The future of Africa and the sectors that will drive its growth are some of the themes that will be discussed by panelists, entrepreneurs and public sector representatives during Focus on Africa 2020, a virtual event hosted by Standard Bank Brazil from 26 to 28 October.
According to a press release, Brazil’s Vice President, Antonio Hamilton Mourão will be joining Natália Dias, CEO of Standard Bank Brazil, to discuss the relationship between Brazil and Africa.
Brazilian officials Tereza Cristina, Minister of Agriculture, Livestock and Food Supply, and Ambassador Ernesto Henrique Fraga Araújo, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, will also be participating in the event. Adding to the discussion, representatives from the African Development Bank, Standard Bank and organisations such as Tereos Group, Olam International, Galp Energy and the private equity fund Helios will be participating in the forum.
Noting that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects SSA’s economic activity to decline by 3.2% in 2020 due to Covid-19, Standard Bank’s Chief-Economist, Goolam Ballim, stated that two thirds of this impact are the result of nationwide lockdowns, which closed commerce and industries, adding that the final third is explained by the contraction of exports and tourism.
Pointing out that in the short term, recovery depends on both fiscal and monetary stimulus, Ballim said this should be seen as a priority despite the need of local governments to deal with high public debts, which were rising even before the pandemic.
Despite the challenges, however, Ballim said he saw an opportunity for Africa to reposition itself in the global economy.
He said: “The disruption to global supply chains spawned by Covid-19 has reframed the idea of just-in-time production. This may boost on-shoring of production to African countries, to ensure reliable supply to African consumers.
“Africa’s population growth is a challenge for public authorities, as they need to promote inclusive growth, but offers countless business opportunities to Brazilian companies, since it creates large consumer centers with higher purchasing power and flourishing consumer habits”, said Natalia Dias, CEO of Standard Bank Brazil.