Yet another report on Africa!
Few regions of the world inspire as many readings, comments and fantasies as Africa. Reasoned (sometimes), whimsical (often), passionate (always), the narratives and counter-narratives surrounding Africa follow one another and each have their particularities. From the excessive Afro-pessimism of the 1960s to the inordinate Afro-optimism of the 2000s, significant literature has focused on "Africa". This indistinct geographical space is sometimes apprehended as a whole, and other times dissected by the most astute commentators.
So why are we discussing Africa today?
Because Africa is undergoing a series of transitions that are propelling it into the future. These transformations are demographic, political, economic, social, climate-related, and are together shaping a rapidly changing Africa, which stands further and further away from its oversimplified image.
Because France is one of the continent’s historical partners. The country’s shared past and continuous relationships with many African countries are undisputed. However, France has not been able to support the latter’s economic development. Now in competition with emerging countries, and particularly with China, it is struggling to renew its discourse, the latter being entangled in a past that it has long refused to fully recognize in order to move forward.
Finally, because it is possible to build a new and different approach to Africa. The political and institutional lens that has long prevailed can now give way to a vision coming directly from thefield. The vision held by companies, be they large or small. The one shared by entrepreneurs, whether novices or experienced. That of startups, be they idealistic or rather pragmatic. These are the voices we wanted our report to represent, with nearly 50 interviews with companies of all sectors and sizes.
What are we proposing?
The five-year presidential term that has just begun must emphasize Afro-realism.
In France, we must invest more and differently, and we must multiply opportunities for our companies by forging local partnerships and by strengthening our relations in the education sector and regarding human capital. At the European level, we must change our approach and shift from a "country-continent" relationship to a "continent-continent" relationship, built on renewed agreements and shared ambitions.