“Africa is an awakening giant,” according to the former South African President Frederik Willem de Klerk speaking at the World Petroleum Congress in Istanbul.

The leader who oversaw the transition of his country’s power to Nelson Mandela said Tuesday that the future looks bright for a continent previously blighted by war, famine and a lack of infrastructure.

“I believe Africa is an awakening giant and, yes, it is not performing according to what we expected soon enough, but it will perform,” he said.

De Klerk believes that African countries are primed to take advantage of the world’s growing size.

“If we look at food shortages for the rest of the world with a growing population, Africa is the solution,” he said.

“It has underdeveloped land, frugal land, which can provide food for the growing billions of the world.”

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