An Investment Banker’s 54 Wishes For African Economies In 2017

By Kurt Davis Jr. AFKI Original Published: December 22, 2016, 4:29 pm
54 Wishes For African Economies in 2017Children prepare for a Christmas play in DRC. Photo: Andrea Frazzetta/

If I could give gifts to each of my African friends, here’s what I’d wish for each African country in 2017:

1. Algeria – good health to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika.

2. Angola – a plan to address the emerging national — including Sonangol — debt problem.

3. Benin – strong GDP growth in a tough environment and with a struggling trade partner in Nigeria.

4. Botswana – a plan to make Gaborone a financial district … ambitious maybe.

5. Burkina Faso – no coup attempts in 2017.

6. Burundi – a calming of the political violence and return to a sense of stability.

7. Cameroon – a succession plan for whenever Paul Biya departs the office.

8. Cape Verde – debt relief or some help with beating the burden back. (Public debt is 110 percent of GDP).

9. Central African Republic – a quiet return to strong economic growth.

10. Chad – further diversification from the dependence on oil exports.

11. Comoros – Azali Assoumani’s “third (term) is a charm.”

12. Congo (Brazzaville) – investment in the private sector as high youth unemployment persists.

13. Congo (Kinshasa) – a presidential election.

14. Cote d’Ivoire – sustained glory as the new investment destination poster child.

15. Djibouti – an economic boost from port and power upgrades.

16. Egypt – success with its gas production.

17. Equatorial Guinea – a quiet year. The French look to see something of the opposite with trials against government officials.

18. Eritrea – a middle ground with the U.N. Security Council (or the country will just be on an island for years).

19. Ethiopia – peace in the Oroma region.

20. Gabon – a successful 2017 Nations Cup…I would love to attend.

21. Gambia – a peaceful presidential transition.

22. Ghana – jobs and more jobs under Nana Akufo-Addo.

23. Guinea-Bissau – positive news and feelings out of the business community.

24. Kenya – M-Pesa sale to Facebook (just kidding).

25. Lesotho – an economic boost.

26. Liberia – renewed investment interest in the country.

27. Libya – a transitional government that joins the differing factions in Tobruk, Tripoli, and Benghazi (my wish from 2015…sad to see what has happened to this country).

28. Madagascar – a boost in agricultural production.

29. Malawi – a cut in in living costs and lowering inflation.

30. Mali – the return of the Festival au Desert (same wish as last year, but please come back). Read more about this celebration, considered one of Africa’s premier festivals for music, dance and cultural exchange, at AFKInsider.

31. Mauritania – a continued push towards an open election in 2019.

32. Mauritius – more “female magic” with President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim.

33. Morocco – solutions to growing social and economic unrest.

34. Mozambique – some modicum of peace between Renamo and Frelimo.

35. Namibia – success in boosting the urban infrastructure.

36. Niger – regional assistance in the fight against terrorism and support for government institutions.

37. Nigeria – security in the Niger Delta and at least a moderate bump in oil production after the 2016 underperformance.

38. Rwanda – success in its ambitious infrastructure plans … the country’s public investment plans are something to be admired.

39. São Tomé and Príncipe – an ongoing push in exploiting offshore oil.

40. Senegal – a bump up the investment ladder in the eyes of private equity investors.

41. Seychelles – open minds in the legislature and the presidency as Danny Faure finishes out the term of ex-president James Michel, who resigned less than a year into his third term.

42. Sierra Leone – a rebirth for at least a few of the commodities in Sierra Leone.

43. Somalia – Mogadishu becomes like Hargeisa.

44. South Africa – fewer political scandals and investigations.

45. South Sudan – peace, calm, peace…the idea of genocide should bother the world.

46. Sudan – a positive influence in easing the South Sudan conflict.

47. Swaziland – better strategies in combating poverty (about 63 percent live in poverty) and in combating HIV/AIDS (about 31 percent of population is infected).

48. Tanzania – a maturation of policy (less personality and more institutional) under John Magufuli.

49. Togo – may the CFA franc stability support stronger investment in shipping and transport.

50. Tunisia – partnership in the fight against terrorism.

51. Uganda – an ease in doing business in the country.

52. Western Sahara – the E.U. court’s recent ruling on trade agreement with Morocco gives some clarity to the independent status of the Western Sahara.

53. Zambia – a power boost or, at least, the investment to get the country going in that direction.

54. Zimbabwe – a sense of life in the economy and a sense of what the post-Mugabe era could be.

Kurt Davis Jr. is an investment banker with private equity experience in emerging economies focusing on the natural resources and energy sectors. He earned a law degree in tax and commercial law at the University of Virginia’s School of Law and a master’s of business administration in finance, entrepreneurship and operations from the University of Chicago. He can be reached at

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