COMMERZBANK RELEASES MAJOR NEW STUDY ON SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

  • The report, ‘Tackling the headwinds after the economic turnaround’, finds that falling commodity prices since mid-2014 have disrupted the strong progress made by the region’s economies over the past decade
  • There are some success stories despite this, with Ivory Coast exhibiting favourable economic fundamentals and Eastern Africa – including Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia – showing solid growth supported by its service sector and investment programmes

Commerzbank has produced a new in-depth report on the economies of Sub-Saharan Africa. The study, ‘Sub-Saharan Africa: Tackling the headwinds after the economic turnaround’, offers a macroeconomic outlook for the region, explores targeted case studies for selected countries, and sets out a ‘growth agenda’ for the future of Africa’s foreign trade, industry, agriculture, labour and finance markets.

The study finds that after a long period of sustained economic growth and resilience after the global financial crisis, Sub-Saharan African economies are now, as a general trend, being negatively affected by a high dependence on raw material exports.

The study notes that, in the wake of the commodity-price downturn, “the first hard-hit countries were Africa’s largest oil producers, such as Nigeria and Angola”, and suggests that “growing economic imbalances, withdrawal of capital by international investors, and the absence of structural reform and diversification efforts” pose severe implications for countries across the region.

Yet Christian Toben, Commerzbank’s regional head of Africa, comments: “Every cloud has a silver lining. We are closely observing how individual countries of the region – from Angola to Zambia – are tackling these challenges and taking their chance to strengthen their market performance.”

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Despite Nigeria’s increasing challenges, the continent’s largest economy still holds the keys to growth. The country’s success will depend on a “rapid fiscal adjustment and diversification of its economy to reduce the government’s dependence on oil revenues.

Elsewhere, an economy making particular headway is Ivory Coast, which has grown by 8-10% since 2012, “driven by reforms in the agricultural sector, brisk transportation and construction activities as well improved private-sector investment”, all helped by political stability in the country. On the other side of the continent, Tanzania’s service sector has spurred solid growth of “around 7% of GDP over the last five years”.

The new report marks Commerzbank’s third edition of its Sub-Saharan Africa study, building on the success of ‘Renaissance in Sub-Saharan Africa’ released in 2014, and a first edition produced in 2012.

Commerzbank has 60 years of experience in the Sub-Saharan African region. The bank has representative offices in Lagos (Nigeria), Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Johannesburg (South Africa), Luanda (Angola), and Cairo (Egypt). The bank’s new representative office in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) opened in 2015 and serves as a dedicated ‘Africa Research Hub’ with the purpose of providing macroeconomic knowledge and thematic research analysis to guide its clients on risk and business opportunities. Specialised trade finance banks such as Commerzbank can also support exporters and investors to take such market opportunities by granting advice, and provide credit lines for trade finance transactions including long-term structured export financing in cooperation with an extensive network of correspondent banks across the African continent.

Please download the new report here.

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