Assessments

Southern Africa's Options Are Drying Up

Mar 8, 2016 | 09:00 GMT
South Africa, Zimbabwe and Zambia are all suffering equally as a persistent drought and low commodity prices put a strain on national resources.

Extreme drought and low commodity prices are crippling economies across southern Africa. For much of the past decade, China's rapid growth led to the massive consumption of raw materials, the export of which African governments rely on for revenue. But as China's economy has slowed, global demand for those goods has plateaued, causing prices to drop. Because of their heavy dependence on commodities-based revenue, southern African governments have been among the hardest hit by low prices, especially as some producers have been forced to scale back output. As if this were not bad enough, the worst drought in more than three decades is threatening the region's food security. Together, the forces of nature and market have given southern Africa a particularly bleak economic outlook over the coming year. In response to economic uncertainty, migration from poorer countries could increase as people seek better opportunities in the region's biggest and most stable...

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