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Africa optimistic for brighter year

Monday, January 04, 2016 - 01:39

Africa weathered a global economic financial crisis and dramatic slide in commodity prices in 2015. Does the start of 2016 herald another storm for the continent? Hayley Platt reports.

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2015 was a tough year for Africa's economy. Slowing exports, a slump in oil and other commodities, put growth at risk. Particularly for Nigeria. Yemi Kale is from the National Bureau of Statistics. (SOUNDBITE) (English) YEMI KALE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, NATIONAL BUREAU OF STATISTICS SAYING: "It will hit us in terms of revenue because we know 70-80 percent of government revenue is based on crude." But there is reason to be optimistic. Kenya Airways, for example. Last year caught up in cash crisis - it's planning a comeback. And this time, says the airlines chief, will be stronger. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MBUVI NGUNZE, KENYA AIRWAYS CHIEF EXECUTIVE SAYING: "Today we are focused on making sure that one -- we are commercially and financially efficient and that's why we are focusing on the commercial side of the business to make sure we are taking all the opportunities we can, even in a difficult commercial space with security concerns around us." And new challengers are emerging. Ethiopia - with the continent's fastest growth, putting the fizz back into east African business. Literally, according to Johan Doyer of beermaker Heineken Ethiopia. (SOUNDBITE) (English) JOHAN DOYER, MANAGING DIRECTOR OF HEINEKEN ETHIOPIA SAYING: "At the moment we are developing our position in the local market. Our first priority is to become a national player." Ghana once the jewel in Africa's crown because of its stable democracy and rising middle classes. It fell from grace over alleged mis-management of its government. But a new trade agreement uniting 57 percent of the Africa's population could see its status restored. The deal intends to reduce trade barriers, bring prices down and boost economic activity between African countries. Where growth is expected to hit five per cent in 2016 - a rate not seen since before the 2007 financial crisis.

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Africa optimistic for brighter year

Monday, January 04, 2016 - 01:39