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Nine years ago, the likes of Airbnb and Uber were unheard of. Today however, such organisations are transforming the way we do everything, from booking holiday accommodation to sourcing a plumber to fix a leaky pipe.

In Gaborone, Botswana’s peaceful capital rarely noted for its exuberant patriotic displays, an unexpected sight greets motorists on one of the city’s main thoroughfares. For perhaps a mile, lampposts, pavements, and piles of rubble are daubed with the blue, black and white of the national flag, the work of state sanctioned graffiti artists for last September’s 50th anniversary independence celebrations. For a country rarely comfortable promoting itself, the anniversary offered a reminder that there is much to celebrate.

The history of biofuel production in Africa is marked with expensive and damaging failures.The much-hyped jatropha crop saw millions of dollars and vast tracts of land squandered, while the production of palm oil has been widely criticized for association with environmental damage and human rights abuses.

To build a better future, Africa will have to drive its own development agenda.

Africa will miss most of the internationally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the target date of 2030. But it might just reach ‘escape velocity’ enabling it to break out of its extreme poverty orbit by 2045 or 2050.

EY’s third instalment of its Africa Attractiveness programme for 2016 anticipates continued variable economic performance across Africa’s sub-regions. This follows from the sharp downward revisions in overall growth forecasts this year, mainly reflecting challenging conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) three largest economies, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa. Outside of these three economies, a number of bright spots remain, particularly in the East, Francophone and North African regions, where growth rates of 4 percent and above are still being achieved.

Here are five African inventions which may take off in 2017.

Washington, DC — It has been an encouraging year for our partnership with Africa. Alongside our African partners, we have made significant progress advancing democracy, peace, and prosperity throughout the continent, though challenges, of course, remain. Let me share some of the highlights:

Africa is not a country. It is a continent that feels like it has come of age. Despite the very real problems of poverty, corruption and the sense you sometimes get in some quarters, that no-one is held to account, business types hail Africa as the "final frontier". After nearly 12 years reporting this region, for me it feels like a place where one grows up.

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The Pan African Chamber of Commerce and Industry was established in 2009 by 35 founding national business chambers to influence government policy and create a better operating environment for business.

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