Friday, July 20, 2012

Move Over Asian Tigers, The African Lions Are Coming

Can African lions overtake Asia's tigers?

Africa's economies are developing in leaps and bounds and have enormous potential for growth, says Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. While companies still need strong nerves to secure a slice of the African marketplace, it's looking increasingly like it's the right time for African lions to take over the Asian tigers as the fastest-growing global economies.
~ Grace Segran for INSEAD Africa Initiative

"I hope it will be, and the first lion will be Nigeria," Sanusi says.

The Nigerian economy is growing steadily at a rate of seven to eight per cent per annum, driven not by oil and gas exports, but by agriculture, wholesale and retail trade, and services.

What Nigeria needs most to roar into the leading economies in the 21st century are what the governor of the apex bank emphasized in the following quote.

“That includes policy consistency, political stability, the fight against corruption, and improved efficiency in business processes. If we did the same thing that the Asians, such as the Indonesians and the Malaysians, did and if we did it right, we should be able to repeat the experience.”

As they say in South Africa, it is possible.

South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia and Angola have the potentials to lead the pack once they can invest more in small and medium enterprises (SMEs), because SMEs are actually the catalyst for fast economic development in Africa and the governments and private investors must do more in expanding venture capital opportunities in aggro-allied ventures, IT, entertainment and production of local goods.

SMEs are responsible for driving innovation and competition in many economic sectors and are said to contribute 70% of economic growth globally. Africa is an emerging market and countries in Africa have realised the importance of SME development by making funds available to potential entrepreneurs. The major population in Africa which resides in the rural areas is also being tapped by banks & financial institutions by making finance available to those micro entrepreneurs in helping them start their own business. Banks, Financial Institutions, Private Equity Firms and NGOs across Africa are encouraging entrepreneurs to come up with innovative business ideas and explore opportunities in initiating a business start up. SMEs are thus proving to be a lifeline for Africa by creating job opportunities and skilled workforce that in return is helping boost the productivity of this region. But even under such promising circumstances, there still looms a major concern over factors such as vague business models, unclear government legislations, customer awareness, taxation & high repayment rates which need to be worked upon.

~ From SME Africa 2012. From: 17 Oct 2012 To: 18 Oct 2012 City: Johannesburg

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