June 25, 2020

Africa Is More Resilient Than You Think

Trustworthy and indepth news stories are more important now than ever.
Support our newsroom by MAKING A CONTRIBUTION HERE

The short-term shock of the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic fallout will have a significant impact across Africa. But the continent has a newfound resilience and will come back stronger, especially if African governments seize the current opportunity for effective leadership.

WASHINGTON, DC – Despite apocalyptic predictions, Africa may be better positioned than many think to weather the combined shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, collapsing commodity prices, and global economic recession, assuming its leaders act wisely. While African economies’ performance has varied, overall progress during the last two decades has made the continent more resilient than ever before.

In my book Unlocking Africa’s Business Potential, I analyze the continent’s ongoing transformations and new economic opportunities. Applying that analysis today, six trends in particular will help to reduce the impact of the current crisis.

First, African economies are becoming increasingly competitive. Although the majority of African countries rank toward the bottom of the World Economic Forum’s 2019 Global Competitiveness Index 4.0, Mauritius, South Africa, Morocco, the Seychelles, Tunisia, Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Namibia, Kenya, and Rwanda are all in the top 100. In addition, improved macroeconomic policies have enabled countries such as Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire, and Ghana to achieve significant GDP growth rates in recent years.

Second, Africans support the ongoing trend toward better and more accountable governance resulting from democratic elections, term limits, and increased civic participation. Over the last five years, Afrobarometer surveys have indicated that 68% of Africans prefer democracy, 75% support two-term limits for leaders, and 62% think that citizens must hold governments accountable, even if it slows down decision-making.

Recent political leadership changes and overall governance improvements reflect not only the vertical accountability that citizens exercise through elections. African countries have also made progress on horizontal accountability, involving government checks and balances, as well as what might be called diagonal accountability, or the effect of personal responsibility on institutions.

The third positive trend is demographic. Sub-Saharan Africa’s population is expected to increase from 1.1 billion to 1.4 billion by 2030, 2.1 billion by 2050, and about 3.8 billion by the end of the century. In 2030, over half of the continent’s population will be concentrated in seven countries: Nigeria, Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Egypt, Tanzania, Kenya, and South Africa. The first four will each be home to more than 100 million people.

Africa has declined while fertility rates have remained unchanged, thus creating a demographic dividend. Today, the continent has one of the highest dependency ratios in the world, owing to the large number of children under the age of 15. But by 2030, they will be Africa’s workers and consumers.

Fourth, Africa’s innovative and productive potential has already attracted substantial foreign investment and finance. In the agriculture sector, for example, European, Chinese, Saudi Arabian, South Korean, and Indian companies are investing billions of dollars to buy or lease large areas of farmland. And countries such as Cameroon, the DRC, Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, and Senegal are growing a variety of exportable produce, including flowers, lentils, palm oil, rice, sugar cane, bananas, and corn. Though the COVID-19 crisis may weaken investment in the short run, the continent will attract higher investment inflows in the longer run.

Fifth, Africa continues to diversify its trade patterns. Although trade with China, the United States, and the European Union still accounts for more than 30% of the continent’s total imports and exports, emerging trade partners are taking ever larger shares. For example, Africa’s trade with Brazil, India, Indonesia, Russia, and Turkey more than doubled between 2006 and 2016.

Furthermore, the African Continental Free Trade Area – a single continent-wide market for goods and services, with free movement of capital and people – entered into force last year, with 54 countries on board. The AfCFTA’s operational launch, however, has been delayed, due to COVID-19.

Once fully operational, the AfCFTA will likely transform the structure of African economies by moving them away from low-productivity, labor-intensive sectors and toward higher-productivity, skills-intensive industrial and service activities. And by promoting intra-African trade, the agreement will foster a more competitive manufacturing sector, promote economic diversification, and encourage firms to benefit from continent-wide economies of scale. In short, the AfCFTA will enable countries to reduce poverty and accelerate their development by unlocking business potential and creating desperately needed and better-paid jobs.

Last but not least, African firms and countries are well placed to benefit from the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), which is being driven by new digital technologies such as the Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and 3D printing. By integrating 4IR technology into their current operations, companies will be able to leapfrog legacy infrastructure, strengthen Africa’s health-care systems and response to infectious disease, revitalize public-sector support, and establish mutually beneficial public-private partnerships.

Africa is also benefiting from the rapid expansion of its mobile broadband networks, which can attract investors to the information and communications technology sector. Kenya and Rwanda, for example, are implementing national strategies aimed at fostering technology adoption and innovation, while countries such as South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt host a significant number of tech hubs. And creative entrepreneurs are launching a broad range of services to meet the needs of Africa’s citizens, with technology ranging from mobile applications for health care and agricultural finance to 3D printing of titanium metal parts.

The short-term shock of the pandemic and its economic fallout will have a significant impact across Africa. But the continent has a newfound resilience and will come back stronger, especially if African governments seize the current opportunity for effective leadership.

Landry Signé, a professor and co-director at Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management, is a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, a distinguished fellow at Stanford University, a World Economic Forum young global leader, and the author, most recently, of Unlocking Africa’s Business Potential.

The text has been adapted from Project Syndicate website

We can't do quality journalism without your support

Perhaps it goes without saying — but producing quality journalism isn't cheap. At a time when newsroom resources and revenue are declining, The Chronicles remains committed to "Serving Your Right To Know The Truth". Stand with us as we document Rwanda's remarkable journey for you and the future generation. Do you value our journalism? We can't do it without you. Show us with your support by CONTRIBUTING HERE.
Email your news TIPS to info@chronicles.rw or WhatsApp +250788351327.
You can also find us on Signal


  1. Hey I am so happy I found your blog page, I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Aol for something else, Regardless I am here now and would just like to say thanks a lot for a remarkable post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to go through it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the superb jo.|

  2. I recently tried CBD gummies for the cardinal time and I be required to say, I’m impressed with the results. I felt more nonchalant cbd capsules and at ease, and my uneasiness was significantly reduced. The gummies tasted colossal and were comfortable to consume. I’ll indubitably be using them again and would urge them to anyone looking in regard to a accepted habit to alleviate accentuate and anxiety.

  3. Hello would you mind stating which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m going to start my own blog soon but I’m having a
    difficult time deciding between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your layout seems different then most blogs and
    I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S
    My apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!

    Review my web blog; http://www.zichen.com/home.php?mod=space&uid=6730729&do=profile

  4. A motivating discussion is definitely worth comment.
    I do think that you should write more on this topic, it might not be a taboo subject but generally people don’t talk about these subjects.
    To the next! Many thanks!!

    Here is my page postogel – Brian

  5. An impressive share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting
    a little research on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast
    due to the fact that I discovered it for him… lol. So allow me to reword
    this…. Thanks for the meal!! But yeah, thanx for
    spending time to discuss this topic here on your internet site.

    Stop by my web-site – Helen

  6. Hi there to every body, it’s my first pay a quick visit of this website; this webpage
    contains remarkable and actually good stuff designed for visitors.

    Here is my blog; Jaunita

  7. Having read this I thought it was rather informative.
    I appreciate you taking the time and energy to put this content together.
    I once again find myself personally spending way too much time both reading and posting
    comments. But so what, it was still worthwhile!

    My blog – zeus 500 slot

  8. Hi there, always i used to check website posts here in the early
    hours in the break of day, because i enjoy to learn more and more.

    my web site: Tiara

  9. Hey there! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering
    which blog platform are you using for this site? I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve
    had problems with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.
    I would be awesome if you could point me in the direction of a good platform.

    Stop by my web site; Brigette

  10. I am really loving the theme/design of your web site.

    Do you ever run into any browser compatibility issues? A couple of my blog audience have complained about my blog not working correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome.
    Do you have any advice to help fix this problem?

    Here is my web-site; Kurt

  11. Very good site you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any
    user discussion forums that cover the same topics discussed
    in this article? I’d really like to be a part
    of group where I can get opinions from other experienced individuals
    that share the same interest. If you have any recommendations,
    please let me know. Kudos!

    my blog post Rodger

  12. I’ve been browsing online more than 4 hours today, yet I never found
    any interesting article like yours. It’s pretty worth enough for me.
    In my view, if all site owners and bloggers
    made good content as you did, the internet will be a lot more useful than ever before.

    Also visit my site hnlpsq.cn

  13. Hello! I know this is somewhat off topic but I was wondering if you knew where I could get a captcha plugin for my comment form?
    I’m using the same blog platform as yours and I’m having
    problems finding one? Thanks a lot!

    Here is my webpage park1.wakwak.com

  14. I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everyone
    else encountering problems with your website.
    It seems like some of the written text on your posts are running off the screen. Can someone
    else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them too?
    This may be a problem with my internet browser because I’ve had
    this happen previously. Thank you

    My page – Andre

  15. Thanks for every other informative web site. The place
    else could I get that type of info written in such a perfect manner?
    I have a undertaking that I’m simply now working on, and I have been at the glance out for
    such information.

    Here is my blog :: Tamara

  16. Hi there I am so grateful I found your blog page, I really found you
    by mistake, while I was researching on Yahoo for something else,
    Anyways I am here now and would just like to say kudos for a tremendous post and a all
    round entertaining blog (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to browse it all at the moment but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds,
    so when I have time I will be back to read more, Please do keep up the awesome jo.

    Visit my web site habata.com.tr

  17. Hi there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this site before but after browsing through some of
    the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it
    and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!

    Here is my site – Mattie

  18. I do believe all of the concepts you have introduced in your post.
    They’re very convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are very short for beginners.
    Could you please extend them a bit from next
    time? Thank you for the post.

    Here is my page – csomedia.com.ng

  19. Hellߋ, Neat post. There’s an issue along with your website in internet explorer, might сheck this?
    IE nonetheless is the market leader andd a good part
    of peoplе will omit your great writing beϲause
    of this problem.

    Also visit my web-site; Bp777

  20. Do you have a spam problem on this site; I also am a blogger, and I was curious about your situation; many
    of us have created some nice procedures and we are looking to trade techniques with
    others, please shoot me an email if interested.

    my blog post lion4dbet slot

  21. I am no longer positive the place you are getting your information, but good topic.
    I needs to spend a while finding out much more or working
    out more. Thanks for excellent information I used to be looking for this information for my mission.

  22. I’m not sure why but this website is loading very
    slow for me. Is anyone else having this problem or is it a issue on my
    end? I’ll check back later and see if the problem still exists.

  23. Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am going
    through troubles with your RSS. I don’t know why I cannot subscribe
    to it. Is there anybody getting the same RSS problems? Anybody who
    knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  24. With havin so much written content do you ever run into
    any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My
    site has a lot of unique content I’ve either written myself
    or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know
    any ways to help stop content from being ripped off?
    I’d truly appreciate it.

    my web-site Rowena

  25. Hello, I think your web site could possibly be having
    web browser compatibility issues. When I take a look at your web site in Safari, it looks fine
    however, when opening in IE, it has some overlapping issues.
    I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Aside from that, fantastic website!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *