Africa is the second-fastest growing region in the world, behind only South Asia. The UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs predicts that, between 2018 and 2035, the world’s top ten fastest-growing cities will all be African. Europe’s economic growth, comparatively, has been somewhat anaemic. True, European economies are starting from a higher base, and African countries face significant challenges, from poverty and disease, to high unemployment and poor infrastructure. Yet investment in Africa is booming, and it’s hard not to look at the growth figures that African economies are posting without a certain amount of envy.
What do our readers think? We had a comment sent in from James, who argues that, for years now, Africa has been growing faster than almost any other region (including Europe). He accepts there are challenges, but says the overall story is one of a diverse, dynamic continent of over one billion people that is developing rapidly. Is he right to say the continent is booming? And, if so, what’s driving Africa’s growth?
To get a response, we put James’ comment to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former President of the Republic of Liberia (2006 – 2018), when we met up with her at the EU-Africa high level group in Brussels on 10 October 2018. What would she say?
For another perspective, we also put the same comment to Mo Ibrahim, a Sudanese-British billionaire businessman who is also Chair and Founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, an organisation working to promote good governance and leadership in Africa. How would he respond?
Next up, we had a comment sent in from Ironworker, who wants to know if Europe can learn from China’s approach to Africa. He says it’s not a secret that China is making huge investments in Africa, nor that it is strategically interested in African oil, rare metals, and minerals.
We put this comment to Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, former Liberian President. What are her thoughts about China’s investment in Africa? Is it positive? And should Europe be following a similar approach?
Finally, how would Mo Ibrahim respond to the same comment?
Why are African economies outperforming Europe? Should Europe be copying China’s approach to Africa, or is China repeating the errors of the past? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!