Tonight is part 3 of our series on African economic development. Prevailing stereotypes depict 54 African countries as if they were a single country, and an economic basket case at that. While of course, poverty continues to afflict hundreds of millions across the continent, economic realities vary considerably.
There are nearly 1 billion people on the continent. According to some reports, cell phone use is more widespread in Kenya than it is in Canada. Materially, Africa is the richest continent, selling more oil to the US than does the Middle East. Modern technology, from DVDs and digital cameras to laptop computers, would be impossible without coltan, mined almost exclusively in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Shocking to many, GNI or gross national income per capital is higher across Africa than it is in India. At least a dozen African countries have a higher GNI per capita than China. And as the continent’s middle classes grow, telecomm, banking, and Western-style retail shopping are booming.
Tonight we’ll hear the perspectives of several speakers on African economic development, including from:
Sampson Ebimaro of the Nigerian National Planning Commission
Tsuneo Kurokawa, Director General of the Japan International Cooperation Agency’s Africa Department
William arap Ruto, Kenya’s minister for agriculture
Wasswa Biriggwa, Uganda’s ambassador to Japan, and
Fatim Badjie, Gambia’s Minister for Communication Information + Technology
Marketing professor Vijay Mahajan is a social entrepreneur and the author of Africa Rising: How 900 Million African Consumers Offer More Than You Think, a book that argues Africa is one of the world's fastest growing markets, surprising buying power, a place in which global companies are succeeding, where the diaspora is driving investment, and of which India and China are staking out huge swaths of turf.
A graduate of the Harvard School of Business, Euvin Naidoo is a South African investment banker and was selected as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. In 2007 he was President of the South African Chamber of Commerce in America (SACCA). In this June 2007 speech at TedGlobal in Arusha, Tanzania, Naidoo explains why investing in Africa is great idea.