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Africa is more resilient than you think

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By Landry Signe

WASHINGTON, D.C. ― Despite apocalyptic predictions, Africa may be better positioned than many think to weather the combined shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, collapsing commodity prices, and global economic recession, assuming its leaders act wisely. While African economies' performance has varied, overall progress during the last two decades has made the continent more resilient than ever before.

In my book "Unlocking Africa's Business Potential," I analyze the continent's ongoing transformations and new economic opportunities. Applying that analysis today, six trends in particular will help to reduce the impact of the current crisis.

First, African economies are becoming increasingly competitive. Although the majority of African countries rank toward the bottom of the World Economic Forum's 2019 Global Competitiveness Index 4.0, Mauritius, South Africa, Morocco, the Seychelles, Tunisia, Algeria, Botswana, Egypt, Namibia, Kenya, and Rwanda are all in the top 100. In addition, improved macroeconomic policies have enabled countries such as Ethiopia, Cete d'Ivoire, and Ghana to achieve significant GDP growth rates in recent years.

Second, Africans support the ongoing trend toward better and more accountable governance resulting from democratic elections, term limits, and increased civic participation. Over the last five years, Afrobarometer surveys have indicated that 68 percent of Africans prefer democracy, 75 percent support two-term limits for leaders, and 62 percent think that citizens must hold governments accountable, even if it slows down decision-making.

Recent political leadership changes and overall governance improvements reflect not only the vertical accountability that citizens exercise through elections. African countries have also made progress on horizontal........

© The Korea Times