Africa trade and investment
The value of Africa's total exports in 1990 was almost 2% of world exports.
Virtually all exports consist of unprocessed raw materials (especially crude
oil) and food. Although exports are minimal relative to world trade, they
nevertheless account for 22% of the continent's total output (GDP). Therefore,
Africa is heavily dependent on world market prices. The relationship between the
prices of Africa's exports and imports, the terms of trade, developed negatively
from the early 1980's, falling from index 168 in 1981 to index 96 in 1989. This
made it harder and harder for Africa to finance its imports.
Introduces Africa as a continent, includes a full list of countries in
Africa, and provides location map of Africa.
Foreign trade is concentrated on the EU countries, which in 1990 accounted
for about half of exports; here, Nigeria's oil exports accounted for a
significant share. 60% of imports come from the EU. In contrast, trade between
African countries is severely restricted; in 1990, less than 7% of African
countries' total exports went to other African countries.
The continent's limited share of total world trade is offset by an even more
pronounced lack of foreign private investment. With a few exceptions, no African
country received significant foreign investment in the 1980's. Nigeria with its
large oil sector as well as South Africa are the only significant exceptions
south of the Sahara.
Africa's marginalization of the world economy is both a consequence of and a
reason why the continent's economic situation has worsened. This comes expressed
in a sharp increase in total debt to the outside world. In sub-Saharan Africa,
debt rose to $ 146 billion. dollars in 1990, a tripling during the 1980's.
Payment of interest and installments is a huge burden for the already
crisis-stricken economies. In certain years, countries are willing to pay 30% or
more of export earnings to interest and repay the debt.
The North African countries were also heavily indebted through the 1980's;
however, Egypt had its debt written down by more than 50% from 1990 to 1991 - a
recognition of Egyptian support for the international fight against Iraq's
occupation of Kuwait in 1990.
Through close cooperation with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the
World Bank (IBRD) developed economic reform programs for a large number of
African countries throughout the 1980's. Structural reforms aimed at a radical
liberalization of the economy; by removing government control measures and
government governance, the Monetary Fund and the World Bank hoped to get the
economies going. In addition to a general liberalization, the two financial
institutions demanded that governments try to promote exports. The goal was a
growth in foreign exchange earnings to facilitate the repayment of the foreign
debt. In most countries, the positive results of the economic horse cure did not
materialize or were delayed. In many places, the reforms led to growing social
and political unrest.
It is characteristic that the implementation of economic structural reforms
was increasingly made a condition for African countries to obtain development
aid from the rich world. The EC (later the EU), including Denmark, began to
accede to the reform demands of the World Bank and the Monetary Fund. This was
particularly important as the total aid of the EC countries through the 1980's
accounted for more than half of the total aid to sub-Saharan Africa. Also in
North Africa, the EU is a major donor.
EU assistance is partly channeled from country to country (bilateral
assistance). major French development programs in the former French colonies,
partly through the EU's multilateral agreement, the Lomé Convention, which
includes 45 African countries. These are significant amounts; in 1990/91,
development assistance accounted for 11% of total GDP in sub-Saharan Africa, and
at least half came from Western European countries.
Around 600 BC. sailed a Phoenician expedition sent by the Egyptian pharaoh
Necho II around Africa. It sailed from east to west, and Herodotus reports that
the expedition saw the sun on the right hand side, that is, in the north.
The Greeks, Carthaginians, and Romans had an excellent knowledge of
sub-Saharan Africa and of the Egyptian Nilland. There were caravan routes
through the Sahara to the areas around the Niger River.
After the Arab conquest of North Africa, first Tunisia (from the 700's) and
then Egypt (from the 900's) became centers of trade with sub-Saharan Africa. The
highlight of the Arabs' exploration of Africa was the travels and descriptions
of the Muslim world by the Moroccan Muhammad Ibn Battuta in the mid-14th
century. Ibn Battuta visited Mogadishu in Somalia in 1332 and Mali in 1352-53.
At the initiative of Prince Henrik the Navigator (1394-1460) the Portuguese
explored in the 1400's. The west coast of Africa as part of the attempt to find
the sea route to India. The goal was to take over the trade in spices, dyes and
luxury goods, which gave Arab and Venetian merchants large incomes. In 1434 Cape
Bojador was passed, in 1445 the mouth of the Senegal River was reached and in
1455 the Gambias. In 1482, Diogo found Cão Congo's expiration; in 1487
Bartholomeu Diaz passed the Cape of Good Hope and saw the coast bend to the
north. Finally in 1498, Vasco da Gama reached India by sea south of Africa after
following the east coast north to Malindi in present-day Kenya.
In the 1500's and 1600's. the European powers established colonies on the
coast, which handled inland trade. The coastal parts of the continent thus
became known in Europe.
The Nile's run north from the confluence between the Blue and the White Nile
was known from ancient times. The Blue Nils springs in Ethiopia were found by
the Portuguese Pedro Pãez in 1618 and again by the Scotsman James Bruce in 1770.
In South Africa, the Dutch established the Cape Colony in 1652, and soon after
the settlers knew the land up to the Orange River. But with these exceptions,
the interior of the African continent was still in the late 1700's. unknown to
In 1788, the private English company African Association was established for
the purpose of exploring the still unknown parts of Africa through expeditions.
In 1795 the company sent the Scotsman Mungo Park to West Africa. The aim was, in
addition to the scientific, to greatly expand Britain's political influence and
trade in Africa. In 1796, Park, who traveled inland from the Gambia, reached the
Niger River at Ségou. His journey gave Europeans a first-hand impression of the
African empires and trading cities at Niger's upper reaches. In 1805-06, Park
sailed on a new voyage down Niger. He perished in conflict with local princes
near Bussa in present-day northern Nigeria. It was not until 1830 that the
remainder of the Niger race was clarified, when the Englishman Richard Lemon
Landerfollowed the river from Bussa to the delta. Knowledge of West Africa was
supplemented by the Scotsman Hugh Clapperton, who traveled through the Sahara
from Tripoli to Lake Chad in 1822-23, as well as by the Frenchman René Caillié,
who visited Timbuktu on his voyage from the Guinean coast to Morocco in 1827-29.
The regions east of Lake Chad were first known as a result of the journey of the
German Gustav Nachtigal in 1869-74.
In East Africa, German missionaries Johann Ludwig Krapf and Johannes Rebmann
explored parts of present-day Kenya and Tanzania in 1848-49 and reached the
snow-capped Kilimanjaro. The English Richard Francis Burton and John Hanning
Speke found Lake Tanganyika (later Lake Tanzania) in 1858, and Speke reached
Lake Victoria on the same voyage. In 1862, on a new voyage, Speke found the
Nile's drainage from Lake Victoria. That the drain really was The White Nile was
definitely proved by the Englishman Samuel White Bakerin 1864. He also
discovered that the Nile was crossing Lake Albert on its way north. The question
of The White Nils' sources was thus essentially clarified. The exploration ended
with the English-American journalist and African explorer Henry Morton Stanley's
discoveries in 1875 of Lake Edward, which drains into Lake Albert, and of the
river Kagera, which flows into Lake Victoria on its west bank.
The same voyage brought Stanley in 1876 across the watershed to Luabala, one
of Congo's spring rivers; Stanley then followed Congo to the estuary.
The Scottish missionary David Livingstone's three voyages to southern Africa
in the years 1852-73 led to the discovery of Zambezi's upper reaches; The
Victoria Falls at Kariba were reached in 1855. On its second voyage, Livingstone
found Lake Nyasa (later Malawi Island) and the River Shire, which drains the
lake into the Zambezi. On the third voyage, he explored the upper reaches of the
Congo. It was during this voyage that Livingstone's famous encounter with
Stanley took place in Ujiji on Lake Tanganyika in 1871. Livingstone's results
were supplemented by the Englishman Verney Lovett Cameron, who found Lake
Tanganyika's drain to the Congo on a journey through the continent from Zanzibar
to Benguela in 1873-75.
From the 1870's, many countries, including France, Germany, Belgium, and
Russia, set up companies to systematically explore Africa. Already the first
voyages of discovery had provided some knowledge of trade opportunities and
deposits of exploitable raw materials. Against this background, the European
powers could agree on a division of Africa into spheres of interest at the
Berlin Conference in 1884-85, which was the beginning of the actual colonization
of the continent's interior.