As the global economy experiences unprecedented shifts, Africa’s time to shine draws closer. Economic pundits are ready to place their bets on this emerging market despite decades of civil unrest, tribal clashes and political and economic turmoil overshadowing this vast and ancient continent’s true economic potential. Although still unable to free itself from the shackles of corruption and poverty, a self-perpetuating cycle, the success of the African economy currently rests on its ability to attract multinational corporations and foreign direct investments from Asia and Europe. Over the last ten years, trade between African countries and the rest of the world has grown significantly; charting a 170% increase in trade with the GCC, and 45% growth with China and India, currently the world’s fastest growing economies. Chinese investors have expressed considerable interest in Africa, and are already heavily invested in manufacturing and infrastructure projects in countries such as Sudan and Ghana. In places such as Ethiopia and Ghana, over 60% of Chinese investments in the countries constitute manufacturing. And the Chinese government is keen to see these numbers grow, having recently pledged an additional US$20 billion to the African economy over the next three years with an eye to developing infrastructure, agriculture and the development of small businesses.
Ranked as the poorest continent in the world, Africa has posted strong growth rates in recent years, second only to Asia, drawing increasing inward investment and giving rise to talk of its economic resilience, accompanied by much self-congratulation among officials. However, despite a projected GDP of 4.5% this year, a much more optimistic prospect compared to the debt-ridden economies of the west, industry players warn that the continent should not take a backseat in terms of creating opportunities for trade and investment.
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