Why the “professional pessimists” are wrong about Africa’s economic future


Play episode:

Image credit: Li Wenyong/World Bank

Africa’s economic landscape today looks bleak. Debt levels, unemployment rates, and bankruptcies are all on the rise across much of the continent. And it doesn’t look like there’s going to be much help from the international community to weather the worst financial crisis in a generation. Both state and private creditors from China aren’t giving borrowers a lot of flexibility and traditional donors in the U.S., Europe, and Japan are preoccupied with their own crises.

Given how difficult times are for so many people, it’s easy to lose perspective and see only the negative side of things.

But Djoudie Etoundi-Essomba thinks that would be a serious mistake. More importantly, the Washington, D.C.–based founder and CEO of the investment advisory firm Emerging Africa Partners argues that, while things are indeed challenging now, there are still reasons to be optimistic about the continent’s economic future.

Djoudie joins Eric and Cobus to challenge some of the prevailing negative narratives about Africa and explain why he thinks the so-called “professional pessimists” are wrong.