"Africa expands and so does the World Economic Forum"…. That's the feeling you get when walking and mingling here at the CTICC in Cape Town WEF on Africa session. I know it is not the first time WEF comes to Africa or indeed that there are sizable delegations of African nations, businesses, entrepreneurs and institutions to other WEF events like Davos earlier this year. But this time feels different: we are witnessing an exciting story of human kind progress with the fast development of many, many different African nations… At different speed, with different intensity and based on different models… But all developing! This is what makes this WEF Africa so special: it helps us all understand the challenges, the opportunities, technology adoption, best practices, the energy paradigm, the assets and resources at hand and ultimately what role we can and want to play in this.
After day one I can say that Africa is not optional. Any business must participate one way or another in this opportunity. The fundamentals are being aligned from political and economic stability to regulatory predictability… While there are plenty of challenges still at hand, the opportunity is there for the taking while making a massive contribution. As in the BRIC countries, we will go from the initial phase of doing business in Africa to the phase of the emergence of the "African Multinational"… Early days with proof points still but surely coming.
From an Alcatel-Lucent perspective, this is a massive opportunity for us to help further connect a continent, many tens of countries and to enrich the lives of many hundreds of millions of people… And do this at the Speed of Ideas… At the speed that this young continent, full of challenges and opportunities is able to drive at!
As a young journalist asked me this afternoon: "what's your dream for Africa?"… my answer: help it develop and create social and economic value quickly but applying all the learnings from working in other great development stories. I think is a dream worth chasing.
This post also appears on the Alcatel-Lucent blog.