In recent years, Sub-Saharan Africa has increasingly traded old friends, like the US and the European Union, for new ones in emerging markets. Since 2006, the region’s exports to the US have declined by 66%, while exports to countries such as Russia and Turkey have doubled and tripled respectively. This shift in partnerships comes as Africa embarks on a new era buoyed by the promise of the AfCFTA, the landmark free trade agreement that will become operational in 2020, as well as increased visa openness and harmonization of monetary policy through West Africa’s new Eco currency.
In 2020, it is imperative that African nations build on the foundations for strong partnerships established in recent years with their emerging market counterparts in Russia, India and the UAE. Given the IMF’s lowered African growth projections because of US-China trade tensions, Brexit and slowing Chinese growth, courting a wider network of partners will be critical for achieving the ambitious plans for 2020, 2025 and 2030 set out by countries from Ghana to Tanzania and the Ivory Coast – major economies in the region that all head to the polls later this year. [The authors, Isaac Kwaku Fokuo and Akinyi Ochieng, are attached to the Botho Emerging Markets Group]