Editor’s Note: August 31, 2018

Africa needs a new growth narrative

When commodity prices collapsed in 2014/15 one of the casualties was Africa’s growth narrative. Focused on high GDP growth rates since the turn of the century“Africa Rising” had become the favoured term for perceived economic progress on the continent.

This went out the window as growth in sub-Saharan Africa slumped to 1.4% in 2016, the lowest in two decades.

The experience has exposed weaknesses in policymaking and underlined the structural challenges Africa faces, but this doesn’t spell the end of its growth story.

What’s needed is a new narrative, and the ingredients are there.

Five of the world’s ten fastest growing economies are in Africa, down from seven during the Africa Rising days.

Africa is demonstrating its capacity for radical, progressive change. Countries like Ethiopia and Angola are overseeing reforms that would stand out in any corner of the globe.

Global interest remains strong. The leaders of Britain and Germany are in Africa this week, part of a steady stream of global leaders promoting commercial ties with the continent.

Africa Rising’s biggest deficit was its blinkered nature, assuming that economic development was an inevitability.

Africa is changing – not rising or falling. Its growth story needs to reflect the nuance and difficulty of transforming a continent of 54 countries.

From The Continent

Nigeria’s senate president Bukola Saraki has declared his intent to challenge incumbent Muhammadu Buhari in elections scheduled for next February, weeks after defecting from the ruling party. Saraki is among dozens of senior politicians who have jumped ship recently, with a change of government looking increasingly likely. More: Africanews 


Ugandan musician turned opposition politician Robert Kyagulanyi, known ad Bobi Wine, has reportedly been re-arrested while trying to board a plane, having been bailed following an earlier arrest and treason charges. The young Kyagulanyi is fast emerging as a threat to 74-year old president Yoweri Museveni’s 32-year rule. MoreBBC

The Daily Stat

$9.4bn

Zambia’s public debt at the end of June 2018, up from $8.7bn last December. More: Reuters

The Global Perspective

Volkswagen is in talks with Ghana to assemble cars plant in the West African country. The German car giant is on an expansion drive which has seen it open plants in Algeria, Rwanda and Kenya since 2016. More: Bloomberg

Donald Trump has threatened to pull the U.S. out of the World Trade Organization if “they don’t shape up”, a move that could significantly undermine one of the pillars of global trade since its creation in 1995. Trump has repeatedly criticized the organization, claiming it is detrimental to Washington’s interests. More: ABC News

The Daily Follow

Africa Check @AfricaCheck: Updates from the continent’s leading fact-checking platform.