Conventional wisdom tells us that the Chinese are buying up Africa faster than any other investors. It tells us that African banking lags in terms of innovation and reliability and that no African country is at the forefront of global innovation. But conventional wisdom is often wrong and it is important to recognise that we don’t have the Africa we think we have. What do I mean? Perhaps we can start by noting that China is actually only Africa’s third-biggest investor. The second? France. India is hot on its heels too. If that surprises you, wait until you learn that more than 50% of the world’s mobile banking happens on the continent, with Kenya taking the lion’s share globally. I enjoy these kinds of shock statistics, most recently sharing them with an audience of South African Institute of International Affairs members during an address on "World changes affecting Africa", a talk I have also given to UN leaders, Chatham House and African Union foreign ministers. The reason they ...

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