Missing the Boat on Africa

As a citizen of the globe’s economic and military heavyweight, it’s easy to forget that other parts of the world might be getting along just fine without us.

When we pull back, though, and take a look at current trends in global trade, U.S. business may be missing out in the developing world.

China, the world’s second largest economy, is focusing ever more on Africa, home to the world’s most rapidly growing economies and consumer populations. Beyond a growing market for inexpensive products, the continent is also an abundant source of raw materials.

Over the next four years, the International Monetary Fund predicts Africa’s economic growth rate will average 6 percent a year, with Kenya, Ghana and Nigeria exceeding 7 percent.

Trade between the United States and Africa was valued at $85 billion in 2013, while Africa’s two-way trade with China totalled $200 billion.

In the past, developing countries seeking economic growth traded with Europe and the United States, but increasingly they are working with each other, said Paul Cleal, the Africa Business Group leader at the United Kingdom branch of the consulting and accounting firm PwC.

The United States is an economically mature superpower and will never again be the next frontier, but it's time Americans regain their pioneer spirit - or miss out on the next economic boom.
June 24, 2014
Houston Chronicle