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Forbes Hails Changes in Africa’s Business Environment

  • Peter Clottey

Forbe's Magazine chairman Steve Forbes

Forbe's Magazine chairman Steve Forbes

The vice president of Forbes media says the launch of the Forbes Afrique magazine is a sign of better business possibilities in Africa.

Christopher Forbes said his organization is celebrating free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit following the official launch of the Forbes Afrique magazine.

“We are at a unique moment in time [and] there [are] a lot of exciting things happening in Africa. And also things aren’t going so well in the rest of the world that we can’t keep pointing fingers saying we know best,” Forbes said in Brazzaville.

“The moment is right for a magazine like Forbes to be launched here, where we celebrate free enterprise and the entrepreneur spirit because we are seeing that emerge in francophone Africa and in fact throughout Africa,” he added.

He said some African countries are becoming less volatile, which he said is a better environment for business development.

“There is greater stability here, the rest of the world have realized that we didn’t always get it right doing some of the other things that we’ve done. There are natural resources here, but there is also a change in mindset here,” said Forbes.

Some analysts say Forbes Afrique could face stiff competition from other French language magazines with deeper roots in the francophone countries of Africa.

Forbes magazine has an African English version published in South Africa. But, Forbes said it was appropriate that French-speaking African countries to have a magazine that addresses business aspects in francophone Africa.

“French speaking Africa needs the capitalist tool as well,” Forbes said.

Officials of the magazine say Forbes Afrique’s readership will include policy makers and business people and everyone whose ambition drives them to reach positions of responsibility in the business world.

But Forbes also warned potential investors to make sure they work with reputable businesses in Africa.

“Choose your partners carefully,” he said. “We are very lucky in our partner Mr. [Lucien] Ebata. I think that’s a key thing. Get the best advice and get to know people on the ground.”

“It isn’t [only] that these resources can be useful for the rest of the world, they’ve got to be useful for the people living here [in Africa] as well and being enjoyed by a much broader spectrum of the population.”

He said Forbes Afrique magazine is in Africa to stay.

“When my grandfather started the [Forbes] magazine in 1917, his very first editorial was that business isn’t about pilling up millions, it’s about creating happiness,” said Forbes.

“As long as this generation of entrepreneurs will increasingly … realize that it’s not just about realizing their visions, but their visions enriching the lives of others; that is a very important part of real capitalism,” he said.

Forbes said the business climate is getting better in African countries, which he said is encouraging to local and international partners looking to invest on the continent.

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