The first Think Tank of 2021 of the Business School at the North-West University (NWU) took place on 18 February 2021. Fifty-six participants attended, and two speakers presented their perspectives on the topic of Political stability and democracy in Africa – opportunities and threats for business enterprises.
During 2021, Africa will have 22 national elections. Ten presidential elections will take place – in Benin, Cape Verde, Chad, Gambia, Sao Tome and Principe, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda, the DRC and Zambia. The potential for high levels of political instability, with far-reaching implications for business enterprises, exists. This was the central motivation for the above-mentioned topic.
Prof Avitus Agbor from the NWU mentioned the complexity of political stability/instability on the African continent and related challenges in this regard. He quoted Prof PLO Lumumba, saying that the problem with Africa was that those with ideas have no power and those with power have no ideas. According to him, many factors are contributing to patterns of political instability and dedemocratisation, for example, the lack of good governance, corruption, and political and electoral violence. The solution to African problems should be found by utilising African people and African concepts.
Mr Piet le Roux of Sakeliga made a very comprehensive SWOT analysis of challenges relating to democratisation and patterns of political instability on the African continent. A central theme throughout his presentation was the opportunities and threats relating to the concept of a weakening state. In his analysis he said that state failure can be seen simultaneously as an opportunity and a threat. Other opportunities include limitations on the government, effective policy implementation and the creation of an environment conducive to development.
After the presentations, a few participants debated the concept for more than an hour, and prominent themes included the need for an African Renaissance, state failure, the crisis in neighbouring countries, corruption and transparency.
The question of land reform in South Africa and the implications for political stability was also discussed. The debate was of a high academic quality and contributed to business people’s understanding of the political environment in Africa.
The next topic of the NWU Business School’s Think Tank will be Corruption, Lifestyle Audits and Transparency in the South African context.
To find out more regarding the Think Tank initiative, please contact Ms Simoné Laubscher at email@example.com