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After decades of a bipolar world in which the US and the Soviet Union competed for global hegemony, we entered a unipolar era with the collapse of the USSR and the US imposing its will across the globe virtually unchallenged – until the rise of China.

 

Sudan, one of the largest countries in the heart of Africa, has been struggling to stay afloat economically since the US imposed crippling trade and investment sanctions in 1997. The country also lost is main revenue source, oil, following the secession of South Sudan in 2011. This had a major stultifying impact on its banking and finance industry and it faced a series of economic crises with a consequent devaluation of the Sudanese pound. Although the country has probably one of the most exciting potentials in terms of agriculture, the ripple effects of the sanctions has stunted the growth of this and other sectors.

Africa’s youth bulge presents both an opportunity and a challenge. More must be done to involve youth in agriculture as a means of providing employment, say Johan Burger and MD Ramesh.

It is a “long-term” play, say experts, but there is potential in areas like services, infrastructure

 

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), the Nigerian manufacturing sector is dominated by the production of food, beverages and tobacco, with sugar and bread products generating the greatest value of output. To encourage more output in these and other sectors, the government has been making it cheaper for consumers to purchase locally manufactured goods by making the smuggled foreign alternatives prohibitively expensive or totally unavailable through prohibitions.


If there is one thing that the recent Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) reminded me of, it is what a polarising prospect the continent remains.

 

Following the end of the Korean War in 1953, South Korea prioritised its alliance with the United States in pursuit of economic growth and military security. It took more than a decade since the end of the war until South Korea essentially inaugurated diplomatic relations with African states. The early years of its diplomacy in Africa focused on securing formal support from African nations for South Korea’s entry to the United Nations.

 

 

 

NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies

 

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Singapore 639798

 

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