News / Africa

Africa Sees Opportunity in Enduring Global Financial Crisis

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks at the Development Committee at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2012.
International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde speaks at the Development Committee at the IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings in Tokyo, Japan, October 13, 2012.
Africa, overall, is weathering the global financial crisis better than other parts of the world. While finance ministers from the continent express concern about uncertainties still ahead, they note the downturn in North America and Europe has created investment and borrowing opportunities for African nations.

Many African countries are expecting double-digit economic growth over the next five years, hoping to launch themselves into the ranks of middle-income countries, which would propel millions of people out of poverty.

Among such countries is Rwanda, which is a beneficiary of investors' growing interest in purchasing sovereign debt of African countries with positive growth.

Much of the money will be used for badly needed infrastructure projects.

Rwanda's finance minister, John Rwangombwa, dispels concern that African countries with easier access to credit will once again fall into a debt trap.

"The payback from these infrastructure  projects is very high, to the extent that, apart from its financial viability, it has also this economic impact to the entire economy," he said. "So we don't see any possibility of going back into the debt trap. Our debt numbers today are very low. Today we are talking of Western countries being in 200 percent of their GDP in terms of debt stock. For example, in Rwanda we are around 22 percent. So the room is still very big.”

Namibia, with its lucrative diamond and uranium mines as well as recent outside interest in offshore oil exploration, is still experiencing growth. But since the global economic crisis began four years ago, it has exhausted its fiscal surplus.

Namibia's finance minister, Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila, is concerned a protracted eurozone crisis will further delay much-desired additional foreign direct investment.

“That would have a negative dampening impact on the inflows of investment. But we continue with our efforts in order to improve on the attractiveness of the country. We continue with our capital market reforms and the building of infrastructures, investment in skills provision and generally making the environment conducive for those that would want to invest in the economy,” said Kuugongela-Amadhila.

Kerfalla Yansane, the finance minister of Guinea, agrees the international economic climate has not brought in enough investment to satisfy peoples' expectations. But he notes Guinea is among developing countries enjoying more flexibility when it comes to finding partners for infrastructure projects and from which to borrow money.

Yansane says there is diversification now and no longer a need to rely exclusively on the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Those institutions now have competition from China, India and others.

The three African ministers are not alone in expressing the need for African nations to boost trade with each other.

One major barrier to intracontinental trade is the lack of a transportation network capable of moving large-scale shipments from one country to another, reliably and quickly. African leaders agree that an improved, integrated infrastructure would help their region become even more resilient to costly fluctuations by the global economy.

Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid