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, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

Republican Majority in Congress Off to Rough Start

Standoff over Homeland Security funding exposes philosophical, tactical problems within party More

Pakistan Blocks Baloch Activist from US Trip

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan slams Islamabad officials for stopping people from leaving country to attend human rights conference More

Video Muslims Long Thrived in North Carolina Before Students Killed

Idyll shattered February 10, when three Muslim university students living in Chapel Hill were gunned down by a neighbor 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.
Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Studentsi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
March 05, 2015 9:04 PM
The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Muslims Long Thrived in N Carolina Before Slaying of 3 Students

The killings of three Muslim students in North Carolina early last month came as Muslims across the United States have felt under siege, partly as a result of terrorist attacks being committed internationally in the name of their faith. But Muslims have long thrived in university cities in this part of the American South. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Fuel Shortages in Nigeria Threaten Election Campaigns

Nigeria is suffering a gas shortage as the falling oil price has affected the country’s ability to import and distribute refined fuels. Coming just weeks before scheduled March 28 elections, the shortage could have a big impact on the campaign, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.
Video

Video Report: Human Rights in Annexed Crimea Deteriorating

A new report by Freedom House and the Atlantic Council of the United States says the human rights situation in Crimea has deteriorated since the peninsula was annexed by Russia in March of last year. The report says the new authorities in Crimea are discriminating against minorities, suppressing freedom of expression, and forcing residents to assume Russian citizenship or leave. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video 50 Years Later African-Americans See New Voting Rights Battles Ahead

Thousands of people will gather to mark the 50th anniversary of a historic civil rights march on March 7th in Selma, Alabama. In 1965, dozens of people were seriously injured during the event known as “Bloody Sunday,” after police attacked African-American demonstrators demanding voting rights. VOA’s Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights pioneers who are still fighting for voting rights in Alabama more than 50 years later.
Video

Video Craft Brewers Taking Hold in US Beer Market

Since the 1950’s, the U.S. beer industry has been dominated by a handful of huge breweries. But in recent years, the rapid rise of small craft breweries has changed the American market and, arguably, the way people drink beer. VOA’s Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More