New Emerging Economies: Africa Takes Center Stage

Includes: GAF
by: Francis Ayensu

The global financial crisis has severely impacted the economies of the advanced nations which have seen their economic dynamics redefined, giving rise to a new economic landscape. Currently the euro zone debt crisis is fueling market volatility while growth in the US is limited. The uncertainty surrounding the euro zone and limited growth and opportunities in advanced economies have shifted investors’ focus to emerging economies as they move in search of new opportunities.

Emerging economies have received great attention lately because of their high economic growth and new economic dynamics. As old emerging economies- such as Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, famously abbreviated as the BRICS, advance to new stages in their development, new emerging economies take center stage. Africa has long been considered the continent least attractive for investment. This view, however, is changing. Recent discovery of new resources and continuous striving by African leaders to improve the socioeconomic welfare of their people are changing the dynamics of these economies. Currently, African countries are the leading fastest growing economies in the world. Ghana, Liberia, Mozambique, Angola and Ethiopia dominate the list of fastest growing economies in the world and the potential for growth is still high. Africa exhibits good demographics and possesses highly skilled labor force creating the necessary environment for good investment. Though challenges exist as to infrastructural inadequacy and political fragility, Africa is home to vast untapped natural resources which constitute fundamentals for higher growth and opportunity for good investment.

A recent report by UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) rates African nations with fastest growing economies. Ghana is rated as the fastest growing country with 12 per cent economic growth, followed by Ethiopia with 10 per cent while DR Congo was rated the third with 8.4 per cent growth. Sub-Saharan Africa is the region with the robust growth while growth rate in North Africa is much lower due to the political unrest in the region.

Ghana is the pride of Africa, demonstrated by its recent democratic achievement, peaceful environment, hospitable people, renowned personalities, economic progress, and many more. The nation’s economic growth has caught the eye of the global community and is attracting foreign investments. Ghana is currently the world’s fastest growing economy. The economy has performed incredibly well this year with a recent second quarter economic growth of 34%. Ghana’s GDP is projected to grow at 13.669% by year end 2011 and at 7.314% in 2012. Ghana’s recent economic growth put her ahead of major Asian emerging economies such as China, Qatar, and India.

Africa is experiencing massive changes in areas such as politics, economy, social habits, technology, infrastructural development, education and many more. The continent is living up to challenge as Africans embrace democracy, achieve economic growth, adopt positive attitudes towards development, adapt to technological evolutions, see the need for infrastructural investment, and value education.

Investor should consider diversifying their portfolio through exposure to equities in African emerging markets such as SPDR S&P Emerging Middle East & Africa.

The SPDR S&P Emerging Middle East & Africa ETF (NYSEARCA:GAF) seeks to closely match the returns and characteristics of the total return performance of the S&P Mid-East and Africa BMI Index. It holds 130 securities. It yields dividend rate of 3.27% and has a gross expenses ratio of 0.59 %.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.