NAIROBI, Kenya, May 17 – Equity Bank CEO Dr James Mwangi has called for more commitment and focus on enterprise as a key strategy to fight poverty in Africa.
Dr Mwangi said on Friday that the world was turning to the region as the most viable economic frontier to catalyse economic growth.
The bank CEO was speaking on return from the Initiative for Global Development (IGD) 2009 Summit, where US and African Business leaders had gathered to advance a bold strategy to reduce global poverty.
Dr Mwangi has been nominated as one of the 20 most successful African business leaders to join the inaugural class of Frontier 100 CEOs.
“This is an IGD programme that identifies the most successful CEOs operating in the developing world and connects them with leading CEOs from the United States and Europe,” a statement from equity bank indicated.
“Frontier 100 has taken a commitment to work together to catalyse economic growth and help lift people out of poverty by exchanging knowledge and promoting development.”
Dr Mwangi said immense economic opportunities exist in Africa and noted that private sector driven economic interventions had the potential to spur a multiplier effect on the economies of developing countries.
“The value of networking between business leaders from developed and developing countries cannot be gainsaid. The Frontier 100 will explore the possibility of a symposium in Africa to expose American entrepreneurs to the economic potential in the continent.”
He observed that one of the greatest challenges Africa faces is negative perception by the outside world.
“We need to reposition our continent as the next economic hub by focusing the world on the existing economic opportunities,” said Dr Mwangi.
While in America, Dr Mwangi addressed the summit on the initiatives of enterprise growth.
The session focused on the value of networking between developed and developing countries and the importance of global supply chains in economic development.
The IGD 2009 National Summit brought together prominent business and government leaders in the United States to discuss strategies to address world poverty at a time when global attention is on global recession and declining economic growth.
The summit was co-chaired by former US Secretaries of State Madeline Albright and Colin Powell.
Dr Mwangi, who is also a UN advisor on inclusive financial sectors, said that the African region was the next frontier for economic take-off, but noted that countries within the region needed to lower the cost of doing business and improve infrastructure to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from developed countries.
He observed that political instability, lack of consistent commitment to macro-economic stability, high interest rates of savings and investments were largely to blame for low economic growth in most countries in the region.