It has been a whirlwind year for Ethiopia since Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister in 2018. He has initiated a raft of reforms to overhaul Ethiopia’s authoritarian government structure, significantly improved relations with neighbours and received widespread international acclaim, including a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Ahmed’s Efforts to modernize Ethiopia’s economy have paid off. A wave of privatization, with state-owned companies being sold to overseas investors in China, saw FDI growth hit 27.6 percent.
The Ethiopian Government has also stepped up to the plate with substantial state investment to boost infrastructure and support sustainable solutions. Hoping to rival the manufacturing sectors of China and India thanks to its cheap labour costs, the country has also made efforts to improve its trading relationships and promote Ethiopian products.
However, the modernisation of the economy has not been all smooth sailing: as the country moves away from its reliance on agriculture, the reforms have sparked public unrest and raised concerns about the government’s human rights record.
President Of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara
Alassane Dramane Ouattara is an Ivorian politician who has been President of Ivory Coast (Côte d’Ivoire) since 2010. An economist by profession, Ouattara worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the Central Bank of West African States (French: Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, BCEAO), and he was the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire from November 1990 to December 1993, appointed to that post by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny.
Under Ouattara’s rule, Ivory Coast has been ranked as the second fastest growing economy in Africa. Côte d’Ivoire is one of the nations that benefitted from the 50 percent African franc devaluation in 1994.
This helped to control the resulting hike in inflation, while making exports more competitive. The nation also benefits from excellent infrastructure, making it attractive to foreign inflows. This is boosted further by the government stepping up a programme called the National Development Plan (NDP) for 2016-20, which is aimed at encouraging investment.
Challenges remain, however: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a report in 2018 that highlighted the effects of climate change on nations such as the Ivory Coast. The country has a heavy coastal population of 7.5 million, contributing to 80 percent of its GDP. The report predicts that, on the current path, climate-induced impacts are expected to “drive the loss of coastal resources”.
President Of Senegal, Macky Sall
Senegal is one of Africa’s most stable countries, experiencing three peaceful political transitions since it gained independence from France in 1960. However, increased extremism in neighbouring countries has been a cause for concern in recent years.
Under the administration of Macky Sall since 2012, Senegal’s economy remains highly dependent on agriculture, accounting for 15.4 percent of GDP, though variable weather conditions can play a large part in this figure. Fortunately, President Sall has ensured a highly developed tourism industry, and with its extensive coastline, it also operates as a shipping hub – another driving force behind its high growth rates. Dakar, as the capital of the former federation of French West Africa, is home to numerous banks and institutions that serve the continent’s Francophone countries.
President Of Tanzania, John Magufuli
John Joseph Magufuli, who was born on 29 October, 1959 is a Tanzanian politician and the President of Tanzania, who has been in office since 2015. He is also the chairman of the Southern African Development Community.
First elected as a Member of Parliament in 1995, he served in the Cabinet of Tanzania as Deputy Minister of Works from 1995 to 2000, Minister of Works from 2000 to 2006, Minister of Lands and Human Settlement from 2006 to 2008, Minister of Livestock and Fisheries from 2008 to 2010, and as Minister of Works for a second time from 2010 to 2015.
Magufuli’s presidency has been marked by a focus on reducing government corruption and spending.
East Africa’s second-largest economy, Tanzania, is a nation in transition. The country’s promising GDP growth rates has placed it in the list top 5 fastest growing economies in Africa. Magufuli’s government has bolstered and stabilized the country’s economy through agriculture.
As with others in this list, Tanzania remains highly dependent on agriculture with no signs of this abating – in fact, between 2015 and 16, the sector’s contribution to GDP increased by 0.2 percent. That’s said, the nation is also a regional leader in the financial services sector. The Bank of Tanzania allows non-banking institutions to provide financial services, a daring move that has proved to be rewarding.
The country also benefits from a stable deficit that has remained modest – 2.1 percent in 2017/18 – meaning investments into the country pose less risk than others on the continent. This can be attributed to the visionary leadership of John Joseph Magufuli.
President Of Ghana, Nana Akufo-Addo
In 2018, president Nana Akufo-Addo, who was elected in 2017, introduced the 7-year Coordinated Programme of Economic and Social Development Policies which is expected to create jobs for the country. According to the President, the policies are founded on “five pillars of growth and development, namely revitalizing the economy; transform agriculture and industry; revamping economic and social infrastructure; strengthening social protection and inclusion; and reforming delivery system of public services institutions.”
Ghana can boast of a rich range of resources: it is Africa’s second-largest producer of gold, and has an abundant supply of diamonds and oil. To supplement trade, Ghana imposes various tariffs or barriers compared to neighbouring countries, and its depreciating currency has made the nation’s exports more competitive.
Consequently, agriculture accounts for around 20 percent of GDP, while also employing half of the country’s workforce. However, in 2015, a drop in oil prices and lax government spending forced Ghana to apply for an IMF bailout of $1bn. It is on track to exit the agreement later this year.