Saturday, 14 June 2014
“One Stop Shop Investment”
"The African people need electricity. It is not up to the people to worry about the feasibility study, the engineering, the construction, the financing, the investment and whatever it may be but just need the output, the electricity. These days we are getting that as a one stop shop on investment which we can’t reject irrespective of the long term implications”. This is a speech made by one of African’s energy sector leaders in the US-Africa Energy Ministerial Conference conducted on June 3-4, 2014 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which I put it in my own words.
It makes sense to me if I expand and resonate it a little bit further to the overall investment climate in Africa. Essentially, the people as consumers are not expected to be concerned about the whole process of getting things done but the output where ever they may originate. Africans’ are not the exceptions. They need the output.
Basically, it is up to the governments to device the best mechanisms and solutions and provide their people with improved health services, education systems, infrastructure and energy and so on but the later just need the output, nothing more nothing less.
African countries are realizing their potentials and the need to invest on infrastructure and fuel their economy so that they feed their ever expanding population. Slowly but surely, the landscape is changing. The ones volatile regions are showing dramatic progress towards peace, stability, growth and development, and becoming destinations for investment, with the exception of few. Essentially, the internal drive is under momentum. Most of them set ambitious goals and are working on it. However; they do have still limitations both on technical and financial terms to achieve these aspirations. So, the African governments are at a time the support of the developed world, be it governmental or private community, is more than critical. The traditional support and investment which is bound with preconditions doesn’t help the continent significantly, anymore. The Africans look after investments which benefits the investors and their own very people. Open, mutual and practical, than words, approach will substantially benefit in the times ahead in the African soil.
The right attitude to invest in Africa right now, I tell you, is not to expect or wait for a perfect investment climate but to face it and lay the foundation from now on. Success in business in Africa is almost guaranteed as there are few who did it and are on the right track. I don’t have to tell you that there are abundant resources, young work force, big market potential etc. Bear in mind that the African investment context is possibly and probably different from the other world. There are even many differences among the 54 states or so in the continent. Doing ones homework and tailoring every investment to every country helps much. Don’t lump sum and judge the 54 states in to a single virtual one.
I believe the African challenges ahead are somehow the challenges of the world as well. In the past couple of years the continental body, AU, in collaboration with other international partners, has been assisting the efforts of individual countries .Nonetheless, it remains limited as compared to the investment capital need projected, and often promises were not fully practical because of age old procedures, rules, regulations and preconditions of investment in Africa. The developed world mainly the west should come out of the age old mind set towards Africa and encourage their private capital to flow in, if they really need to see a change in the continent.
The African governments need money and they are desperately looking for every alternative to realize their dreams. Sometimes, however, the alternatives are costlier and unpredictable.
Fortunately, it is not too late to genuinely invest in Africa and strike a balance. Just come with one stop shop solution.
Posted by Tigabu Atalo