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John Funnell

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A Continent United

How the World Cup spurred the fight for a unified Africa and a growth in the continent’s business development.

It has long been argued that, due to myriad socio-, political- and economic challenges, the true potential of African business has remained in the dark: unable to connect with the global economy in the way Western nations have succeeded.

Now, though, just a week after the World Cup final in South Africa, all eyes are on the continent, excitedly expectant that the time has come for the nation to come into its own.

At the centre of the fight to empower African businesses is the Organization for African Business Development (OADB), which, along with the African Union, is fighting to create an environment where businesses and investors alike can thrive in a unified Africa. While it might be cliché, ‘united we stand, divided we fall’, still rings true.

At the helm of this ship is H.E. Neil De Beer, the first Secretary General of the OABD, who recently joined executive business channel MeetTheBoss.tv in Kenya to discuss the issues that now lie ahead.

“Africa’s time to unify is here. Although we’ve had initiatives where we took the Organization for African Unity and made it the African Union in 2002, we’ve struggled with the concept of getting the new-age plan Africa out there,” explains De Beer. “If 53 countries on this continent cannot band together and do business as a unity, we will struggle to become the economic power, which this continent deserves to be.”

Now though, as a business development organization, the OABD has decided to take that concept further and really bring out the message that this is the time to unify African business, so that nations across the continent can actually take that message across the globe.

As a result of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, which ended last Sunday, rumors are already abound that the contest could act as a platform on which real business opportunities can be built upon.

According to a statement by the SA Chamber of Commerce released on Monday, “This event has provided a positive impetus to economic trends which may not have otherwise have existed.

"The country must build on the positive outcomes experienced such as the efficiency and effectiveness of the security and justice systems and the relative efficiency of the transport system."

It is a sentiment whole-heartedly echoed by De Beer: “When we look at the World Cup and we say to ourselves, ‘isn’t this awesome what one country, one continent, could do when all the odds were against us?’ It is also interesting that maybe at the next World Cup we will have South African, African advisors going in and advising people now that are hosting the World Cup out of Africa. So, yes, we can do this.”

A chance to make a stand? To find out more about how the OABD is working to build a unified Africa, head to MeetTheBoss.tv

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John Funnell has worked in online media for over ten years, after achieving his First Class BSC Hons Degree (BBC Sponsored), John won Bos 18-21 Princess Trust Entrepeneur of the year at 21, setting up Clean Living Records Ltd (including www.BeatReview.com) with great success having many acts that charted in Europe and Canada. After selling the business John looked for a new challenge and joined GDS International, having a successful career in sales and Delegate acquisition, he worked up to Event Director EMEA, forging contacts with some of the biggest technology names in the world, this lead to John having a lead role in the creation of MeettheBoss.com and MeettheBoss.tv – the worlds largest business IPTV channel. John then took over as Marketing and Communications Director and ran a multifaceted global Marketing team for GDS International in New York, Sydney, Kuala Lumper and the UK.. John joined Global in 2011 with the challenge of supporting its growth by developing a solid Marketing foundation through various Digital, PR and brand initiatives.