Roberto CoelhoBy Roberto Coelho|December 2, 2021|6 Minutes|In Lifestyle, Opinion


"Diamonds dogs and belief"

Artists illuminate our eyes, musicians fulfil our ears, and writers develop our minds, but believers are the entrepreneurs who define the future.

Here at Billionaire Tomorrow, our mandate is to inspire and encourage entrepreneurs. This week Billionaire Tomorrow attended the Southern Africa Europe CEO Dialogue, at The Capital on Main.

Let us begin with South Africa. Throughout the event, expert contributors from the private sector and public sector debated the stormy skies over `South Africa.

As Mario Marcenaro, CEO of Finstone, exclaimed; “South Africa is a beautiful car stuck on BRICS.”

This ruffled a few feathers, but everyone realised it was sadly true.

Our bricks are named Transnet and Eskom, who prevent growth by providing insufficient electricityand inefficient trade transport.

The Eskom tragedy is well known and well documented, simply put in 2021 South Africa’s productivity was reduced by 600 hours – that’s 25 days and nights – of power cuts.

Yet, entrepreneurs are able to keep the lights on by using expensive batteries or generators.With Transnet where there is no alternative.

“Transnet is South Africa’s single biggest economic constraint,” said Mr Marcenaro.

With a dysfunctional railway system and ports rated among the bottom 10 globally, fast and efficient trade is difficult.

With the dogs there are  diamonds in South Africa, according to many delegates.

“Out of all the countries in Africa, South Africa is one of the few countries which has a strong operating democracy,” said by Guido Giachetti CEO of the Real Estate Group and Radisson Red Hotel.

Together with strong basic infrastructure and well skilled-individuals, international investors see potential in South Africa. At the heart of this hope is the rule of law. e

To reassure investors, Pooja Dela, a Webber Wentzel, discussed the unique strength of the South African constitution and the recent Constitutional Court judgement against former President Jacob Zuma.

Along with South African Reserve Bank independence, indicates a country where the rule of law is taken seriously.

These elements are missing in countries such as Russia, Turkey, and Brazil, lending a helping hand towards South Africa as an investment destination.

The attractiveness of South Africa continues throughout the continent as there is a large emphasis placed on the African Continental Free Trade Area.

Wamkele Mene, the Secretary-General of AFCFTA, shared a goal to match the European Union’s free trade agreement.

Africa’s intra -trade is below 20%, however intra-trade in all other continents is above 50%.

On the surface, despair, beneath, hope.

Africa’s intra-trade will grow quickly as it starts from a low base.

A simple example of soybeans is provided by the Zimbabwean Minister of Industry and Commerce, Sekai Nzenza; “African countries import soybeans, but they can simply purchase the same quality beans from Zimbabwe.”

To achieve a free trading Africa, the most important steps are intercontinental education and the actual implementation of the plan. The dream of intra-trade is desirable, yet without implementation it is seemingly a dusty proposal.

AFCFTA will become a reality, only if a change is made to the slow vaccine roll out in Africa.

Concerningly, more than 8 billion doses have been provided globally, with Africa at 150 million doses.  A point frustratingly made by Stavros Nicolaou, an Aspen Senior Executive.

Aspen together with serval partners have hopes of African vaccine production independence.

“This pandemic may become endemic, and we will deal with it like we deal with influenza. The problem arises with the next pandemic,” cautioned by Mr Nicolaou.

The symbolism of vaccine independency flows across several industries on our continent.

“The youth today are focused on block chain, cryptocurrency and several new technological ways of farming, “said byTheo de Jager, President of the World Farmers Organisation.

From farming, manufacturing, and energy a large emphasis is placed on the potential on the future.

However, if Africa is unable to independently create and store resources whether it be vaccines, agriculture or digital assets, a reliance will always be placed on the rest of the globe.

“We must not concern ourselves by looking to the past, we must look to the future,”Unathi Mhlatyana, Managing Director of McCain South Africa Bio, said with a sentiment of a new way of conducting our business.

The problems on our continent are notable, but the opportunities are sizeable.

In the mist of frustration, bureaucracy and disappointment arise;the believers, the opportunists, the “crazy ones “as Steve jobs would say.

They are among us, and they are committed because they believe in Africa’s future.

“We have invested because we believe, “said by Federico Bellotto, CEO CNH Southern Africa.

If a well-educated gentleman from Italy believes in Africa’s potential, shouldn’t we?