At the 22nd Annual Africa Business Conference of the Harvard Business School, Roosevelt Ogbonna, Deputy Group Managing Director of Access Bank, shared insightful and relatable tips that would aid the growth of Africa and make it one of the world’s thriving economies.
He gave five key highlights on the ingredients needed to build Africa.
Starting with the fact that Africans need to move away from conversations on the abundance of the continent’s natural resources and start focusing on how to put these resources to judicious use, such that it leads to significant growth on the continent. He said, according to World Bank’s estimate, it will take 14 years and 88 billion dollars to bridge the infrastructure gap between Africa and the world.
Therefore, its high time Africa started building capacity and using its human and natural resources to drive the growth of Africa, bringing it to par with leading economies.
He also highlighted the need to change the African narrative. Quoting popular Nigerian Writer, Chinua Achebe who said: “Until the lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.” He charged Africans to speak about and project all of the positive things going on in Africa, as the media mostly reports negative stories painting it as a continent of despotism, hunger, disease and others. He noted that Africans need to make it a personal responsibility to tell their own amazing stories, and with time, the current perception of Africa will change.
On his third highlight which he tagged ‘building innovations’, he encouraged Nigerians and other Africans to create innovative products that would not only solve present problems, but also that of the future. He explained that Africans need to dream big, as these dreams fuel innovation that can change the world for the better. He said execution and Implementation of innovation should be based on merit and not favouritism.
In his fourth highlight, he emphasized the need for sustainability and inclusiveness in Africa, urging businesses and individuals to not only focus on profit-making but also focus on developing the society while empowering women and children. He also charged Africans to participate actively in politics and not have an attitude of political apathy, as Africa needs more visionary leaders to build the Africa we envision.
Lastly, he spoke about the importance of unity in Africa. He touched on the fact that African leaders need to be united and work together on trade agreements as well as draw energy from one another. He mentioned peer review between African leaders to serve as checks and balances in the governance of their countries.
He concluded his speech by referring to the good and exemplary work Access Bank has done to ensure sustainability in Nigeria and Africa, some of which include the “W” Initiative, partnership with Ford Foundation and Global Citizen to support and promote businesses in Africa as well as contribute to the growth and development of the African economy.