By Jackson Okoth
African States must deal with human rights issues, corruption, organised crime and international terrorism among other security challenges to safeguard the rapid economic gains.
âThere is a fundamental link between security and economic growth. Africa has become attractive to the rest of the world, but must deal with security challenges that could undermine its prospects,â said Dr Harold Elletson, chairman of New Security Foundation.
He was addressing delegates attending the first Africa Forum on Business and Security, at a Nairobi hotel, on Thursday,
The forum, which has attracted political leaders, security professionals, aid workers and academics from Africa and beyond, is discussing implications of insecurity on business, economic growth and development.
Oil and gas
It is estimated that by 2050, two thirds of Africaâs population will be of working age, a size that will be bigger than that of China or India. Recent discoveries of oil and natural gas deposits have also heightened Africaâs importance to the global economy.Â
âEffects of globalisation, increased privatisation and ICT revolution has created a radically different environment where traditional security arrangements worldwide cannot control the situation anymore,â said Dr Elletson.
In Kenya, increased poverty, rising cost of living, politics and youth unemployment, is posing a security threat. âOther causes include high energy costs, environment insecurity, organized crime and the re-emergence of proscribed militia groups,â said DefenceÂ and acting Internal Security ministerÂ Yusuf Haji.
It is estimated that over 50 million people in Africa are living below the poverty line due to conflict in various parts of the continent.
âTwenty-five years ago, Africa was the object of pity or guilt,Â a place to be shunned or avoided especially by business. Often, it was a focus of exploitation, rather than an opportunity for investment. Now things are different.â
African economies are enjoying unprecedented economic growth. Whilst European and North American economies continue to battle recession, their African counterparts are seeing growth rates of six or seven per cent. Estimates show that, over the next fiveÂ years, the average African economy will grow faster than the average Asian economy.
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