Branding Africa: It is not a country, but continent with 54 countries – Lopes

Carlos Lopes, ECA Executive Secretary
Carlos Lopes, ECA Executive Secretary

The Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and UN Under-Secretary, Dr. Carlos Lopes says Africa cannot continue to be marketed as a country, when it is a continent of 54 countries. Adding that the continent will have the largest workforce in the world by 2040.

Dr. Lopes who was contributing during a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa during a session titled: Myth Busting; investing in Africa, said by 2040, Africa will be more urbanized‚ connected and educated. “It will be a very different picture from what is now,” he said.

During the session, discussants expressed the belief that perceptions on risks and uncertainties with respect to investing in Africa have been made to look like reality. “While some issues may be real, there are many advancements that bust perceptions of corruption, lack of growth and lack of capacity, among others.,” they said.

They also noted Africa’s growing middle class, with increased incomes, “the emerging picture shows a continent where two-thirds of its growth comes from consumption; as a result, Lagos has a much bigger purchasing power than Mumbai,” they said.

“Africa has twice as much per capita than India, more cell phones than India, less poor people than India, and we can go on and on! The mega trends are in favor of Africa,” Lopes said.

Addressing the perception that Africa is lacking in skilled personnel , the participants indicated that Africa has been on the cutting edge of innovations.  “However, branding and marketing of these innovations fails beyond the borders,” they said.

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

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