Why Writing Africa Off is a Mistake (CNN)

Africa rising. (Image: Afro Future magazine)

By Amina Mohammed and Hadeel Ibrahim, Special to CNN

June 4th, 2014

Editor’s note: Amina Mohammed is a special adviser to the U.N. Secretary General on Post-2015 Development Planning. Hadeel Ibrahim is the founding executive director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, which supports leadership and governance issues in Africa. They are working to convene a discussion on this theme on the margins of the 69th Session of the U.N. General Assembly in. The views expressed are their own.

May 25 marked Africa Day, an opportunity to celebrate the continent’s potential and its new-found economic dynamism. And yet, despite a record of growth rates consistently outperforming that of other emerging economies, huge natural resources endowments, an expanding middle class and an energetic, youthful workforce, Africa is consistently written off. Why?

The unconscionable kidnapping of over 200 schoolgirls was just one of a string of recent attacks by extremists in Nigeria. But while our hearts go out to the girls and their families, and those killed by recent bombings, these tragic stories must not be allowed to completely overshadow the progress and potential that Africa has demonstrated in recent years. For while violence typically seizes headlines, the continent’s rapidly growing population and consumer base is providing an alternative, oft-overlooked narrative – one of an attractive market for regional and global companies.

In the last decade alone, growth has been broad-based, not just in commodities, but also in telecommunications, banking, construction, retail and real estate. Such opportunities have not gone unnoticed in the developed world, and an increasing number of investment funds are looking to Africa for high returns.

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