President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, said ‘a close partnership between the United States, the most powerful nation in the world, and Africa, the next investment growth frontier in the world, is so crucial. Let us be great, together! And I truly believe this can happen’.
While delivering a speech at the US-Africa Business Summit, organized by the Corporate Council on Africa, June 13, 2017, Washington DC, Adesina said African economies are
doing well despite recent tough global economic environment.
“Africa needs more private sector investments across the entire infrastructure space: from electricity, to support new staple crop processing zones to transform agriculture, communications and ITC roads, ports, rails and aviation infrastructure,” he said.
While noting that China has become the largest trading partner for Africa, he said there is need to reboot and boost U.S. – Africa commerce and investments.
“And the time is now! I was very happy that Secretary Ross also mentioned that it was time to engage with Africa,” he said.
Adesina also said in 2015, Africa’s exports to China were $67 billion, a 153% increase over those of the USA in the same year. By 2015, China’s exports to Africa were $102 billion, while US exports were $27 billion, or 26% of that of Chinese exports to Africa.
“The GDP growth rate, which averaged 2.2% in 2016, is estimated to rise to 3.4 % this year, and to 4.3% in 2018 – all above the global averages. But the averages don’t tell the real story. In 2016, 12 African countries grew at above 5% and 20 countries grew at between 3-5%.
“Most of the best performing countries are the non-oil or non-commodity dependent economies. Cote d’Ivoire grew at 8.2%, Ethiopia at 8%, Tanzania at 7.2%, Senegal at 6.7%, and Rwanda and Kenya at 6%, respectively. So we are swimming with our heads above water. Africa is buoyant and robust. The African economies are doing better than the global average. The message is clear: African economies are resilient,” he said.
He said African economies are also reforming very fast and that the continent accounted for 30% of all global improvements in business and regulatory reforms in 2016.
“The World Bank’s Doing Business 2017 report shows that 34 out of 48 countries in sub Saharan Africa had at least one business regulatory reform in the previous year.
“Foreign direct investment is growing in Africa. From just $2 billion in 1990, it rose to $56.2 billion in 2016, and is expected to rise to $57.5 billion this year. Africa is still the second fastest growing destination in terms of foreign direct investments.
“And you can feel the winds of change from governments around the world. I was in Berlin just two days ago with Chancellor Merkel and 9 African Presidents, as she launched the G20 Compact with Africa, which will focus on expanding private investments in Africa. G7 governments’ focus at Taormina last month was also on Africa. Japan launched a $30 billion initiative for Africa. China launched a $60 billion initiative on Africa. South Korea launched a $10 billion initiative for Africa. India, where the Bank just had its Annual Meetings, launched a $10 billion soft credit window for Africa, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“They are looking for a place where investments will be sure to grow. Think of a continent where household expenditures will rise to $1.4 trillion in the next three years. Think of the continent where business to business investments will rise to $3.5 trillion in the next eight years. Think of the continent where the population by 2050 will be the same as India and China taken together today. Think of the continent that will brim with huge demand from a rising youth population that will reach 840 million by 2050, all buying and owning consumer products.”