Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

Is Africa a good bet?

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For those looking to invest in Africa, the best prospects are in Nigeria and Ethiopia according to a new index of potential investment destinations published this week.

But should anybody want to put money into Africa at a time the global financial crisis and falling prices for export commodities, on which the continent is so reliant, have discouraged investors who had begun to see some African countries as promising frontier markets?

“Africa is going to overtake the Middle East to become the second fastest growing region in the world after emerging Asia. It will be affected by the global financial crisis but it is much less exposed than many places,” Katharine Pulvermacher, chief executive of business consultancy African Rainbow said this week on the launch of its Star of Africa index.

The index’s creators told my colleague Peter Apps that potential growth in energy, water and communications consumption could amply reward investors taking the risk in Africa. South Africa, Mauritius and Tanzania took third, fourth and fifth place respectively on the index. Somalia, Chad and Eritrea were the least appealing countries for investors.

A tale of two Africas

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Good news and bad news for Africa from the latest take on global risks from the World Economic Forum. Not much danger for most of the continent, it says, from an asset bubble burst. That’s the good. The bad, of course, is that this is because there are not many financial assets to bubble. In fact, it deems the overall exposure even to economic risks is small because African economies are not particularly tied in to global markets.

Actually, the report shows that there are two Africas. Mapped by their susceptibility for economic and asset bubble trouble, most African countries are bunched together in a low risk range. But another, smaller cluster, including Nigeria and South Africa, finds itself in much more peril and shares space on the WEF risk map with Western and Eastern Europe.

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