Published On: 01/11/2017

Dubai, UAE: There are several signs indicating that Africa is now moving toward more inclusive growth as the continent’s middle class continues to grow, according to Sim Tshabalala, Group CEO at South Africa’s Standard Bank, who spoke during the 4th Global Business Forum on Africa in Dubai.

The high-level forum, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, is being organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The event is taking place on November 1st and 2nd, at Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah.

Tshabalala’s comments came during a session entitled “Making Growth Inclusive – The Role and Limits of Entrepreneurship”, which was held during the first day of the forum. The session highlighted economic trends in Africa which have shifted rapidly over the last decade.

During the session, Tshabalala noted that many more African countries are now witnessing rising income growth, despite the fact that poverty remains a major obstacle limiting growth on the continent.

“The best solutions for alleviating poverty are good policies, a better macroeconomic environment, regional integration, robust infrastructure and modern educational and academic institutions,” said Tshabalala who was recently appointed as the sole CEO of Standard Bank – Africa’s largest bank by assets.

He went on to cite Kenya as a success story as a country that has achieved 6% growth and become one of the leading ICT countries in the world thanks to improvements to its higher education system, regulatory environment, and ease of doing business.

South Africa, meanwhile, appears to now be at a crossroads where it can either succeed in harnessing the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or face the risk of being left behind, he said, adding that the country needs to examine how to use the current resources available to generate nation-wide growth.

Tshabalala suggested establishing incubators to support start-ups and entrepreneurs, and stressed his view that government’s role is to not create jobs but to instead provide the right environment for job creation.

He concluded the session by highlighting the urgent need for Africa to facilitate and stimulate job creation and noted that the continent is on track to becoming home to a fifth of the world’s population by 2025, which he says will create great demand for employment opportunities.

Sponsors and partners for the 2017 edition of the event include: Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) as gold sponsor, and Standard Bank – South Africa, Invest South Africa and Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA).

The Global Business Forum on Africa has become a reliable platform for exploring the continent’s economic outlook – both current and future – as evidenced by the high-profile attendees that have participated in the event since its inception. To date, the series has hosted 10 heads of state, 74 ministers and dignitaries, and 5,400 executives, as well as a host of influential decision makers from 65 countries around the world.