Africa´s economies have weathered the global crisis relatively well and have rebounded in 2010 to 4.9% growth, according to the African Economic Outlook 2011. It detailed how recent political events in North Africa and high food and fuel prices are likely to slow the continent’s growth down to 3.7% in 2011. The report also observed that during the 2011 year, sub-Saharan Africa will grow faster than North Africa, and predicts a rebound to 5.8% in 2012.
South Africa’s real GDP has recovered from -1.7% in 2009 to 2.8% in 2010, driven primarily by a steady recovery in consumer spending, partially attributed to the FIFA World Cup. This rate of GDP growth remained clearly below trend, estimated around 4% per annum for South Africa. GDP is expected to grow at a rate of 3.6% in 2011 and 4.3% in 2012.
Africa is becoming more integrated in the world economy and its partnerships are diversifying, revealing unprecedented economic opportunities. In 2009, China surpassed the United States and became Africa’s main trading partner, while over the last ten years, the share of Africa’s trade with emerging partners has grown from approximately 23% to 39%. Africa’s top five emerging trade partners are:
- China with 38%
- India with 14%
- Korea with 7.2%
- Brazil with 7.1%
- Turkey with 6.5%
China has become the top destination for South Africa’s exports since the middle of 2009 and it is also the country’s leading source of imports. China is the dominant investor among emerging partners, while many others use South Africa as a gateway to other African countries. Together, the EU remains South Africa’s first destination for exports. A challenge for the South African government is to nurture its emerging partnerships, while avoiding neglecting traditional partners.
Co-authored by the African Development Bank , the OECD Development Centre, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, the report says African countries need to design measures to create jobs, invest in basic social services and promote gender equality. Developing closer cross-border ties between African countries when dealing with traditional and emerging partners would also boost sustainable and inclusive growth.