Malta Enterprise and Trade Malta, with the support of the Ministry for the Economy, Investment and Small Business, have organized the Informal Council Working Group on Exports Credits. Senior officials from the Finance Ministries of the EU Member States and Export Credit Agencies attended the working session, the discussion of which focused on the challenges and risks facing Africa today.
A number of speakers addressed the working session, including Prathiba Thaker, Editorial & Regional Director for the Middle East and Africa at the Economist Intelligence Unit, and Ludovic Subran, Chief Economist at Euler Hermes.
Africa suffered its lowest pace of growth rate in 2016. A sharp decline in commodity prices, rise of geoplitical risk particularly in North Africa, tightening of external financing conditions and adverse weather conditions in recent years are among the factors that constrained economic growth in a number of countries across the continent. The major players of South Africa, Nigeria and Angola are financially stretched and struggling to gain momentum, while some of the region’s fast-growing smaller economies have come off the boil of late. However, the picture is not all bad and pockets of resilience are easily identified where infrastructure investment, industrial development and consumer demand continue to support trade and investment opportunities. Looking ahead, there is a sense that the situation is beginning to bottom out for the worst affected by the current downturn and business conditions could improve from 2017 onwards.