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Africa at mercy of own politicians – expert

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African economies should do well in the next decade if the continent’s politicians are committed to serve their countries and if there is rapid movement towards the establishment of regional markets, a top business executive has said.

Business Leadership South Africa chairperson, Bobby Godsell, who is scheduled to address delegates at the Alpha Media Holdings (AMH) Conversation event set for June 29 in Harare, said individual economies were too small to sustain rapid growth.

“In at least relative terms African economies should do very well in the next decade,” said Godsell.

“However, if the opportunity for significant economic, social and political progress is to be seized, it will require at least three things: politicians who serve their countries and citizenry with honesty and efficiency; a rapid move to effective regional African markets — all individual African economies are too small to sustain rapid growth, including South Africa; a citizenry that stops relying exclusively on government and increasingly takes into its own hands its own progress and destiny.”

Godsell, who is part of South African President Jacob Zuma’s National Planning Commissions, said good leadership was vital for all human organisations, including business.

“It is of even greater importance in times like these of intense uncertainty. The global economy is facing a period of dislocation last experienced in the 1930’s,” he said.

Godsell said the prospects for advanced economies were low to negative growth for an extended period.

According to the business expert, the African continent has had the highest levels of economic growth compared to other continents (though less than India and China) for the last 15 years.
He added that demography, governance, stability and infrastructure were improving on the continent.

Godsell, who has also served as AngloGold Ashanti chief executive officer, will explore the challenges Africa’s business leaders encounter and how to overcome them in the unpredictable environment at the AMH Conversations breakfast meeting in Harare next week Friday.

AMH are the publishers of NewsDay, the Independent and Standard newspapers.

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