CEOE and Casa África presented today at the headquarters of the Business Confederation the report “Africa Development Dynamics 2019: achieve productive transformation”, prepared by the African Union Commission and the OECD Development Center. The president of International CEOE, Marta Blanco participated in the day; the director general for Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Raimundo Robredo; the general director of Casa África, José Segura; the senior advisor for Africa and Latin America of the OECD Development Center, Luis Padilla; and the ambassador of the Republic of Mozambique in Spain (on behalf of the Group of African Ambassadors accredited in Spain), José Antonio Alberto Matsinha.

This second edition examines public policies that can contribute to transforming Africa's production systems. The report contains six chapters that offer analysis of the productive transformation in Africa and provide feasible policy recommendations.

The CEO of International CEOE, Marta Blanco, highlighted the importance of the report, as it represents a roadmap of public recommendations that must be implemented for the productive transformation of the African continent, in close collaboration with the private sector. In this regard, he said that “Spanish companies work in Africa, but we want to work more there and have more presence” and, for this, it is essential to have knowledge of the opportunities offered by the region, to know how to identify them and work with local governments and companies . He also highlighted the important role that business organizations play in helping to increase the presence and investment of Spanish companies in the continent.

For his part, the general director of Casa África, José Segura, mentioned some data from the report, which shows that the expanding domestic markets of Africa offer great opportunities to transform production systems throughout the continent. Africa recorded an annual growth of gross domestic product (GDP) of 4.6% between 2000 and 2018; in which domestic demand accounted for 69% of that growth.

The report estimated GDP growth in the continent in 2019 at 3.6% of GDP and predicts that it will remain robust, with 3.9%, between 2020 and 2023. Among other data, according to Segura, the The report points out that regional demand for processed foods has been growing 1.5 times faster than the world average. The big Pan-African companies and some dynamic companies of recent creation are already taking advantage of these new growth opportunities.

Luis Padilla, advisor to the OECD Development Center, recalled that the African continent is the second region that in the 21st century has registered the strongest growth worldwide, with a GDP increase of 4.6% annually. He also highlighted the immense opportunities that have been created thanks to factors such as demographic or urban. However, said the OECD adviser, "the continent is not able to create all the employment that Africa requires", so a report like this abounds in the need to generate a productive transformation, "in which African companies really know take advantage of all this growth in domestic demand that will generate both the new AfCFTA and the global market ”.

Africa Development Dynamics Report 2019

According to Padilla's presentation of the report “Africa Development Dynamics 2019: achieving productive transformation”, companies are the key to the economic transformation of the continent, but they need governments to create better conditions to prosper. The report states that if African governments do not promote “bold policy changes,” most companies on the continent may not be prepared to reap the benefits offered by the newly created Continental Free Trade Zone of Africa (AfCFTA), a Continental single market of 1.2 billion consumers created to stimulate intra-African trade.

The document concludes that Africa needs more dynamic companies to convert those opportunities into greater benefits, more investments and new decent jobs. This is true in the case of small and medium-sized enterprises, especially in sectors of high employment density. Companies are not taking advantage of the growth of their neighboring markets: exports of consumer goods to other African markets declined from 0.8% of Africa's GDP in 2009 to 0.5% in 2016. Currently, most of the African companies are losing the battle against new competitors, both in the country and in emerging markets. Only 18% of new African exporters survive more than three years.

Therefore, the report proposes a systemic approach to productive transformation focusing on three sets of policies. On the one hand, it suggests developing business clusters, providing them with business services that improve the specialization in niches, which effectively reinforce the links between the most productive and the rest, which will allow addressing the shortage of specialized knowledge. On the other hand, it is proposed to encourage the creation of regional production networks to generate economies of scale among African countries, attract new investors, develop complementarities within value chains and avoid a competitive race down.

There are many opportunities, they insist, to foster value chains at the regional level. Finally, it should improve and facilitate the ability of companies to thrive in new markets, both in the continent itself and thinking about export. Policies can provide additional support to exporters by removing non-tariff barriers to continental trade, simplifying administrative procedures and customs services, and improving connection infrastructure, especially flights, roads and ports


The ambassador of the Republic of Mozambique in Spain (on behalf of the Group of African Ambassadors accredited in Spain), José Antonio Alberto Matsinha, insisted that the main purpose of the report is to take advantage of the information and see how we can contribute in the continent African to achieve productive transformation.

The director general for Africa of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, Raimundo Robredo, also present, said that one of the most important shortcomings that Africa has is information, since in fact the continent has the possibility to raise much more without having to depend on the outside. In this regard, he commended the preparation of the report, as it contributes to disseminate more knowledge about the region and, consequently, to reduce risk and encourage investment.

Finally, the ambassador of Senegal and the ambassador of Cape Verde also intervened to refer to the news of their respective countries.

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