Modern transport links are vital to national and global prosperity. Without quick and reliable routes to move goods – and the facilities required to handle them – trade will be stifled and living standards held back. Nowhere is this need greater than in Africa. Poor transport links within and across borders explains why intra-regional trade is at 12 percent in Africa compared to 60 percent in Europe.
The continued failure of commodity prices to recover significantly and the global slowdown of economic growth, especially in China and other emerging markets, made 2016 a tumultuous year for many African economies, indeed, "the worst year for average economic growth" in the region in over twenty years, according to a report from Ernst & Young.
Nine years ago, the likes of Airbnb and Uber were unheard of. Today however, such organisations are transforming the way we do everything, from booking holiday accommodation to sourcing a plumber to fix a leaky pipe.
In Gaborone, Botswana’s peaceful capital rarely noted for its exuberant patriotic displays, an unexpected sight greets motorists on one of the city’s main thoroughfares. For perhaps a mile, lampposts, pavements, and piles of rubble are daubed with the blue, black and white of the national flag, the work of state sanctioned graffiti artists for last September’s 50th anniversary independence celebrations. For a country rarely comfortable promoting itself, the anniversary offered a reminder that there is much to celebrate.
The history of biofuel production in Africa is marked with expensive and damaging failures.The much-hyped jatropha crop saw millions of dollars and vast tracts of land squandered, while the production of palm oil has been widely criticized for association with environmental damage and human rights abuses.
To build a better future, Africa will have to drive its own development agenda.
Africa will miss most of the internationally-agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the target date of 2030. But it might just reach ‘escape velocity’ enabling it to break out of its extreme poverty orbit by 2045 or 2050.
EY’s third instalment of its Africa Attractiveness programme for 2016 anticipates continued variable economic performance across Africa’s sub-regions. This follows from the sharp downward revisions in overall growth forecasts this year, mainly reflecting challenging conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) three largest economies, Angola, Nigeria and South Africa. Outside of these three economies, a number of bright spots remain, particularly in the East, Francophone and North African regions, where growth rates of 4 percent and above are still being achieved.
Here are five African inventions which may take off in 2017.