by Margot Bokanga
1. Telecommunications remained one of the fastest growing sectors in emerging markets last year, with African mobile phone use increasing more rapidly than anywhere else in the world.
2. The East African Community emerged as the most evolving regional trade bloc on the continent, with major agreements and accomplishments achieved in 2009.
3. African banks survived the global economic crisis by continuing to attract investment from across the continent and even from Asia with prudent lending and investment policies.
4. Despite the global economic crisis, African economies continued to attract foreign investors like CDC Group who saw the continent’s impressive return on investment and potential for high rewards.
5. The Aid Trap, a unique approach to development written by Glenn Hubbard and William Duggan, proposed that the US government make direct loans to businesses in the developing world and encouraged investment in infrastructure.
6. South-South trade and investment – particularly exports from Asia to Africa – tripled in the last five years, making Asia Africa’s third largest trading partner (27% of trade) after the EU (32%) and the US (29%).
7. At the Copenhagen climate change conference in December, Africa emerged as a powerful bloc when the continent staged a successful, unified walkout to prevent African interests from falling by the wayside.
8. While oil and mining has often been the main area for investment in Africa, in 2009 Africa offered new opportunities – particularly in the construction of undersea cables.
9. The World Bank’s Doing Business 2010 report noted that the business environment is continuing to improve in key countries on the continent: in particular, Rwanda was ranked the world’s top business reformer and Mauritius became the first African country to break into the top 20 countries to do business.