IBM’s Corporate Service Corps, which is modeled on the Peace Corps, has sent nearly 60 teams of IBM volunteers to Africa in the last five years.
An educated workforce is crucial to sustaining the continent’s consumer revolution and attracting foreign investment.
Aside from the fact that Africa is larger in size than Bangladesh, Britain, China, France, Germany. Greece, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Nepal, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Spain and the United States combined, global investors see many reasons to favor Africa, the sub-Saharan region in particular.
Africa’s tourism officials grimly acknowledge that they will have to throw their collective weight behind a “Brand Africa” to attract to the continent more of the nearly one trillion tourists who travel the world each year.
Bent on increasing revenues and profits, companies are scouring the world for markets to sell their goods and services, invest in manufacturing for local and/or export consumption and buy products for export to international buyers. With a steady buzz emanating from influential researchers and consultants about the eye-widening potential of Africa, smart business minds are beginning to see that nowhere may better fit their interests than that continent.
For five days last December, some 250 African mayors and mayors of African descent from the United States, Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America cloistered at the sumptuous Le Méridian President Hotel in Dakar, Senegal, over ways to collaboratively address common social and economic challenges in their jurisdictions. Billed as the World Summit of Mayors Leadership Conference, the Dec. 15–19 gathering was a fitting denouement to the International Year for People of African Descent, with critical relationships established between local African mayors and their Diaspora counterparts and among the mayors of the Diaspora themselves.
India is expanding its footprint in Africa so aggressively that a mighty buzz has arisen about Sino-Indian rivalry for influence on the continent. On the face of it, India and China are not in the same league when it comes to trade with Africa. While India’s two-way trade with Africa soared from about $1 billion in 2001 to $46 billion in 2010, it is eclipsed by China’s, which surpassed $120 billion in 2010. Still, officials in both countries were forced to respond to talk of rivalry after Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in May offered $5 billion in loans to help Africa meet its development goals, $700 million for new institutions and training programs, and another $300 million line of credit for a new rail line between Ethiopia and Djibouti. Singh announced the loans at the second India-Africa Summit, held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. They follow a $5.4 billion credit pledge at the first India-Africa Summit in 2008.
But as the global travel and tourism industry slowly recovers from the Great Recession, with the recovery in emerging regions outpacing that of North America and Europe, now is a good time for Africa to assert itself as the ultimate determinant and carve new directions in tourism.