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The Africa Confidential Blog

  • 28th April 2022

Africa's private wealth to hit $3 trillion by 2031 despite current crisis

Blue Lines

With bizarre timing, a report forecasting that private wealth in Africa will balloon by 38% to over US$3 trillion by 2031 has emerged as the spring meetings of the IMF and World Bank warned that tens of millions would be thrown into poverty by roaring food and fuel prices. The report's authors, South Africa-based New World Wealth, concluded that patterns of hyper-accumulation by Africa's wealthiest matched other developing regions.

An important difference is that personal and corporate tax revenues in Africa lag behind levels in Asia and Latin America – partly because of over-generous fiscal codes and poor enforcement capacity. Africa's private wealth contrasts with the reality of hard-pressed state treasuries while rocketing prices force down living standards.

'A war in Europe, in Ukraine, translates into hunger in Africa,' IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in Washington DC after meeting finance ministers from around the world. At least 20 African economies are in debt distress or close to it. Interest rates hikes in the west are hitting Africa, pushing up the debt burden.

Of the 12 African states that export oil and gas, a handful will benefit from Europe's dash to find alternatives to Russian oil and gas. But those gains will be more than offset by wheat and grain shortages and disrupted supply chains. That underscores why the IMF is pushing on debt restructuring and raising taxes.