Africa is on the rise, and so is the heat around the continent. Researchers, business people, and journalists from around the world cherish the transformation that Africa has seemingly made during the last decade. The change in narrative regarding the continent has been dramatic, from the ‘hopeless continent,’ and a ‘scar on the conscience of the Western world,’ to the ‘hopeful,’ ‘rising,’ and ‘dynamic’ continent. Africa is no longer represented by the usual face of a suffering child, but rather by the smiling face of the new middle-class.
The continent’s metamorphosis is undeniable and is likely to be enduring. According to IMF, in the upcoming five years, ten out of twenty of the fastest growing economies will be from Sub-Saharan Africa. Commodities sectors are booming, rapidly growing consumer markets are attracting new foreign investors, and returns on equity are among the world’s highest. Nevertheless, the African business landscape is still not a bed of roses. Political uncertainty, corruption, widespread red tape, weak governance, poor infrastructure, and low labour productivity all make investors wary of the current Africa frenzy. With many positive changes happening, across-the-board enthusiasm is rather misplaced. Africa is home to 56 states, an extremely heterogeneous population, GDP per capita ranging from 300 USD (Burundi) to 36,600 USD (Equatorial Guinea) and political systems ranging from authoritarian regimes (Sudan, Zimbabwe) to democracy (Ghana, Botswana). Therefore, whoever treats the African continent as a monolith, with growth embracing each and every part of it, is naïve or ignorant, or holds this view for a specific reason.
The objectives of this study are threefold. First, it seeks to present and critically discuss major economic, political, and social development trends in Sub-Saharan Africa. Secondly, it is to examine an on-going shift in Africa’s international relations with the outside world where Europe’s clout is waning and South-South co-operation is on the rise. And, lastly, it seeks to better understand the business and political practices of developing countries in Africa, and thus provide food for thought to CEE, whose business presence on the continent has been alarmingly limited.
PhD Dominik Kopiński
Phd Andrzej Polus
Research Team PCSA:
You can download the report here www.ceedinstitute.org.