Durban (Xinhua) — Some captains of industry have affirmed that the African continent can only proposer if two of its biggest economies succeed.
At a panel discussion on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Durban, Kuseni Dlamini, chairperson of Massmart Holdings said African’s prosperity is tied to the continent’s power houses, and the two large economies in the continent are pivotal in tackling Africa’s massive social challenges.
Dlamini said Nigeria and South Africa together contribute 60 percent of the Gross Domestic Product of sub-Saharan Africa, “Africa cannot succeed unless they succeed.”
Geoffrey Qhena, CEO of the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) of South Africa, said the two powerhouses should not rely on imports but build new industry and manufacturing sectors for their benefit and others in the continent. The leaders should engage and remove obstacles to their cooperation and collaborate on issues that uplifts the continent.
Haruki Hayashi, executive vice-president and regional CEO, Europe and Africa, Mitsubishi Corporation said South Africa and Nigeria should be “leaders, drivers and role models” for other African countries.
Hayashi said that policy consistency, political stability and turning back the tide of corruption are imperatives to South Africa and Nigeria assuming a leadership and mentoring role on the continent.
Danladi Verheijen, CEO of Verod Capital Management in Nigeria said African countries should diversify their economies rather than rely on their natural resources.
The slump in international commodity and oil prices took a heavy toll on growth in Nigeria and South Africa. Nigeria’s economy contracted by 1.5 percent last year while South Africa’s economy only grew 0.3 percent in the same year, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The captains of industry encouraged Africa to increase intra-Africa trade and reduce reliance on foreign investment. They encouraged trade within Africa to be increased from the current 10 percent to 20 percent to create jobs and fight poverty.
More than 1,000 participants attend the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa in Durban, South Africa from 3 to 5 May 2017. The theme of the meeting is “Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership”.