BrandArena: Infrastructure Projects and free Trade Zones to Drive Africa’s High growth

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Infrastructure Projects and free Trade Zones to Drive Africa’s High growth

Despite the global economic crisis, Africa’s growth and development trajectory remains positive with sub-Saharan Africa set to grow at more than five percent. This was the conclusion of international investors, business and political leaders at the 2012 World Economic Forum (WEF) Africa in Addis Ababa on Africa’s remarkable transformation.

Africa offers the highest returns on investment of any region and is home to seven of the ten fastest growing economies in the world. The Economist projects that WEF Africa hosts Ethiopia’s economy will grow at 8.1% between 2011- 15  making it the 3rd fastest growing economy in the world. Over the last decade the continent’s economic output has tripled while sub-Saharan Africa is set to grow at about 5% for the next 10 years, second only to emerging Asia as the fastest growing world region.

Yet, according to Miller Matola, Chief Executive of Brand South Africa, “Africans have not defined their economies and growth prospects to the world but have allowed international bankers, political analysts and credit ratings agencies to take the initiative and write up, or sometimes even belittle, the African growth story”.

Speaking in Addis Ababa, Matola said Africans were now demonstrating greater confidence in their continent. “According to recent Ernst & Young research, three of the top five fastest growing investors into new projects in Africa from 2003 to 2011, were the African economic power houses: South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya.” South African investment into Africa has grown at a rate of 64.8% in this period.

Explaining the many factors behind Africa’s phenomenal growth since the turn of the century, Matola said these included greater democratisation and stability, economic reform, urbanisation, improved uptake of ICT and financial services, a younger, growing and more affluent population, and the on-going resources boom.

“Over the last decade South Africa has been the leading foreign direct investor in Africa though it is now being joined by China and other developing nations. Now our state institutions have been authorised to invest – particularly in infrastructure and industrialization,” said Matola.

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