The positive outlook for Africa as a prime investment destination came under the spotlight this week at a webinar presented by the African Development Bank (AfDB) to Asian audiences.
The assertion is based on the Bank’s latest African Economic Outlook Supplement which has been endorsed as critical for post-Covid-19 Africa.
It revises the growth projections and outlook for Africa for 2020 and 2021, highlights the impact of Covid–19 on Africa’s socio-economic landscape, and recommends policy responses to safely reopen economies and accelerate growth recovery.
“Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, investment opportunities still abound in Africa,” said Tetsushi Sonobe, the dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI). “Global markets are shifting to South Asia and Africa. In a sense, Africa is not very far for Asian investors who might be interested in the investment opportunities on the continent.”
Sonobe said that Africa’s GDP growth was projected to quickly rebound in 2021 following steady growth before Covid-19.
Driving this, he pointed out, was a large market with a very talented youthful population, a three-trillion-dollar market opportunity through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreements, and greater manufacturing potential as low-cost manufacturing opportunities continued to move to Africa.
Khaled Sherif, the AfDB’s vice president for regional development, integration and business delivery, said despite the pandemic affecting all African economies, its magnitude would vary considerably from country to country, depending on the economic characteristics and initial conditions of the countries.
“This urges us to avoid the one-size-fits-all solution to address the effects of Covid-19 in Africa.”
Participants pointed out that although Africa was human-resource-rich, it would need to work on closing its infrastructure gap – an issue the African Development Bank has made one of its top priorities.
Released annually since 2003, the African Economic Outlook provides up-to-date evidence and analytics to inform and support African decision-makers.
Around 350 participants attended the virtual event, which was co-hosted by the Asia External Representation Office of the Bank. The audience included government officials, representatives from the African diplomatic corps in Asia, development professionals, representatives of civil society, academics and think tanks, students, journalists, and the general public.