A new sense of hope is being felt in Africa. Recent political and economic developments in a number of countries
across the continent saw somewhat progressive regime changes over the course of 2017. Going into 2018, this renewed optimism is further supported by an improving global economic outlook. Together with rising commodity prices, the changing political climate is anticipated to bode well for Africa’s growth after several years of political and economic uncertainty.
Nevertheless, Africa has historically struggled to reduce income inequality and the challenge of ensuring that the benefits of anticipated positive macro-economic conditions are equally distributed across economies remains. Governments that can lead through these positive outlooks are needed now more than ever.
Before one of the most weakening economic shocks over the past decade, in May 2014, there was an incredible sense of optimism for West Africa. Nigeria had recently rebased its GDP and was the largest economy on the continent. Some consulting firms predicted Nigeria would become the first trillion-dollar African economy by 2020 with forecasts that the oil price would double to US$200 per barrel. However, no one asked the question, “what if oil became half the price?” A few weeks thereafter, the 2014 oil price collapse caused difficult times in oil dependent economies such as Nigeria, eventually leading to various anticipated structural reforms across many of Africa’s oil producers.