Africa’s biggest challenge, according to Pan African Chamber of Commerce (PACC) CEO Johnny Muteba, is the continent’s lack of an agenda that is solely focussed on its development.
Instead of focusing on sustainable development agendas, such as the African Union's 2063 Agenda, he suggested during a pre-Africa Investment Forum (AIF) event, in Johannesburg, on Wednesday, that the continent needs to drive, and embrace, a vision that showcases African entrepreneurship and innovation.
However, he lamented that a lack of communication within and from Africa leads to a disconnect between what the continent really has to offer and what the rest of the world knows.
Focusing on driving this ‘African Agenda’ and the communication thereof, Muteba highlighted, will present a lot of opportunities for the continent.
“In order to attract investment, we need to, as a continent, ensure that we are proud of what we have to offer, while promoting the youth and the African brand, on an international level,” he told delegates attending the AIF.
However, the real crux to achieving this communication and awareness, South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO Alan Mukoki warned, is the interpretation of data in the business environment.
“The data we need is available, but we need to improve the ways that this data is interpreted,” he said, adding that current data is subjectively evaluated.
Another challenge in this regard, Mukoki pointed out, is the independence and transparency of institutions.
“We need to invest in communicating and generating the data that is consistent and understandable to the person on the other side to make a decision”.
In this respect, African Development Bank Southern African deputy director-general Josephine Ngure pointed out that the upcoming AIF aims to provide a multi-stakeholder, multidisciplinary collaborative platform for the economic and social development of the continent.
“The AIF is a totally transactional marketplace dedicated to advancing projects to bankable stages, raising capital, and accelerating the financial closure of deals,” she said.
Scheduled to take place from November 7 to 9, in Johannesburg, the AIF will provide a platform for project sponsors, borrowers, lenders and investors to come together to accelerate Africa’s investment opportunities.