Ramos: Africa can be next Asia, but...

Ramos: Africa can be next Asia, but...

2010-11-17 07:12

Pretoria - Africa has the potential and advantages to become the next big success story and emulate the successes of Asia, Absa Group [JSE:ASA] CEO Maria Ramos said on Tuesday.

However, while Africa had several economic advantages over the rest of the world, it also had to address some major problems, she said in a public lecture at the University of Pretoria.

While it would be dangerous to compare Africa with Asia, she believed the continent could effectively become the Asia of the future.

“We need to expand beyond being just and exporter of resources,” she said.

One positive sign was that increasingly the continent's leaders were focusing on poverty alleviation.

While some might view Africa's young population with concern, she said if it was provided with the right education and skills, it could in future become a competitive advantage as other continents battled with ageing populations. But labour, goods and finance would need to move more freely within the continent than was currently the case.

Education and infrastructure, especially power generation, would be critical in Africa achieving economic success.

The continent would need to encourage greater levels of saving and improve its financial sectors, which would in turn use those savings to further development. A lack of saving also did not encourage foreign investment.

“If we are not saving, then no one else is going to invest in our state,” she said.

African countries need to diversify and use the profits from the commodity boom to reduce dependency on those resources. Ramos cited Nigeria and Angola as examples of countries being overly dependent on a single commodity, namely oil.

If Africa wanted the levels of success achieved in Asia, it needed the determination to invest in education.

She warned against protectionism, saying the most successful countries in history had not closed themselves off to the outside world.

  • e - 2010-11-17 08:23

    Statements like these are really old news and very boring by now. It has been said many times over the past hundred years, but nothing has changed. There's simply too much corruption on this Continent and the people are not civilised enough to force any changes.

  • BT - 2010-11-17 08:29

    I agree, but for that to happen, the following needs to occur:- 1) Appropriate leaders chosen, who have the people's interest at heart and are held accountable. 2) Youth want to educate themselves, as opposed to trashing their schools and universities. 3) Corruption is severely dealt with. At the moment this is certainly not the case. 4) Stop regulating people into jobs. This merely results in the brain and skills drain. 5) Treat crime severely. It is out of control. 6) Unions demands are unrealistic.

  • Ian - 2010-11-17 08:29

    Bla Bla Ramos, like you're first person point out all that Africa needs for it's future. Just who do you think is going to sort it Africa out, definitley not it's leaders.... they're to busy making money! including yourself.

  • scott - 2010-11-17 08:38

    Well that took rocket science didnt it?

  • Brian - 2010-11-17 08:40

    Africa is a failure and it will continue to be so until the second coming of the Messiah. It's true. The ANC says so.

  • Peter - 2010-11-17 08:40

    WOW!!! You're a genius Maria!!! People have been saying this for years - "Africa can be like Asia!" Africa can be successful!". Rubbish! When the attitude is each man for himself, self-enrichment and nepotism, corruption and violence is part of life, Africa will go nowhere! If the UN stops sending food parcels into Africa, how long do you think the population can sustain itself? Maybe the way in which colonisation was done was not all above board but it certainly gave Africa an infrastructure (which unfortunately has been left to disintegrate). Look at every African country that has independence and where they are today. they're back in the 1500's. And unfortunately this country is heading the same way albeit a lot slower. For every step we take forwrd we take 4 steps back!

  • Dave - 2010-11-17 08:43

    Having worked in both Africa and Asia I would be surprised if Africa pulls itself up without major changes in attitude, tolerance and education levels. Get rid of the chips on everyones shoulders, stop crime and corruption and your half way there.

  • Pupuzela - 2010-11-17 08:45

    Yeah right! Africa will definitely become the next Asia in future - when all the Chinese have settled here...

  • Kingsley - 2010-11-17 09:07

    Is anyone aware that Maria Ramos is the person responsible for all the retrenchments at the previous depts of government while she was in charge?

  • Graham du Toit - 2010-11-17 09:12

    Maria - are you saying our government has failed us?

  • MG - Concerned - 2010-11-17 09:26

    It's getting very tiring to some of us when these inaccessible CEO’s keep mouthing off on what needs to be done to get this country going, yet the banks and other institutions they control are not helpful at all to the cause she raises in the lecture as far as entrepreneurs are concerned in certain areas of manufacturing. One has a better chance of doing a tightrope walk across the Grand Canyon than securing a meeting with some of these people, in which as an entrepreneur (not a tenderpreneur) can enlighten them in certain areas of development where they can use their positions to lobby or provide support to those with the knowhow in getting things done. The least she and others in similar situation could do is tell their peers (also inaccessible) in high places to stop selling the soul of this country and the African continent for the skewed benefit of China and others.

  • andrew - 2010-11-17 09:34

    Ramos has no credibility to make comments such as these. Her stewarship of both transnet and absa has been far less than scintillating.

  • jd - 2010-11-17 09:39

    And as Maria spoke, a flock of low-flying pigs fluttered overhead...

  • MikeAS - 2010-11-17 10:00

    Dear Maria By the time Africa gets to be the like Asia, Asia will have become a Super-Asia! Perhaps you need to talk to your ANC/COSATU brethren about Education, Productivity, Realistic wages, Incentives for small business, etc that you find in Asia, but which you don't find in Africa

  • Kingsley - 2010-11-17 10:11

    The ANC will rule until Jesus comes. I pray that Jesus come soon because within the next 5 years South Africa will be in total darkness and no food to eat.........

  • Vuyani Joja - 2010-11-17 10:24

    ...There is nothing wrong with being optimistic. I agree with you and what South Africa should do at the moment is focussing on skills development (education). In so doing, nothing can stop us. Yes, we have come a long way and we are not going to give up now. In a nutshel, I agree with you Maria Ramos. Let's do this...

  • Jawellnofine - 2010-11-17 10:42

    She was joking? Surely she does not believe this driel!!

  • PeterM - 2010-11-17 11:01

    In your dreams Ms Ramos as that is all they are. Africa as a continent does not have the works ethics to ever compete with none African nations.

  • Freddie - 2010-11-17 11:06

    Just because you are put into a position due to your political "connections" does not make you qualified to express an opinion on global matters Maria. Rather keep quiet and let people think you an ignorant, political stooge, than open it and remove all doubt. BEE, corruption and sub-standard education do not make for a global powerhouse.

  • Vlooi - 2010-11-17 13:27

    Maria old girl, kickstart the process for us and resign from everything you're involved with. Take you're cadres with and we'll be able to give any country a go, like before you clowns took over.

  • Darryl - 2010-11-17 13:45

    Like Asia, yes lets go backwards. Maria your a twit just like the rest of your retarded govermunt.

  • doped - 2010-11-17 14:33

    Is ABSA also operating on unsubtantiated pipe dreams?Sell your ABSA shares now before she sells all the assets and jumps ship.

  • Michael Nkhatu - 2010-11-17 17:18

    Optimism is sothing we south africans do not posses...hence as for Maria Ramos's comments its going to take more than just Mr hubby to convience our very own pesimistic ANC.

  • Danie Joubert - 2010-11-17 18:46

    As reading and thinking public we should be appreciating Maria's optimism and guts to go public with her views. We need every leader to stand up and talk about the future. The more we support the leaders the more they will be inclined to go public with inspiration - that is what we need. We must not hammer her like this we need compassion and belief in the future to move ahead.

  • MA - 2010-12-03 17:18

    How does the Chinese proverb go? "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime." I'm afraid Africa has become too accustomed to being given fish and not bothered to learn how to fish, and why should they? That's the big difference in Asia, the work ethic is light years ahead of (I'm generalising) most of Africa. In SA, we are too concerned about workers' rights & political correctness, to name but 2, and the labour market is so over-regulated and protected, that companies are afraid to create jobs. We have a very, very long way to go before we are even close to Asia's growth rates and job creation. As someone else said, one step forward, 4 steps back. I'd love to be more optimistic, but history shows me otherwise.

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