Africa or bust
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.