Fast and steady economic growth across the African sub-continent stoked hopes and visions of a new era on the continent. Investments were flowing in, interest rose and stayed elevated, and sub-Saharan Africa seemed to be in the midst of a renewal in regards to energy, infrastructure and FDI.
Today, local currencies are falling, consumer prices are rising and a recent spate of regional elections has not done much to quell the economic uneasiness and unwilling being felt across many African states. South Africa, case in point, is just one country struggling on both economic and political fronts.
An emerging middle class posed many opportunities, but it is them who are now bearing the brunt of a significant slowdown in China–both fiscally and on the natural resources front. Lower consumption by China has not typically been a positive for sub-Saharan Africa. The demand from the continents new middle class is unfortunately just not enough to offset China’s issues that seem to be resonating around the world.
But experts also see bright spots on the map. While previously high-flying commodity exporters, such as Angola, have been hardest hit, other countries are showing resilience.
“The ‘Africa rising’ narrative wasn’t true, but neither is the diametrically opposed argument that Africa is no longer rising,” said Simon Freemantle, a senior political economist at Standard Bank in South Africa recently told The New York Times. “The truth is obviously in between.”
Photo credit: iStockphoto.com/jmiks