Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Can Greed Save Africa?

Can Greed Save Africa?

BusinessWeek had a great story about how the west is now waking up to the prospect of investing in Africa. Other than the customary condescending tone and words like "save Africa" (oh, please!) it is really very good.

When stories like this make the cover of major mainstream magazines like BusinessWeek it is perhaps a signal that the Western sentiments about investing in Africa (extreme investing?) may have reached a favorable tipping point of sorts. It is no longer stealth investing. As the gentleman says at the end "There's only so much time to do this before everyone else gets in."

I saw parallels between the Nigerian nitrogen plant story and the story of the revival of many of our old industrial skeletons, in particular the Kisumu molasses plant. The story of Jatropha in Mozambique gives a great example of how old agro-industrial outfits (I'm thinking cotton or perhaps sugar in Kenya) can be re purposed successfully with more lucrative products.



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