Ensuring business success For Nepad
African businesses find themselves at the beginning of the African Century and kthe continent and its people have high expectations that they can make a real difference in repositioning Africa in a world economy and end its marginalisation," stated Minty at the Black Business Summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the end of July.
"It is an immense, and some may say, daunting task, but we have seen how rapidly progress has been made in developing the programme of the Nepad and winning support for it form important regional institutions of the South and North, culminating in endorsements by the United Nations," says Minty.
The adoption of Nepad as a development programme of the African Union (AU), placing Africa at the apex of the global agenda, is one of the most important developments in recent times. Through Nepad, African leaders have recognised that the challenge for African countries is not to try and stop the process of globalisation and liberalisation but to participate and reshape it to reflect Africa's priorities and thus to benefit from it.
This means that Africa must take ownership and responsibility for its economic development and remain focussed on its priorities.
Minty advises business that it must approach its relationship with Nepad as a partner, not a client, a customer or merely as an investor. Business people must realise that they are in this process together and should be prepared for the long haul since results will not always be achieved quickly or without reversals.
The challenge for business, said Minty, and particularly black business, is to engage with government and other stakeholders to review its own policies and posture in order to share its perspective of how Africans can accelerate the opportunities for black business in Nepad.
It remains true to say that the majority or linkages between business in various African countries are with corporations or enterprises in Europe, the Americas, Asia and the Far East.
This situation, said Minty, must change and South African business must play its role in creating business networks to bring about greater co-operation between African business enterprises from Africa itself. This will generate better understanding and sharing of experience and to promote inter- African co-operation and development.
South African business could intervene by providing support to African governments in their efforts to achieve best practice standards of economic governance by sharing experiences of national accounts and seconding skills where appropriate, to support the enhancement of national accounts, corporate law, financial market operations, investment codes and other domains where knowledge and skills of private sector institutions may be relevant.
Continental relations with other business associations are critical to the continent's success in achieving regional and continental integration, without which Africa will continue to experience marginalisation.
"The SADC region and the African continent face a challenge of ensuring that our countries and the continent as whole create a stable and positive atmosphere for investment and together, as business and government, we need to co-operate to ensure that our economics are globally competitive," added Minty.
"To ensure that we build on our competitiveness, it is essential that South African business emphasise on production along with the expansion and diversification of supply of commodities, goods and services in order to be well placed for new market opportunities.
"To achieve these, black business and its governing institutions are confronted with the challenge of ensuring the cultivation of best business practice and good corporate governance," he continued.
The achievement of good corporate governance will ensure efficient and improved quality of production to compete at a global level. It will also ensure that strategic thinking is included into the business, which will result in the identification of market niches and areas of comparative advantage.
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