Time for Africa to diversify

Cape Town – Africa has to come to terms with and accept the “new normal” of lower commodity prices and start diversifying economies in order to face this challenge, according to Jacqueline Chimhanzi, senior strategist at the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC).

“Why did we expect China to continue to grow and grow? It had to slow down at some point. It is painful for Africa, but it is the new normal,” she said at the recent GTR Africa Trade Finance Week in Cape Town.

“The concept of Africa Rising was about commodities. I warned about this in the past – about Africa Rising having been based was on chance, on China wanting our commodities.”i_love_africa_by_biga_nt-d5clqmo

In her view it is, therefore, now the time to make matters on the continent about finding a way forward without China.

“Africa must diversify and industrialise. There is no reason why Africa cannot feed itself,” she emphasised.

Chris Sturgess, director of commodity derivatives at the JSE, said during a panel discussion that there has been a lot of talk in the past about the cycle of commodities. Now it has become a crisis.

“The strategy in Africa must be how to produce more food and open export. We in Africa must, however, stop just talking about increased production and actually start doing it,” he cautioned.