Can the strong recovery in Asia give momentum to Africa? It must be said that since the reopening of China in January 2023 after three years of zero Covid policy, the positive signals are accumulating. Although the latest report from the Asian Development Bank (AfDB) published last April recalls the strong economic dependence between the Chinese giant and all its neighbors, the growth prospects are very good. According to World Bank estimates, “Growth in developing economies in East Asia and the Pacific is expected to accelerate to 5.1% in 2023, from 3.5% in 2022, the reopening of with China favoring a rebound in its economy to 5.1% from 3% last year.”

It is in this context that the African Development Bank (AfDB) co-organized a seminar with the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP) on July 12, 2023 in Sejong, Korea, around the 2023 edition of its report spotlight on the African Economic Outlook. This is the 4th year in a row that the highly anticipated document has been presented in Asia.

Asian countries and their private sector have every interest in looking to Africa, recommended Kevin Urama, the AfDB’s Chief Economist. “I invite investors and governments in Asia to see Africa not as a distant land, but as a continent full of opportunities”, justified the one who is also vice president in charge of economic governance and knowledge management. He based his recommendations on data from the latest edition of the African Economic Outlook, one of the AfDB’s flagship reports, which screens the economies of Africa’s 54 countries and details their projections.

Despite the many major shocks that Africa has suffered in recent years, between the Covid-19 pandemic, the effects of climate change and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, the continent is proving to be rather resilient: after reaching 3 .8% in 2022, its growth rate is expected to climb to 4.1% in 2023 and 2024, exceeding the global average of 2.9% and Europe’s of 1.1%, the chief economist predicted. , estimating that only Asia’s growth of 4.3% will be higher. “Africa must play a key role in the green transition, knowing that it contains 60% of the world’s unexploited arable land and the minerals necessary for green growth. These are opportunities for sustainable development and for investments. It’s a virgin land, you can easily build low-carbon infrastructure there without having to incur large expenditures,” added Kevin Urama.

To realize these opportunities, Asian investors need to move beyond the cliché images of Africa. “In Africa, we had the Covid, we have crises, we have conflicts, it’s true, but it’s only part of the reality”, underlined the administrator of the African Bank Group development for Canada, China, South Korea, Kuwait and Turkey, Edmond Wega, quoted in the group’s press release. The latter thus called on Asia to seize the crises to turn them into opportunities. “The Asian continent must use its technologies and knowledge to establish a win-win relationship with Africa, to work with regions, countries, the African Development Bank, to achieve a convergence of interests, to make dreams come true,” he pleaded.

KIEP vice-president Sung-Chun Jung agrees. “Africa has the potential to be a future market of green growth opportunities, with its rapidly growing population and abundant renewable energy and mineral resources,” he insisted. The head of KIEP made a powerful plea for the African continent: “The international community must strongly support the efforts of African countries to combat climate change, with financing, technology transfer and capacity building, in particular . And the private sector must play a greater role in bridging the financing gap that affects the mobilization of funds dedicated to the fight against climate change, he added.

“A large number of Chinese private investors are already present in Africa and multilateral development banks must also play a role, because many innovative opportunities exist to engage more private investors. It takes effort from both sides, from the Asian side and the African side,” said Hong Miao, an energy expert and program director at China’s World Resources Institute, after presenting a study on the appetite of Chinese investors for Africa, particularly in renewable energies. It was on the occasion of a round table, organized following the presentation of the report of the African Development Bank:

“One of the key issues we have identified is inflation which comes from rising food and commodity prices, pressure from rising exchange rates and political unrest,” Sungbae An said. , Director of the Department of Macroeconomics and International Finance at KIEP.

Kohji Mitomori, Director of the Office of Climate Change in the Global Environment Department of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), assured of the growing interest of Japanese companies to invest in renewable energy in Africa. He pointed out that Japan will double its contribution for climate adaptation by 2030. “In Africa, we are trying to focus on low-carbon urban development, climate change resilience, climate risk assessment , an early warning system and the preservation of forests and nature,” he said. Proof of real convergence between the AfDB and the region, an External Representative Office for Asia is now well established in Japan.