Take Africa's outlook more seriously

Page 44 

Abdoulaye Wade, president of Senegal (left), talking with Omar Kabbaj, head of the African Development Bank. Photo © OECD.

“What we have to fight against is a company judging the whole of Africa by what is happening in a single country,” OECD Development Centre president, Jorge Braga de Macedo, told a news conference after the third International Forum on African Perspectives at the OECD in Paris in early February. Senegal’s president, Abdoulaye Wade, the first African president to take part in a meeting at the OECD, urged investors at the meeting to take a new – and more informed – look at Africa. President Wade said that it was time for “a new approach, a regional approach” but one that recognised African countries are changing.

“African countries increasingly offer the conditions of good governance,” he said. To help potential investors get a better idea of African possibilities, the OECD Development Centre and African Development Bank have released the first African Economic Outlook report, which offers both an overview of the region and the individual economic, social and political situations of 22 African countries.

The Outlook offers a portrait of the economic, political and social situation and prospects for each country. It also includes comparative data for the 22 countries, ranging from economic growth to perceptions of corruption and incidences of conflict. The report sees real GDP growth for the 22 at 3.3% in 2002, down from 3.5% in 2001, ranging from 50.7% in Equatorial Guinea to a slight decline of 0.3% in Gabon. One of the key words to emerge at the first International Forum on African Perspectives in February 2000 was “Afro-positive”, a term coined by Jean-Louis Terrier, the chairman of Credit Risk International. The OECD’s new outlook may help to spread a clearer, healthier view of the real positive potential that Africa’s countries and regions hold.

• African Economic Outlook is available from the online bookshop at www.oecd.org/bookshop/

©OECD Observer No 230, January 2002 

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