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

On Everest, Helicopters Rescue Stranded Climbers

Choppers transport some of more than 100 mountaineers trapped after deadly quake, avalanches More

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

In 2005, a Paris suburb exploded into violence after two teenagers were electrocuted as they hid from police; since then, somethings have changed, others not More

US, Japan Announce Historic Revision of Defense Cooperation Guidelines

Nations say new guidelines will be 'cornerstone for peace and security' in Asia-Pacific region while also serving as 'platform for a more stable international security environment' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europei
X
Henry Ridgwell
April 26, 2015 10:36 PM
Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video ‘Angel of the Migrants’ Helps Desperate Syrians Arriving in Europe

Waves of migrants are continuing to arrive on the shores of southern Italy from North Africa. After their dangerous journey across the Mediterranean, they face an unknown future in Europe. In the Sicilian city of Catania there is an activist dedicated to helping the refugees on their journey.
Video

Video Ten Years After Riots, France Searches for Answers to Neglected Suburbs

January’s terrorist attacks and fears of more to come are casting a spotlight on France’s neglected suburbs. Home to many immigrants, and sometimes hubs of crime, they were rocked by rioting a decade ago. Lisa Bryant visited the Paris suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois, where the 2005 violence first broke out, and has this report about what has changed and what has not.
Video

Video Gay Marriage Goes Before US Supreme Court

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether gay people have a constitutional right to marriage. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the case could lead to the nationwide legalization of same-sex marriage, or a continuation of the status quo in which individual states decide whether to recognize gay unions.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.

VOA Blogs