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

    Steve Herman is VOA's Senior Diplomatic Correspondent, based at the State Department.

    You May Like

    Top US General: Turkish Media Report ‘Absurd'

    General Dunford rejects ‘irresponsible' claims of coup involvement by former four-star Army General Campbell, who led NATO forces in Afghanistan before retiring earlier this year

    Video Saving Ethiopian Children Thought to Be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at efforts of one African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children

    Protests Over Western Troops Threaten Libyan 'Unity' Government

    Fears mount that Islamist foes of ‘unity' government plan to declare a revolutionaries' council in Tripoli

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

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunitiesi
    X
    VOA News
    July 25, 2016 5:09 PM
    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Four Brother Goats Arrive in Brooklyn on a Mission

    While it's unusual to see farm animals in cities, it's become familiar for residents of Brooklyn, New York, to see a little herd of goats. Unlike gas-powered mowing equipment, goats remove invasive weeds quietly and without adding more pollution to the air. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this is a pilot program and if it proves to be successful, the goat gardener program will be extended to other areas of New York. Faith Lapidus narrates.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora