Long-time observers of African markets know that the devil is in the details.
That the continent’s biggest economies offer enormous potential to investors is no secret. In recent years, headlines have trumpeted the arrival of African economies on the global stage, backed by impressive macro indicators. GDP growth forecasts for the region in 2015 are high, surpassing 7% in countries like Nigeria and Côte d’Ivoire, while domestic consumption rates are rising. Structural reforms are helping reduce current spending, devolve policy planning and improve fiscal sustainability from Cairo to Accra.
But for investors already present in these markets, the outlook can seem somewhat different. Erratic power supply remains a concern for many countries, pushing operating costs for manufacturers up by as much as one-third in parts of West Africa. Transport and distribution is a challenge, thanks to limited infrastructure, congestion and non-tariff barriers. And consumer spending can be volatile, with swathes of the middle class still sensitive to price changes.
This is one reason why Oxford Business Group puts such a heavy emphasis on in-country research: to ensure that our analysis explores not just the headline stories but also the gritty details.
The collection of articles below reflects just that, together comprising our inaugural Africa Economic Roundup — a new initiative that highlights some of the most interesting narratives from our regional coverage. In this edition, we’ll be looking at Kenya’s devolution initiative; Egypt’s urgent fiscal reforms; and Algeria’s shale potential; alongside interviews from South Africa’s minister of finance, Ghana’s minister of natural resources and Morocco’s central bank governor.