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BBC World Service

African economy preps for recovery

Andrew Walker May 5, 2010


Steve Chiotakis: The global financial crisis certainly hit some parts of the world harder than others. And while the economies of the United States and Europe are still struggling, many countries in Africa appear to be well on the way to recovery. Business and political leaders are meeting for the World Economic Forum in Africa. For Marketplace, the BBC’s Andrew Walker reports from Tanzania.

Andrew Walker: The banking crisis might have started on Wall Street, but eventually the economic fallout reached Africa.

Nilesh Bhat is the owner of African Pride. He makes cotton fabrics printed with traditional African designs. When tourists stopped visiting Tanzania, his customers had less money to spend on his clothes.

Nilesh Bhat: They first chose basic necessities like food and shelter instead of clothing, so definitely we saw there’s some decrease in sales.

But now there’s an economic recovery, he has a new concern:

Bhat: It became difficult for the same people, because the prices were very higher and even factories like us, if people are not buying it at that price then we’ll definitely not produce it.

The World Economic Forum begins meeting in Africa today to discuss how to take advantage of the recovery. Bhat expects things to improve for his company in the next year.

Bhat: Now the America is increasing the production by 15 percent next year, so definitely we’ll see cotton prices go down.

And business leaders here at the World Economic Forum are excited by the business opportunities that a recovery could bring to Africa.

In Tanzania, I’m the BBC’s Andrew Walker for Marketplace.

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