Ist es tatsächlich so, dass Afrika wenig betroffen ist, wie einige sagen? Was kann die DEZA tun, um die negativen Effekte zu lindern?
Is it really so that Africa is less affected by the financial crisis? What can SDC do to mitigate the negative effects?
When the recent economic crisis started last year, most actors of the international community expected that the impact on Africa would be much less severe than on other world regions. Financially isolated, the continent appeared also to be immune against the negative effects of the meltdown of the global financial system. The argument went that except for a few countries with an own and internationally linked stock market the majority of the countries would not feel too much of the crisis. Unfortunately, as this paper will show, Africa has not been spared by the economic crisis. Although most of the African countries have not been directly affected by the turmoil on the financial markets, the continent is now seriously hit by the “second wave” effects of a global recession. Effects such as sinking demand for commodities, less financial resources due to lower direct investments, official aid and remittances or a decline in tourism have significant negative implications and seem to destroy the modest progress that was achieved in recent years in many of the African countries due to the booming world economy. Risks are high that among other things poverty will increase further, social and political tensions are reawakened or reinforced and important investments in infrastructure are postponed or cancelled. However, the crisis also offers the chance to fundamentally improve the governance of African countries as well as fostering the potential of the population in the sense of Good Governance and capacity building. The effects of the crisis in terms of risks and chances in turn have implications for the work of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). Some of the SDC’s programmes and measures are apt to mitigate the negative impacts of the crisis. While some of these measures should be reinforced others have to be added in order to counteract the crisis as effectively and efficiently as possible.
This paper starts by pointing out the differences between the East and West African countries in terms of development levels and resources in order to differentiate between the countries and to illustrate the complexity and variety of circumstances on the African continent. After that, some significant actors in East and West Africa will be analysed. How are their activities affected by the crisis and how do they react to the changed circumstances? Chapter 4 then offers an overview of the crisis’ impact on the most important direct and indirect financial channels and economic sectors such as tourism, the banking sector or Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). From the analysis of actors and financial channels both risks and chances are derived in the subsequent chapter that concludes the first, more general part of the paper. The second and final part focuses on the SDC’s work in East and West Africa. First the previous work of the SDC is briefly illustrated. Second some guiding principles are introduced that lay the foundation for the priorities and possible measures following thereafter.