Mazars organized on Thursday, May 4, 2023 in Casablanca, the 4th edition of Africa Talks. Many leaders and decision makers of the continent attended the event. Africa Talks or the multiple challenges of Africa in 2023:
Africa Talks or the multiple challenges of Africa in 2023
2023 is a year full of uncertainties because of the multiple crises that spare no country. Better still, with the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the US-China dispute over Taiwan, the overtaking, at the end of 2022, of the wealth created by the G7 group by the five Brics countries, and the strong trend towards an upheaval of the world economic order, leading some to speak of “plate tectonics” to allude to the strong trend that should lead to the formation of new political and economic blocs, the political and economic stakes for African countries are enormous.
It is in this context that the theme of the 4th edition of Africa Talks, held in Casablanca on Thursday, May 4, was: “2023, a year full of economic and political challenges”. From the outset, Abdou Diop, Managing Partner of Mazars in Morocco, explains that through this annual meeting, Mazar “wants to take an anticipatory look at the major issues that will be the focus of the year on the continent. And for this year, the crisis in Ukraine, US-China tensions, terrorism and political crises in Africa, rising interest rates, high inflation, liquidity crises, debt, the impact of climate change on the economy and the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) are some of the issues that African countries will face as a whole.
African countries should pool their efforts
Faced with these challenges, Chakib Alj, President of the General Confederation of Moroccan Business (CGEM), returned to the problem of the transformation of African economies which makes that the value added of African economies represents barely 1.8% of that of the planet. However, with its enormous potential, the continent can meet the challenge of industrialization, vital to absorb the 10 to 12 million young people who arrive annually on the labor market for a job offer not exceeding 3 million per year.
For the boss of Moroccan employers, African countries must pool their efforts to create supply chains, processing units, boosting the Zlecaf … Only, for Chakib Alj, Africa can not win the bet of transformation while the continent has a huge deficit in electricity. What is more an aberration, the continent holding the greatest natural potential for energy production in the world. In terms of renewable energy alone, Africa has a potential of 60 million terawatts (TW), compared to 30 million for Asia and only 3 million for Europe. Of this potential, only a tiny part is currently exploited.
Beyond that, African countries must invest massively in infrastructure, agriculture, health, education…
Security in Africa remains a major concern that hinders the continent’s development
Current issues in Africa 2023
However, in order to make significant economic progress, security and safety must be present. Unfortunately, this is far from being the case in Africa today. Everywhere, insecurity is gaining ground, deplores Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Senegal and President of the Pan African Institute of Strategies (IPS).
In addition to the Sahel countries (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad), jihadist terrorism is wreaking havoc in Nigeria, where Boko Haram has claimed more than 40,000 victims, in Cameroon, in the DR Congo… From now on, the nebula is looking for any means to take over a coastal country, hence the attempts to extend terrorist attacks to Ghana, Togo, Mozambique, the Ivory Coast…
A situation that leads the former head of Senegalese diplomacy to ask Africans to ask themselves questions: “who finances these jihadists, who wants to move the capital of the Islamic Khalifa in Africa” and “why Africans do not take the security issue as a priority” by setting up a strong African force able to fight terrorists in countries where they want to establish their Khalifa.
The problem is that “the executives and political elites of African countries have decided to resign, leaving the place to an inflation of political actors” little concerned with the political and economic issues of the continent. And in the face of the terrorist threat, “African countries must take the destiny of Africa together to face this existential risk of African states,” explains Paulo Fernando Gomes, former presidential candidate of Guinea-Bissau, co-founder of New African Capital Partners and president of Orango Investment Corporation. This is all the more true since “the technology of the plates may have impacts in Africa”, knowing that “Africa is very dependent on China in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI), import of raw materials …”.
For the emergence of Africa
In any case, in the face of the current heavy trends that the world is facing, including particularly “the emergence of the global south” (Brics, Africa …), as pointed out by the former Minister of Economy and Finance and former boss of Moroccan employers Salaheddine Mezouar, Africa does not intend to be a simple follower. The continent aspires to more freedom in its choices, putting forward its own interests. The Russia-Ukraine war has clearly demonstrated this. As a result, “the African voice is being heard”.
However, in order for this voice to be more audible and to defend the interests of the continent, it is urgent that a reform of the Security Council be carried out to give Africa and its 1.3 billion inhabitants a permanent seat.
Despite the many obstacles, the fact remains that the economic outlook for Africa is good. Xavier Reille, director for the Maghreb and Djibouti at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group, highlights some interesting trends. First, there is the rise in power of African multinationals. While these champions were previously confined to two key sectors – telecoms and banking – African multinationals are now present in many sectors: agriculture, services, NICTs…
Africa Talks or the multiple challenges of Africa in 2023
The geography of these African champions is diversifying. Then there is the significant development of African startup ecosystems, led by young people from the continent, and which are innovative. South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya dominate this sector, but experts redorded a lot of talent and innovation in many countries.
Current events about africa
This means that Africa must focus on education by investing massively in engineering schools to provide the continent with quality human resources and to ensure a better training-job match.
However, the impacts of climate change that affects particularly the countries of North Africa with water stress, climate risks … could impact the good economic prospects in Africa, according to Reille, by A situation that must push countries to better use of water resources by agriculture and industry.
In short, after the crises of Covid-19 and Russia-Ukraine, against which the continent has shown strong resilience, for 2023, the political and economic stakes are enormous. And it is up to Africans to transform the many challenges into opportunities. And it is possible.