The fall in commodity prices between mid-2014 and early 2016 hit the economies of many countries hard. The HWWI commodity price index plummeted by more than half during this period. The associated decrease in export revenues didn’t just push relatively small countries like Azerbaijan and Venezuela into a recession, but also BRIC countries like Russia and Brazil. But a look at the latest African Economic Outlook shows that the gross domestic product of the supposedly commodity-dependent Africa has increased by 3.7 percent, despite this drop in prices in the past year.
The OECD and the African Development Bank, which publish the Outlook, expect this growth rate to repeat itself in 2016 and then to increase to 4.5 percent in 2017. This would put it back close to the average annual growth rate since the beginning of the new millennium, which had been 5 percent.
Although the continent of Africa, with its 54 countries, is a much more heterogeneous place than India or China, one thing emerges: The skeptics who gave the commodity price boom all the credit in Africa’s upturn were obviously wrong.