A note from our Chairman
The PIA is a group of like-minded private sector companies that is united and motivated by a common vision to help accelerate economic growth and social development across the African continent. Over the past two decades, Africa has boasted some of the highest growth rates in the world, but this year marks the first time several African countries entered a recession in more than 25 years.
The resilience of the African region depends on the strategies and policies countries adopt now. According to McKinsey and Company, the COVID-19 crisis “contains the seeds of a large-scale reimagination of Africa's economic structure, service delivery systems and social contracts. The crisis is accelerating trends such as digitalization, market consolidation and regional cooperation, and is creating important new opportunities - for example, the promotion of local industry, the formalization of small businesses and the upgrading of urban infrastructure.”
The PIA remains confident in the long-term outlook for Africa. The continent’s youthful and innovative population, its growing middle class, its value addition to natural resources and its ever-improving governance systems will go a long way to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. In addition, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) that became effective on January 1, 2021 is a game-changer for Africa and will cover a market of 1.2 billion customers, with the potential of increasing intra-African trade by over 50 percent.
We believe increasing the role of the private sector is a critical driver for economic growth and has the potential to transition economies from low-income to middle-income status. Over the past year, the level of cooperation with international institutions, governments and local partners has been encouraging. But beyond the crisis, we need to continue working together to help rebuild our economies and prepare them for the future. Africa will emerge from these challenging times stronger and more resilient than ever before.
Chief Executive Officer, Africa Regions, Standard Bank Group