Participants at a webinar to present the African Development Bank’s African Economic Outlook Supplement to Asian audiences on Monday have endorsed the report as critical for post-COVID-19 Africa.
“Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, investment opportunities still abound in Africa,” said Tetsushi Sonobe, the Dean of the Asian Development Bank Institute (ADBI).
The supplement revises the growth projections and outlook for Africa for 2020 and 2021 and highlights the impact of COVID–19 on Africa’s socio-economic landscape. It recommends policy responses to safely reopen economies and accelerate growth recovery.
“Global markets are shifting to South Asia and Africa. In a sense, Africa is not very far for Asian investors who might be interested in the investment opportunities on the continent.”
Around 350 participants attended the virtual event, which was co-hosted by the Asia External Representation Office of the African Development Bank. The audience included government officials, representatives from the African diplomatic corps in Asia, development professionals, representatives of civil society, academics and think tanks, students, journalists, and the general public
Sonobe observed that Africa’s GDP growth is projected to quickly rebound in 2021 following steady growth before COVID-19.
He identified some of the potential opportunities highlighted in the African Economic Outlook Supplement: “A large market with a very talented youthful population; a three-trillion-dollar market opportunity through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreements; greater manufacturing potential as low-cost manufacturing opportunities continue to move to Africa; improved business environment; and improving macroeconomic governance.”
Khaled Sherif, the African Development Bank’s Vice President for Regional Development, Integration and Business Delivery said despite the pandemic affecting all African economies, its magnitude will vary considerably from country to country, depending on the economic characteristics and initial conditions of the countries.
“This urges us to avoid the one-size-fits-all solution to address the effects of COVID-19 in Africa. For that, the AEO Supplement notes that the continent will need the support and expertise of all. This is an opportunity to enrich the debate on what appropriate measures are needed to support African countries to recover from the pandemic, drawing particularly from Asian experience,” Sherif said.