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Analysts said the recalculated GDP would raise Nigeria’s profile, but change little on the ground.
"Is the money in your bank account more on Sunday than it was on Saturday? If you had no job yesterday, are you going to have a job today?" asked Bismarck Rewane, CEO of Lagos-based consultancy Financial Derivatives.
"If the answer to those questions is ‘no’, then this is an exercise in vanity," he added, though he said the new figure was more accurate.
Many Nigerians shrugged off the GDP news.
"I’m not really impressed. I don’t feel it in my pocket… It’s not the masses who are rich," said Richard Babs-Jonah, 47, a small farmer, expressing the common view that Nigeria’s economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected oligarchs.
"Those controlling the economy, those with government contracts, get all the money."
Couldn’t agree more with these two statements. The real test of Nigeria’s developments will be when our national services, infrastructure and resources are well managed, maintained and distributed, and when people no longer feel the need to seek better opportunities abroad. When Nigerians stop leaving the country in droves, or at least try to, that’s when we’ll celebrate the country’s progress.
Women in Zanzibar are taking up the profession of fishing, usually reserved for men in the society, and using it as a means to gain financial independence and economic security, with one woman quoted in this article as saying, “It is no longer men’s work.”
About this change in social attitudes and progression of women’s empowerment in the region, Ms Bahati Issa Suleiman, is the secretary of the Kikungwi Village women group says that this initiative has helped women decrease their dependency on men - particularly their husbands, and that women now see this type of work as something they are capable of doing.
Despite both national and international focus on literacy and education in Africa, in part driven by the soon-to-expire Millennium Development Goals, the resulting programmes and policies are all too often delivered in the languages of former colonial powers - particularly English, French and Portuguese - at the cost of excluding the majority and those most in need. “No country can make progress on the basis of a borrowed language, understood only by a minority,” says Prah, “Only ten per cent of African people can speak French, Portuguese or English fluently. These languages cannot be the only languages of African development.”
The problem is not merely one of shaking off the remnants of the past, but of convincing those within every level of African society that undermining the status of African languages serves the interests of no one. “It’s not just a question of Western arrogance,” explains Prah, “but also of African complicity. The cultural power of the African elite is based on the fact that they are proficient users of post-colonial languages. They instil a new colonial order which excludes the majority from the structures of power.”
"Some African languages are spoken by fifty or sixty million people. It makes economic sense to develop products for this market, by this market." If we continue to pretend that African languages are unimportant in the drive to achieve ‘education for all’, says Prah, "we will forever be waiting for 90% of Africans to become English!"
Professor Kwesi Kwaa Prah, founder of The Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society, speaks about the importance of cultivating and sustaining broader uses of African languages as a tool for development around the continent, and in breaking down the imposed barriers created through the maintained hierarchy of colonial languages.
Professor Prah also stressed that the need for this kind of fundamental change needs to start with policy makers on the continent who themselves are also victims of the entrapments laid about by colonial language systems that saw African languages as inferior.
…he suggests that even those in positions of power are allowing themselves to be limited by the same colonial hierarchies of the past. “They are second-hand users of these cultures. Therefore, they are actually positioning themselves as inferiors. This can lead to a bottle-neck of tension that can explode.”
…Prah points to Vietnam and their Southeast Asian neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia. “Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. They stopped using the language of their French colonisers: this is precisely why they are succeeding.”
Original article written by Alicia Mitchell.
The African growth story has been told over and over again but the reality is that there are winners and losers.
Celeste Fauconnier, RMB Africa analyst says that the services sector for example is growing and resource rich countries such as Nigeria and Zambia have become less dependent on commodities because it they have developed secondary industries. In an internal survey that RMB conducted last year, it found that most of its clients predicted that the logistics and automotive sectors would present more opportunities, followed by retail and resources were only listed in third position.
However, Fauconnier says that South African retailers face serious competition when entering some African countries, especially those in the East. The latter countries have invested in producing their own products and have established retailers such as Nakumatt in Kenya. This is one of the reasons that Shoprite has been struggling to get into Kenya and subsequently does not have a presence there.
Dianna Games, CEO at Africa@work, says that South Africans also have to be more aware of what is happening in Africa and enter with a naïve notion that they can strike a deal in a day. Sometimes signing a deal and finding the right partner can be a lengthy process, she says.
South African companies should also change the perception that they are the only ones going into Africa. Faure Heymans, analyst at RE:CM, says that there are good companies in Africa that are well managed and exist in strong markets such as Dangote Cement in Nigeria and ARM Cement in Kenya. These companies are now looking to invest in South Africa due to its opportunities, he says.
"Everyone is chasing a piece of the pie for the sake of it and it’s unsustainable – analysts"
In a recent interview, African entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu spoke about the rules of engagement for business in Africa emphasizing that Africa is open for business but not at any cost. “Africa’s economic history has been characterised by extractive industries and rent seeking practices that have not created development in any meaningful way. Africapitalism is simply saying there is a better and more ethical way to invest in Africa for a sustainable future.
I would like to see both African and international investors review their strategies for Africa. Yes, we are open for business but not at any cost. Our rules of engagement have changed,” he said.
Elumelu was one of the high profile African business leaders handpicked by the White House to meet with President Obama on his current three country Africa tour. Elumelu, who is the former Chairman of United Bank for Africa and Chairman of diversified investment group, Heirs Holdings recently invested USD300 million in Nigeria’s largest power plant, located in Ughelli, Delta State during the Nigerian government’s recent power privatization process.
Speaking on the motivations behind the group’s investment, he said,”Unlimited access to affordable power in any country is a game changer and will move the needle on the country’s development exponentially. It’s not just the fact that children will be able to do their homework, or that computers and phones can be powered in rural villages; it is also the impact that access to affordable power will have on the economic ecosystem. Prices will come down, entrepreneurs will expand and innovate, and jobs will be created as a result. This is Africapitalism at work.”
Speaking further on his investment in Nigeria’s power sector, Tony Elumelu said: “We played a transformative role in democratizing the banking sector at a time when no one was really paying much attention to Africa, Elumelu says. “We had a clear strategy, first mover advantage and an understanding of what the market needed and we are focused on doing the same for power. We are taking over an old government-run plant that desperately needs rehabilitation and doubling its output within our first two years of operations. By 2017, we will be generating 1000MW of electricity and Nigerians across the country will feel the impact of affordable and consistent power.”