Fortune magazine has predicted that 2020 will see the start of a ‘decade of rapid economic expansion’ in Africa.

In a feature on predictions for the new year, and decade, the magazine includes a segment on Africa, headed ‘Lion economies start roaring’

It says: ‘With Africa’s largest economy, Nigeria, joining the African Continental Free Trade Area in 2019, a decade of rapid economic expansion will kick off for the continent in 2020. The 54-country trading bloc will attract foreign investment, particularly from China, but more important, local economies will boost intra-Africa trade, which currently accounts for only 17% of the African Union’s export activity.

‘With nearly half of Africans expected to live in cities by 2030, and with a working population around triple that of the European Union, expect Africa to assert its influence beginning next year.’

Among other predictions, Fortune anticipates a second Arab Spring which ‘will seek to finish dismantling the authoritarian systems that survived the regional revolts nearly a decade before’.

The report notes: ‘Energy from late-2019 anti-government protests in Egypt, Lebanon, and Iraq will spread to the rest of the Middle East. Once activists succeed in Egypt, demonstrations will follow in other countries with weak economies, like Morocco and Jordan.’

It also believes that Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s days in office are numbered.

‘In September, Lam was caught on tape telling a group of business leaders that she would quit if the leadership in Beijing permitted her to. When the protests end, Beijing will want to get a firmer grip on Hong Kong. A weakened Lam will be squeezed out.’

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