A SOBERING snippet of information for Africa watchers appeared last week: the continent’s exports to China fell 38% to $67bn last year, and foreign direct investment into Africa fell 40% in the first six months. It was also reported that Africa’s imports from China rose 3.6% to $102bn — bad news for African producers, WRITES DIANNA GAMES.
African leaders who clustered around President Xi Jinping and his team in Johannesburg at the China-Africa summit with outstretched hands late last year were not disappointed, with promises of $60bn in aid and loans. But this sizeable, although not altruistic, promise is not going to change Africa’s fortunes in the near term. That task lies with Africans themselves.
In the past week, as the year grinds into action, there has been some speculation over how Africa might fare this year. Most of the talk has focused on the external factors driving down growth rates and prospects for African economies, including, but not limited to, China’s slowdown.
There has been the usual proliferation of lists of countries investors should target this year, mostly the result of glib analysis based on random economic or political considerations. Each year, the lists change, showing the rapid change in fortunes of African countries — often, but not only, because of the effect of external factors such as economic problems in large trading partners, commodity prices and the lack of African countries’ economic engagement with each other.
Climate change, listed by the World Economic Forum as the biggest risk this year, is another.