Africa has seen rapid economic growth for two decades now.

Since 2000, Africa has seen increased levels of business activity, thanks to growing consumer levels, a young population that is entrepreneurial, and a rise in investor confidence in a continent that was once ignored except for its minerals.

This was not always the story. When you think about it, when the rest of the world was growing Africa’s economy was declining. Take 1960 to 2002, while the rest of the world’s economy grew at annual rate of 2 per cent, growth performance in Africa was dismissal. From 1974 through the mid-1990s, growth was negative, reaching negative 1.5 percent in 1990-4. 

Since then, leading news publications started describing the continent as “Africa Rising,” a narrative that implies the continent was on the move, even though most of these descriptions were tainted with bad reviews.

This is not to say the continent doesn’t have its fair share of challenges. No, it does. Africa still struggles to achieve democratic principles – regardless of how you describe these principles. Many countries on the continent still struggles to conduct free elections, room for debate is nearly non-existent in many African nations, judicial systems are yet to be fair, and on average corruption levels are rather high.

I have covered the continent for close to a decade as a reporter, and I have had to deal with these challenges. Africa is a continent I call home. I am so passionate about what happens here and as a storyteller I have a responsibility to tell these stories in every sense. I think as storytellers, we shape the narratives and our contribution to the growth of this continent can mean a lot.

I am fascinated by the story of Africa rising. It is what I have committed my life to tell for a few years now, and I want to continue doing this. Africa Finance Today is an attempt to achieve this. We want to create a platform through which we can tell the growth story of African as it is.

This idea has always been on the back of my mind ever since I became a reporter, but the turning point of this tiny but ambitious project was last year when I received a study fellowship from the Stigler Centre for the Study of the State and the Economy at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

From the first day I stepped at the University during the Spring quarter, every student, professor and faculty was curious about Africa. They were asking about the state of countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, and so on; they were eager to understand economic drivers of the continent; leadership challenges; and they were concerned with corruption stories, just to mention but a few.

On the streets of Chicago, in bars, restaurants and public markets, people were genuinely eager to come to Africa.

One Uber driver I met who runs a tour company gave me a flyer of his business and insisted that Africa was his destination, while my friend Dozzy who operates a restaurant in Chicago told me that he would rather venture in the continent, and an MBA student who invented the Airbnb of Mexico was interested in the African market. However, the common question was where to start. They were puzzled that fewer, positive stories from Africa make it on the internet, and even when they make it, they are told by international publications that taint these stories.

Africa Finance Today wants to bridge this information gap. We are bringing insightful analysis of major stories in financial markets, business regulation, startups and technology, valuations, mergers and acquisitions, and the general economy across the African continent.

We are excited to embark on this journey with you.

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