Africa > Southern Africa > Development in infrastructure key challenge for development of the region

Southern Africa: Development in infrastructure key challenge for development of the region

2014/02/06

Risk of external shocks not averted

With an economic increase of 6 % estimate for 2014, sub-Saharan Africa continues to challenge the weak world economy. “The international financial crisis has scarcely affected the region,” is the conclusion reached in a new study by Commerzbank.

On the one hand, this was due to the somewhat low dependency on exports, which amounted to just less than 20 %, to the ailing European nations. On the other hand, the nations in the region rich in raw materials were benefitting from the ongoing high prices for raw materials, and were increasingly developing into lucrative increase markets arousing international interest. Even though there were still deficits in terms of the democratisation and efficiency of the political institutions in individual nations, political and economic stability had increased.

There are a lot of reasons for the improved crisis-resistance: Deficit relief on the part of the World Bank and the IMF has contributed to this, as has the increasing democratisation of nations, which as well encompasses minorities, thus promoting stability and increase. “An significant key to the long-term increase in economic dynamism and the export earnings of sub-Saharan Africa is the development and development of infrastructure,” said Rainer Schäfer, chief of Commerzbank’s Country Risk Analysis. To date the infrastructure had essentially geared to the transport of mineral resources and agricultural products. Despite the evolution attained with the number of ports, a lot of land-locked states only had limited access to cost-favourable transport by sea.

From presently on the latecomer position in the world development carousel of the region as well offers opportunities such as technological “leapfrogging”, the skipping of individual development stages, states the study. It was possible to tackle electricity bottlenecks, triggered by growing request for energy in the wake of robust economic increase, from the very outset thanks to environmentally-friendly, cheap, and effective technologies. “A great transaction of appropriate opportunities open up to foreign investors with the corresponding know-how in the field of renewable energies such as solar technology, wind power, and biogas from biomass,” explained Florian Witt, regional chief Africa department at Commerzbank’s Financial Institutions. Ethiopia, Malawi, und Mozambique were by presently focusing on biodiesel from the jatropha plant, which thrived on low-yield soils.

As a result of its wealth of raw materials sub-Saharan Africa is heavily dependent on the world economy. The key sectors produce for export, which generates hard currency for vital imports. For this reason, in its study Commerzbank analyses how resistant sub-Saharan Africa is to external shocks: Ongoing weak world economic increase had to date only affected sub-Saharan Africa to a minor degree. Discoveries of oil fields, like in Angola for example, had placed the national economies on a new footing. The economic catching-up process was in full swing and a weak world economy would not stop this. A further factor was the strategic significance which above all China attached to sub-Saharan Africa so as to safeguard its supply of raw materials, and which had prompted it to make further investment in the region.

“Even if the risk of external shocks cannot be fully excluded, we believe that the probability of a disaster hitting the nations of sub-Saharan Africa and severely affecting further economic development is, on the whole, low,” is the conclusion reached by Rainer Schäfer and Florian Witt.

With 6 representative offices between Cairo and Johannesburg, inclunding 500 bank and 250 institutional clients, Commerzbank is the number one part the German-speaking banks for corporate client business in Africa. It has been active there for 60 years by presently and maintains business relations to 50 of the 54 nations on the continent. It cooperates with governments, local banks, and central banks above all. Commerzbank processes 11 % of all euro payments to other nations from Africa and 35 % of all trade financing with Germany.

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