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Davos: Africa and Europe clash

World leaders debated Africa’s future and whether governments are doing enough to help business.

World leaders debated Africa’s future and whether governments are doing enough to help business. Picture: swiss-image.ch

DAVOS - African and European investors have clashed over the role of governments in creating enabling environments for business at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Wednesday saw a debate involving two presidents around Africa's future and whether governments are doing enough to help business.

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote said only lazy businesses waited for governments to create an enabling environment.

"There's no government that would be against businesses so you go ahead and invest and the next government that will govern will be pro-business."

But Old Mutual Chief Executive Officer Julian Roberts had a slightly different take.

"We had one of our projects nationalised so if you don't have a sound enabling environment, people won't invest. They must know they will get the reward."

Meanwhile, Oxfam used the debate to voice its concern that private companies were essentially buying political power in Africa.

On Wednesday, South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said African issues were no longer deemed a 'sideshow'.

Davies is part of a South African delegation at Davos which includes Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan, Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel and several business leaders.

Click here for a special feature on this year's World Economic Forum in Davos.