and demonstrate Africa’s progression and investment opportunity. Samaila Zubairu, President and CEO of African Finance Corporation, says, “Since our creation in 2007, we have deployed over 2 billion dollars across 30 African states, focusing on infrastructure, power, transport logistics, national resources, heavy industries and telecoms. Putting in place a programme for adequate infrastructure and regional infrastructure, we will enhance African capacity to be able to produce goods and services that are required for a free trade continent.”

Agenda 2063 continues to make bold achievements in many of its aspirations. Forty- three countries have signed the Charter on the Rights for the Youth, which propels Aspiration 6, a people-driven Africa with a special focus on women and youth. Aspiration 2, which is focused on an integrated continent based on Pan- Africanism, is most notably achieved by the efforts in flagship projects such as the AfCFTA and the Protocol to the Treaty on the Establishment of the African Economic Community relating to the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment.

There is no better time than now to invest in Africa. Equipped with a young and skilled labour force to make the production hub for the world, Africa remains an important resource and is key to global economic progression. The advent of the 4th Industrial Revolution presents numerous opportunities for Africa; investing in skilling her youthful population and leveraging home-grown and external technological advancements will position Africa on a sustainable development trajectory. It is no doubt that Africa’s strength and unity stands as an example to the entire world, embodying the African proverb: If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

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