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Corporate America’s Changing Views on Africa

June 15th, 2009 Posted in Business, Film/Television, General, Politics, Travel

Baird, the management consulting firm, recently asked senior officers of 30 American Fortune 100 corporations about their current attitudes on investing in Africa. While some of the results showed that not much had  changed, the study also revealed that corporate America was increasingly optimistic about Africa’s role in their future business strategies. Three of the key points of the study, “Inside the Boardroom: How Corporate America Really Views Africa” are:

• USA Inc. is more interested in Africa than before, because the African market appears increasingly attractive, but Africa has tough competition and high hurdles for US investment. Education is at the top of the US corporate wish list for Africa; “educate your people so that we can employ them”

• The African countries that hold most interest are South Africa and some countries in the North, like Egypt; there are also some pockets of interest in West Africa, most notably Ghana, Nigeria and to some extent Angola; while some in the South (Botswana and Mozambique) and East (Uganda and Kenya), are also being watched

•To make itself more attractive for US investment, Africa should:

  • Invest in education , health and infrastructure
  • Ensure the rule of law and a business-friendly climate for all investing companies
  • Show it is serious about attracting foreign investment
  • Market itself as aggressively as other regions of the world
  • Demonstrate opportunity cost of not investing

A recent CNBC broadcast from Lagos, Nigeria (video below) also expounded on what Africa has to offer corporate America.

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