The European Business Council for Africa

Date: Monday, 31 January 2022 13:00 - 14:00

Africa is a diverse continent, with the world’s largest free trade area it could set itself on a new development path, harnessing its potential of resources and growing population. Africa has endured significant economic downturn as a result of the pandemic, but it has risen from recession in 2021 and recovery is expected in 2022. However, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the risks associated with future waves of infection remain a concern, especially with the continent’s low vaccination rate. Business continuity, investment and revenue-generation prospects may be impaired by successive waves of infection with countries being on lockdown which is further hindered by prolonged international travel restrictions.

The commodity boom will continue to flourish which bodes well for the energy, metals, materials and agriculture sectors. Effective skills development and investment into infrastructure is critical for digital transformation on the continent. Exchange rate pressure and external debt repayments call for constructive debt restructuring measures and better strategic positioning for international investors.

The continent has political hotspots which will continue to rumble as seen with the Sudan, Ethiopia, Mali, the DRC and Somalia, the political scene remains highly volatile within multiple states. All in all, the 2022 outlook for Africa remains positive, increased levels of growth following a continent-wide recession combined with reduced levels of inflation seemingly make 2022 a positive year for the continent.

Discussion points:

- Will mandatory vaccination rollouts be effective in the battle against covid on the continent? How does this effect human rights?

- Will fragile countries in the region survive the next wave?

- The political scene across the continent is mixed, perceived liberalisation and the growth of democracy would seemingly project a less volatile continent. Would this attract increased foreign investment?

- Vulnerable groups, such as the poor, informal sector workers, women, and youth, suffered disproportionately from reduced opportunities and unequal access to social safety nets. This situation could push up to 40 million people into extreme poverty, erasing at least five years of progress in fighting poverty. How do we battle this?

- How can disruptions in the tourism industry which caused substantial slowdowns in Botswana, Namibia, Madagascar, and the island nations be navigated effectively?


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