The global view of Africa is often dominated by corruption, terror attacks and – most recently – kidnapping. But behind the headlines Africa has a future, with the support of business and education, to help it change, writes Prince Michael of Liechtenstein, founder and chairman of intelligence consultancy Geopolitical Information Service.
“Africa needs visionary leaders. It needs leaders who want to make the economy grow, and thereby create well-being, small entrepreneurship, education and a certain sense of self-responsibility rather than huge projects in the capital city or a president’s birthplace,” says Prince Michael.
“These principles also help to avoid corruption,” he adds. “Many other African countries are improving with improved governance and the right people at the top, with broad backing from the population. Personalities are important.”
Botswana’s President Ian Khama and President Paul Kagame of Rwanda are examples of visionary leaders with visionary governments, he says.
“Botswana is the best example of improvement along with Rwanda, but also Angola and Ghana. Mozambique could be included unless civil war returns. Ethiopia, the oldest sub-Saharan country in Africa with a certain traditional structure, has returned to stability. Somalia is a multi-ethnic state and federalisation and decentralisation driven by locals has helped,” he says.
Conversely, South Africa has fallen to 121st place out of 187 countries in the United Nations Human Development Index (HDI) under the ANC’s leadership. Official unemployment is 24% and has not been below 20% for 17 years. Slum areas are increasing in the major towns.
“Despite this, the ANC triumphed in the May 2014 election with 62,1% of the vote, down from 65,9% in 2009,” he says. “Corruption from the top dribbles down the administration with more than 40% of South Africa’s population today now paying bribes, mainly to police,” he says.
“However South Africa benefits from a long tradition of governance and judiciary and now from little foreign intervention in internal politics,” he adds.