The economic growth rate in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to recover to 2.6% in 2017, following a net deceleration in 2016. According to the World Bank, the upturn in economic activity is expected to continue in 2018 and 2019, reflecting improvements in commodity prices, a pickup in global growth, and more supportive domestic conditions.
As trade and investment soars between the Gulf and Africa, member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have been at the forefront of discovering and unlocking new opportunities.
It is almost 70 years after US Secretary of State, George Marshall, in a speech at Harvard University called for American assistance in rebuilding the economic infrastructure of Europe. Germany, a recipient of the original Marshall Plan, has unveiled a ‘Marshall Plan with Africa’. The Marshall Plan or European Recovery Programme is credited with restoring Western Europe’s agricultural and industrial productivity after World War II. It involved states in need of assistance joining the Organisation for European Economic Cooperation, outlining the assistance they required and deciding how it was to be divided. The US, in turn, provided economic and technical assistance of almost US$13bn (at the time) for a limited period of four years.
Africa’s decision to elect Moussa Faki Mahamat of Chad to the post of AU Chairperson, took the headline news at this January’s AU Heads of State summit in Addis Ababa. While the Chairperson is a symbol of African unity and can drive the next chapter of Africa’s story, the substantive issues underlying regional policymaking are more significant.
2016 was a year of turmoil for some African countries, while others experienced stability and good economic growth. One reason for the downside phenomenon is the slowdown of China’s economic growth due to its rebalancing of its economy. A second reason, which is linked to the first, is the end of the commodity price super cycle. In Africa, we saw a continuation of several of the trends observed in 2015, such as urbanisation, the growth in the middle class, the continued need for infrastructure development, the prominence of fintech, and political volatility and stability, to name but a few.