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10 Reasons to Watch Africa in 2016

Published on: 22-Feb-2016

‘Besides all the uncertainties and volatility the world is facing in 2016, Africa will see a bright future this year’, this is a positive prediction of the World Economic Forum about African economic growth in 2016. In a recent article published on the  Forum’s website, the WEF suggests that 2016 is going to be a bright year for Africa.

The article outlining IMF’s prediction of 3.4% economic growth in 2016 and 3.6% in 2017, up from 3.1% in 2015, suggests that there are many reasons why we should be optimistic about what the future holds for Africa.

“Whereas 2015 was the year of agreements, 2016 will be a year of transformations – in energy, finance, technology and global partnership. These will have profound effects on Africa.” says the article mentioning the following 10 scenarios that are expected to unfold for Africa this year.

  1. Climate gains-  At COP 21, African nations seized the chance to shift the climate narrative from one of dependence to one of opportunity and transformation. The year 2016 will see Africa making advances in low-carbon energy while defending its right to exploit fossil fuels. With the cost of solar falling rapidly (by over 10% each year) huge opportunities exist and arise.
  2. Private sector momentum- The private sector will emerge as a critical catalyst for achieving global climate targets, especially ensuring that carbon emissions peak within the next five to ten years. The year 2016 will see more CEOs demanding a carbon price. With its growing population, increasing consumer demand, and massive infrastructure needs, Africa is ideally placed to benefit from this new catalytic private sector.

  3. Energy transformations- Africa’s energy challenge is substantial. Over the past year, the political ambition across Africa to radically transform the energy sector has increased substantially. The global context is also shifting in the light of COP 21. This year will see greater global and regional political engagement on Africa’s energy access. The African Development Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa will encourage a broad coalition to seize the momentum of 2015 and achieve quick wins by 2020.
  4. Building the new multilateralism- In 2015, Africa received the global attention it deserved at top-level international meetings on financing for development, new global development goals and climate change. At these meetings, governments across the world showed they could look beyond their own borders. Now this year is about full and fair implementation. Citizens will play a key role by holding their leaders accountable for  the targets they have set themselves.
  5. Falling commodity prices will drive diversification- Resource-rich African economies such as Angola, Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia face a serious threat from falling commodity prices. These countries need to find alternative sources of finance. China will continue to be a key player in this respect, but in 2016, India will be a strong competitor. Falling commodity prices may also offer some African countries the opportunity to diversify their economies and cut fuel subsidies that have exacerbated inequality.
  6. Africa’s green and blue revolutions- For many countries, falling commodity prices will drive them to diversify their economies, these countries will focus on agriculture and fisheries. African farming will no longer be seen as a development problem but an exciting business opportunity. Smallholder farmers across Africa have an unrivalled capacity for resilience and innovation and could feed rapidly growing urban populations while generating exports to meet demand in global markets. An immediate priority will be promoting import substitution to cut Africa’s $35 billion annual food import bill. Increased investment in infrastructure and research will begin to dramatically raise farmers’ yields and incomes.

  7. Africa and the Fourth Industrial Revolution- Significant investments will be made in new technologies led by the private sector and supported by the international community. As neatly described in Klaus Schwab’s book, The Fourth Industrial Revolution, it is the fusion of new technologies and their interaction across the physical, digital and biological domains. Venture capital funds are ready and waiting to invest across Africa. The next step is to bring together the public and private sectors to drive the deals as quickly as possible. In 2016, rapid technological changes have the potential to create new industries, reduce inequality and drive structural transformation.

  8. Financing forward- A lack of available finance continues to be a key constraint for Africa. But 2016 will see significant investments as big finance moves to tap the potential of the 80% of citizens who are excluded from the financial system. Mobile technology will be pivotal in addressing this unmet need. Local banks will begin to function more as "real" banks serving the demands of small and medium-sized enterprises, many of whom are dynamic "agropreneurs". Mobilizing domestic savings will be crucial.

  9. Managing migration- Migration out of Africa will continue to feature on the international policy and news agendas. In 2016, some African leaders will begin to tackle the underlying forces driving this trend. At the same time, the global dialogue related to the movement of people from Africa to Europe will start to shift from being seen as a crisis to a potential win-win if managed more proactively.

  10. Global influence- Africa’s dynamism, voice and presence will increase across international arenas. Africans, especially the millions of young people, will continue to explore novel opportunities related to booming new technologies.

This is an excerpt of an WEF article, read full article here:

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