Asean nations look to Africa as ‘final frontier’
Asia’s fastest-growing economic bloc sees trade with Africa growing more than fivefold by 2019, propelled by growing trade ties in housing, healthcare, telecommunications and infrastructure that is feeding off some of the world’s fastest-growing middle classes.
Edward Liu, managing director of Conference & Exhibition Management Services, which is organising a trade exhibition for the two regions in a year’s time, said in Johannesburg that trade between Africa and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) had grown by 15% annually over the past decade and was set to top $384 billion (R5.5 trillion) by 2019. It was just $2.8 billion in 1990.
Already, more than 300 Asean companies were operating in Africa in agribusiness, manufacturing, oil and urban development, Liu told reporters, with the bulk of those activities concentrated in South Africa, Nigeria and Egypt.
The rest of the continent represented an untapped market for companies from Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Brunei, said Liu.
“Africa is the final frontier,” Liu said, citing the continent’s rising consumer spending power as a result, estimated by McKinsey & Company to reach $1.3 trillion by 2030.
“The event will provide a forum for importers, traders, buyers, investors and retailers to discover opportunities,” he said.
Africa, home to more than 1 billion people, compared with Asean’s 625 million, will have 662 million people earning $1 000 or less by 2020 and 702 million by 2030, according to KPMG.
Those earning between $1 000 and $2 500 are seen topping 304 million by 2030, from 183 million in 2010.
Asean’s gross domestic product stands at $2.6 trillion, compared with Africa’s estimated $2 trillion.
Liu said next year’s inaugural event in Johannesburg will be attended by business represented from 12 African countries and all 10 Asean members.
That will be followed by the Asian edition in Singapore the following year.
That event would coincide with a summit of the Asean leaders, he said.
President-elect Donald Trump would last no more than four years in the White House, a period when corporations and Wall Street would retain the upper hand over the struggling workers who helped elect him in a populist wave, bond manager Bill Gross of Janus Capital Group said this week.
In his monthly investment outlook, Populism Takes a Wrong Turn, Gross also said “there is no new Trump bull market in the offing”, and global diversified investors should be “satisfied” with 3% to 5% annual returns.
“The Trumpian Fox has entered the Populist Henhouse, not so much by stealth but as a result of Middle America’s misinterpretation of what will make America great again,” Gross wrote.
“[Trump’s] tenure will be a short four years, but is most likely to be a damaging one for jobless and lowwhere