Business has responsibility and opportunity in Africa, by Niall Fitzgerald

Monday, May 2, 2005

There is an exciting business opportunity. African leaders, increasingly elected democratically, know they must commit themselves to good governance, investment, and economic growth. There have been big improvements in macroeconomic performance. Growth in gross domestic product will exceed 5 percent in 2005. The commission report should result in a big increase in investment, particularly for infrastructure. A successful completion of the Doha round will stimulate trade with and within Africa. Almost 900 million people will see the growth in their disposable incomes accelerate. Bold and early businesses will be rewarded.
Business has a responsibility to engage with Africa and its challenges. The ambitions for Africa cannot be achieved without widespread business partnership. We must be an active part of the communities where our consumers live. We must contribute to the wider society on whose goodwill we depend. The Commission for Africa declaration says, “We … find the condition of the lives of the majority of Africans to be intolerable and an affront to the dignity of mankind.” When trust in business and its leadership is very low, we must not reinforce perceptions of greed and short-termism.
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Source: The Christian Science Monitor