Title Image

Unlocking Africa’s Economic Potential: The Significance of Policy Communications

Unlocking Africa’s Economic Potential: The Significance of Policy Communications


Lerato’s latest paper explores the power of Corporate Engagement in Policymaking, in collaboration with PRCA, shedding light on the pivotal role of policy communications in unleashing Africa’s economic potential.


Africa, often referred to as the “last frontier” for business expansion, is teeming with untapped economic opportunities. Despite its abundant potential for growth and development, the continent remains one of the most underexplored regions globally. However, Africa’s population is projected to double by 2050, positioning it as a major player in the global economy. This demographic surge, combined with rich natural resources and a burgeoning community of tech-savvy entrepreneurs, is reshaping the narrative surrounding Africa’s global significance.


A linchpin in Africa’s ascent on the world stage is the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). This landmark accord is designed to stimulate intra-Africa trade and promote industrialization. To harness this colossal potential effectively, comprehensive policies are being crafted to benefit all stakeholders.


In today’s global context, the private sector is wielding increasing influence in the design and implementation of policies – a trend amplified by the neoliberal shift. Corporations employ diverse tactics, including think tank sponsorship, policy papers, and influential policy conferences, to shape public policy. This shift has sparked debates, especially in regions like Europe, where corporations are often viewed with suspicion as profit-driven entities with hidden agendas.


Conversely, in Africa, the narrative takes a different turn. Here, entrepreneurship and corporations are celebrated and actively welcomed. The pressing need for job creation and economic growth means that Africa enthusiastically invites corporate involvement in policy deliberations. Furthermore, this trend aligns with a global perspective, as the 2022 Edelman Trust Barometer unveiled that 61% of respondents place the highest trust in businesses, surpassing NGOs and government.


In the African context, the argument for policy communications by corporations is compelling and can be distilled into three key points:


  1. Enlightening Central Government: Africa’s rapidly evolving business landscape necessitates continuous education for central governments. Instead of adopting foreign policies wholesale, it is crucial to develop innovative, context-specific solutions, whether in fintech or vaccine manufacturing.

  2. Sharing Institutional Knowledge: Corporations, particularly tech giants, possess a wealth of data on citizens, often surpassing that held by governments, even in developed countries. Sharing this data can significantly inform policymaking, leading to more informed decisions.

  3. Proactive Government Relations Management: In a world marked by competing interests, corporations can no longer afford to overlook government relations. The rise of ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investments, activist NGOs, disinformation campaigns, and the global “scramble” for Africa underscores the urgency of this proactive approach.


In conclusion, policy communications have emerged as an essential tool for corporations seeking to navigate Africa’s intricate policymaking landscape. By actively participating in the policy development process, corporations can not only advance their interests but also make a positive contribution to the continent’s development and growth. Africa’s potential is boundless, and those who embrace this evolving narrative are poised to be part of an exciting and transformative journey.


Stay tuned for further insights and updates on Lerato’s research journey.


First published on PRCA UK