Only trade and investment can unleash African growth
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Here’s a letter I sent to The Times yesterday:
The Times (“Out of Africa”, 14/06/2010) rightly emphasises the role trade and investment must play to unleash African growth. UK businesses already have some £20 billion invested across Africa. This money bypasses bureaucrats in Whitehall and feeds directly into African economies, creating better jobs and improving infrastructure.
But your editorial draws a perverse conclusion—proposing another state body, parallel to DfID, with a remit to promote private sector investment in Africa. Africans don’t need more UK government departments that empower their leaders’ bankrupt policies; they need better business conditions at home.
Africa is shackled with red tape. Its aid-fuelled governments have built the world’s least hospitable business environment, where it can take 620 days to enforce a contract (in Addis Ababa) or more than two months to export a container (from Angola’s Luanda port). It is these self-imposed barriers that block further investment—and African growth.
Alec van Gelder