Nice try but that mindset that you may harbor is due to a few clever marketing agencies using their skills to extract dollars from Americans to support efforts that do deal with famine in Africa. Sure, Africa has people that need help just like any country on this planet. However, the fact is poverty in Africa has been halved over the past two decades. Also, agriculture is growing fast in Africa and some of the fifty-four countries there are exporting food.
In terms of foreign aid to Africa, the truth is the first Greek “haircut” was more than all the debt ever forgiven to Africa.
Ebola: What more than this graphic can illustrate the “over hype” related to the Ebola issue regarding “all of Africa”. Sorry, but people on the East Coast of the USA were much closer to Ebola than most people in Sub Sahara Africa. Unfortunately, the Ebola issue was another “dirty laundry” press topic that raised undeserving fear about the entire continent of Africa. What have you heard about Ebola lately?
“Every market we do business in, all over the world, has problems. Those problems don’t reduce the demand for our products and services.” Jeffrey Immelt, Chairman and CEO, General Electric
Aids: There are 600,000 less aids cases per year in Africa. Also, the prevalence of the disease is has been reduced to only a few regions of the vast continent and drugs are available for people with aids that allows them to carry on with normal lifestyles.
Malaria: We are winning the war on malaria. After years and billions of dollars fighting the disease, with the intent of developing a vaccine, it is now agreed the best defense against malaria is simply bed nets. While there is still a way to go, the use of bed nets has dramatically reduced malaria cases and the likes of the Gates Foundation and other organizations now focus on the distribution of bed nets.
Africa did not invent corruption and should not be thought of as the center of corruption. You would be hard pressed to find a place where corruption is not prevalent or simply legalized / disguised as lobbying etc.
Today’s Africa leaders understand that corruption is a cancer their countries cannot afford and they have reduced it significantly. Africa’s corruption has historically been due to wages unable to provide a quality living standard. That said, the best way to reduce corruption is Foreign Direct Investment that generates commerce, well-paying jobs and eliminates the need for graft. This is exactly what is happening across Africa.
Therefore, yes, the answer to corruption in Africa is for people like us to go there – NOT stay away!
Why not? First of all you can by risk insurance, in the USA, for most transactions in most countries in Africa. Secondly, it is just as fast, if not faster, to make a wire transfer or open a Letter of Credit from banks in Africa, than it is in the USA. Yes, like it or not that is true.
You name them – they are there: Citibank, Barclays, HSBC . . . and they are there because there is so much business and so much opportunity in the financial sector. The fact is you’ll find that only the USA are lagging when it comes to discovering Africa’s growth, demand and need for USA products, service, knowledge transfer etc.
African business people expect nothing for free. They are entrepreneurial, dynamic and love what America stands for. They are just a bit frustrated we have not partnered with them in business to the extent the Chinese and others have. Also please understand Africans would rather do business with Americans than anyone else because we stand for free enterprise, higher quality products and more.
Don’t hold your breathe. Since the Patriot Act went into place it is nearly impossible for someone from Africa to get a business visa to the USA. The application process can be 60-90 days and in the end, they can be denied. Africans can get a visa to China in two days. Therefore, they won’t be knocking on your door anytime soon. You need to be pro-active and go there. When you visit some of the top, dynamic countries / economies of Africa you simply won’t believe the developments and the opportunities. We often wonder why business people are willing to visit other countries looking for new markets but never consider Africa. Africa has seven of the ten fastest growing economies in the world and the continents economic growth is ahead of India and China’s twenty years ago. Your best chance for growth on the planet may very well be in Africa.
When you find that “safe place” let us know. Like anywhere else in the world, you have to be aware of your surroundings, avoid higher risk areas and be smart. Don’t you have to do that in your own hometown? Africa offers Boeing Dream Liners to fly on, hotels and restaurants as good as anywhere in the world and, in our opinion, some of the friendliest people in the world.
Again, what could be a somewhat polluted mindset you have of Africa is most probably a direct result of what the American Press has “force fed” you for years. All of the problems they have focused on are all isolated and only found in a very small part of Africa.
Also, the CEO of General Electric, Jeffrey Immelt, when asked about safety and doing business in Africa replied:
“Every market we operate in all over the world has problems and risks related to doing business there. That doesn’t reduce the demand for our products and services. Therefore, we protect our human capital well and do our jobs.”
Traveling in Africa will amaze you and you’ll tell yourself you should have chosen to go earlier.