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Soaring Asian Trade Benefits Africa

Sep 23, 2008, 6:06 AM | Article By: Mike Hart, Regional CEO for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank

Last month I was in London. It was a chastening experience. Persistently poor news over the economic outlook in the West has raised the real threat of recession. Despite the recent climb-down of crude oil prices- off historic highs- the almost daily reports of worsening economic growth prospects and rising inflationary pressures have made for a very sombre mood in the world's financial capital.

Yet despite the turmoil in the global financial markets, Africa-Asia trade flows remain robust, apparently bucking the trend for worsening economic data throughout the rest of the world. Some stark statistics:

In 2007, trade between Africa and Asia exceeded $120 billion; India, Japan and Korea accounting for over $45 billion of the figure.

Last year, trade between Africa and China exceeded $75billion; having grown by 43% per annum on a compound basis for the last 5 years.

Putting these staggering figures into perspective, trade between China and India was valued at 'only' $38.7 billion in 2007, clearly short of Sino-African trade figures.

Soaring trade levels with Africa are continuing. And soaring trade between Africa and China especially, has been, and will continue to be, very beneficial for Africa. Africa is experiencing its fastest economic growth rate in years, with GDP growth for 2007 averaging an impressive 6.1%. The commodities boom, relative political stability and progressive economic management are setting the foundation for more businesses to generate more profit in Africa.

However, improving fundamentals aside, it would be a crude oversight to ignore the impact made by the growing trade corridors with Asia- the data very much underlines Africa's growing international economic standing. Standard Chartered Bank- as a truly international bank, with extensive and well-established African and Asian operations- is capitalizing on these strengthening global trade corridors.