Time for perceptions to change too

With less than a week to go until the World Cup, all eyes are turning to Africa. A key message emerging from all the coverage is that perceptions need to catch up with the reality of a continent that is changing fast.Yesterday, Chatham House published a report on Africa’s role in a ‘post-G8 world’. Earlier in the week, McKinsey Quarterly published a package of articles on the story of Africa’s growth. These follow recent reports from Africa Economic Outlook, the African Progress Panel and ONE.

A common message emerging from these and other reports is that Africa has changed. International perceptions of the continent, however, are not changing quite so fast.

Borrowing its title from that of the Commission for Africa’s original report, the Chatham House report, Our Common Strategic Interest, argues that the West needs to stop looking at Africa through a humanitarian eyes and instead recognise Africa’s growing economic power and its role in international affairs. As the Africa Report and McKinsey note, there are real opportunities for those who do.

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