Change your strategy quickly
"Africa should have, at least by now, wear off this refrain of dilapidated infrastructures by a wide margin if all these investment seminars are yielding fruits"
Second quarter of the year, another investment seminar, same people, same fine speeches, nothing has missed except perhaps additional number of people to speak more English, "We have land, we have forest, we have mineral resources, bla, bla, bla, seminar is over, the group disperse into the crowd in the city to spend their estacodes.
Third quarter of the year another group, singing the same old song, now it's becoming monotonous and nauseating; you take your time to study the investment portfolio advertised, some are as low as $1 Million Dollar to erect a digital advert bill board somewhere in Kumasi, $2 Million Dollars to construct a 50 meter overpass at a bus stop in Lagos State, and another seeking for foreign farmers to come and cultivate the land in his village so they can grow corn and cassava for consumption.
This is becoming embarrassing if African elites and political office holders continue in this demeaning publicity stunt. All over the developing world, businessmen are looking for businesses to partner with; the West and now Asia with China in the lead are looking for businesses and projects to invest their money into where it will yield benefits and not this mode of investment fanfare your minister counselor and his ilk continue to advertise and in most cases in elaborate hotels half packed with possibly a rented crowd merely waiting for a photography session.
If you may wish to know, in addition to your investment guarantee options, some don't even discuss that other than the ‘enabling environment’, the investor wants to have a full knowledge of your financial capacity to offset the projects on hand.
Albeit pathetic, most African country rulers and the political elites has sworn never to have money for the country, with endless complains of 'no money' but empty vast lands waiting for foreigners to come and cultivate and develop them while you fret your own money to Dubai and Europe and cry ‘no money.’ This is no longer acceptable to any sane mind neither the would-be investors.
The investor is shaking his head in disbelief of this refrain of 'no money' at all times while a certain governor, a member of parliament or his ilk from the same region of ‘no money; just added a Rolls Royce or some Private Jets to his fleet of automobiles. Does this makes sense; in spaces where a handful of elites from governments and privileged cronies from the private sector are exclusively invited or decide to take themselves overseas to present great and well-prepared speeches on investment Africa, not much is brought back in return if there is any at all. <
br> In most cases, experience has shown that often there is a great disconnect between the speeches and the people of the continent making the entire exercise to appear like a movie script.
A shift in time
As well as all investment is designed to contribute to the economic well-being of the region and its citizenry, Africa should have, at least by now, wear off this refrain of dilapidated infrastructures by a wide margin if all this investment seminar in Beijing is yielding fruits. Perhaps it does, but the ordinary Africans in the street, the working class and the African immigrants loitering about the city of Guangzhou do not think so neither do I.
Has the investment Africa story translated into its primary objective of overhaul of terribly decaying roads, public facilities that are originally designed to yield fortune for its owners and the investors but has been destroyed by the new political elites in their ignorance? Or has it merely contributed to another channel of Illicit Financial Flows in the name of estacodes and oversea allowances.
There is a medium sized airport construction ongoing in the city of Lagos, for over 5 years now it always seems like its near completion until you take a walk into the facility, the contractors appear forlorn, you ask why is it taking all the donkey years to complete this simple edifice, he frowns and tell you "the client says no money” or “the client has gone to borrow money from another country” Then all of a sudden like in a flash he ask; "If you don't have money why can't you pay with the crude oil, your copper, diamond, gold or any of your mineral resources, Since Africa has in excess all the mineral resources China need to boost its fast developing economy according to the speeches delivered by your minister and your parliamentarian-why don’t you use what you have to get what you need instead of continuous suffering and begging for money from the West all time."
The guarantee of economic justice for all
Enough of this lengthy English speaking since its not building roads neither is it building any visible infrastructure other than advertised endless promises and plain self-deceit.
Simply put: The strength of Africa is in its people, vast empty lands and energetic workforce, in most cases you can travel an over 100 kilometer of an ever-green uncultivated fertile forests without sighting a single farm, then you begin to wonder what does it take the governor or the billionaires from these places to invest in farmlands. Nonetheless, the people who occupy this vast uncultivated lands are the true Africans, they are the strength of this great continent and not the 1% elites and government agents traveling to China to deliver great speeches on investment, then sneak to Europe overnight to hide their over bloated oversea allowances and some looted funds.
Let the billionaire senator take the lead in investing in his homeland, let all the investment conference speakers take the lead in showcasing their mini-investment back in their country that needs business partners to invest and grow the businesses, it creates an air of confidence, it tells the investors that if he puts his money down here, there is a great future for his business to expand because someone already is doing the little within his reach-this is what the China would-be investor is asking of you.
Then the ubiquitous cry of ‘no money’ all the time perhaps might seize and employment created for the growing restive young people coming to Guangzhou to constitute a nuisance or going to get drowned in the Mediterranean in a bid to run to Europe. More so, what does it cost to invest in a 100 kilometer road network and rake in endless profits from the toll fares, most commercial roads in the city of Lagos could boast of a million cars to and fro per day-that is an average of over a Million Dollar per day on a slim toll fare margin!
One good road alone is an access to economic improvement because perception sells the business more than your doctored fine investment speeches-this is all it takes to convince the investor without coming to China with over 100 delegations to waste the already lean resources you crying for.
Change your strategy my dear Mr. Minister, Mr. President and Mr. Senate Committee Chairman, Change your economic growing policy or you reform the approach. I do not need to make reference to IMF, World Bank or any foreign institutions on what they think or say about Africa, it won't make any difference. Perception is stronger than reality and attitude is all there is.
Set the right bait, catch the big fishes.
If you must come to China to continue to sing your 'invest in Africa' song, do a proper underground work then, you will find out about many African professionals in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Beijing willing to offer wise and technical counsels on what the average Chinese investor wants to hear from you and what he wants you to do for his money-certainly not your vain song of ‘enabling environment.'
In the absence of that, you may continue to impoverish your homeland by encouraging veiled illicit financial flows in the name of “seeking for investors"” abroad and continue to make a mockery of yourself because nobody is taking you serious anymore.