Les marchés-frontières de l’Afrique menacés par la décroissance ?

NEW YORK – Les élections générales en cours au Zimbabwe semblent confirmer, une fois de plus, une évidence : l’Afrique ne semble faire la une des journaux qu’à l’occasion de désastres : sécheresse, coup d’État, guerre, génocidearrsid1125379 , ou dans le cas de Robert Mugabe, d’un gouvernement gravement incompétent. Mais au cours des dernières années, un certain nombre de pays subsahariens ont attiré un afflux sans précédent de capitaux étrangers. La récente tourmente sur les marchés financiers n’a fait qu’accroître l’attrait de l’Afrique, dont les marchés excentrés sont moins affectés par la volatilité internationale que ne le sont les marchés plus connus de la majorité des pays émergents.

La bonne performance de plusieurs pays subsahariens tient à trois raisons principales. Premièrement, le prix élevé des matières premières rapporte des bénéfices inattendus aux principaux producteurs de la région. La demande croissante en ressources énergétiques, en métaux et minerais – de la Chine en particulier – s’est traduite par des niveaux records d’investissements étrangers. Même les fonds de pension importants ont commencé à s’y intéresser. Un nombre élevé de pays africains parmi les plus pauvres ont par ailleurs profité d’une croissance exponentielle (principalement en provenance des Etats-Unis) de l’aide au développement.

S’il est probable que ces tendances positives se maintiennent, un troisième facteur positif risque d’être moins durable. Chaque année, les Africains de l’étranger envoient près de 30 milliards de dollars à leurs familles et amis du continent. Ces versements sont tout à fait essentiels à la stabilité économique de plusieurs pays africains. Un ralentissement économique aux Etats-Unis et en Europe pourrait avoir pour effet de tarir considérablement cet afflux de liquidités, les immigrés étant souvent les premiers à perdre leur emploi lorsque les signes avant-coureurs d’une récession se font sentir.

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