The Promise of Africa’s “Plan A” for a Flourishing Future

As Africa emerges as the world’s youngest continent, boasting six out of the 10 fastest-growing economies, the global community is taking notice of its unprecedented growth trajectory. In this context, YPO (Young Presidents Organization) member and Group CEO at ForAfrika, Isak Pretorius passionately advocates for embracing Africa’s inherent potential through a profound approach he calls “Investing in Africa’s Plan A.”

Pretorius asserts that when we engage with African communities and nations, we uncover an array of ingenious plans waiting to be supported and nurtured. Central to his advocacy is the importance of investing in Africa the right way, emphasizing that “when we do that, we will see that Africa’s plan succeeds.” This underscores the vital role of aligning resources with community-owned initiatives to foster sustainable success.
A Crucial Moment for Africa

Pretorius’s call to action resonates deeply with leaders worldwide, as they increasingly recognize Africa’s significance and potential for strategic investments.

According to the International Monetary Fund, many economies are grappling with stagnation or decline in working-age populations. In contrast, Africa is poised to become a major contributor to the global workforce by 2050. YPO member Yaw Benneh-Amponsah, Managing Director of Merson Capital in Ghana, emphasizes Africa’s evolving demographics, noting, “Africa’s population is growing. We are becoming a more educated population. We’re young and adventurous.”

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This demographic evolution presents vast opportunities for Africa. Indeed, now is the time to chart a new course for Africa, one that secures its position and commands respect on the global stage
Embracing Africa’s “Plan A”

Against this exciting backdrop, Africans are coming up with their own versions of “Plan A” for the future. These aspirations hold the potential to usher in greater safety, peace and digital connectivity, noted Sanjay Rughani, CEO of Standard Chartered for Tanzania and YPO member, during YPO’s Global Impact Summit in Rwanda earlier this year. “It’s about becoming self-reliant,” he said.

Moreover, Africans are finding solutions in areas such as climate, infrastructure, energy and water management that have value beyond Africa’s borders. “Africa has its own fair share of challenges, and very often, we’ve had to find our own solutions to those challenges,” notes YPO member, Fola Laoye, Co-Founder and CEO at Iwosan Investments Limited in Nigeria. “It’s great that we have the opportunity to bring some of those solutions to the rest of the world.”
Empowering Africa’s Youth: Catalysts for Change

With high-quality traditional jobs in short supply, one critical foundation of any long-term plan for Africa’s future will be stopping the brain drain and giving young people a good reason to build their careers on the continent.

Entrepreneurship is an ideal way to do that, say many experts, and it’s already taking root organically. Young people looking for ways to make a living are driving the world’s highest rate of entrepreneurship, as the Brookings Institute notes in the Foresight Africa 2024 report.

Africa has gotten further ahead in technology than anticipated, and that factor, in combination with its youthful population, has been a powerful force, according to Laoye. “Small-scale businesses are finding the value of compounding and growing quite quickly with technology and therefore are bringing some tech-enabled solutions to the world,” says Laoye.
Taking Ownership of Africa’s Future

As Benneh-Amponsah asserts, “We should take ownership of our own plan and let that be plan A. Even if our plan is not as well-resourced as people from other jurisdictions, whatever resources we have, we should be able to risk those on our own plan. In shaping the future, the key thing is to believe in our own potential to take control of our future.”

The engagement of local leaders will also allow for better execution of any plans, Benneh-Amponsah believes. “The unique contribution that we can make is to bring our perspective to the table, which relates back to taking ownership of our progress because a lot of solutions fail since they are not sensitive to the context,” he said. “Who understands the African context better than those of us who are taking risks, risking our own resources on African solutions?” And, as leaders outside of Africa get involved in the progress that is already percolating, local leadership will be the key to building sustainable success.
YPO – Empowering Leaders to Shape a Better Future

Ultimately, it will take many leaders to craft a compelling vision for Africa’s future and come together to put it into action. To this end, YPO plays a pivotal role in this endeavor by empowering business leaders to shape a brighter tomorrow and harness the collective power of better leadership in lives, businesses and the world.

If you are interested in joining YPO’s global network of the world’s most influential business leaders driving positive change, visit www.ypo.org/acf/ or contact africa@ypo.org to learn more.

Source: The Africa Report, 28th May 2024

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