Despite being geographically isolated from the rest of the continent, Mauritius could play a big role in Africa's future. Many African governments view the island nation with suspicion, fearful investments structured through it will deprive them of much-needed tax revenue.
However, Africa needs foreign investment and investors have challenges moving funds in Africa. Most international businesses remain cautious about exploring opportunities in Africa. Political instability means even the most attractive of African growth markets could be considered too risky for most to consider. The time has come for Mauritius to make the case for Africa, and to provide investors with the security they need to bring serious investment and growth to the continent.
"It is going to be a great achievement if Mauritius can find productive employment for its population without a serious reduction in the existing standard of living. The outlook for peaceful development is weak." - James Meade, British Nobel Prize Winning Economist writing in 1961.
It will soon be obvious that half of our job tasks can be done better at almost no cost by AI and robots. This will be the fastest transition humankind has experienced, and we’re not ready for it.
In South Africa, 80% of new businesses launched have closed within three years. Across the continent, when small-scale African entrepreneurial success stories look to scale up often they run into crippling problems. Lack of access to capital for African business is well documented. However, it is often lack of access to expertise which is the killer for African SMEs and start-ups.
Uganda was one of the very first countries to endorse the AfCFTA agreement and that makes us very excited. AfCFTA makes the continent almost one village association so to speak. We are already partnering with colleagues in Kenya, Rwanda, and Morocco; so this is going to open even more doors to partnerships.
We look forward to more opportunities because the market will expand and resources will increase. It will set the stage for the execution of huge cross border projects that would have been hard to do all by ourselves.
The industry must have a vision of what it sees as its future and the best possible scenario. We then present that vision to academia so that they know how to prepare students. The industry wants to produce the best quality at the lowest possible cost without compromising quality while ensuring social good. Academia must come in by producing quality research that we can buy into so that we can have the outcomes we want. When we have the outcomes we want, we can then help fund higher education initiatives that help all of us.
We must have these kinds of discussions when engaging with academia because they will make the whole industry better. When the whole industry shines, the young ones will want to join in and be part of it. The entire engineering scene in Africa will be attractive if we stay in contact, and do projects together.
Putting up something like this that didn’t exist before is going to come with challenges anywhere. We have people who are resistant to change and don’t see the need for it. There is also a difference in plans and ambition with each country. We can, however, gain from the fact that West African countries are all firmly focused on improving their agricultural sectors. The onus is on us as countries to form synergies that will see us achieve our goals. There are foreseeable problems amongst countries when it comes to proprietary arguments and the need for ownership and self-preservation, but that shouldn’t deter us from the overall goal.
Perceptions are changing, and people appreciate the technology we have incorporated into the exchange. Farmers are thrilled by the fast payments, and those who aren’t comfortable using the technology are sending their children to be the floor traders for them. Opportunities exist for creating partnerships, but they must be constructed in a way that adds value to all parties involved.
The North-West University (NWU) has proven itself to be an academic institution where excellence continues to triumph and quality of the highest standard is celebrated. This is evident in its constant good achievements in rankings by various international ranking agencies.
The NWU has continued to climb the rankings ladder after laying good foundations in previous years, celebrating achievements in 2018 and 2019 too. Since the beginning of 2020 the university has had very good showings in respected rankings agencies’ listings.
These include rankings by ShanghaiRanking’s global Academic Ranking of World Universities in July, the Centre for World University Rankings (CWUR) in June, and the Times Higher Education (THE) Emerging Economies University Rankings in February. It was also the first time the NWU was featured in the THE Young University Rankings, which were announced in June.
Nigeria’s Covenant University has rapidly climbed up the Times Higher Education World University Rankings in recent years. It has been recognised as Nigeria’s leading university and within the top 100 universities from emerging markets. Now, with the launch of the Covenant University Centre for Research, Innovation and Discovery, the Ota based institution is targeting a place amongst the world’s elite institutions driving research & development.
Collaboration with industry and international universities will be vital to Covenant’s mission to fund research which tackles humanity’s major challenges through the Centre for Research, Innovation and Discovery. Vice-Chancellor Prof. Aderemi Atayero is calling for engagement with the international business and academic communities to combine with indigenous knowledge in order to drive research and innovation.
“Our ultimate vision is to feed the world, but that has to start with feeding our campus, community, state, country, then region. In five years, Landmark University will be a leader in proactive engagement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), our agrarian agenda will be well developed, and we will be competing with prestigious global institutions.”
Africa’s 1.3 billion population is expected to double by 2050. In 30 years, the continent could be home to a quarter of the world’s population. While the rapid population growth rate raises concerns about Africa’s socio-economic growth and stability prospects, it also presents transformative opportunities.