By Chioma Obinagwam 

ACCA president says natural wealth and youthful energy can catapult continent into the future

The president of a global finance professionals body predicts that Africa can emerge as the world’s next economic super-power.

Jenny Gu from ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) said: ‘People often ask me for my views on future economic trends, and on what might happen in business in the coming years. I imagine they expect me to say that the future belongs to the East; or if not to Asia, then to a resurgent USA; or to an emboldened Europe.

‘But I don’t. I say that the most promise lies in Africa, in this continent with an increasingly young population; a continent of limitless natural resources; and a continent bursting with energy, innovation and potential.’

Ms Gu was speaking at ACCA’s three-day Africa Members Conference which attracted 840 delegates from 33 African nations to the Kigali Convention Centre, Rwanda.

Ms Gu also championed sustainable development economic.

‘As we all know, of all the continents in the world Africa has most to lose from the threat of climate change,’ she said.

‘This is happening now. Millions are displaced from their homes by extreme weather events and drought, as rising temperatures make once-fertile lands uninhabitable.

‘This has led to unrest, desperate suffering and mass migration. Africans know better than anybody else that sustainability is more than a slogan: it is a matter of life and death. That is why ACCA is a leading voice for a new approach to business where environmental impact is just as important as profit-and-loss in a company’s accounts.’

Ms Gu also issued a call for greater commitment to ethical practices in business and Government.

‘One of the biggest challenges facing Africa in the coming decades is to protect and promote the spirit of civic duty, service, and a strong public sector to work alongside private enterprise,’ she said.

‘To do that, Governments need to raise revenues as fairly and as efficiently as possible, with the consent of the people. To achieve that, they need a strong finance profession made up of men and women who are ready to serve as defenders of public value and public interest in all that they do.

‘I know that ACCA, its members, and its partners, are passionate about playing their part in that mission.’

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