Indicating a positive outlook for the continent, the 2017 version of Ecobank ‘s Research’s Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (FICC) Guidebook, has forecast three key trends for the continent that will take hold during the next 12 months.
The first indicates an economic rebound in sub Saharan Africa driven by a recovery in the region’s economic heavyweights, Nigeria and South Africa, and ongoing growth in the top performers, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire and (more recently) Ghana.
According to the report, growth will be driven by a rise in oil production (notably in Ghana, Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Angola), strengthening infrastructure investment across West and East Africa, and improved weather conditions which bode well for crops.
The report stated that strengthening economic activity, plus a moderate improvement in oil and mineral prices, will help narrow the current account deficit, but pressure on SSA currencies will remain,
Besides, it stated that the second emerging trend points to West Africa’s gas sector becoming a hive of activity in 2018 from Senegal to Angola, with the development of gas pipelines, f loating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platforms and major gas field projects.
The study noted that the governments in the Gulf of Guinea and across West Africa have ramped up efforts to secure gas supply in order to boost domestic power generation and diversify their revenues away from crude oil. It pointed out that deregulating the gas market and allowing market-driven gas prices will be key to unlocking further gas infrastructure investment across the region.
The third trend suggests fintech innovation in Africa picking up speed in 2018 buoyed by a new generation of Africans who are ‘digital natives’.
According to the report, the proliferation of tech hubs across Africa (notably in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire) will nurture the next wave of African start-ups and help connect them with investors.
It pointed out that digital innovation in SSA is being driven by the explosion in mobile phone usage, enabling African consumers to leapfrog existing business models and technologies.