The Impact of Peace on Business Development Across Africa
2014 ended as one of Africa’s most devastating years as we experienced more than 50% of global conflict and wars according to world reports. This is quite disturbing considering the fact that Africa constitutes only 16% of the world’s population. Although the absence of war cannot be misconstrued as peace, it is imperative for development that there is peaceful coexistence between countries, ethnic groups and tribes.
The more peace we experience, the better it is for National and continental development. Many countries such as Somalia, Rwanda and Liberia have experienced grueling wars which have affected their respective developments and have had a toll on the entire continent.
On the other hand, countries like Ghana , Botswana and Malawi have experienced massive developments and this has been made possible by long lasting peace. Whether the conflicts are sparked by chieftaincy disputes, political differences or even family clashes, the fact still remains that a peaceful country/continent is a fertile land for massive business development.
One of the most important effects Peace has on businesses in Africa is generally termed as ‘’Investor climate’’. This refers to a condition where foreign investors assess the atmosphere in a place before considering whether it is suitable for business or not. Obviously no investor wants to risk their monies into economies that are soaked with chaos, conflicts and wars.
When there is unrest or war anywhere in the world, it is considered unsafe for any kind of business and every investor will be cautious in putting money into a place or venture that assures a relatively low percentage of returns or profits. Whatever the product or service the investor is preparing to bring, people will not have the liberty and peace of mind to fully explore and patronize it. The general mood and atmosphere will be that of fear and panic.
If the investor plans to introduce a product, the general concern will be safety and this is a big problem in regions where there is no peace. Also, the investors cannot come down themselves to feel the market and fully assess firsthand what business is like in Africa . There is absolutely no reason why anyone will put money when there is no likelihood of profits and returns.
In a peaceful environment however, there is freedom to operate for everyone. Locals walk about and do business freely while investors are at liberty to frequent the countries anytime they wish to check on their investments and implement new strategies to improve the businesses which in the end, have enormous positive rippling effects on the continent’s economy.
Another impact parameter to look at is ‘’consumer confidence’’. This is a clear case of whether the consumer or customer is willing to buy a product or use a service because of many factors surrounding him/her. On one side is freedom. Where a local will confidently walk to a store or shop to buy a product without fear of being shot, wounded or kidnapped.
More people tend to move freely and patronize lots of commodities such as food, clothing etc. On another hand is trust. Where the locals have no fear of patronizing items or using services because they trust the system and are not afraid of security issues. They can order food online, buy items online, book hotels and do transactions with everyone in a free, businesslike manner that translates into good business and massive economic developments.
Airports and Transport yards are open, national borders are open and there are no strict restrictions to import and export of items. Peace actually creates a really cool atmosphere for great business opportunities. Take individual countries like Rwanda and see for yourself how massively business there has developed since the wars stopped a couple of years ago.
They have seen massive improvements in all sectors of their economy and are gradually becoming a great investment hub for many overseas businesses. Another key example is Ghana , which haven't experienced any major unsettlement and this has proven very beneficial, with the influx of investors and great developments in business, tourism and infrastructure.
The more peaceful we remain as Africans, the better it will be for all of us. Economic growth and business development is largely dependent on the atmosphere where business takes place and the freedom the end users have to actually utilize the products and services being offered.