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

UN: 1 Million Somalis at Risk of Hunger

Group warns region is in dire need of humanitarian aid, with at least 200,000 children under age of five acutely malnourished as drought hits southern, central part of nation More

Human Rights Groups Allege Supression of Freedoms in Thailand

Thailand’s military, police have suppressed release of independent report assessing human rights in kingdom during first 100 days of latest coup More

Jennifer Lawrence Contacts FBI After Nude Photos Hacked

'Silver Linings Playbook' actress' photos were posted on image-sharing forum 4chan; Federal Bureau of Investigations is looking into matter More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forcesi
X
September 02, 2014 12:58 PM
A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Schools Resume Classes, Donate to Government Forces

A new school year has started in Ukraine but thousands of children in the war-torn east are unable to attend because of ongoing clashes with pro-Russia rebels. In Ukraine's capital, patriotic education has become the norm along with donations to support injured security forces fighting to take back rebel-held areas. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video US Detainees Want Negotiators for Freedom in North Korea

The three U.S. detainees held in North Korea were permitted to speak with foreign media Monday. The government of Kim Jong Un restricted the topics of the questions, and the interviews in Pyongyang were limited to five minutes. Each of the men asked Washington to send a representative to Pyongyang to secure his release. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti has our story.
Video

Video Internet, Technology Offer New Tools for Journalists

The Internet and rapidly evolving technology is quickly changing how people receive news and how journalists deliver it. There are now more ways to tell a story than ever before. One school in Los Angeles is teaching the next generation of journalists with the help of a state-of-the-art newsroom. Elizabeth Lee has this report.
Video

Video Turkmen From Amerli Describe Survival of IS Siege

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Shi'ite Turkmen have fled the town of Amerli seeking refuge in the northern city of Kirkuk. Despite recent military gains after U.S. airstrikes that were coordinated with Iraqi and Kurdish forces, the situation remains dire for Amerli’s residents. Sebastian Meyer went to Kirkuk for VOA to speak to those who managed to escape.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Jewish Ghetto

When the German Nazi army occupied the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered at the Union League Club in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.

AppleAndroid