Exclusive: Five African Countries to Watch in 2019

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*Countries that are making increasing imprint on economic growth, institutional reforms and human development.

Africa’s growth and development over the last decade has been dictated by a catalytic increase in activities shaping the continent in myriads of sectors, ranging from Agriculture, Technology, Commerce, manufacturing, Oil and Gas, Entertainment, Tourism, institutional development and democratic reforms.

With a population of over 1.3 billion, and a nominal GDP of over $2 trillion, Africa is expected to see a stronger growth in 2019 with an expansion of 3.7 percent from its current 3.5 percent.

Although, there is still an over reliance on commodity revenue, which has been a clog in the wheel of its industrial and technological potentials- a fact which has inhibited the development of infrastructure in the continent, there has been a steady cultivation of its potential that is gradually positioning the continent as a major commercial and industrial power house in the world.

As a consequence of this gradual uprising, here are the countries that may serve as vanguards for Africa’s economic improvement in 2019.

 

Angola

Angola has made substantial economic and political progress since the end of its 27-year civil war which ended in 2002.

While the war left its mark on the country’s infrastructure, the country is gradually restoring its roads to create a reliable network to support the movement of people and goods.

Although, predominantly an oil producing country, boasting as the second largest oil producer after Nigeria, with oil accounting for 47 percent of total GDP, 98 percent of export earnings and 75 percent of government revenues; Angola is striving to reduce its dependency on oil and diversifying the economy; rebuilding its infrastructure; and improving institutional capacity, governance, public financial management systems, human development, and the living conditions of the population.

Within the non-oil sector, wholesale and retail sales account for 21 percent of total output, while Agriculture and Fishery amounts to 10 percent. Other sectors include: Construction-7.7 percent, Manufacturing-6 percent, Diamonds-1 percent, and other sectors- 7.2 percent.

One of the factors that has endowed Angola as a choice area for investment is its relative political stability which was restored into the country after a 27-year civil war.

 

Congo DR

Although, Congo is ranked the second least developed country in the world, there are growing prospects in the country’s potential to make it one of the richest in the continent, ranging from its tremendous natural resources which includes 80 million hectares of arable land, 1100 minerals and precious metals, and massive reserves of copper and cobalt- one of the largest in Africa, to robust investment in the extractive sector, which led to a 10. 5 percent growth in that sector from 2.8% in 2009, to 8.7% in 2014.

The country is making strides in boosting economic reforms in order to consolidate economic progress. Among such reforms is the liberalization of the insurance and power sector.

Given the country’s economic progress and the government’s strategy to encourage investments in large infrastructure projects, the DRC’s attractiveness to investors is likely to keep growing.

Rwanda

Barely 24 years after the horrific genocide against the Tutsi, when the East African nation lost over a million lives and the devastation left a trail of trauma and economic ruin, recent achievements in the country have continued to dazzle the international community, who has often described the progress as miraculous.

At the centre of this miracle taking place in the country is the sitting President of Rwanda, Paul Kegame, who has led his country from the vortex of indigence to the altitude of success.

Rwanda was ranked 29th globally by the world bank in its 2018 Ease of Doing Business Report and put it second in Africa.

While the corruption perception index by Transparency International placed Rwanda as the third least corrupt country in Africa, the world bank ranked Rwanda 29th globally in its 2018 Ease of Doing Business Report and placed it as second least corrupt country in Africa.

In May 2018, the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) ranked Rwanda’s capital, Kigali as the third most popular conference and event destination on the continent, after Cape Town in South Africa, and Casablanca in Morocco.

The country grew by 8.9% between 2017 and 2018, reduced its reliance on donations, and currently funds 84% of its budget domestically, up from about 36% two decades ago.

 

Nigeria

Growth in Nigeria is expected to rise to 2.2 percent in 2019, if oil production recovers.

Also, the growing importance of services has greatly bolstered growth in the Nigerian economy and is expected to dominate economic trends in 2019.

According to an African Development Bank report on Nigeria, titled Nigeria Economic Outlook: Macroeconomic Performance, Nigeria’s services sector accounts for about half of GDP. Real GDP growth was an estimated 1.9% in 2018, reflecting a recovery in services and industry— particularly mining, quarrying, and manufacturing.

The recovery benefited from greater availability of foreign exchange, as growth in agriculture was lacklustre, due partly to clashes between farmers and herders coupled with flooding in key middle-belt regions and continued insurgency in the northeast.

Although, there was delay in the passage of Nigeria’s 2019 budget, it is projected that if implemented, it would bring about the realization of the economic recovery and growth plan which anchors on Nigeria’s industrialization by establishing industrial clusters and staple crops processing zones.

Already, the federal government has made strides in institutional and governance reforms, including in its full implementation of IMF’s treasury single account programme, which has helped reduced financial impropriety among government agencies. This has reposed investor confidence on Nigeria’s economy.

 

Ethiopia

With a growth rate of 8.5%, Ethiopia was the highest growing economy in Africa in 2018, above Ivory Coast (7.4%), Senegal (7.0%), Tanzania (6.5%), and Ghana (6.3%).

Ethiopia’s rise has been largely driven by an increase in industrial activity, including investments in infrastructure and manufacturing. Currently undergoing construction, the Grand Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia which when completed will span 1,800 metres, standing 155 metres high, housing two power stations with a combined output of 15,000 GWh per year will be the largest Dam on the African continent.

Although, recent announcements by the President that the country is not ready for foreign investments in telecoms and banking did not go too well with businesses, still recent research paper captured by the World Economic Forum suggests that Ethiopia can be the new China, because it has been improving its road, air and rail connections. In addition, the report say that Ethiopia has a stable administration that sees manufacturing as a central part of its growth strategy.

 

**To be Continued

 

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