Africa the competitive continent (and other dreams we must make reality)

Panelists during the session (from left to right) Dr. Petrus De Kock; Dr. Judy Smith-Höhn; Dr. Mzukisi Qobo; Prof. Chris Landsberg and Brand SA’s Acting CEO, Ms. Alice Puoane

Panelists during the session (from left to right) Dr. Petrus De Kock; Dr. Judy Smith-Höhn; Dr. Mzukisi Qobo; Prof. Chris Landsberg and Brand SA’s Acting CEO, Ms. Alice Puoane

Two months ago, Brand South Africa hosted a breakfast session in aim to build competitive African brands – fitting for the month of May, where we observe a historical time where countries convened to create their own Union.

Among various topics held in this session was Africa’s need to position itself to become more competitive  – one that particularly struck with me was the need to consider the ‘Africanisation’ of this concept – to infuse social paradigms into competitiveness and not only look at the concept in terms of market efficiency and production without consideration to human and environmental stake.

Taking human and environmental consideration into becoming a competitive continent with the rest of the world is a scratch on the surface – to ensure its practicality, I believe we must take heed of the words of Tanzanian politician and business mogul Mohammed Dewji, who believes that free trade and free movement are the keys to making business sense out of our continent. As we see that Europe has its defined history in trade in Africa, and currently, Japan and China are scrambling for our resources in the name of investment.

To become a global competitor, we must rather engage in moving towards free trade (i.e. the Africa is not for sale campaign) and boost our own continental relations in a better movement within our own people. Not only will it create a larger market business-wise, but it will remove certain stigma that has run historically from our tribal times.