Just like a boomerang, discussions about why Africa can’t benefit from world trade keep coming back, harder and stronger. According to World Bank and the IMF, Africa is guilty of not adjusting to the neoliberal economy and therefore not being capable of measuring up to the World Trade system. Even though it is hard to escape from a cliché, this simplistic opinion couldn’t be further from the truth.
Actually, even though African trade only represents 2% in world trade, it doesn’t leave the fact that the African continent is the most opened to the world. One had only to take a look at the UNCTAD (United Nations Conference on Trade and Development)’s number to see that that was true.
According to that organization, in total the African trade (exports and imports all in all) represented 50.4% of the continent ’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2000-2001 compared to 45% in 1980-1981. Roughly speaking, it means that in 2001 more than half of the national african income generated from trading with the rest of the world. Even better, a comparative study shows that the overall worldwide average is about 16%. Europe’s ratio is estimated at 12.8% and the American’s at 13.2 %.
Those observations only, prove us that the small part that the African trade plays in World Trade is not due to the fact that Africa is not adjusted to the neoliberal economy but rather that it is actually so adjusted that it made it vulnerable to the exogenous shock. Consequently, the continent ends up being a casualty in the worldwide neoliberalism system.
Realistically, the idea of Africa being adjusted to the world economy is something that should be given a second thought so the continent can benefit from the ever wild globalization.
Africa is being more and more appealing
The UNCTAD‘s revealing numbers is a clear indication of the potential of the African continent which is getting more and more appealing. Today, the African market is filled with investors ready to take advantage of the profitability of the different unexplored sectors. Africa being opened to the world is not just an idea anymore but a reality.