Reading Financial Mail articles on some of the countries in Africa must dampen foreigners’ appetite for investing because of the possibility of losing capital.
While the continent has been blessed with vast mineral resources, its human capital is limited, there is too much corruption, and self-serving leaders secure benefits for family and politically connected individuals.
SA is a prime example. A case in point is mining minister Mosebenzi Zwane, whose previous tenure in the Free State provincial legislature embroiled him in scandal with the Guptas. Yet he was promoted to cabinet, where he has shown a poor grasp of his responsibilities as he goes from one capricious decision to another — in the process wiping out about R50bn in shareholder value.
Despite Zambia’s democratic promise, the leader of the opposition is in detention. In Angola, the Dos Santos family is embroiled in scandals, with members seemingly demanding a share of any enterprise. Kenyan authorities are trying to trace US$1bn in a eurobond the country floated some time back. And in Mozambique, $5bn in an International Monetary Fund bailout has vanished.
The myth persists that the continent is the next growth area when the facts speak otherwise: unemployment has reached epidemic proportions, and service delivery is lost to corruption and incompetence, while leaders treat their citizens as second rate and the populace accepts its designated status.