Davos 2022 convenes at a crucial time for Africa
The World Economic Forum’s 2022 meeting in Davos, taking place in person for the first time since 2020, has come as a welcome, and timely respite as the world seems to be lurching into yet another crisis, with the war in Ukraine showing little signs of coming to an end.
Appropriately, the theme for Davos 2022 is “Working Together, Restoring Trust”. We can only hope that the collective diplomatic skills of the organisation, honed over the decades, will encourage global political, social and business leaders to step back for a while from their own domestic concerns and take a clear and hard look at the state of the world today.
In this report we focus on the issues facing Africa as the Forum takes place.
This year’s World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos comes at a crucial time for the world economy. Two years of economic disruption caused by the fallout of Covid-19 and the dislocation caused by the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war mean that there are many urgent topics in the in-tray of policymakers and executives.
Nowhere has this economic storm been felt more than in Africa, as our world-class reporters show in this special WEF report.
After the devastating economic effects of the pandemic, African growth recovered to 4.5% in 2021. But an IMF report released in late April projects that growth in 2022 will slow to 3.8%.
The Fund’s economists offer a sombre outlook for growth on the continent: “The new crisis (the Russia-Ukraine War) comes on top of an already-protracted pandemic, and prospects for borrowing costs and global demand are increasingly uncertain, presenting policymakers with a challenging and complicated policy outlook – one with rising needs, greater risks, and fewer options.”
Africa’s road to recovery
In the article below, we describe the painstaking road to recovery that African policymakers must tread as they tackle the tail-end of the pandemic and attempt to ramp up vaccination rates that still lag well behind other global regions.
Impact of Russia Ukraine war on Africa
In the following report, we look at how the Russia-Ukraine War is directly impacting Africa by pushing the price of staple goods to worryingly high levels, leading to fears of another global food crisis.
Wheat imports account for roughly half of Africa’s $4.5bn trade with Ukraine, and for about 90% of the continent’s $4bn trade with Russia, according to figures from the African Development Bank. An end to the war simply cannot come soon enough.
AfCFTA can drive Africa’s long-term recovery and growth
Comprising 55 countries with a population of 1.3bn and combined GDP of about $3.4 trillion, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is the largest free trade area in the world, but although it has in theory been operational since January 2021, in practice no trade has occurred under its terms due to pandemic-related delays.
The meetings will see the launch of the Forum Friends of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, a multi-stakeholder group that aims to support the implementation of the AfCFTA though public-private collaborations. At a time when the multilateral trading system is under severe strain, Africa must seize the opportunity to boost its recovery and development by implementing the AfCFTA, says Chido Munyati, Head of Africa at WEF.
Working together, restoring trust – a timely theme
With Africa inextricably linked to events far beyond its shores, the theme of this year’s meeting –Working Together, Restoring Trust – could not be more timely.
Africa will need to work closely with global partners to navigate the food price shock and improve Covid-19 vaccination rates. As economic headwinds worsen, African countries will also have to enter into productive discussions with creditors on debt and financing terms. Meanwhile, there will be no solution to the reality of climate change already being felt on the continent without huge financial support from the international community.
In the article below, we show how new financing mechanisms can help the continent adapt to climate change and mitigate its devastating impacts.
But while the global outlook is decidedly mixed, Africa’s interconnectedness with the world is also bringing huge opportunities.
In the following report, we describe how Covid-19 has accelerated Africa’s digital revolution, boosting globally competitive African industries like telecoms and fintech and crowding in investment from around the world. As the rising number of African unicorns – tech companies valued at $1bn or more – show, the continent is increasingly seen as a dynamic frontier of boundless potential.
With so much to discuss, the Forum will prove an excellent opportunity to track progress, make connections and seal new deals to benefit Africa’s people and businesses.