Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Africa Day

Last week we celebrated Africa day with a dinner for High Commissioners and Ambassadors from African Countries. The Dinner was hosted by Essar Group and addressed by Antonio Gumende, High Commissioner for Mozambique and acting Dean of the African Union Heads of Mission. Discussions focused on increasing investment in Africa with a particular focus on Infrastructure and power generation. I would like to thank Essar Group’s Vice-Chair Ravi Ruia for flying in especially for the dinner.

The dinner marks a continued increase in interest and confidence in Africa from business around the world; capital flows rose by 16% up to a record $62 billion in 2008, while foreign direct investment fell 20% worldwide in the same year. Many countries are increasing their presence in Africa Singapore, Malaysia, Canada and the UK, to name but a few. Australia’s presence is also increasing, around 40 per cent of Australian mining companies' overseas projects are in Africa and Australia’s trade with the continent has grown about 9% a year for the last 10 years.

This renewed confidence was supported by a report in the FT this morning, that stated 500 of Africa’s companies have been displaying growth of about 8% a year since 1998; this is supported by a surge in export growth that is either exceeding or matching that of the BRIC countries. The last few decades of the 20th century were all about the Asian tigers driving Asia’s growth, the next 20 years could well be about the African Lions that will drive Africa’s.

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