BY 2040, Africa is expected to have the biggest labour force in the world and is experiencing faster economic growth than any other region. This was according to projections contained in the latest PwC’s Global Economy Watch report released yesterday.
With its focus on African cities, the report says global chief executives were increasingly recognising the untapped potential of sub-Saharan Africa with major corporations already active in at least one of the four largest cities, including Lagos, Kinshasa, Nairobi and Johannesburg.
However, PwC economists believe it is the “Next 10” biggest cities in sub-Saharan African that should also be exciting foreign investors. These include Ibadan in Nigeria, Khartoum in Sudan and Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. It is also projected that the population in some of these cities would double by 2030, growing by around 32 million people.
PwC’s south market region strategy leader Stanley Subramoney says the report predicts that these cities could grow around $140 billion (R1.5 trillion) by 2030, a figure roughly equivalent to the current annual output of Hungary.
Economic advisor to PwC Roelof Botha said in addition to the trends regarding high rates of gross domestic product, a number of other economic phenomena in the region were starting to appeal to the global investment community.
These included significant new discoveries of mining and energy resources, in particular gold and gas, sustained growth in per capita incomes, and the ability of countries to raise financing for infrastructure projects on the international capital market.
However, something might put brakes on this – the low quality of infrastructure such as roads, rail, schools and universities. Other obstacles include growing pains arising from political, legal and regulatory institutions struggling to deal with a bigger and more complicated economy.
The rift between mining houses, communities and labour is far from over considering that two critical parties snubbed the opportunity to air their views at the two-day Mining Lekgotla in Midrand in Johannesburg that ended yesterday.
The absence of the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), which led the five-month platinum strike, as well as the communities, was a blow for organisers. But the show went on.
Both Amcu and the community groups were invited to the programme.
Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said previously that the event should be held at a mineshaft were the effects of the industry were visible instead of in an affluent area like Sandton. Amcu was also absent at the event last year, which was also held in Sandton.
The communities complained about the short time allocated for them on the programme, and that they had in fact had invited themselves to the event.
They held their Alternative Lekgotla on Wednesday, which included a protest involving 3 000 members.
The Chamber of Mines insisted that each group of panellists including the communities were given an hour to address their issues.
Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Khanyisile Kweyama, the Chamber of Mines’ vice-president, said the venue was already decided ahead of the event. She also said that the chamber was open to discuss the venue for future events.
The two-day lekgotla is a think-tank that was started three years ago by the chamber, the Department of Mineral Resources and the National Union of Mineworkers.
It was established at a time when the industry realised that challenges including labour unrest, the slowing demand for resources and soft commodity prices were not going to disappear.
Unfortunately, it has become a talk shop where mine bosses and unionists were too politically correct to openly discuss challenges in the industry.
Edited by Peter DeIonno. With contributions from Nompumelelo Magwaza and Dineo Faku.