Former Prime minister of the UK Tony Blair yesterday addressed the Mining Indaba delegation yesterday, at the core of Blair’s presentation was the concept of change in Africa.
“I am here to talk to you about change in Africa and in the relationships in Africa’ Blair said.
Blair highlighted how even with the decline in commodity price, the mining industry was still very important for the continent.
“Ten of the top 15 growing economies in the world are in Africa, this year African growth should be around 5%, the middle class should double in five years and the population should in 20 years” Blair said.
He noted how it was important for the continent to consider that new players were entering the market, China’s influence was rapidly growing and the US was also beginning to turn to Africa.
“This change is producing a paradigm shift in Africa … and the relationship between north and south is changing from one of dependence to one of partnership” he explained.
“The outside world is looking at Africa differently; African countries want to take their destiny into their own hands and to build partnerships.”
In his address he highlighted some main principles for investors and government need to adopt with the hopes of making Africa a more productive continent.
First, investors were beginning to look beyond investment in commodities, but they were looking to invest in transport and energy infrastructure.
“There are large pools of funds looking to invest in Africa” he said, “I think there is great opportunity for those mining companies that have to invest in infrastructure in order to make their investments productive”.
Secondly, for investors to benefit from such investments, governments need to look at asking changes and reforms – while working towards improving local skills.
Third, he urged that there needs to be a level of transparency and absence of corruption on both the investors side and the governments side.
“Sometimes it takes a long time to get rid of a system of corruption but governments need to get rid of it” Blair said.