Higher political risk threatens Africa’s takeoff

Africa, with its vivid demographics, its margin of development and its natural resources, has got undeniable assets to become the 21st century’s land of business opportunities. The general conditions of living of local populations and the economic development-related statistics have shown real progress over the last twenty years with the emergence of an entrepreneurial middle class among the world’s most active ones.

If many parameters are being met in support of Africa’s takeoff as a major global economic power, there remain many obstacles that could seriously hamper it. Political risk has significantly increased on the continent in recent years. Despite the reduction of the terrorist threat in the Sahel, it is still the main destabilization risk in the long term.

More generally, the terrorism issue is gravely damaging the economic and social stability of yet promising countries like Nigeria now under the pressure of both a multi-pronged security threat and a harsh economic recession due to the drop in oil prices since mid-2014. The growth of political Islamism in the Maghreb and its warlike equivalent in Western Africa has certainly placed political risk at the top of foreign investors’ concerns.

Political turbulence that’s brewing in Gabon, Ethiopia or South Africa proves the liveliness of African politics as much as it threatens its stability as a whole. Political risk remains the determining factor of Africa’s future and relations with Europe, itself threatened by a renewed migratory crisis in case of sustained aggravation.