It has long been argued that, due to myriad socio-, political- and economic
challenges, the true potential of African business has remained in the dark:
unable to connect with the global economy in the way Western nations have
Now, though, just a week after the World Cup final in South Africa, all eyes
are on the continent, excitedly expectant that the time has come for the nation to come into its own.
At the centre of the fight to empower African businesses is the Organization
for African Business Development (OADB), which, along with the African
Union, is fighting to create an environment where businesses and investors
alike can thrive in a unified Africa. While it might be cliché, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’, still rings true.
At the helm of this ship is H.E. Neil De Beer, the first Secretary General of the OABD, who recently joined executive business channel MeetTheBoss.tv in Kenya to discuss the issues that now lie ahead.
“Africa’s time to unify is here. Although we’ve had initiatives where we took
the Organization for African Unity and made it the African Union in 2002,
we’ve struggled with the concept of getting the new-age plan Africa out there,” explains De Beer. “If 53 countries on this continent cannot band together and do business as a unity, we will struggle to become the economic power, which this continent deserves to be.”
Now though, as a business development organization, the OABD has decided to take that concept further and really bring out the message that this is the time to unify African business, so that nations across the continent can actually take that message across the globe.
As a result of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which ended last Sunday, rumors
are already abound that the contest could act as a platform on which real
business opportunities can be built upon.
According to a statement by the SA Chamber of Commerce released on
Monday, “This event has provided a positive impetus to economic trends
which may not have otherwise have existed.
“The country must build on the positive outcomes experienced such as the
efficiency and effectiveness of the security and justice systems and the
relative efficiency of the transport system.”
It is a sentiment whole-heartedly echoed by De Beer: “When we look at the
World Cup and we say to ourselves, ‘isn’t this awesome what one country,
one continent, could do when all the odds were against us?’ It is also
interesting that maybe at the next World Cup we will have South African,
African advisors going in and advising people now that are hosting the World Cup out of Africa. So, yes, we can do this.”