by Natalie Maroun

A star is born

Africa shrugging off cinderella tag

Natalie Maroun, chief strategist at LRMG Performance Agency
Natalie Maroun 3-1.jpg

Africa is faring well in terms of growth and development. The continent is filled with opportunity. At the same time, Africa is a challenging business landscape. So how can we enable improved business on this continent? Quite simply we need to maximise on the positives and address the negatives, says Natalie Maroun, chief strategist at LRMG Performance Agency.

"The world has its eye on Africa at the moment in terms of business development and it's the prime time to showcase what we have to offer and deal with negative perceptions," she says.

She points out that something as simple as having a good climate, which creates a great working environment, is a positive that should be promoted. "Along with that, South Africa is ahead of developed countries in terms of gender equity, especially in the public sector, and our global competitiveness shows that we're making progress," she adds.

Maroun highlights results from The Global Competitiveness Index 2012 – 2013, which ranks 144 of the world's countries. "According to the Index, sub-Saharan Africa has shown growth rates of over 5% in the past two years and is one of the faster growing regions in the world. It continues to exceed the global average and exhibits a favourable economic outlook. "Looking specifically at South Africa, our debt to GDP ratio is healthy, better than that of the United States and United Kingdom. Our universities are in the world's top 7% and South Africa is ranked third in terms of financial market development. Along with this, we offer diversity which is great for development and managing international business," she believes.

While it is exciting to speak about the positives, it is also important to acknowledge that in order to succeed in attracting business and becoming more competitive, the continent needs to focus on improving aspects such as infrastructure, government bureaucracy, social challenges and workforce-related issues.

The full article will be published in forthcoming edition of Black Business Quarterly. Look out for it towards end of June 2013. 

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