Africa or bust

African Independent - - OPINION -

AN­OTHER new year, an­other World Eco­nomic Fo­rum gath­er­ing among the snow-capped moun­tains of Davos. More talk, more de­bate and seem­ingly more threats to the global sta­tus quo.

The world’s po­lit­i­cal and busi­ness elite have met this time un­der a cloud laden with Brexit, Don­ald Trump and emer­gence of the alt right. There are sug­ges­tions that GDP growth will im­prove this year, but the out­look for the global econ­omy ap­pears to be dim.

The out­come of the US elec­tions has made macroe­co­nomic pro­jec­tions more un­cer­tain. Trump’s stance on im­mi­gra­tion, trade, and in­fra­struc­ture spend­ing are likely to have size­able ef­fects on the US out­look – as well as spill over to the rest of the world.

So as un­cer­tainty takes hold in the US and the rest of Europe, Africa must ask: what does this mean for us? We won­der.

As colum­nist Wil­liam Gumede points out (Page 22), be­cause of un­fair global mar­ket rules African coun­tries have been un­able to ben­e­fit from tech­nol­ogy-driven glob­al­i­sa­tion, and may lose out again as the global econ­omy turns to hi-tech man­u­fac­tur­ing and au­to­ma­tion.

The global po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic in­sti­tu­tions and in­te­grated ar­chi­tec­ture are skewed against African coun­tries. African coun­tries have less say within global in­sti­tu­tions which set the rules of the global mar­ket, whether the United Na­tions, World Bank, In­ter­na­tional Mone­tary Fund, or the World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

Africa, for­tu­nately, does have its own ver­sion of the World Eco­nomic Fo­rum (WEF Africa) where these chal­lenges can be ad­dressed but the fear is the con­ti­nent’s eco­nomic is­sues be­come ghet­toised and far re­moved from Davos.

African coun­tries have some way to go to­wards achiev­ing par­ity in the global econ­omy with cyn­ics among us sug­gest­ing this day may never come.

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