Asean na­tions look to Africa as ‘fi­nal fron­tier’

CityPress - - Business - GOD­FREY MUTIZWA busi­ness@city­press.co.za

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.

Asean-Africa Traee

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

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