Photographer's Note

Africa's well-known dependence on the export of raw materials, and the corresponding neglect of its domestic industries, is part of a complicated legacy of colonization, cold-war rivalries and mismanagement. In the face of this complexity, traditional approaches to development assistance ignore the potential of Africa's own financial markets as agents of economic progress.
Africa holds a bulging mass of uninvested capital. In the eight-nation West Africa Economic and Monetary Union alone, the amount of excess capital sitting in the central bank recently peaked at almost $2 billion.
One reason for this uninvested capital is the risk-averse, short-term nature of these markets. What would these economies look like if this money could be efficiently reinvested into small and medium-sized companies? How much would this available liquidity be multiplied after debt relief is achieved?
Most African governments increasingly realize that they must compete for global investment on the basis of good governance and efficient, well regulated capital markets
The first step is capacity building in risk management. This will enable regulators and local banks to control financial risks so that idle capital can be redirected into productive long-term uses.
Creating the conditions, systems and incentives for long-term credit markets would lay the groundwork for equity investment, foreign and local. Equity investors would be comforted by efficient local credit markets from which to leverage their long-term investments.
When globalization works at its best, it creates mutually beneficial economic partnerships between the West and emerging economies. The challenge for Africa has never been how to generate big profits - Western companies continue to make astounding profits there. Rather it has always been how to invest Africa's own resources at home to produce broad and sustainable growth and alleviate poverty.

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Additional Photos by Alberto Piubello (albertopiubello) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 331 W: 41 N: 881] (2623)
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