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Masiyiwa: Robust Africa Growth Not Benefiting Poor People

  • Gibbs Dube

Mr. Strive Masiyiwa

Mr. Strive Masiyiwa

Telecommunications mogul, Strive Masiyiwa, says economies of most African nations are performing well but the generated wealth is not spreading to people who are struggling to make ends meet.

The Zimbabwean born millionaire, who is attending this year’s World Economic Forum in South Africa which ends Friday said though six of the fastest growing economies are in Africa, the continent is failing to effectively use its resources for the benefit of the people.

Masiyiwa, who is a member of the Africa Progress Panel chaired by former United Nations secretary general Koffi Annan, believes that a lot still needs to be done to ensure that natural resources are channelled towards improing the standard of living of the poor and create jobs for millions of Africans.

Reacting to several critics who say growth projections in the sub-Saharan African region of up to 5 percent during the past few years are being ‘manufactured’ by some economists, Masiyiwa said such assumptions as far-fetched.

Critics say new research indicates that some economic reports about a rising Africa are based on flawed statistics.

The Africa progress panel monitors economic growth and the use of resources in African nations.

Masiyiwa further said the communications industry in Africa has been one of the most phenomenal successes in the history of the continent.

The telecommunications mogul says 20 years ago less than one percent of the African people had access to a telephone line.

Masiyiwa said on average today, 70 percent of the African people have a mobile phone.

He said mobile phones are playing a critical role in promoting economic growth and good governance in Africa.

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says in its sub-Saharan Regional Economic Outlook Report released Friday that projections point to a moderate, broad-based accelaration in growth in the region to around 5.5 percent from 2013 to 2014.

The IMF says this reflects a gradually strengthening global economy and robust domestic demand. It says investment in export-oriented sectors remains an important driver and an agriculture rebound in drought-affected areas will also help growth.

"Uncertainties in the global economy are the main risk to the region’s outlook, but plausible adverse shocks would likely not have a large effect on the region’s overall performance," says the IMF.