What has driven growth in Africa is not just exports, it is investment and domestic demand

30 January 2015

Africa has a newfound resilience and attractiveness independent of commodities, and the global context, while tough, is not uniformly negative.

For the first time since the 2008 recession the US is now the locomotive of global growth. 

With the latest US-Africa conference in August 2014, a new swathe of companies may be seeing the continent through the ‘opportunity’ lens for the first time and European demand for African goods is unlikely to collapse.

And China’s investment programme in African infrastructure – it is negotiating billions of dollars in deals in Mali and backing port and rail projects in East African countries – seems untouched.

The fact that oil prices crashed may be bad news for African oil producers, but it is great news for countries like Morocco, where oil imports are a millstone round the public purse.

The real good news comes from Africa itself. The continent is investing in itself, says African Development Bank president Donald Kaberuka, pointing to a fourfold increase in intra-African trade over the past decade.

As if keen to prove Kaberuka’s point, Nigerian cement magnate Aliko Dangote will start production at most of his 11 African subsidiaries in 2015.

More than 220 funds that have Africa as a focus have been set up in the past few years.


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