Not surprisingly, the Syrian war tops the agenda in the ongoing world economic summit in Davos, Switzerland. Davos is fast becoming the diplomatic capital of the world. Already, President Jonathan is in Davos with the co-ordinating Minister of Finance-jokingly referred to as the Vice President, Economy-Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. Among the entourage was the business mogul, Aliko Dangote, who is to co-chair one of the sessions.
The meeting of the super class in Davos, where they always meet for lunch-literally and metaphorically, highlights their determination to know what is coming next in the world economy because, “Frankly, they don’t know”, as one money market expert puts it last week. They all come with diversity of opinions but will never come to a consensus because they depend on the law of demand and supply, which the consumers have comparative advantage over.
As world Business leaders gather to discus the direction of the economy within the next decade, Africa will still remain observers and the weeping boy of the rest of the world. It is estimated that the total Gross domestic products, GDP, of Rich African countries is not up to half of the asset base of the average multinational company. For example, Bill Gates, the American computer billionaire, is said to b e worth $12 billion as at September 2013. The annual budget of Nigeria is currently $321 million. And Nigeria is said to have out-paced South Africa as the economic hub of the continent. Countries at the summit are endeavoring to make it more of a diplomatic conference than economic.
The presence of Israel and Palestine, for example, shows the importance these presidents attach to economic undertones of diplomacy. On the surface there appears to be stability in world economy, as recovery from the 2008 meltdown seem underway. China is experiencing a slowdown and Japan seems to be out of the stagnant woods. The Euro crises seem to be abating.
But analysts last week raised fears of fresh crisis looming, insisting that it is either the Breton Woods boys are being economical with the truth or they are actually ignorant of what is happening. “There is hardly any continent that has not experienced one crisis or the other in this era of mob rule,” a stock analyst told this magazine last week. “At the risk of sounding like a prophet of doom, the economic indices are dire, even with the market rebound”. Other analysts insist that the crisis in Syria, which has crippled their economy to the benefit of certain corporate powers, may have created an economic hole. But others are quick to counter that the big names in construction are on stand by to begin reconstructions of the damaged country-and that the world powers will be actively involved through surrogates. “The Egyptian crisis, which was a direct offshoot of the Arab Spring, the Sudan crisis and the Central African Republic may be said to be existing in the Third world but the impact cannot be removed from the world economy. China and the united states are in ding-dong over their depth crisis, which has the United States thinking of splitting the Federal reserve into two to reduce shockwaves of economic war with china-although U.S empowered China in the first place” The stock analyst said. “The situation is actually dire and the future frightening”.
Dire or not, President Jonathan has carried a message of hope to the international community. He was able to convincingly tell the world the progress made by his administration in terms of power supply. According to him, prior to now, the law never allowed private organizations to interfere with power issues but currently power is being privatized and Nigerians are experiencing improved power supply. He also talked about transportation in the West African sub region to enhance trade and investment. He said Nigeria is meant to export minerals and cement and finished petroleum products but these are the things the country imports, giving kudos to Aliko Dangote for coming to the rescue of the country in that direction.
The president and his marketing team are probably understudying the Davos experience as a test case for the proposed African Economic summit, where Africa will host the world in Abuja later in the year. This was hinted at by president Jonathan during the Davos summit.
The quest for foreign investments seems to have been yielding results, particularly with investors from the Asian Tigers.