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Africa can attract better global financing

Published by The Nation on Sun, 17 Nov 2019

Afolabi IdowuFor Africa to overcome its current development challenges, it must get involved in development and deployment of engagement strategies that will ensure the continent owns and tells its own stories, pioneer Chief Executive of the Rebranding Nigeria Project and Group CEO, Prima Garnet Africa, Lolu Akinwunmi, has said.Akinwunmi, who spoke as one of the panelists at the recently concluded African Investment Forum organised by the African Development Bank in Johannesburg, South Africa, noted that the continent will not always be the provider of raw materials for developed nations and must take clear and well defined steps towards changing the Africa narrative.For the marketing communication guru, Africa must, as a matter of necessity, begin to be more deliberate and strategic in defining the message it wants to communicate about itself and its people; determine the audience for all its communication, especially within the scope of attracting global financing for the continent and also determine how to most effectively reach this global audience given the plethora of media within the landscape.While he noted that Africa has huge opportunities in the energy, technology, supply chain design and the agriculture value chain, he lamented the continents crippling infrastructure deficit, a factor he blames for the difficulty in harnessing opportunities that will enable the continent take advantage of the maturity and saturation of developed economies. Infrastructure deficits are all over Africa in roads, transportation like rail, water etc. Airports, power and IT are also needed to lift up the economy and regionally create demand. Power is critical to development but Sub-Saharan Africa is plagued by power outages with over 600 hours of outages a year on average, roads and rail lines are sparse, decrepit and over-burdened; lack of aviation agreements have limited intra-African air travels and connections, and these dire situations have been killing productivity, he lamented.Highlighting what he termed the continents soft infrastructure deficit, he insisted that the continent could no longer take data gathering for granted in such critical areas as credit and risk information, market data, consumption pattern, among others, because of their importance to policy formulation and planning as well as business decision-making.
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