Globally, Africa’s economy is noted to be a fluctuating one – performing differently from predicted outlook and projections. This has, and is still, impeding the rate of investment and economic growth of Africa’s business sector.
Evidence based research predicted decades ago that some African countries, like Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Zimbabwe could be competing world’s leading economies and possibly would not require foreign aid for development. However, situations keep changing and Africa’s economy usually, seems not to meet expectation. Forecasts about Africa keeps dwindling from pessimism to optimism and back to pessimism. So what are we doing wrong?
The cause of the dwindling continental economy can be traced to be influenced by western investors and the changing global commodity price. In recent times, the private sector of the African economy has been functioning super effectively. Although there are few challenges, the economic growth of the continent have been somehow dependent on the performance of the private sector. Entrepreneurs are drifting from service provision towards production of goods. Yet, there is little coverage of these great transformation by researchers and media (local and international), reporters and businesses. It was only until the year 2000 Journal of African Business.
There have been media spotlights on just some few entrepreneurs, Aliko Dangote (Nigerian Cement Manufacturer) and Mo Ibrahim (Sudanese telecoms tycoon). On business research, academicians have not really focused on Africa’s private sector. This has limited the level of understanding of business readers, investors and consultants on business in Africa, particularly the private sector.
Gone are the days where Africa use to trade unprocessed commodity and raw materials. For instance, countries like Ghana and Ivory Coast built their economy on smallholder farming and trading Cocoa and Gold as a raw mineral at global market. Now, there are a lot of entrepreneurs within the private sector in Africa which is performing very well. Some of these entrepreneurs are making their names in Forbes Magazine and global economic forums.
Now, we have multinational firms! South Africa’s telecom giant, MTN; Shoprite and DSTV, Ecobank, Nigeria’s UBA – all booming market in several African countries. Since mid-1990 to the 2000s, there have been a revolution which surges African economy to attract foreign investors. Start-Up in technology is uprising in Africa now and a lot of young start-ups manufacturing products from local raw materials.
Research must focus on these young start-ups. These are the companies that needs spotlight and focus. Academia must study these projects and publish their progress and challenges. That’s the medium to get a better outlook of Africa’s economy to outsiders. Businesses in Africa should also include writers and publishers in their management. Frequent publishing on large media outlets attracts customers, investors and helps to create a better image of the company.