Private Sector Key Africa's Economic Grow

The private sector has a major role to play in building African economies to rival their counterparts in Asia, an official has said.

According to former United Bank of Africa chief executive Tony Elumelu, the sector holds the key to laying a critical foundation for creating Pan African business perspectives.

“Nobody is going to do it for us if we don’t. To build Africa, key economic players must ditch the cargo cult mentality,” Mr Elumelu said in an address at the Strathmore Business School yesterday.

African countries have lagged in growing their economies — a feat their Asian counterparts have managed to achieve.

Most of Asian tigers are said to have been at par with a number of African countries about three decades ago. Nations like China, India and Thailand have since grown their economies, managing to skew business in Africa from the traditional West.

The slow pace of African growth has been associated with post-independence governments, most of which were hinged on dictatorial policies. They did not enact enabling policies for the private sector to grow.

Mr Elumelu challenged them to explore advanced capital raising techniques. This, he said, would help expand their operations beyond the African continent.

Take advantage

“This was the blueprint for United Bank of Africa when the bank opened shop in London, Paris and New York,” he added.

Currently, a number of Kenyan firms have set their goals on regional expansion to take advantage of the East African Community.

This assures them of a large market and reduced costs of doing business as the region moves towards political integration.