Does The Caribbean Know How To Love Africa?

BU recently stumbled across this video on the David McQueen blog given by an investment Banker Euvin Naidoo whose perspective on Africa was so uniquely different to what we are fed by our “warmed-over media” in this part of the world. He speaks with confidence and enthusiasm of a land which we have been conditioned by the Western Press to think of in a condescending manner. Some may say that his prism as an Investment Banker caused by managing investment portfolios in Africa makes his outlook predictable.

Despite the thought we were still impressed. The video is 19 minutes long and is a must see for people of the Caribbean who could see benefit from exploiting early alliances with the true mother country. This might serve to dilute our dependence on G8…hint to CARICOM.

Here is his Biography:

Euvin Naidoo is a VP of South Africa’s Standard Bank. He’s also president of the South African Chamber of Commerce America; in this capacity, he works with leading corporations and governments to strengthen trans-Atlantic economic ties. Euvin Naidoo wants to change your mind about Africa. Much of the investment banker’s work centers around reversing false or misleading impressions of the continent, which are widespread through the western world. Armed with facts, figures and a philosophical outlook, Naidoo helps his clients — and the wider public — see a more nuanced picture of the Africa he knows: one that’s large, diverse and full of potential. He offers persuasive reasons why the continent’s challenges should be reframed as opportunities, and why investing in Africa can make great business sense.Based in Manhattan, Naidoo focuses on acquisition finance and private-equity transactions for emerging markets in Latin America and Africa. A third-generation South African, he spent four years as a consultant with McKinsey & Co., and holds an MBA from Harvard.

15 thoughts on “Does The Caribbean Know How To Love Africa?

  1. Being half Bajan myself I am adding this to my blogroll.
    Love your comment about CARICOM and definitely echo your sentiments. Thanks for putting a heads up on my blog also.

  2. His views make excellent reading and there are huge opportunities in Africa for those willing to take risks and deal with often very difficult working environments. And there’s the problem. I’ve lived in 3 African countries and they were some of the best years of my life but nobody should kid themselves that it’s easy. Even South Africa – by far the easiest place to do business on the continent – is fairly tough. And even forgetting massive corruption (you think Arthur bad ? Try Nigeria), infrastructure (you think the works on the ABC highway bad ? Try the roads in Zambia) and bureaucracy there’s a huge cultural gap. Any Bajan thinking that they’re going to be welcomed with open arms has another thing coming. I know that this isn’t going to be a popular thing to say but culturally, we’ve got much, much more in common with the Americans or English than the Xhosa. Spend a bit of time in a township or even working in a business dealing with people day to day and it’s clear. There’s alot of nonsense talked about an African connection without any nuance (as if Africa is any more a homogenous continent than Caricom) or experience. The reality is that Africa is a fabulous, vibrant, place with huge potential but living there is as much a culture shock as living in Asia (and I’ve done both), regardless of our roots. Bottom line: Africa is an easy place to learn to love, and Caricom may do so, but it’s also an easy place to lose your shirt.

  3. Out of Africa~your insight is appreciated. What Barbadians should anticipate in the world of globalization is the road to sustaining a successful economy will continue to get harder. Our dependence on the Americans and Europeans who have no real interest in the reason is not sustainable. The risk reward scenario which you have painted is always the cost of “going for the gold”. The risk you identified of doing business in Africa can be offset by Caribbean governments by subsidies, tax credits or some other forms of incentives. Their is a national interest which is vested in transaction.

  4. David, from a purely emotional perspective I couldn’t agree with you more. Practicality speaking though, if we are to concentrate our energies in diversifying away from the G8 (an excellent aim), the obvious target would have to be Asia which is much more dynamic and, in many cases, easier for our companies to do business with.

  5. Asia what do they have in common with the region? We already see Bajans concern with Indians and Chinese. I thought we came from Africa , should we not have common interest?

  6. Realist, I was talking from a purely practical perspective – namely that other parts of the world are more attractive for investment, despite the fact that we don’t have any sort of link. As for common interest, 99% of people in even South Africa have no idea where Barbados is and my experience is that common historical roots do not help much. There’s a strong case to be made for pushing our ties but it’s going to be tough with limited resources and it being so much easier for Bajan companies to invest in other parts of the world.

  7. what outofafrica is saying does not agree with what the Pan African Commission and Aja who recently toured Africa have been saying. They have painted a picture of a country ripe with opportunity. So I am confused!

  8. I’m just wondering whether anyone on the Pan African commission has actually lived in Africa. I assume so. Their objectives and aims are excellent, and I’m all for cultural exchange and deepening ties but some of their pronouncements look to me to be a little impractical given the realities on the ground. We need idealists and I support their work but it does have to be tempered with a little realism.

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  10. The presenter in the video was at pains to point out that it is incorrect to talk about living or going to Africa. It is a continent with over 100 countries at different stages of economic prosperity.

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  12. I would encourage all individual entrepreneurs and businesses to come and invest in the African markets, like any economic space in the world you have regions experiencing growth and region that are left behind. Even in the great US of A , you have region that are depleted and disconnected from the US economic wealth. New York is not New Orleans and California is not Arkansas.

    Exercice due diligence and invest in hard assets or on the stock markets, do some trade or even purchase a secondary home in Africa. Germans,French,Dutch,British,Israelis own houses in a lot of countries in Africa , as there are cheap bargains.
    Americans are buying winter and retirement houses in pananama,Barbados,Puerto Rico or Costa Rica for the same reasons.
    This is a globalized economy where you sell you services and goods everywhere you can and spend your money where bargains are available.

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