British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said, “A week is a long time in politics”; well it is only fair to say then that a year in politics is a very, very long time. What a year it has been in politics and every other sphere we observe and work in.
Brexit continues to dominate, and we envisage this topic will continue to loom large in 2019-20. While the UK government looks to navigate trade relations with the world in a post-EU paradigm, at Imani Development we are phenomenally well placed to guide and advise trading partners on both sides of the divide. We are potentially ahead of the curve as the EU continues to develop Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) with both individual trading partners and the regional economic blocs. So much to anticipate in trade relationships between Sub-Saharan Africa and the European bloc.
Apart from their unresolved trade spat with the USA, China continues to be a dominant force for change particularly in Africa. The Chinese economy has further generated surplus liquidity, and given the state of international bond markets (which they possess a significant share in sovereign debt of many countries especially in Africa), they continue to spread their investment risk into infrastructure.
Which brings us to infrastructure focus for the next foreseeable future. There is an ever-increasing focus on infrastructure investment and development on behalf of the big international donors – airports, ports, trade corridors, cross-border infrastructure – all of which are of great significance for us as we facilitate trade on a local, national or international platform.
So, what have we been doing in 2018? From detailed value chain studies in Zambia, Malawi, Kenya, Botswana and DRC, to OSBPs in Botswana, to engaging in high level advisory work for COMESA, SADC and EAC, to designing (M&E) frameworks for EPAs between six SADC member states and the EU; to working with farmers, miners and bankers. We have been busy.
The development landscape remains a dynamic and volatile operating environment, but we believe this is an opportune time for a regionally based company that supports development on a rapidly transforming continent. Our declaration of global vision and local knowledge continues to signpost the true value we bring, and this is reason enough for us to remain who we are and where we are.What is increasingly clear is our ability to collaborate with respected and respectful partners, while bringing in a local dimension that few others can replicate. However, the demands of big donors with deep pockets and long payment schedules continues to dictate what we can do on our own. Even so, we remain well-placed and continue to be sought as trusted partners
For all its ups and downs, 2018 was a year of great achievements for us here at Imani Development. We would like to express our heartfelt thank you for being part of our community this year. We look forward to 2019 and the opportunities it will bring to meaningfully contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction on our continent.
MD, Imani Development