Increasing trade and investment from Asian countries, especially India and China, is fuelling Africa's economic growth, a new World Bank study has said.
According to the study, "Africa's Silk Road: China and India's New Economic Frontier," 27 per cent of African exports are sold in Asia, up from 14 per cent in 2000 or three times the amount in 1990.
Europe, Africa's leading trade partner since the early independence days, has lost ground with a 50 per cent fall between 2000 and 2005 in the share of African exports to European Union members, Xinhua news agency reported, quoting the study.
The study finds that existing Chinese and Indian investment in Africa is concentrated on raw materials, notably in the mining and oil sectors.
However, the two Asian countries "are fast diversifying outside the natural resources sector into the apparel, food processing, retail, fisheries, commercial real estate, labour-intensive light manufacturing and the services sector in ways that could help Africa move away from over-reliance on a few export commodities which has left the continent so vulnerable to economic shocks," the report said.
China and India's foreign direct investments in Africa, although more modest than trade flows, are also growing very rapidly, the study says, drawing parallels with the Silk Road used by traders from 100 BC.
"This new Silk Road presents a significant, and to date, rare opportunity to accelerate Africa's growth, expand intra-African trade and hasten the continent's integration into the global economy," said Harry Broadman, World Bank's economic advisor in the African region and the author of the study.