Africa the World's Forgotten Stepchild Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

World Trade issues are an important issue to the plight of Africa as well. Providing a more level playing field for Africa to get into the game will set the wheels in motion for improvement and allow Africa to begin reaping some of the benefits of the world trade agreements. That money can be funneled back into the development of the continent thereby reducing the need for outside funding.

Debt cancellation and a significant rise in official development aid, though helpful, cannot simply put right Africa's deep-seated problems. The commission report emphasizes that ultimate prosperity depends on robust private investment-led growth. Sir Mark Moody-Stuart, chairman of Anglo-American, said at the G8 Business Summit in London: "There will only be sustainable development in Africa if the increase in government aid flows is complemented by a resurgence of enterprise (Small, 2005)." Echoing similar views, Arun Sarin, chief executive of Vodafone Group, remarked: "The ultimate aim of policymakers must be to create the conditions for private enterprise to make poverty history in Africa," and "A thriving business sector, led by capable and highly motivated African entrepreneurs, will lie at the heart of spurring economic growth and reducing poverty (Small, 2005)."

This is another aspect of Africa that the world seems to be ignoring and part of it has to do with the fact that it will involve the voluntary efforts of private industries worldwide. This again is not going to help line the pockets of those who will put out the effort therefore there is very little incentive for making the effort to help.

Unlike other emerging-market regions, Africa is distinctly heterogeneous in terms of private sector development. SMEs remain scarce -- the 2005 African Economic Outlook report, published by the OECD Development Centre and the African Development Bank (AfDB), described them as "the missing middle." With few exceptions, the private sector in Africa is dominated by micro-scale, informal firms where millions of people earn their livelihoods as small farmers, street vendors and in a range of other occupations. Even in South Africa, the continent's most sophisticated economy, micro and very small enterprises accounted for more than one-half of total employment and one-fifth of economic output in 2003. In countries like Angola, Congo (DR) and Rwanda, the tiny private sector comprises almost entirely informal companies and formal finance is non-existent. Among oil-producing countries, such as Chad, Congo, Equatorial Guinea or Gabon, a lack of government support and the predominance of the oil industry have hindered the emergence of a private non-oil sector. Thus, enterprises tend to concentrate in the tertiary sector, eg services/commerce such as bakeries and pharmacies in Gabon.

In the Congo, around four-fifths of enterprises employ less than five people and for 2,100 enterprises registered in the formal sector, there are 10,000 informal ones, according to the AfDB/OECD report (Small, 2005). "

The problems with improving the small business industry in Africa are cost prohibitive which is another reason the world ignores the problems of the continent.

To create an environment that is conducive to small business growth in Africa the deficient public utility system will have to be improved. There is a power system there that is unpredictable at best and erratic most of the time. The continent has an unpredictable business environment because of the insecure rights to property and the contract enforcement difficulties as the laws are not yet clearly defined or enforceable. In addition there is corruption throughout the continent that prevents the ability to develop a small business sector that is professional, successful and accepted in the world.

Even if all of these things could be rectified there is a banking issue in which the financial institutions are not up to a standard by which small business ventures could be effectively conducted.

All of these obstacles have been examined and discussed by world nations and have contributed to why the world largely ignores Africa and its needs.


If Africa is ever going to recover from its downward spiral and become a continent of prosperity that can contribute positively to the rest of the world the time has come to unite and assist.

Prime Minister Tony Blair has described Africa as a "scar on the conscience of the world (Abrahamsen, 2005)."

Blair recently began reminding the world that the nations of this globe are in actuality a large community and as a community the members have a moral bound duty to help one of the areas that need help.

The world has legitimate concerns about donating to much money or time to the cause of Africa. Leaders worldwide are wary that if the community of the globe begins to dig into its pocket and send financial and human resources to Africa then Africa will begin to become too dependent on others for its success. This could lead to as situation where many nations could get locked in because once it is started to withdraw funds and aid would not only be devastating but would also cause the remaining funding nations to frown on the one that pulled away (Anderson, 2005).

It is important to strike a balance between giving aid and carrying the load completely.

The old saying about giving a man a fish and feeding him for a day or teaching him to fish and feeding him for life holds very true when it comes to assisting Africa in its plight.

Africa is in need but it is not without the ability to pay it back someday. While the immediate need will probably take generations to repair as the business sector and food sector and political arena begin to build a foundation the world will not see an immediate return. Later, even if it takes several generations to begin, the continent of Africa will be able to offer a tremendous value to the world community. It has so much land that can be turned into farmland given the right opportunity that it will be able to contribute to world hunger. There are enough human resources in Africa to provide serious business contributions to the world. If the world nations will take the time, the compassion and the resources to help Africa build and develop the world will be repaid many times over through the contributions of its future contributions.


Abrahamsen, Rita (2005) Blair's Africa: the politics of securitization and fear.

Alternatives: Global, Local, Political

Anderson, Bruce (2005) Political grandstanding and yet more wasted aid will not lift Africa out of poverty.(Features) The Independent (London, England)

Moss, Todd (2004)A Marshall Plan is not what Africa needs The politics of aid

International Herald Tribune

____(2006) Until there's fair trade, Africa needs aid.(News)

Western Mail

____(2005) Small business sector holds key to prosperity: debt cancellation and increased aid will go some way towards tackling poverty, but what Africa really needs, writes Moin Siddiqi, is an action plan to support the development of the small- and medium-sized business (SME) sector.(Economy). African Review of Business and Technology

Page, Clarence (2001) AFRICA IS TOO BIG TO IGNORE.(Editorial)


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