The new year started with a host of commodity price crashes, runs on currencies and warnings about mounting debts
Bankers' bets, based on glossy analytical reports about Africa's lion economies and a doubling of its gross domestic product by 2025, were discreetly torn up last year. In their place are downbeat prognoses about Africa's position in a much harsher global economic and political climate.
For the irrepressible optimists, this year's hard times will concentrate minds. Take Nigeria, where President Muhammadu Buhari
's government says it is determined to combat the falling oil prices with an expansionist or Keynesian programme of capital investment and to restructure the economy to end its chronic dependence on oil exports. It would certainly help if Nigeria's top industrialist, Aliko Dangote
, has as much success with his oil refining and petrochemical businesses as he has with cement production. Thanks to Dangote's astute financial calculations and political diplomacy, he has made Nigeria a net exporter of cement. He plans to do the same with petroleum products and petrochemicals, if he can hold his nerve. The value of his investments have already fallen by over 20% on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
READ FOR FREE
It will take more than devaluation to shield economies from tougher market conditions and political risks
There is a strong sense of déjà vu in the policy dilemmas that African governments face as national currencies weaken and national debts mount. Three decades ago, emissaries from t...
The US Africa Command is improving its logistics south of the Sahara because it believes insurgent threats are growing
Africa is home to 'growing threats and opportunities', says the United States Africa Command (Africom) Commander, General David M. Rodriguez. The USA is accordingly improving its a...