RENEW Strategies

Why Engage Africa? A U.K. Think Tank Makes the Case

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Laura Davis
| May 29, 2010

The Chatham House, a U.K. think tank, recently released a report by Tom Cargill entitled Investment in Africa: All to Play For. In it, Cargill makes a well-grounded case for participating in Africa's economic future.

Africa sits at the base of the global supply chain, with almost forty percent of the mineral resources, arable land, fresh water and energy required to secure global growth. With a billion people, it offers valuable market share, and for the past decade growth across much of the continent has outpaced every other region of the world.

Cargill provides necessary perspective to the mainstream media's focus on China as a player in Africa, while challenging the private sector to engage lead the way in African economic growth.

While China has been the focus of much western media interest, it is the sheer number of countries increasing their African engagement that is noteworthy, many with far fewer historical ties to the continent than China...while aid will remain important, under the prevailing global economic system it is only private sector-led growth that will deliver the broad based expansion required for the kind of lifestyle choices taken for granted in the west. This is why commercial interest from emerging powers is so welcome in principal, but also why the lack of a strong private sector element in western interest in Africa is both self defeating and self deluding.

A great read, the article presents a well-balanced perspective on Africa's potential in the global market.