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Africa tilts as winners emerge from the commodities slump

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Mombasa Air
Mombasa Air

Lower commodities prices have had some far-reaching effects on African economies, says economist Mark Bohlund.

For exporters, weaker revenue has damped growth. Consider Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and biggest oil producer. The country’s gross domestic product contracted 2.1% in the second quarter, following a 0.4% slump in the first. Adjusting to this new reality will take time for energy exporters.

Most African economies, though, aren’t in the oil business. For them, lower fuel costs support growth and living standards. So fortunes are set to diverge across the continent. In fact, the narrative could change from “Africa Rising” to “Africa Tilting” as commodity exporters in West, Central, and Southern Africa struggle to find new sources of growth, while East African economies develop and integrate into a more robust - and potentially huge - regional market.

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