On many levels 2017 has been a tough one for many countries in Africa. Here in SA, we’ve managed to survive a short-lived technical recession after two consecutive quarters delivered negative economic growth. Agriculture, mining, manufacturing and retail industries have perhaps felt the blow the hardest, and as the country stares junk status in the eye, it is easy to see why the immediate outlook could perhaps look rather grim. Nigeria also experienced a recession this year. In November, Fitch downgraded Namibia’s credit rating to junk status and the economies of Zambia and Angola are not looking great either. To be honest the list of African countries that are experiencing economic distress is long. However, despite the bad news we are bombarded with daily, there is good news on the continent too. And a lot of it too.
According to the OECD, South Africa’s economy is expected to grow stronger over the next two years as a result of a boost in trading. The trade industry could benefit even further from the single continental market proposed for Africa. Recently Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, commented on the concept saying: “In Africa, we are on the threshold of finalising negotiations to establish the first ever single market for trade in goods and services on our continent, in the Continental Free Trade Area for Africa,” Forbes Africa reported.
According to the news source, the African Union proposes that the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa will involve the free movement of a combined GDP of $3.5 trillion in products, services and the like across 54 African countries, making it the largest free-trade area in the world.
The single continental market policy won’t only strengthen and simplify trade between the 54 countries but also travel and tourism. Managing Director and CEO of EAN Aviation,Segun Demuren, believes that de-regulation in just 12 of these 54 countries could have an instant effect. “It would provide a potential 5 million extra passengers a year with the opportunity to travel and trade and create an additional 155,000 jobs and potentially increase the GDP of those 12 countries by an additional $1.3 billion. That’s just a quarter of the countries; imagine the impact across the continent,” he said.
One of the countries that should most definitely form part of this policy is Senegal. As the only Sub Saharan African country that received an upgrade from Moody’s in April, Senegal is showing that it is more than just a renowned rally destination. More to the north of Africa, Morocco is making waves for its forward-thinking approach to renewable energy. Wind turbines, solar and an aerospace ecosystem is only some of the reasons why it ranks 69th on the World Bank’s Doing Business list.
Right on the other side of the continent, Kenya is also set to reclaim its position as one of the fastest growing economies in Africa with multiple infrastructure developments on the map, including a port for Lamu.
The list of countries getting it right is longer than one would think. Even despite the drought and, in some cases, political problems. But what is the key to becoming a success story for Africa?
According to the Global Infrastructure Hub, infrastructure is the way forward, but it has to be sustainable and “carefully thought out”.
Only 35% of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa has access to electricity, and 23% to safe drinking water, which is why Africa’s first roundtable regarding infrastructure governance is such a great step in the right direction. The roundtable, which took place in Cape Town at the beginning of November and included representatives of 27 African countries, is the first of many discussions aimed at helping African countries better plan, manage and facilitate sustainable infrastructure investment.
AGE Technologies has never been more excited and proud to be a part of Africa, because on this continent opportunity is everywhere. Now, as an integral part of the 4Sight Group, we can take our vision of Tomorrow’s Technology Today to Africa in 2018.