The International Monetary Fund believes growth in sub-Saharan Africa will be 1 percentage point above the global average, and puts eight African countries in its top 20 fastest-expanding economies in 2010. Oil-rich Angola and Congo Republic will lead the charge with growth rates of more than 9 and 12 percent respectively, both beating China, according to the IMF’s most recent projections.
According to the report, China is an important part of the mix:
Massive Chinese investment, in return for resources to fuel its own economic boom, has helped drag the awful roads in many parts of Africa into the 21st century. Trade with China now tops $100 billion a year, and China has overtaken the United States as Africa’s main partner.
In giving the countries where the resources lie an economic boost, China’s need for oil and raw materials has transformed them into an investment proxy for the Asian giant’s growth, and handed the continent as a whole unprecedented negotiating clout.
China last year promised $10 billion in infrastructure funding over three years, amid talk by Chinese officials that Africa can experience a boom like the one in their country. But the challenges — or opportunities — are still vast.
“Not investing in Africa is like missing out on Japan and Germany in the 1950s, Southeast Asia in the 1980s and emerging markets in the 1990s,” said Francis Beddington, head of research at emerging market investment house Insparo Capital.
He believes that in the long term, Africa has the potential to be home to a sizeable chunk of the factories and warehouses of tomorrow’s world.
The Africa of old — aid-dependent, and with large tracts of the economy controlled by corrupt and capricious governments — has not disappeared.
But for all the previous false dawns, there is a growing belief that the continent — home to 53 countries, a rapidly urbanizing young population of a billion people and as much as a third of the world’s natural resources — is changing.
The full report. The future might just be that bright.