Bridgit Evans, CEO of GreaterGood Group

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Strategic communications for WWF

June 20th, 2013

Bridgit Evans, CEO of GreaterGood Group

There has been a lot of talk recently about how 'Africa is Rising' - about the continent's booming economies and surging middle class. And deepening inequalities. And there has been considerable debate about the role of businesses. Should they stick to 'business as usual' to try and sustain their own and the continent's future growth? Or should companies - as Bridgit Evans argues - change their approach to be more 'inclusive' so that their continued growth is based on making a real difference to the communities where they operate?

- Professor Adebayo Olukoshi, Director of IDEP

A third wind of change seems to be blowing across the African continent. According to its chroniclers, it is the wind that is destined, at last, to push Africa into ‘emergence’. And while there is no doubt that Africa is in the throes of rapid change and economic growth, Professor Adebayo Olukoshi argues that none of the benefits that are expected to accrue from the current transformation will happen automatically. Ensuring that Africa's growth benefits the overwhelming majority of its citizenry will require nothing less than a rethinking of state, economy and society in Africa with a view to crafting a new social contract and a new development paradigm, which will take the social contract as its key organising principle. In so doing, the continent might yet win the chance not only to once again own its policy space but also to be the author of its own development narrative, a narrative which will not be about an Africa that is ripe for rich pickings as today’s Afro-enthusiasts suggest but one where securing human development serves as the linchpin for the making of new societies.

- Andrew Feinstein, Director of Corruption Watch UK

Countries pay a very heavy price for corruption - economically, politically and socially. And often it seems as though there is very little that citizens can do to help tackle the plague, especially given the increasingly close (and inappropriate) relationship between companies, governments and political parties. But, as Andrew Feinstein writes, there is a great deal that ordinary citizens can do - from exposing corruption through social media or local anti-corruption groups, to using new tools to enhance old-fashioned political organising. "In the fight against corruption, apathy is our greatest enemy. We have the tools, now we require the will and the effort."

- Clare Short, Chair of the EITI

Across Africa, economies are booming, usually driven by natural resources. It is a time of great opportunity but only if countries can translate GDP growth into real socio-economic development for all their people. Clare Short argues that there is great potential in Africa’s extractive industries to fuel a brighter future but only if the sector is governed better than in the past. With greater transparency and accountability, countries will be able to turn their extractive booms into real success stories, which benefit all their citizens, rather than just an elite few.

- Angelo Izama, Open Society Fellow

Every discovery of a new natural resource - particularly oil - in Africa leads to optimistic talk about how it will power economic growth and pessimistic predictions of another 'resource curse'. The discovery of oil in Uganda is a classic example. And yet, Angelo Izama believes that while new natural resources may still prove to be the unruly beasts of the past, there is a lot more experience now in taming them.


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