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Africa needs to conquer Mount Probable

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Leon Louw owner and editor of WhyAfrica. Image credit: WhyAfrica

Africa needs to conquer Mount Probable

Geopolitical turmoil in a bi-polar world has placed African leaders in a peculiar position. Many African countries were beneficiaries of Russian support in the form of military hardware, troops, or financial backing during the heyday of the cold war and in their struggle against colonialism.

By Leon Louw

These historical links with the Soviet Union makes it extremely difficult to outright condemn their erstwhile benefactor. While most around the world have criticised President Vladimir Putin’s bombardment of Ukraine, many African countries have consistently supported Russia’s aggression.

At the same time, African leaders need to maintain existing diplomatic ties, while establishing new trade relationships, and identifying new potential markets, especially in Europe amongst those countries that sided with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) against Russia.

With supply chains being severely disrupted, food security has become the primary focus for many African states. A large proportion of Africa’s food imports are produced in Ukraine and parts of Russia. With food shortages imminent, and a shrinking piece of the development pie – as resources are channelled into the growing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine – previously optimistic growth predictions about Africa will have to be toned down slightly.

Many of Africa’s traditional socialist states have recently turned the ideological corner and embraced liberal democracy, capitalism, and the free market. Russia’s imperialist moves, and Africa’s support thereof, coincides with the balancing act of trying to appease Putin and his cohorts while attempting to lure foreign investors from the Northern Hemisphere, a contingent that increasingly regards Africa as extremely strategic in a post Covid-19 world.

However, it is not only the west that is eyeing the potential high returns in Africa. Russia itself under Putin has been on a renewed African drive recently, as has China (in a different guise), Turkey and India. Meanwhile, Africa, still in recovery mode in the wake of the Covid-19 shock, is grappling with what at times seems like insurmountable challenges.

Notwithstanding, there are more than enough indicators pointing towards an inevitable African revival. Economic and political reforms in countries like Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa are encouraging, while new oil and gas discoveries in Namibia, Mozambique and Uganda are attracting attention. The surge in oil and gas prices has given traditional fossil fuel giants like Nigeria, Angola, Algeria, and Libya renewed hope and the trajectories for stable economies like Botswana, Ghana and Senegal are positive. Moreover, renewal and rebuilding programmes in Sierra Leone and Liberia are gathering momentum after calamitous civil wars, Ebola and Covid-19 destroyed their socio-economic fabric.

Rapidly growing markets in East Africa, expanding both inter- and intra-regionally under the broadly ratified African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), is expected to re-ignite Africa’s development story, despite substantial disruptions in local and global supply chains in the wake of Covid-19, which presents a multitude of new and complex risks.

With commodity prices in overdrive on the back of a supply squeeze and sanctions against Russia, disruptions in the mineral and metal sectors and in the oil and gas space have placed Africa at the centre of a global drive to find new and reliable suppliers. Russia and the Ukraine are major producers of, amongst others, platinum group metals (PGMs) gold, diamonds, coal, nickel, copper, fertiliser and oil and gas.

This year’s Investing in Africa Mining Indaba could thus not take place at a more opportune time. Investors, diplomats, government officials, the international media and mining executives will fill the exhibition and conference halls of the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 9 to 12 May, as plans are devised to find solutions for the current challenges, to build new trade networks, and to identify alternative markets. WhyAfrica, as a silver media partner at the Mining Indaba, will be there to report and analyse all the action every day.

Since its first online article about two years ago, WhyAfrica has gone from strength to strength and partnered with several top companies doing business in Africa. Our readership and advertising networks have grown exponentially and continues to do so. To find out how WhyAfrica can assist you in growing your African footprint, contact me at leon@whyafrica.co.za

Through its Southern African Road Trip in June and July, WhyAfrica will introduce investors, readers, partners, and sponsors to around 35 projects in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.

WhyAfrica’s regular updates, videos and articles will keep readers and followers informed about the prospects and potential in these countries, and on top of current affairs, making sure they are aware of the true challenges, opportunities and operating risks involved when venturing into Africa.

African countries are facing its challenges head on, and a continental reconstruction project is well under way – we just don’t hear about it often enough. WhyAfrica is part of this growth story and intends climbing this mountain with Africa and its wonderful people, taking our investors, sponsors, advertisers, readers, and subscribers with us on this bumpy and uncertain, but ultimately rewarding, road.

Leon Louw is the founder and editor of WhyAfrica. He specialises in natural resources and African affairs.        

WhyAfrica provides you with business intelligence that matters. WhyAfrica specialises in African affairs and natural resources. Africa is our business, and we want it to be yours too. To subscribe to WhyAfrica’s free newsletter or digital magazine, and for more news on Africa, visit the website at www.whyafrica.co.za or send a direct message. WhyAfrica launched its first ever digital magazine in November 2021. The company will undertake a road trip through South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana in June and July 2022. If you are interested in sponsorship or advertising opportunities, please contact me at leon@whyafrica.co.za. We have a wide range of different packages and combo deals to give your company the greatest exposure to a rapidly growing, African readership.  

The April issue of WhyAfrica’s magazine is available in print and on the way to Cape Town to be displayed at the Investing in African Mining Indaba from 9 to 12 May 2022. The magazine will also be distributed in South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana during WhyAfrica’s Southern Africa Overland Road Trip, the company’s new and innovative platform. WhyAfrica has expanded its product range and now offers its readers, followers, advertisers, subscribers and partners the following:

  • Daily 24/7 online articles on WhyAfrica’s website (FREE)
  • Daily updates on WhyAfrica’s social media platforms (FREE)
  • Newsletters delivered to a handpicked audience every two weeks (FREE)
  • Two printed magazine per year distributed at large events and during our road trips across Africa featuring original, in-depth articles (FREE) with great, on-site photographs by the WhyAfrica team (FOR SALE UPON REQUEST)  
  • Three digital magazines per year (FREE)
  • Live updates, video clips, articles, and podcasts during and after WhyAfrica’s annual road trips (Southern Africa in 2022, East Africa in 2023 and West Africa in 2024) (FREE)
  • Sponsorship and advertising opportunities for the annual WhyAfrica Overland Road Trips (PAID FOR)
  • A library where companies doing business in Africa can display scientific or research papers (PAID FOR)
  • A product section where companies doing business in Africa can display new offerings or services (PAID FOR)
  • Media partnerships with, and a presence at, most of the major conferences and exhibitions in the African mining, energy, agriculture, infrastructure, water management, ESG, environmental management, tourism, development, and conservation sectors (FREE)
  • WhyAfrica connects potential investors with new ventures in Africa and suppliers and service providers with existing companies in Africa (PAID FOR)
  • WhyAfrica assists companies in generating content focused on the wider African business community (PAID FOR)
  • Partnerships with companies doing business in Africa (PAID FOR)
  • Partnerships with companies thinking about expanding into Africa (PAID FOR)
  • In 2023 subscribers will have access to our in-depth articles about the African political economy, research, and country reports about the countries we visit on our road trips, and trends in the sectors that we cover (PAID FOR)
  • A WhyAfrica book is in the pipeline and if all goes according to plan, should be published towards the end of 2023 (PAID FOR)
  • The WhyAfrica consultancy arm assists and advises companies doing business in Africa through utilising our extensive global business network (PAID FOR)

Become part of the WhyAfrica community. Tell us your story. Expand your footprint across Africa and partner with us to make the most of your African experience.            

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AgricultureEnvironmental Management & Climate ChangeEnergyESGInfrastructureMiningPolitical EconomyTourism and ConservationWater Management