2011 and Beyond: Hopes and MiragesDuring seven years of existence, AAE managed to assist its members with a number of projects. Now, the gained experience are combined with the exploration of newly arising prospects and opportunities in African countries for SME entrepreneurs, the engagement of local entrepreneurs and the management of community resources.
The AAE Country Analysis in 2011 give a picture of the current situation of African smes and explore the arising hopes and mirages of African entrepreneurs in the second decade of this millennium.
Africa - the vast continent is still the least developed one in the world; however, while the Northern and Western world stagnates, Africa has begun to unfold its potential. Even after the world economic crisis of 2008/9, positive gdp growth rates have been predominating in this millennium:
“A substantial economic change has operated over the 2001-2009 period with a global 5.3% GDP growth1, which places the continent among the most developing regions in the world. In the long term, Africa will integrate the globalized economy and reduce the gap existing between rich countries and Least Developed countries (LDC’s).
Obviously, emerging countries are opening the path to a rapid economic development and Africa, one of the geologically richest areas of the world, will have to face the challenge of follow them on the way of development. This development will have to use these assets to manage a sustainable development based on the increase and the diversification of its production, the development of its inner markets, the secure of its political context and the distribution of the wealth created.
In the medium term, Africa will have the financial means to take an active part to the globalized economy, notably considering the increase of raw materials prices. This year, for the first time in the world’s history, developing and emerging economies will contribute to 50% to the world’s GDP. In 2030, developing countries will represent 60% of the world’s GDP. Obviously, Africa will appear in this new repartition as a major actor considering that countries like China, India and Brazil have acknowledged the importance of developing African markets in a strategy of developing their own market outlets.”1
This is due to a changed environment of relative stability on the continent (not to forget about regional persisting or newly arising conflicts such as Somalia) with political institutional frameworks in the individual countries on the rise.
Examples can be named such as Benin – although belonging to the LDCs, taking advantage of its stability and good governance and now serving as a stable base to establish a regional commercial development strategy. The D.R.C., having suffered from despotism and blank horror for more than one hundred years, is now trying to overcome corruption and to build on economic reforms initiated in aimed at stabilizing the macroeconomic situation and promoting economic growth. Reforms included liberalization of petroleum prices and exchange rates and adoption of disciplined fiscal and monetary policies. These policies have been successful in reducing inflation and supporting the resumption and acceleration of economic growth since 2002. Congo’s economy grew by 5.6% in 2006, 6.32% in 2007, and 6.15% in 2008. Inflation was reduced from over 501% in 2001 to approximately 27.6% in 2008. As a result of unexpected internal and external economic shocks in 2009, the annual inflation rate stood at 53.44% in 2009. Inflation has been significantly reduced during 2010 and the annualized rate is currently projected at less than 10%.2 By contrast, Cote d’Ivoire, known as the world’s largest producer and exporter of cocoa beans and child labor - the US Department of State estimates that more than 109,000 children in Cote d’Ivoire’s cocoa industry work under “the worst forms of child labor,” and that some 10,000 are victims of human trafficking or enslavement – shows a declined per capita income by 15% since 1999.3 Political turmoil has continued to damage the economy, resulting in the loss of foreign investment and slow economic growth.
1 Rael 2011; http://aaeafrica.org/cgi-bin/cd/index.cgi?action=viewnews&id=1
2 Voluntary Team 2010, http://aaeafrica.org/cgi-bin/ci/index.cgi?action=viewnews&id=1
3 Quentin Franck, 2011; http://www.aaeafrica.org/download/articles/Benin_economic_review.pdf
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