Dambisa Moyo on a More Optimistic Outlook for Africa

Question: What is the future of Africa's contribution to the global economy?

Moyo:    I think it’s time for dramatic innovation in Africa.  Africa tends to be viewed under the guise of this, what I call the Four Horsemen of Africans Apocalypse and the four things being war, disease, poverty and corruption.  And unfortunately, that has meant…Africa has been held back and suffers from most serious negative PR problem.  I believed that going forward if African focused on building alliances with the regions of world who have looked past the negative perception and I’m actually looking at the continents as an opportunity to invest an opportunity to make money and to…seek commercial enterprise grow.  Those are the type of alliances Africa should be focused on.  For example, China has one 1.3 billion people 7% are blend.  It means to feed its people.  Africa’s got a lot of error blend. There’s obviously scope for an alliance there, whereas traditionally African produce…agriculture produce in particular has been locked out of US and European markets.  Here’s a clear opportunity for African governments to find a relationship with a country that is very interested in African produce.  So, that’s I think that it should be much more of that so much so that Africa can continue to…on a very strong solid developmental path.

Question: What is the future of media coverage in Africa?

Moyo:    I think that there’s a lot more scope for it has been…to move the near towards a positive message if we start to listen to different messengers.  I think the reason why it’s negative is that the traditional media tend to go…always go and interview the same kind of people very often people who have rarely been to Africa or maybe been to Africa a handful of times.  They don’t know what it’s like living there.  They don’t have families there.  They don’t… have not had the experienced then, so, they have not come out pinpoint the positive aspects of the continent.  There are many positive things happening.  Africa got a female President.  Africa has got, as I said, 15 stock markets now.  It has…it shown some positive signs of growth.  We’re seeing some improvements in the capital market growth and so on.  And yet, if you asked the traditional sort of commentators on Africa, the one to…I have sort of self-imposed themselves as a spokespeople for Africa.  You never hear those positive stories.  All you hear is the sort of tragic stories which do exists but that cannot be the face of Africa.  They cannot be the manner in which the world expects Africa, an African to raise their children for the years to come.  As I said earlier, over 60% of the population in Africa is under the age of 24.  So, this is a very big…it’s very important to get young Africans to have believed in themselves and to have a positive outlook about themselves and their continents and the role of their continents in the broadest scheme of the world.  I do not believe that the NGOs and the celebrities and the so on…the ones that are really the face of the debates thus far have really made a contributed effort to make that message positive.

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