Africa becomes reality, not potential!

When the global economic crisis had started at the end of 2008, Turkey and Germany were immediately affected and had recessed 4.7 percent in 2009 because Europe was the recipient of two-thirds of exported goods from both countries. Turkey had changed both its exported product range and export countries and set about exporting to African, Asian and American continents, while reducing its exports to Europe to lower than 40 percent. If Turkey is not like the struggling European countries today, the reason is a changing approach. The interesting part is that Europeans are aware of that.

 

 
We are listening to the speakers during the annual meeting of Coface, the French foreign trade insurance company, in Paris. The congress is like a contest between optimists and pessimists on economy. Yesterday, we listened to Coface’s own future projections and analyses. This afternoon, it is the pessimists’ turn; we will listen to “resident pessimist” Roubini! However, yesterday, an expert from Coface’s MEDAF region (Middle East and Africa) made such an interesting presentation about Africa that I relay the key points below. What does the expert say? Today, Africa is a region focused by almost everyone. Many countries including specifically the BRIC; China, India, Brazil and Russia, as well as Turkey, are entering Africa to invest and export. Why this much interest in Africa? There are 53 countries in Africa. The US, West Europe, China, India and Mexico... Africa is much bigger than all these countries together. Africa’s total gross domestic product is $2200 billion. It is one of the rare regions that witnessed positive growth during the global crisis, without any negative growth whatsoever. Africa’s population (Sub-Saharan Africa) is one billion. In 2030, this population will reach 1.6 billion. Three African countries; Ethiopia, Nigeria and Congo will be three of the most populated eight countries in the world.
 
Turkey realIses the potential

When we hear the word “Africa,” we immediately think about scenes about famine, drought, hunger and poverty. However, these countries are making significant moves and they have a slowly growing middle class. A middle class of almost 150 million people! Therefore the driving power behind gross domestic product growth is not solely the export of raw materials to foreign countries; domestic consumption and domestic demand are also important! African economies are expected to realise an annual growth of approximately 5 percent in the next decade. This growth will happen despite many problems. Negative realities like the lack of infrastructure, energy production problems, political conflicts and corruption are of course still common! However, it is past time to say that Africa has big potential. Now Africa is a reality! Moreover, it is a reality despite the challenging effects of political risks and business circumstances. Africa has a lot of commercial potential in areas like construction, agriculture, electronics, product distribution and textile. It also has a great chance of competing with Asia in these sectors. Turkey is one of the first countries that have realised this reality!


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