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Vol 46 No 20

Published 7th October 2005

Turning the corner

Activists, businesses and politicians are driving a new economic dynamic on the continent

The mood of 'hopeful realism' about Africa at the annual meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund on 24-25 September reflected a growing view that the current upturn in economic growth and political stability is sustainable. Chief proponents of a more positive appraisal are governments - African, Asian and Western - and international organisations. Private corporations, apart from the big oil and mining companies, still try to steer clear of Africa and it registers less foreign direct investment than any other region. Africa offers the highest returns on capital in the world but suffers from an appalling business image. Its dynamic new generation of private entrepreneurs, exporting flowers from Rwanda and Kenya and processing data on parking tickets from New York in Ghana, is hardly known.

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