African business assessed and showcased at the 15th annual LBS Summit

Mo Ibrahim FoundationMo Ibrahim noted that the rule of law is a quintessential factor affecting state development. (Image source: Mo Ibrahim Foundation)Held recently in London, UK, the 15th annual LBS Africa Business Summit questioned the realities and opportunities of doing business in Africa, initiating conversations about commerce and economy across the continent

Bronwyn Nielson, executive director at CNBC Africa spoke at the event of a new era of growth. "Africa requires 'patient capital'," she said, "and long-term commitment". 
Growth in SSA as fallen to 3.5 per cent in 2015 and may be expected to slow further to three per cent, half the six per cent recorded over the last decade. However, Ms Nielsen encourages investors to travel across the continent, and take note of the factors affecting the ease of doing business, the logistics affecting various markets, and the degree to which the continent is connected by communications infrastructure. It varies, even within countries. One can travel to Dar es Salaam, for example, as Nielsen did recently, and can enter the country easily, can connect to the Internet with ease in hotels, but be frustrated by a poor traffic management in town. One can travel to Addis Ababa, find a city that is conducive to business, and then travel outside that city and find no access to power over vast swathes of the Ethiopian heartland.
There has been sufficient progress to support many industrial and commercial markets. However, progress in infrastructure has been insufficient in more areas than not.

A normal place

Dr. Mo Ibrahim continued the theme of African economic progress, saying that Africa is improving generally, but that the picture of progress remains mixed. "We have some thriving democracies in Africa," he said, but added that there remain countries with life-time presidencies. He added that Africa, as a continent of 54 diverse territories, is "a normal place", with degrees of success and failure at all levels. He questioned, then, why Africa should be regarded differently from the world's other continents, each of which has varying measures of governance in public and private life.

To Dr. Ibrahim, the rule of law is a quintessential factor affecting state development. The rule of law dictates the safety of children in streets, the accountability of politicians, the propriety of businesses - and so the extent to which infrastructure can be created and operated effectively and efficiently, the degree to which children and adults can be educated, and the extent to which governmental resources can be mobilised to safeguard citizens as well as commercial concerns.

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