What's the Big Idea? Africa as the next "BRIC"
What's the Big Idea?
To reposition Africa as the Fifth BRIC-
A Destination for Investment, not just Aid
Remarks by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director, The World Bank
Let me start with a riddle: What trillion dollar economy has grown faster than Brazil and India between 2000 and 2010 in nominal dollar terms and is projected by the IMF to grow faster than Brazil between 2010 and 2015?1 The answer may surprise you: it is Sub-Saharan Africa!
The Big Idea is that sub-Saharan Africa is on the verge of joining the ranks of the BRICs. As the world gets out of the global recession, forecasts made by the IMF and the World Bank stress that given the need for fiscal retrenchment in the advanced countries, some rebalancing of global demand is needed to sustain economic growth. Africa can serve as a new source of global demand. It's only a matter of time before its population rivals that of China and India. As Bob Zoellick noted in a recent speech, we must start thinking about a "multipolar growth world", where Africa can take its rightful place. In other words, this is not about charity: businesses are looking for new markets in which to invest and Africa is ripe for consideration.
An eminent businessman once commented that "profit lies where the gap between perception and reality is greatest." That surely applies to Sub-Saharan Africa. At a time when Asian equity and debt markets are saturated and no longer offer substantial returns, SSA could be poised to provide the best global risk-return profile.