Africa's Gross Domestic Product to rise in two years

By Neo Semono

Cape Town - Despite the decline of global financial growth, Africa will be able to post positive growth in a year or two, according to a panelist at the World Economic Forum (WEF).

WEF co-chair and Executive Chairman of Dubai Group Soud Ba'alawy said Africa has experienced growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the past 10 years.

"We think that despite the crisis, Africa will be able to see a positive GDP in a year or two," he said.

World leaders have met in Cape Town for the three-day WEF to discuss the effects of the global financial crisis, among other issues. Over 800 delegates are participating in the forum which is themed: "Effects of the Global Economic Crisis on Africa".

However, he added that the creation of good business environment was important for the continent. This would be good not only for business, but for governments and its citizens.

"I think this is very important for any country that wants to develop itself further," said Mr Ba'alwy.

He added that countries could finance growth through equity adding that Africa was a victim of the misconception that investing in it was a high risk.

"Most of investors look at Africa as a high risk, but in reality if you were to look at the experience in the last year in the western world I wonder which continent is riskier," he explained.

Mr Ba'alwy added that in addition to creating a conducive business environment, Africa "should have less plans and more action" as investors were looking towards investing on the continent.

President Jacob Zuma also said that no region would respond to the crisis in the same way as others and that he viewed the economic downturn as both a challenge and opportunity for the continent and the developing world in general.

Nations need to respond in the spirit of planning for a recovery, said the President.

The president also welcomed delegates to South Africa, saying that over the course of the three-day meeting, the African continent would benefit from the knowledge of the delegates. - BuaNews