Headwinds ahead

I’m lucky enough to have institutional access to Africa Confidential, and the latest edition of the newsletter makes for rather depressing reading. Economic headwinds ahead for Africa include a strong dollar, greater competition for the attention of western investors, troubles in China, devaluing African currencies, falling commodity prices, low oil prices, little set-aside for a rainy day… It all seems like a puncture in the inflating Africa Rising narrative.

According to AC, there are few shining lights on the horizon for the continent’s economies. Nevertheless from an Ivorian perspective, the country looks among the best positioned to at least stay afloat in this difficult upcoming period. Whether having well performing commodities (cocoa and coffee), little dependence on oil, a reasonable control of the wage bill, the third best economic growth in 2015, and having a stable currency…things do at least seem better than average, even if the overall global economic winds look less than favourable. Interestingly, AC even cited Cote d’Ivoire as having one of the highest value exports to other African countries, second only to South Africa (much of it probably refined oil products from the SIR).

The good news this week was the solid performance of the country in the WEF’s global competitiveness report. Cote d’Ivoire was the fastest improver, ahead of Ethiopia. Although in the AC’s categorisation (from the IMF), Cote d’Ivoire was in the category ‘fragile states’, I would think it’s likely the country will be increasingly classed with Ethiopia and Rwanda.

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