A China está a experienciar um abrandamento económico, que resultou na queda abrupta dos preços das matérias-primas, uma tendência que deverá manter-se. De facto, a incerteza em relação ao estado da economia da China tem gerado receios nos mercados internacionais.
Ora, a viragem de Pequim para uma economia mais virada para o mercado interno e para os serviços resultou na redução do seu apetite por importações, o que por seu turno afecta as exportações – e necessariamente as economias – africanas.
Dito isto, quem poderá preencher o espaço deixado pela China na procura por matérias-primas africanas?
De acordo com um artigo publicado no Mail & Guardian,
[a]s one of the world’s largest oil consumers, India’s economy is expected to be ahead of most of the pack in 2016. (…) its economy is booming on the back of policy reforms that have reduced its vulnerability to changes in the global economy and attracted numerous investors.
Since his election in 2014, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been bold about his plans to ramp up his country’s poor infrastructure — roads, housing, and transportation — all which require commodities such as steel, presently in plentiful supply on global markets.
These could open a window of demand for African commodities.
Global investment, banking and financial services firm Macquarie expects India to drive the consumption of commodities for the next 10 years. It is the only country expected to record growth in the steel industry in the next five years, propelling it to become the second-largest producer of the metal.
In a November interview with Mail & Guardian Africa, Carlos Lopes, executive secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa, argued that India, and not China, was actually of more foreign direct investment value to Africa.
New Delhi forecasts at least 5% growth, and now wields at least $350-billion in foreign reserves to defend its economy. By contrast the foreign reserves of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, stand at less than $30-billion.
Now the world’s fourth-largest mining exporter, minerals account for 2.5% of India’s gross domestic product, according to Balwinder Kumar, secretary at the Ministry of Mines, with this rising to 5% by 2020.
This fast-paced economic growth will need more minerals, which will provide hope to African exporters looking for new markets and who have so far largely overlooked India.
(…) despite this seemingly new opportunity, it is unlikely that India will “replace” China’s super-consumption in the short term.
Close observers may discern that although there are significant incentives offered to attract investors into its own market, its marketing pitch is still distinctly inward-looking.
A lag is therefore foreseen before India develops an insatiable China-like appetite for the continent’s resources. Some experts also think the country of 1.25 billion people is still a bit too chaotic.
A research note from Old Mutual Wealth argues that while India may be the next growth frontier, it will take a while for it to reach the levels of Chinese consumption during its boom.
“While we are in agreement on India’s position as the new growth engine, we are unlikely to see it happening in the short to medium term, which is certainly not what iron ore producers are hoping for,” said the note. But with prices of key imports at record lows, this could rapidly change. India’s challenge in its pursuit of China would thus appear to be with itself — to fix its domestic deficiencies first.
No que aos países lusófonos diz respeito, Moçambique estará na linha da frente para beneficiar de uma eventual “ofensiva africana” da Índia. é esperar para ver.