Reading the leading Danish business newspaper (Borsen) with a cup of nicely brewed (African) coffee this morning, was a true pleasure!!
I can’t remember when I have read a newspaper that had so much content about Africa… and even brought on page 4 before articles about how banks are going belly-up in Denmark (the latter topic currently has Denmark’s full attention)!
The upper part of page 4 is an ‘analysis’ of how China is paving the road for future growth in Africa written by Nikolaj Gammeltoft, Business Commentator in New York.
The Chinese are building roads, railways, schools and hospitals which is a good attractor for international corporations to enter the African markets, for real. As the author of the article states; when the international companies have made their entrance, the institutional funds will find their way, because the risk and reward will start balancing.
I fully support how Gammeltoft sees the development will take place in stages over the next years. He ends the article stating how private investors will be able to invest in Africa in an accessible way. Hear hear…
The lower part of page 4 is a chronicle that kicks back on a previous chronicle (brought some days ago also in Borsen) where Allan Søgaard Larsen, CEO of Falck articulates his view on aid; “the good-hearted development aid simply makes matters worse” (his view point is very much inspired by Dambisa Moyo’s book: Dead Aid which he refers to a couple of times).
The two authors of today’s chronicle (Poul Due Jensen, Chairman of The Poul Due Jensen Foundation under Grundfos and Henrik Stubkjær, General Secretary of DanChurchAid) do not agree with neither Larsen nor Moyo; “it is simply too controversial and rectangular to solve Africa’s complicated challenges”.
I like the way they kick back in a constructive way and thus do not enter the “the cold-hearted capitalism simply makes matters worse” trench. Jensen and Stubkjær argues that there is a need for both, hey, there should be no news in this part, but reading the cronichle made me think quite a bit more about the handshake that is needed for Africa to develop, than I normally do.
A handshake IS needed and I don’t think I have to argue that I believe business development (micro-, small- and medium sized businesses) is instrumental in this connection?!?!
Regarding aid, Jensen and Stubkjær were capable of providing me with some strong images of why aid is needed. I think it was their way of linking aid to business development that made me ‘catch it’. Below are some of their links:
Schools: so kids obtain basic knowledge that can be build on to create a future workforce
Roads: so raw materials and crops can get to the market and further to factories that are manufactoring goods
National health system: so absence due to sickness is limited (here I encourage you to read my previous post where I introduce a for-profit company that will revolutionize the African health sector via mobile phones)
Investment climate: to ensure a well functioning system where e.g. corruption is limited
Very well done Jensen and Stubkjær! This goes for Borsen as well for bringing the two interesting articles… on page 4!!