OPINION: So why does Davos matter to Africa?
The World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos brings together business leaders and public figures from across the world to build trust and focus on ways to improve the globe. This year the theme is the New Global Context and, as far as Africa is concerned, its growing role within the evermore interconnected world means that these discussions have relevance for the continent.
Africa will have its own forum in Cape Town in June, which indicates the importance with which it is seen by the participants at Davos.
The impact that local issues can have on the world has increased over time and this implies that regional or global solutions need to be sought more often. The increasing role that the African Union (AU) is playing on the continent is testament to this, for example its intervention after the recent coup in Burkino Faso.
A recent example of local issues affecting the world is the devastating outbreak of the Ebola virus in three West African countries. Without making light of the human tragedy for those affected, in the context of Africa as a whole the three countries that were mainly affected by the outbreak make up 0,6% of Africa's GDP and only 2,2% of West Africa's GDP.
However, due to the increased number of travellers and thus the risk of the outbreak spreading as well as compassion for those affected, this initiated a global response. Arguably the poor healthcare infrastructure in these countries contributed to the tragedy. Infrastructure, long-term investing and development is on the agenda in Davos and over time this will lead to better infrastructure on the continent.
The world is struggling with a new type of insurgency that has also affected Africa, specifically in the form of Boko Haram in Nigeria and al-Shabaab in East Africa, but also in North Africa in various guises.
This will definitely be discussed at Davos and that should ultimately provide improved ways of dealing with the insurgency from a global perspective and therefore in Africa too.
At the risk of sounding clichéd, it is the increasing linkages across the world that results in Africa benefitting by the search for global solutions at Davos.
Paul Clark is Africa equities specialist at Ashburton Investments. _Follow him on Twitter: _ @AshburtonInvest