News / Africa

Africa May be Next Factory to World

Mthuli Ncube, chief economist and vice president of the African Development Bank, speaks during session of the World Economic Forum on Africa, Cape Town, May 9, 2013.
Mthuli Ncube, chief economist and vice president of the African Development Bank, speaks during session of the World Economic Forum on Africa, Cape Town, May 9, 2013.

Multimedia

Audio
  • Listen to De Capua report on African Economic Conference

Joe DeCapua
The three-day (10/28-30) African Economic Conference is underway in Johannesburg, South Africa. Heads of state, business leaders and development experts are discussing how regional integration can boost economic growth.


African countries have seen high levels of economic growth over the past decade. That’s despite the global economic crisis that struck in 2008 and 2009. But conference organizers say growth could have been even better had countries made it easier to do business with each other. They say that’s where regional integration plays a major role.

It means investing in infrastructure, education, labor and technology – ensuring good management of shared natural resources – and having uniform rules, standards and regulations so goods and services don’t get delayed or blocked at the border.

Professor Mthuli Ncube, African Development Bank Vice President and Chief Economist, said, “Regional integration basically is about really facilitating movement in a region, in a zone, in a country, within a country. It’s about moving people. It’s about moving goods. It’s about connecting people through infrastructure. It’s about movement of talent. It’s about making sure that our seaports function well so as to service the countries where they are located, but as well as the hinterland. So it’s about movement of investment within Africa and capital as well. There are many facets to facilitating movement all with the view to developing business and growing the economies.”

Despite regional integration having been a goal for sometime, he said much improvement is needed.

“If you look at the trade in goods and services, that is still low. Intra-Africa trade is still of the order of 15 percent compared to other regions where it is much higher, many times higher. Much of it has to do with weak manufacturing bases that you find in most African countries. So the countries don’t have much to trade with each other. A lot of them will still produce natural resources, which are merely exported without much beneficiation [processing to add value]. That’s part of the reason. But there are other areas where Africa has made a lot of progress, such as in intra-Africa investment.”

Best Places to Run a Business
1. Singapore
2. Hong Kong
3. New Zealand
4. United States
5. Denmark

Worst Places to Run a Business
1. Chad
2. Central African Republic
3. Libya
4. South Sudan
5. Congo        

Source: DoingBusiness.org/Rankings
This includes banks and mobile telephone companies.

Ncube said that greater regional integration can act as a buffer for possible future economic crises.
“Our research shows that those regions where the quality of integration is of higher quality, those regions were better at absorbing the shocks of the global economic crisis. And this is particularly the case with [the] East Africa region – around Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and so forth. That region absorbed the crisis better that other regions and we think integration – at least our research shows – was critical in that,” he said.

He added that greater regional integration will prepare the continent to be – what he calls – the next factory to the world. That can happen he says, when wages start rising in countries, such as China and Vietnam.

The African Development Bank Chief Economist said countries are working toward easing restrictive trade regulations. But he warns it’s an on-going process and nations could revert to more self-protective measures. He says for Africa, it can no longer be business as usual.

“Africa is showing that it can resist successfully and absorb the global shocks. Africa needs to see itself also as part of the global growth poll. Africa needs to see itself as part of the global solution to coming out of the crisis in the first place. It’s not business as usual.”

The African Development Bank said the continent must be aware of “mega-trade partnership agreements that wealthy nations are negotiating among themselves.”

In his speech at the opening of the African Economic Conference, bank president Donald Kaberuka said while economic growth has been high, it needs to be higher. He said the continent needs a minimum economic growth of seven percent for many years to keep pace with its rapidly rising population.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid