Happy New Year to anyone who recently celebrated the 2013 Lunar New Year. Welcome to the year of the Water Snake. The snake is one of the 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac and it signifies cleverness, tenacity and is associated with the element of fire. In the larger Chinese astrological cycle, this year is also associated with the element of water. The combination of the water and fire elements may signify turmoil in the months ahead, and fittingly our March issue dives into the occasionally bumpy relationship between China and the African continent.
Many look at China’s decades of investment into Africa as a boon, a source of bottomless wealth helping Africa’s economy and providing the continent with much-needed infrastructure. However others look at China’s FDI as a crutch for African economies who may become forever dependent upon the Asian giant for continued support.
But the playing field is beginning to shift, with China realising that in order to continue on a sustainable long-term path with Africa it needs to begin investing into areas like agriculture, industry and business development as well as education and training; it needs to consider the soft side of doing business and invest in people and relationships. Meanwhile African policymakers have to stop accepting China’s terms with open arms and begin creating a strategy where China’s dollars are going to areas where these African leaders are getting a say.
We also dive into Africa’s largest mining event, Mining Indaba 2013, which has been lauded for its largest turnout to date. Staff writer Juliet Langton takes us into how this year’s event panned out and what the organisers anticipate for the future.
In another example of looking at changemakers this issue, we had the opportunity to catch up with Ivor Ichikowitz, one of South Africa’s leading businessmen and chairman of TransAfrica Capital, a leading private equity company with dealings in defence and aviation, agriculture and luxury tourism. His passion for Africa and its potential was palpable even over the phone. I highly encourage you check out his Q&A!
We invite you to engage with our conversations online on Twitter (@AfricanBJournal) or via email at email@example.com. If you know of an interesting initiative in Africa, a notable member of the business community we should highlight, or a company that deserves notice, please reach out. We want to tell your stories because knowledge shared is knowledge gained.
I hope you enjoy this issue,