The Economist’s The World Ahead 2023 unveiled with an eye on West Africa

On April 27th, The Economist unveiled its annual publication, The World Ahead 2023, at the Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) in Lagos, Nigeria. The publication is now distributed in 90 countries and translated into 20 languages. This year’s edition is unique as it includes a section on West Africa, with Ghana and Nigeria receiving coverage. 

The event was attended by industry leaders and representatives, including the Deputy Governor, Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, who stood in for the Lagos State Governor. 

The Economist’s deputy editor, Tom Standage, attended the event virtually. Speaking about what the year holds for the continent, he said that although 2022 was a challenging year for the continent, 2023 could present opportunities. He also noted that Rwanda, Ivory Coast, and Senegal are among the fastest-growing economies. He added that many European countries may turn to Africa as an alternative to Russian oil and gas suppliers, given the Russia-Ukraine war and the fact that the continent holds 13% of oil and gas.

The publication aims to highlight both the potential and areas for improvement in Africa. Tayo Oviosu, founder of fintech startup Paga said in the publication that he believes there is significant untapped potential for mobile-based fintech services to create jobs, enhance financial inclusion, and boost economic growth in Africa. Echoing Oviosu’s thoughts, Standage noted that existing fintech firms have established payment networks, digital wallets, and money transfer systems, providing a foundation for new offerings such as lending, insurance, and small business services.

Giving the Governor’s address, Dr. Hamzat stated that one could not overemphasise the importance of The Economist’s publication. He humorously recalled purchasing a lot during his postgraduate studies abroad and acknowledged its insightful analysis of events. “This publication attempts to address through its insightful analysis of events mainly to allow us to navigate these murky waters, and turn challenges into opportunities,” he said. He noted that the publication can assist policymakers and business owners in developing more practical plans and strategies in 2023 and beyond.

During a panel discussion, Deepankar Rustagi, CEO of Omnibiz; Peter Anagbe – Head of Alternative fuel Projects at Dangote; George Thorpe, managing director of Magprotein Limited; and Edward Nana Yaw Koranteng, CEO of Minerals Income Investment Fund (MIIF) Ghana, explored ways to utilize sustainable development communities and trade to unlock growth potential in Nigeria and the wider region.

The event concluded with a speech from Oyin Damola Lami Adeyemi, Executive Chairman of Still Earth Holdings, a gold sponsor of the event. She highlighted Still Earth’s work in the oil and gas industry, funding entrepreneurs, and contributing to education and community development, including supporting foundations for cultural exchange and creative research.

Other sponsors of the event by The Economist included Dangote, Omnibiz, Ghana’s Minerals Income Investment Fund, Ecobank, MTN, LG, Sky Sat, TechCabal, and more. The Economist has made the publication, The World Ahead, available for download here.