‘1.2 billion opportunities’ – The Economist
Over the last 20 years the continent’s population has grown rapidly and in 2011 exceeded the 1 billion mark. Of all global regions, Africa will lead population growth over the next 50 years. Linked to this megatrend of rapid population growth is that of urbanization. The people of Africa will increasingly be city dwellers. Since 1960, the urban share of Africa’s population has doubled from 19 to 39 percent, equivalent to an increase of more than 416 million people in 2011. This means that Africa will have some of the largest mega-cities in the world. With a large population, Africa can harness and build on the expanded workforce to spur economic growth. However, this is conditional on Africa improving access to and equity within health systems, articulating right education policies, and creating employment opportunities.
Africa is on the rise. On aggregate, the region’s GDP growth is expected to average more than 5 percent over 2013–2015. Average inflation in Africa stood at 8.9 percent in 2012 and has since edged down to 6.7 percent in 2013, having been largely contained in most African countries. Macroeconomic stability, trade and exchange rate liberalization, and new policies and incentives supportive of the private sector have helped drive private sector development. Supported by the strong economic growth, the proportion of people living in poverty has fallen from over 50 percent in 1981 to less than 45 percent in 2012. This is coupled with the continent’s emerging middle class, grown to some 350 million people and projected to reach 1.1 billion by 2060. Africa’s growth, however, has not been even across all countries. Not to forget that the continent is seen as 'The Next Frontier for Internet' with the fastest growing population of internet users supported by increasing expansion of network connectivity and young, driven creatives who are embracing new technologies.
Six of the ten most unequal countries in the world are in Africa, and there is not yet any evidence of progress in reducing income inequality. With the endowment of a young growing workforce on the one hand and natural resources on the other, Africa has an important opportunity for inclusive growth. The challenge is to seize it through well executed investment in infrastructure, increased access to education and relevant training, the development of capable institutions, and support for private investment and job creation.
Despite all these developments, not everyone sees these opportunities, and moreover, Welsh based businesses, entrepreneurs, exporters and importers are finding difficult to do business in Africa and penetrate this market due to the lack of specialized support and access to the relevant resources.
Objectives of WABC
Africa can thrive with entrepreneurial mind-sets coming from within the community, and it needs its diaspora to find solutions that would reduce poverty through enterprise.
Our research suggests the lack of information, and of specialized support prevents businesses and entrepreneurs from connecting and devleoping conducive enviroonments for business.