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Developing World’s Share of Global Investment to Triple by 2030, Says New World Bank Report

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

Seventeen years from now, half the global stock of capital, totaling $158 trillion (in 2010 dollars), will reside in the developing world, compared to less than one-third today, with countries in East Asia and Latin America accounting for the largest shares of this stock, says the latest edition of the World Bank’s Global Development Horizons (GDH) report, which explores patterns of investment, saving and capital flows as they are likely to evolve over the next two decades.

Developing countries’ share in global investment is projected to triple by 2030 to three-fifths, from one-fifth in 2000, says the report, titled ‘Capital for the Future: Saving and Investment in an Interdependent World’. With world population set to rise from 7 billion in 2010 to 8.5 billion 2030 and rapid aging in the advanced countries, demographic changes will profoundly influence these structural shifts.

“GDH is one of the finest efforts at peering into the distant future. It does this by marshaling an amazing amount of statistical information,” said Kaushik Basu, the World Bank’s Senior Vice President and Chief Economist. “We know from the experience of countries as diverse as South Korea, Indonesia, Brazil, Turkey and South Africa the pivotal role investment plays in driving long-term growth. In less than a generation, global investment will be dominated by the developing countries. And among the developing countries, China and India are expected to be the largest investors, with the two countries together accounting for 38 percent of the global gross investment in 2030. All this will change the landscape of the global economy, and GDH analyzes how.”

Productivity catch-up, increasing integration into global markets, sound macroeconomic policies, and improved education and health are helping speed growth and create massive investment opportunities, which, in turn, are spurring a shift in global economic weight to developing countries. A further boost is being provided by the youth bulge. With developing countries on course to add more than 1.4 billion people to their combined population between now and 2030, the full benefit of the demographic dividend has yet to be reaped, particularly in the relatively younger regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

The good news is that, unlike in the past, developing countries will likely have the resources needed to finance these massive future investments for infrastructure and services, including in education and health care. Strong saving rates in developing countries are expected to peak at 34 percent of national income in 2014 and will average 32 percent annually until 2030. In aggregate terms, the developing world will account for 62-64 percent of global saving of $25-27 trillion by 2030, up from 45 percent in 2010.

“Despite strong saving levels to finance their massive investment needs in the future, developing countries will need to significantly improve their currently limited participation in international financial markets if they are to reap the benefits of the tectonic shifts taking place,” said Hans Timmer, Director of the Bank’s Development Prospects Group.

GDH paints two scenarios, based on the speed of convergence between the developed and developing worlds in per capita income levels, and the pace of structural transformations (such as financial development and improvements in institutional quality) in the two groups. Scenario one entails a gradual convergence between the developed and developing world while a much more rapid scenario is envisioned in the second.

The gradual and rapid scenarios predict average world economic growth of 2.6 percent and 3 percent per year, respectively, during the next two decades; the developing world’s growth will average an annual rate of 4.8 percent in the gradual convergence scenario and 5.5 percent in the rapid one.

In both scenarios, developing countries’ employment in services will account for more than 60 percent of their total employment by 2030 and they will account for more than 50 percent of global trade. This shift will occur alongside demographic changes that will increase demand for infrastructural services. Indeed, the report estimates the developing world’s infrastructure financing needs at $14.6 trillion between now and 2030.

The report also points to aging populations in East Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which will see the largest reductions in saving rates. Demographic change will test the sustainability of public finances and complex policy challenges will arise from efforts to reduce the burden of health care and pensions without imposing severe hardships on the old. In contrast, Sub-Saharan Africa, with its relatively young and rapidly growing population as well as robust economic growth, will be the only region not experiencing a decline in its saving rate.

In absolute terms, however, saving will continue to be dominated by Asia and the Middle East. In the gradual convergence scenario, in 2030, China will save far more than any other developing country — $9 trillion in 2010 dollars — with India a distant second with $1.7 trillion, surpassing the levels of Japan and the United States in the 2020s.

As a result, under the gradual convergence scenario, China will account for 30 percent of global investment in 2030, with Brazil, India and Russia together accounting for another 13 percent. In terms of volumes, investment in the developing world will reach $15 trillion (in 2010 dollars), versus $10 trillion in high-income economies. China and India will account for almost half of all global manufacturing investment.

“GDH clearly highlights the increasing role developing countries will play in the global economy. This is undoubtedly a significant achievement. However, even if wealth will be more evenly distributed across countries, this does not mean that, within countries, everyone will equally benefit,” said Maurizio Bussolo, Lead Economist and lead author of the report.

The report finds that the least educated groups in a country have low or no saving, suggesting an inability to improve their earning capacity and, for the poorest, to escape a poverty trap.

“Policy makers in developing countries have a central role to play in boosting private saving through policies that raise human capital, especially for the poor,” concluded Bussolo.

Regional Highlights:

East Asia and the Pacific will see its saving rate fall and its investment rate will drop by even more, though they will still be high by international standards. Despite these lower rates, the region’s shares of global investment and saving will rise through 2030 due to robust economic growth. The region is experiencing a big demographic dividend, with fewer than 4 non-working age people for every 10 working age people, the lowest dependency ratio in the world. This dividend will end after reaching its peak in 2015. Labor force growth will slow, and by 2040 the region may have one of the highest dependency ratios of all developing regions (with more than 5.5 non-working age people for every 10 working age people). China, a big regional driver, is expected to continue to run substantial current account surpluses, due to large declines in its investment rate as it transitions to a lower level of public involvement in investment.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the furthest along in its demographic transition, and will be the only developing region to reach zero population growth by 2030. Aging is expected to moderate economic growth in the region, and also has the potential to bring down the saving rate more than any developing region, apart from East Asia. The region’s saving rate may decline more than its investment rate, in which case countries in the region will have to finance investment by attracting more capital flows. The region will also face significant fiscal pressure from aging. Turkey, for example, would see its public pension spending increase by more than 50 percent by 2030 under the current pension scheme. Several other countries in the region will also face large increases in pension and health care expenditures.

Latin America and the Caribbean, a historically low-saving region, may become the lowest-saving region by 2030. Although demographics will play a positive role, as dependency ratios are projected to fall through 2025, financial market development (which reduces precautionary saving) and a moderation in economic growth will play a counterbalancing role. Similarly, the rising and then falling impact of demography on labor force growth means that the investment rate is expected to rise in the short run, and then gradually fall. However, the relationship between inequality and saving in the region suggests an alternative scenario. As in other regions, poorer households tend to save much less; thus, improvements in earning capacity, rising incomes, and reduced inequality have the potential not only to boost national saving but, more importantly, to break poverty traps perpetuated by low saving by poor households.

The Middle East and North Africa has significant scope for financial market development, which has the potential to sustain investment but also, along with aging, to reduce saving. Thus, current account surpluses may also decline moderately up to 2030, depending on the pace of financial market development. The region is in a relatively early phase of its demographic transition: characterized by a still fast growing population and labor force, but also a rising share of elderly. Changes in household structure may also impact saving patterns, with a transition from intergenerational households and family-based old age support to smaller households and greater reliance on asset income in old age. The region has the lowest use of formal financial institutions for saving by low-income households, and scope for financial markets to play a significantly greater role in household saving.

South Asia will remain one of the highest saving and highest investing regions until 2030. However, with the scope for rapid economic growth and financial development, results for saving, investment, and capital flows will vary significantly: in a scenario of more rapid economic growth and financial market development, high investment rates will be sustained while saving falls significantly, implying large current account deficits. South Asia is a young region, and by about 2035 is likely to have the highest ratio of working- to nonworking-age people of any region in the world. The general shift in investment away from agriculture towards manufacturing and service sectors is likely to be especially pronounced in South Asia, with the region’s share of total investment in manufacturing expected to nearly double, and investment in the service sector to increase by more than 8 percentage points, to over two-thirds of total investment.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s investment rate will be steady due to robust labor force growth. It will be the only region to not see a decrease in its saving rate in a scenario of moderate financial market development, since aging will not be a significant factor. In a scenario of faster growth, poorer African countries will experience deeper financial market development, and foreign investors will become increasingly willing to finance investment in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the youngest of all regions, with the highest dependency ratio. This ratio will steadily decrease throughout the time horizon of this report and beyond, bringing a long lasting demographic dividend. The region will have the greatest infrastructure investment needs over the next two decades (relative to GDP). At the same time, there will likely be a shift in infrastructure investment financing toward greater participation by the private sector, and substantial increases in private capital inflows, particularly from other developing regions.

Source: WorldBank.org

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Developing countries to dominate global saving and investment, but the poor will not necessarily share the benefits, says report

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Developing world’s share of global investment to triple by 2030
  • China, India will be developing world’s largest investors
  • Boost to education needed so poor can improve their well-being

In less than a generation, global saving and investment will be dominated by the developing world, says the just-released Global Development Horizons (GDH) report.

By 2030, half the global stock of capital, totaling $158 trillion (in 2010 dollars), will reside in the developing world, compared to less than one-third today, with countries in East Asia and Latin America accounting for the largest shares of this stock, says the report, which explores patterns of investment, saving and capital flows as they are likely to evolve over the next two decades.

Titled ‘Capital for the Future: Saving and Investment in an Interdependent World’, GDH projects developing countries’ share in global investment to triple by 2030 to three-fifths, from one-fifth in 2000.

Productivity catch-up, increasing integration into global markets, sound macroeconomic policies, and improved education and health are helping speed growth and create massive investment opportunities, which, in turn, are spurring a shift in global economic weight to developing countries.

A further boost is being provided by the youth bulge. By 2020, less than 7 years from now, growth in world’s working-age population will be exclusively determined by developing countries. With developing countries on course to add more than 1.4 billion people to their combined population between now and 2030, the full benefit of the demographic dividend has yet to be reaped, particularly in the relatively younger regions of Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

GDH paints two scenarios, based on the speed of convergence between the developed and developing worlds in per capita income levels, and the pace of structural transformations (such as financial development and improvements in institutional quality) in the two groups. Scenario one entails a gradual convergence between the developed and developing world while a much more rapid one is envisioned in the second.

In both scenarios, developing countries’ employment in services will account for more than 60 percent of their total employment by 2030 and they will account for more than 50 percent of global trade. This shift will occur alongside demographic changes that will increase demand for infrastructural services. Indeed, the report estimates the developing world’s infrastructure financing needs at $14.6 trillion between now and 2030.

The report also points to aging populations in East Asia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which will see the largest reductions in private saving rates. Demographic change will test the sustainability of public finances and complex policy challenges will arise from efforts to reduce the burden of health care and pensions without imposing severe hardships on the old. In contrast, Sub-Saharan Africa, with its relatively young and rapidly growing population as well as robust economic growth, will be the only region not experiencing a decline in its saving rate.

Open Quotes

Policy makers in developing countries have a central role to play in boosting private saving through policies that raise human capital, especially for the poor. Close Quotes

Maurizio Bussolo
Lead Author, Global Development Horizons 2013

In absolute terms, however, saving will continue to be dominated by Asia and the Middle East. In the gradual convergence scenario, in 2030, China will save far more than any other developing country — $9 trillion in 2010 dollars — with India a distant second with $1.7 trillion, surpassing the levels of Japan and the United States in the 2020s.

As a result, under the gradual convergence scenario, China will account for 30 percent of global investment in 2030, with Brazil, India and Russia together accounting for another 13 percent. In terms of volumes, investment in the developing world will reach $15 trillion (in 2010 dollars), versus $10 trillion in high-income economies. Again, China and India will be the largest investors among developing countries, with the two countries combined representing 38 percent of the global gross investment in 2030, and they will account for almost half of all global manufacturing investment.

“GDH clearly highlights the increasing role developing countries will play in the global economy. This is undoubtedly a significant achievement. However, even if wealth will be more evenly distributed across countries, this does not mean that, within countries, everyone will equally benefit,” said Maurizio Bussolo, Lead Economist and lead author of the report.

The report finds that the least educated groups in a country have low or no saving, suggesting an inability to improve their earning capacity and, for the poorest, to escape a poverty trap.

“Policy makers in developing countries have a central role to play in boosting private saving through policies that raise human capital, especially for the poor,” concluded Bussolo.

Regional Highlights:

East Asia and the Pacific will see its saving rate fall and its investment rate will drop by even more, though they will still be high by international standards. Despite these lower rates, the region’s shares of global investment and saving will rise through 2030 due to robust economic growth. The region is experiencing a big demographic dividend, with fewer than 4 non-working age people for every 10 working age people, the lowest dependency ratio in the world. This dividend will end after reaching its peak in 2015. Labor force growth will slow, and by 2040 the region may have one of the highest dependency ratios of all developing regions (with more than 5.5 non-working age people for every 10 working age people). China, a big regional driver, is expected to continue to run substantial current account surpluses, due to large declines in its investment rate as it transitions to a lower level of public involvement in investment.

Eastern Europe and Central Asia is the furthest along in its demographic transition, and will be the only developing region to reach zero population growth by 2030. Aging is expected to moderate economic growth in the region, and also has the potential to bring down the saving rate more than any developing region, apart from East Asia. The region’s saving rate may decline more than its investment rate, in which case countries in the region will have to finance investment by attracting more capital flows. The region will also face significant fiscal pressure from aging. Turkey, for example, would see its public pension spending increase by more than 50 percent by 2030 under the current pension scheme. Several other countries in the region will also face large increases in pension and health care expenditures.

Latin America and the Caribbean, a historically low-saving region, may become the lowest-saving region by 2030. Although demographics will play a positive role, as dependency ratios are projected to fall through 2025, financial market development (which reduces precautionary saving) and a moderation in economic growth will play a counterbalancing role. Similarly, the rising and then falling impact of demography on labor force growth means that the investment rate is expected to rise in the short run, and then gradually fall. However, the relationship between inequality and saving in the region suggests an alternative scenario. As in other regions, poorer households tend to save much less; thus, improvements in earning capacity, rising incomes, and reduced inequality have the potential not only to boost national saving but, more importantly, to break poverty traps perpetuated by low saving by poor households.

The Middle East and North Africa has significant scope for financial market development, which has the potential to sustain investment but also, along with aging, to reduce saving. Thus, current account surpluses may also decline moderately up to 2030, depending on the pace of financial market development. The region is in a relatively early phase of its demographic transition: characterized by a still fast growing population and labor force, but also a rising share of elderly. Changes in household structure may also impact saving patterns, with a transition from intergenerational households and family-based old age support to smaller households and greater reliance on asset income in old age. The region has the lowest use of formal financial institutions for saving by low-income households, and scope for financial markets to play a significantly greater role in household saving.

South Asia will remain one of the highest saving and highest investing regions until 2030. However, with the scope for rapid economic growth and financial development, results for saving, investment, and capital flows will vary significantly: in a scenario of more rapid economic growth and financial market development, high investment rates will be sustained while saving falls significantly, implying large current account deficits. South Asia is a young region, and by about 2035 is likely to have the highest ratio of working- to nonworking-age people of any region in the world. The general shift in investment away from agriculture towards manufacturing and service sectors is likely to be especially pronounced in South Asia, with the region’s share of total investment in manufacturing expected to nearly double, and investment in the service sector to increase by more than 8 percentage points, to over two-thirds of total investment.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s investment rate will be steady due to robust labor force growth. It will be the only region to not see a decrease in its saving rate in a scenario of moderate financial market development, since aging will not be a significant factor. In a scenario of faster growth, poorer African countries will experience deeper financial market development, and foreign investors will become increasingly willing to finance investment in the region. Sub-Saharan Africa is currently the youngest of all regions, with the highest dependency ratio. This ratio will steadily decrease throughout the time horizon of this report and beyond, bringing a long lasting demographic dividend. The region will have the greatest infrastructure investment needs over the next two decades (relative to GDP). At the same time, there will likely be a shift in infrastructure investment financing toward greater participation by the private sector, and substantial increases in private capital inflows, particularly from other developing regions.

 

Source: WorldBank.org

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IFC to Support Central Bank of Nigeria in Strengthening Sustainable Banking

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

About IFC

 

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, mobilizing capital in international financial markets, and providing advisory services to businesses and governments. In FY12, our investments reached an all-time high of more than $20 billion, leveraging the power of the private sector to create jobs, spark innovation, and tackle the world’s most pressing development challenges. For more information, visit http://www.ifc.org.

 

 

ABUJA, Nigeria, May 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, today signed an agreement with the Central Bank of Nigeria to support the implementation of standards, policies and guidelines for environmental and social best practices in the Nigerian banking sector, with the aim of promoting sustainable and inclusive growth of the Nigerian economy.

 

 

As part of the agreement IFC will train Central Bank staff on how to supervise the financial sector in the implementation of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles and Sector Guidelines, passed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in July 2012 and signed by all Nigerian banks.

 

 

The Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles include commitments by the signatories to integrate environmental and social considerations into business activities, respect human rights, promote women’s economic empowerment, and promote financial inclusion by reaching out to communities that traditionally have had limited or no access to the formal financial sector.

 

 

Aisha Mahmood, Sustainability Advisor to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, said, “Working with IFC will help us further develop existing practices and capacities on environmental and social risk management among financial institutions. As regulators of the Nigerian financial sector, we recognize that financial institutions are key drivers in supporting sustainable economic growth.”

 

 

The partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria is part of IFC’s Environmental Performance and Market Development Program, which aims to encourage sustainable lending standards among financial institutions in Sub-Saharan Africa and to promote environmental and social standards at a market level.

 

 

Solomon Adegbie-Quaynor, IFC Country Manager for Nigeria, said, “Sustainable business practices are important to financial institutions as they effectively add value both to the banking sector and to the general economy. We will support the Central Bank of Nigeria in this key initiative by sharing knowledge and technical resources.”

 

 

IFC is a leading investor in Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria, with a fast-growing, well-performing portfolio. IFC’s portfolio in Nigeria stands at $1.1 billion, the largest country portfolio in Africa and the eighth-largest globally.

 

 

SOURCE

International Finance Corporation (IFC) – The World Bank

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SA ECONOMIC GROWTH HIT BY MINING SECTOR

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

Will the Chinese purchase divested mining interests?

South Africa’s economic growth is lagging somewhat behind that of its peers in the developing world. IMF forecasts for 2013 indicate that emerging and developing economies will grow by 5,5% while SA’s GDP is expected to grow between 2,5% and 3%.

Global ranking

Country Name

GDP in Millions of US dollars (2011)

27

South Africa

408,237

39

Nigeria

243,986

60

Angola

104,332

88

Kenya

33,621

105

Zambia

19,206

One of the key reasons for slower growth is SA’s foreign trade structure and reliance on Europe. President Zuma used the opportunity at the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year to ensure foreign investors that South Africa is on the right track.

2012 will be remembered for the negative impact of labour unrest and resultant production stoppages in the mining sector. Mining reduced GDP by 0,5% in the first three quarters of the year. This excludes the biggest slump in the sector during the fourth quarter 2012.

Other significant features of the growth slowdown in 2012 were the slowdown in household consumption spending, poor growth in private fixed investment spending and a slump in real export growth.

South African’s inflation rate slowed to a five-month low in January 2013 after the statistics office adjusted the consumer price basket while food and fuel prices eased. In December, the inflation rate fell to 5,4% from 5,7% Statistics South Africa stated.

Government cut the price of fuel by 1,2% in January 2013, as a stronger rand in the previous month helped to curb import costs. Since then, the currency has plunged 4,8% against the dollar and fuel prices are on the rise, with prices increasing in March by a further 8%, adding to pressure on inflation.

South Africa’s strengths

· South Africa is the economic powerhouse of Africa, leading the continent in industrial output and mineral production, generating a large portion of the continent’s electricity.

· The economy of South Africa is the largest in Africa, accounting for 24% of the continent’s GDP in terms of PPP, and is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the world bank.

· The country has abundant natural resources, well developed financial, legal and transport sectors, a stock exchange ranked amongst the top 20 in the world, as well as a modern infrastructure supporting efficient distribution of goods throughout the Southern African region.

South Africa’s weaknesses

· South Africa suffers from a relatively heavy regulation burden when compared to most developed countries.

· Increasing costs for corporates with rising wages.

· Poverty, inequalities sources of social risk mixed with high unemployment and shortage of qualified labour.

Mining

Output in the mining sector remained weak in December with total mining production down by 7,5% y-o-y after falling by a revised 3,8% (previously -4,5%) in November. On a monthly basis production rose by a seasonally adjusted 1,2% compared with 12,0% in November. Non-gold output was down by 5,0% y-o-y, while gold production slumped by 21,2% in December. For the fourth quarter, total mining production fell by a seasonally-adjusted and annualised 4,6% q-o-q as output of most minerals dropped.

For 2012 as a whole, mining volumes fell by 3,1% after contracting by 0,9% in 2011. Mineral sales were down by 15,6% y-o-y in November after falling 13,7% in October. On a monthly basis sales rose by a seasonally-adjusted 2,3% in November, but sales were down by a seasonally-adjusted 10,2% in the three months to November after declining by 6,8% in the same period to October. These figures indicate that the mining sector is still reeling from the devastating effects of widespread labour strikes in the third and early fourth quarters.

Prospects for the mining sector remain dim as the industry faces headwinds both on the global and domestic fronts. Globally, commodity prices are not likely to make significant gains as demand conditions remain relatively unfavourable. Locally, tough operating conditions persist. Rapidly rising production costs, mainly energy and labour costs, are likely to compel mining companies to scale back operations or even halt them in some cases.

This will have a negative impact on production, with any improvements coming mainly from a normalisation of output should strike activity ease. These numbers, together with other recent releases, suggest that GDP growth for the fourth quarter was around 2,0%, with overall growth of 2,5% for the year as a whole. Overall economic activity in the sector therefore remains generally sluggish while upside risks to inflation have increased due to the weaker rand.

Retail

Annual growth in retail sales slowed to 2,3% in December from 3,6% in the previous month. Over the month, sales rose by a seasonally-adjusted 1,0%, causing sales for the last quarter of 2012 to decline by 0,2% following 2,1% growth in the third quarter.

As a whole, 2012 retail sales rose by 4,3%, slightly down from 5,9% in 2011. Consumer spending is likely to moderate during 2013 as weak consumer confidence, heightened worries about job security and high debt, make consumers more cautious about spending on non-essential items. The overall economic outlook remains weak and fragile, while inflation may increase due to the weaker rand.

Manufacturing

Annual growth in manufacturing production slowed to 2,0% in December 2012 from 3,7% in the previous month, versus the consensus forecast of 2,9%. The increase in output was recorded in seven of the ten major categories. Significant contributions came from petroleum, chemical products, rubber and plastic products. Over the month, total production fell by 2,2% on a seasonally adjusted basis following a 2,6% rise in November.

On a quarterly basis, however, production improved by 1,6% in the final quarter of 2012 following two quarters of weaker growth. Both local and international economic conditions are expected to improve only moderately during 2013. A weak Eurozone will continue to hurt the large export-orientated industries.

The recent recovery in infrastructure spending by the public sector will probably support the industries producing capital goods and other inputs for local projects. But the growth rate will be contained by slower capital expenditure by the private sector in response to the bleaker economic environment both locally and internationally.

Therefore, while a moderate recovery in manufacturing production will continue in 2013, no impressive upward momentum is expected. Overall economic activity remains generally sluggish while upside risks to inflation have increased due to a weaker rand.

Infrastructure

A new economic plan, the National Development Plan (NDP), is likely to be adopted in 2013 promoting low taxation for businesses and imposing less stringent employment requirements. This a measure that the ANC is pursuing ahead of the 2014 national elections. The NDP will encourage partnerships between government and the private sector, creating opportunities in petrochemical industries, metal-working and refining, as well as development of power stations.

Construction companies are especially likely to benefit from government plans to invest $112-billion from 2013 in the expansion of infrastructure as part of the NDP. Some 18 strategic projects will be launched to expand transport, power and water, medical and educational infrastructure in some of the country’s least developed areas.

Energy companies will also benefit, following the lifting of a moratorium on licences for shale gas development. Meanwhile, there will be significant opportunities, especially for Chinese state-owned enterprises that have recently made high-profile visits to South Africa, to acquire divested assets in the platinum and gold mining sector as large mining houses withdraw from South Africa.

According to government reports, the South African government will have spent R860-billion on new infrastructure projects in South Africa between 2009 and March 2013. In the energy sector, Eskom had put in place 675 kilometers of electricity transmission lines in 2012, to connect fast-growing economic centers and also to bring power to rural areas. More than 200 000 new households were connected to the national electricity grid in 2012. Construction work is also taking place in five cities including Cape Town, Port Elizabeth, Rustenburg, Durban and Pretoria to integrate different modes of transport.

Business Climate

Due to South Africa’s well-developed and world-class business infrastructure, the country is ranked 35th out of 183 countries in the World Bank and International Finance Corporation’s Doing Business 2012 report, an annual survey that measures the time, cost and hassle for businesses to comply with legal and administrative requirements. South Africa was ranked above developed countries such as Spain (44) and Luxembourg (50), as well as major developing economies such as Mexico (53), China (91), Russia (120), India (132) and Brazil (126).

The report found South Africa ranked first for ease of obtaining credit. This was based on depth of information and a reliable legal system.

Foreign trade

SA’s trade deficit narrowed to R 2,7-billion in December from R7,9-billion in November on account of seasonal factors. The trade balance usually records a surplus in December due to a large decline in imports. Exports declined 9,8% over the month. The decrease was mainly driven by declines in the exports of base metals. Vehicles, aircraft and vessels (down R1,1-billion), machinery and electrical appliances (down R0,9-billion) and prepared foodstuffs, beverages and tobacco (down 0,8-billion). Imports dropped 15,8% m-o-m.

Declines in the imports of machinery and electrical appliances (down R3,3-billion), original equipment components; (R1,8-billion), products of the chemicals or allied industries (R1,5-billion) and base metals and articles thereof (R1,2-billion) were the main drivers of the drop.

The large trade deficit for 2012 is one of the major reasons for the deterioration in the 2012 current account deficit forecast to 6,2% of GDP from 3,3% in 2011. South Africa’s trade performance will remain weak in the coming months on the back of unfavourable global conditions and domestic supply disruptions. Weak global economic conditions will continue to influence exports and growth domestically.

Skills and education

The need to transform South Africa’s education system has become ever more urgent, especially given the service delivery issues that have plagued the system. While government continues to allocate a significant amount of its budget to education (approximately 20%), it has not been enough to transform the schooling system. Coface expects the government to continue to support this critical sector, but that an opportunistic private sector will take advantage of government inefficiencies.

South Africa’s education levels are quite low compared to other developed and developing nations. South Africa began restructuring its higher education system in 2003 to widen access to tertiary education and reset the priorities of the old apartheid-based system. Smaller universities and technikons (polytechnics) were incorporated into larger institutions to form comprehensive universities.

Debt

The total number of civil judgments recorded for debt in South Africa fell by 9,8% year on year in November 2012 to 35 268, according to data released by Statistics South Africa. The total number of civil judgments recorded for debt decreased by 15,2% in three months ended November 2012 compared with the three months ended November 2011.

The number of civil summonses issued for debt fell 23,9% year-on-year to 70 537. During November, the 35 268 civil judgments for debt amounted to R414,1-million, with the largest contributors being money lent, with R142,5-million. There was a 21,9% decrease in the total number of civil summonses issued for debt in the three months ended November last year compared with the same period in 2011. A 23,9% y-o-y decrease was recorded in November.

South Africa maintains respectable debt-to-GDP ratios, although these grew to 39% of GDP by end-2012, substantially higher than the 34% for emerging and developing economies as a whole. When Fitch downgraded SA earlier this year, it specifically mentioned concerns about SA’s rising debt-to-GDP ratio, given that the ratio is higher than the country’s peers.

South Africa is uniquely exposed to foreign investor sentiment through the deficit on the current account combined with liquid and deep fixed interest markets. SA’s widening deficit on the current account is a specific factor that concerns the rating agencies and is one of the metrics the agencies will use to assess SA’s sovereign risk in the near future. Further downgrades are the risk – potentially driven by foreign investor sentiment about political risks.

Political landscape

Persistent unemployment, inequality and the mixed results of BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) intended to favour access to economic power by the historically disadvantaged populations have led to disappointment and resentment.

Social unrest is increasing. Recent events weakened the ruling coalition which came under fire for its management of these events. Tensions could intensify in the run up to the 2014 presidential elections. South Africa has a well-developed legal system, but government inefficiency, a shortage of skilled labour, criminality and corruption are crippling the business environment. South Africa also has a high and growing youth unemployment, high levels of visible inequality and government corruption so we would keep an eye on the escalating service delivery protest trends.

Labour force

The unemployment rate fell to 24,9% in the fourth quarter of 2012 from 25,5% in the third quarter, mainly reflecting an increase in the number of discouraged work seekers. Over the quarter, a total of 68 000 jobs were lost while the number discouraged work seekers rose by 87 000. The formal non-agricultural sector lost 52 000 jobs over the quarter, while the informal sector, in contrast, employed 8 000 more people. The breakdown shows that the highest number of jobs were lost in the private households category (48 000), followed by the trade and transport sectors, which shed 41 000 and 18 000 jobs respectively.

The agricultural sector led employment creation over the quarter, adding 24 000 jobs. Both local and international economic conditions are expected to improve only moderately during 2013.

Weak confidence and high wage settlement will make firms more cautious to expand capacity and employ more people this year. Government is likely to be the main driver of employment as it rolls out its infrastructure and job creation plans. The unemployment rate will therefore remain high in the short term.

Although the reduction in the unemployment rate is good news, it mainly reflects the large number of discouraged work seekers. Overall economic activity remains generally sluggish while upside risks to inflation have increased due to a weaker rand. Coface believes that this will persuade the Monetary Policy Committee to keep policy neutral over an extended period, with interest rates remaining unchanged for most of 2013. A reversal in policy easing is likely only late in the year or even in 2014.


 


Issued by:                                                                              Sha-Izwe/CharlesSmithAssoc

ON BEHALF OF:                                                   Coface

FURTHER INFORMATION:                                  Charles Smith

Tel:          (011) 781-6190

Email: charles@csa.co.za

Web:       www.csa.co.za

Media Contact:

Michele FERREIRA /
SENIOR MANAGER: MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION
TEL. : +27 (11) 208 2551  F.: +27 (11) 208 2651   M.: +27 (83) 326 2268
michele_ferreira@cofaceza.com

 

BUILDING D, DRA MINERALS PARK, INYANGA CLOSE

SUNNINGHILL, JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
T. +27 (11) 208 2500 –
www.cofaceza.com

About Coface

The Coface Group, a worldwide leader in credit insurance, offers companies around the globe solutions to protect them against the risk of financial default of their clients, both on the domestic market and for export. In 2012, the Group posted a consolidated turnover of €1.6 billion. 4,400 staff in 66 countries provide a local service worldwide. Each quarter, Coface publishes its assessments of country risk for 158 countries, based on its unique knowledge of companies’ payment behaviour and on the expertise of its 350 underwriters located close to clients and their debtors. In France, Coface manages export public guarantees on behalf of the French state.

Coface is a subsidiary of Natixis. corporate, investment management and specialized financial services arm of Groupe BPCE.. In South Africa, Coface provides credit protection to clients. Coface South Africa is rated AA+ by Global Ratings.

www.cofaceza.com

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MasterCard to Power Nigerian Identity Card Program

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Africa Business

13 Million Cards to be issued first, in largest card rollout of its kind in Africa


About MasterCard

MasterCard (NYSE: MA) (http://www.mastercard.com) is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews (https://twitter.com/#!/MasterCardNews), join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog (http://newsroom.mastercard.com/blog) and subscribe (http://newsroom.mastercard.com/subscribe) for the latest news (http://newsroom.mastercard.com).

About NIMC

The National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) was established by the NIMC Act No.23, 2007 as the primary legal, regulatory and institutional mechanism for implementing a reliable and sustainable national identity management system that will enable Nigerian citizens and legal residents assert their identity. The Act mandates the NIMC to create, own, operate and manage a national identity database, issue national identification numbers to registered individuals, provide identity authentication and verification services, issue multipurpose smartcards, integrate identity databases across government agencies and foster the orderly development of the identity sector in Nigeria. The Act also empowered the NIMC to collaborate with any public and or private sector organization to realize its objectives.

About Unified Payments

Unified Payments is owned by a consortium of Nigerian Banks. Our core businesses comprise Processing, Merchant Acquiring, Switching, Payment Terminal Services and provision of Value Added Services & Solutions. Unified Payments pioneered the issuance and acceptance of EMV Chip + PIN cards in Nigeria, leading to reduction of ATM fraud in Nigeria by over 95%. The company enabled Nigerian banks and merchants for the first time ever to accept foreign cards at ATMs and Points of Sale Terminals, and also pioneered the issuance of Naira cards that are globally accepted.

About Access Bank

Access Bank Plc (http://www.accessbankplc.com) is a full service commercial Bank operating through a network of over 300 branches and service outlets located in major centres across Nigeria, Sub Saharan Africa and the United Kingdom. Listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, the Bank has over 800,000 shareholders and has enjoyed what is arguably Africa’s most successful banking growth trajectory in the last ten years ranking amongst Africa’s top 20 banks by total assets and capital in 2011. As part of its continued growth strategy, Access Bank has made sustainable business core to all its operations. The Bank strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible and socially relevant.


CAPE-TOWN, South-Africa, May 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) (http://www.nimc.gov.ng) and MasterCard (http://www.mastercard.com) today announced at the World Economic Forum on Africa the roll-out of 13 million MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Cards (http://www.nimc.gov.ng/reports/id_card_policy.pdf) with electronic payment capability as a pilot program. The National Identity Smart Card is the Card Scheme under the recently deployed National Identity Management System (NIMS). This program is the largest roll-out of a formal electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion initiative of its kind on the African continent.

The Nigerian National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) will be issuing MasterCard-branded National Identity Smart Cards with electronic payment capability. This program is the largest roll-out of a formal electronic payment solution in the country and the broadest financial inclusion initiative of its kind on the African continent.

 

Earlier this year Ajay Banga commended the Finance Minister of Nigeria Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the Central Bank Governor Sanusi Lamido on the Cashless Nigeria initiative and discussed MasterCard’s commitment to supporting a widespread national identification program in the country.

 

 

Infographic – Navigating the Next Cashless Continent: http://newsroom.mastercard.com/press-releases/mastercard-to-power-nigerian-identity-card-program/mastercard_africa_infographic_01-13_v9/

As part of the program, in its first phase, Nigerians 16 years and older, and all residents in the country for more than two years, will get the new multipurpose identity card which has 13 applications including MasterCard’s prepaid payment technology that will provide cardholders with the safety, convenience and reliability of electronic payments. This will have a significant and positive impact on the lives of these Nigerians who have not previously had access to financial services.

The Project will have Access Bank Plc as the pilot issuer bank for the cards and Unified Payment Services Limited (Unified Payments) as the payment processor. Other issuing banks will include United Bank for Africa, Union Bank, Zenith, Skye Bank, Unity Bank, Stanbic, and First Bank.

The announcement was witnessed by Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy in Nigeria, who stressed the importance of the National Identity Smart Card Scheme in moving Nigeria to an electronic platform. This program is good practice for us to bring all the citizens on a common platform for interacting with the various government agencies and for transacting electronically. We will implement this initiative in a collaborative manner between the public and private sectors, to achieve its full potential of inclusive citizenship and more effective governance,” she said.

“Today’s announcement is the first phase of an unprecedented project in terms of scale and scope for Nigeria,” said Michael Miebach, President, Middle East and Africa, MasterCard. “MasterCard has been a firm supporter of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) (http://www.cenbank.org) Cashless Policy (http://www.cenbank.org/cashless) as we share a vision of a world beyond cash. From the program’s inception, we have provided the Federal Government of Nigeria with global insights and best practices on how electronic payments can enable economic growth and create a more financially inclusive economy”.

Chris ‘E Onyemenam, the Director General and Chief Executive of the National Identity Management Commission, said “We have chosen MasterCard to be the payment technology provider for the initial rollout of the National Identity Smart Card project because the Company has shown a commitment to furthering financial inclusion through the reduction of cash in the Nigerian economy.” He added “MasterCard has pioneered large scale card schemes that combine biometric functionality with electronic payments and we want to capitalize on their experience in this field to make our program rollout a sustainable success for the country and for the continent.”

“Access Bank’s involvement in this project is testament to our ongoing efforts to expand financial inclusion in Nigeria,” said Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, CEO of Access Bank. “The new identity card will revolutionize the Nigerian economic landscape, breaking down one of the most significant barriers to financial inclusion – proof of identity, while simultaneously providing Nigerians with a world class payment solution”.

“Unified Payments is the foremost transaction processor and pioneer of EMV processing and acquiring in Nigeria, owned by leading Nigerian banks. We will use our expertise and experience to guarantee the success of the project and ensure that the data of Nigerians are protected. We look forward to working with other partners in delivering value to all stakeholders”, said Agada Apochi, Managing Director and CEO, Unified Payments.

The new National Identity Smart Card will incorporate the unique National Identification Numbers (NIN) of duly registered persons in the country. The enrollment process involves the recording of an individual’s demographic data and biometric data (capture of 10 fingerprints, facial picture and digital signature) that are used to authenticate the cardholder and eliminate fraud and embezzlement. The resultant National Identity Database will provide the platform for several other value propositions of the NIMC including identity authentication and verification.

Thanks to the unique and unambiguous identification of individuals under the NIMS, other identification card schemes like the Driver’s License, Voters Registration, Health Insurance, Tax, SIM and the National Pension Commission (PENCOM) will benefit and can all be integrated, using the NIN, into the multi-function Card Scheme of the NIMS. When fully utilizing the card as a prepaid payment tool, the cardholder can deposit funds on the card, receive social benefits, pay for goods and services at any of the 35 million MasterCard acceptance locations globally, withdraw cash from all ATMs that accept MasterCard, or engage in many other financial transactions that are facilitated by electronic payments. All in a secure and convenient environment enabled by the EMV Chip and Pin standard.

Upon completion of the National ID registration process, NIMC aims to introduce more than 100 million cards to Nigeria’s 167 million (http://www.tradingeconomics.com/nigeria/population) citizens.

 

SOURCE

MasterCard Worldwide

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Towards a New Economic Model for Tunisia: Identifying Tunisia’s Binding Constraints to Broad-Based Growth -

Posted on 30 April 2013 by Africa Business

The Government of Tunisia, the African Development Bank and the United States Government have released a report

 

TUNIS, Tunisia, April 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Government of Tunisia, the African Development Bank (http://www.afdb.org) and the United States Government have released the report entitled “Towards a New Economic Model for Tunisia: Identifying Tunisia’s Binding Constraints to Broad-Based Growth”. The report, aims at identifying the most binding constraints to growth in Tunisia in order to identify areas where policy reforms are most needed. The study attempts to identify these constraints, both as they were manifested in the years leading up to the revolution and today. The methodology starts from the widely accepted proposition that private sector investment and entrepreneurship are ultimately the keys to sustained economic growth and follows the Growth Diagnostics approach proposed by Ricardo Hausmann, Dani Rodrik and Andrès Velasco.

The application of the methodological framework has revealed two broad categories of binding constraints to economic growth in Tunisia:

First, a lack of effective institutions to ensure public sector accountability, the rule of law, and checks and balances on power in Tunisia results in weak protection of property rights and barriers to entry. Property rights and investment freedoms are fundamental to the development of entrepreneurship and to investment, innovation and risk-taking, and therefore to achieving growth in productivity and the higher wages and living standards that accompany it.

Establishing a sound framework of economic governance including institutions that provide investors with a clear and transparent set of rules and assurance that they will be able to reap the fruits of their investments will require a sustained effort.

Second, although social security programs and labour protections are intended to enhance the pay, benefits and economic security of workers, many measures currently in place in Tunisia have been counterproductive in achieving these aims for all but the most fortunate Tunisian workers. Rather than enhancing the provision of acceptable jobs, they result in reduced investment, greater informality, lower worker pay, higher unemployment, and increased economic insecurity. Firms remain small and use a variety of means to circumvent the formal requirements of employing workers, including informality or under-declaration of employees.

Their inability to adjust employment according to market conditions discourages them from growing to attain economies of scale and from investing in worker training. These responses in turn reduce innovation and productivity growth and make Tunisian firms less competitive internationally. Tunisia’s slow growth in labour productivity relative to other middle-income countries reinforces the pressure to reduce private sector wages. Alternatives for designing social security systems and labour market protections should be considered with the aim of protecting people rather than specific jobs.

These binding constraints operate on a national level and therefore have negative consequences both in faster growing and lagging regions. While a lack of investment in infrastructure and poor school quality are widely believed to reduce investment and employment opportunities in lagging regions, the lack of demand for the products and workers emanating from those regions is primarily driven by national and international markets. Indeed, the constraints identified in this diagnostic may be even more binding on the growth of lagging regions.

The identified constraints affect exporting firms and foreign-owned firms to a somewhat lesser extent than firms primarily serving domestic markets. Exporters enjoy exoneration of social charges and other taxes for several years and, given their larger scale and higher productivity, are better able to adhere to formal labor requirements. They also appear to have been less subject to infringement of property rights under the prior regime. However, the identified constraints are still likely to dampen investment and employment creation by exporting firms as well. Meanwhile, the constraints present a tremendous barrier for Tunisian firms serving the domestic market – some of which would otherwise supply exporting firms or export directly but under current circumstances cannot expand or innovate to the degree needed to compete internationally. Although Tunisia has relied upon an industrial policy and various tax breaks to promote innovation and competitiveness, without removing these fundamental obstacles further government efforts to directly subsidize or promote innovation are not likely to succeed in transforming the economy.

In addition to the two binding constraints identified above, risks have emerged since the revolution that could become binding constraints if not effectively addressed. First is the risk that social unrest becomes persistent and pervasive, in which case it would deter investment in the coming years. Related to this is the risk of macroeconomic instability that could emerge if internal social and economic pressures override the government’s commitment to fiscal sustainability. In addition to this risk, the analysis highlights the problematic nature of the financial sector; the low quality of primary and secondary education, particularly in lagging regions; the need for improved water resource management; and the limits of Tunisia’s current seaport capacity and management. Although not currently binding constraints, these problems could become more important constraints in the future.

Based on the outcomes of this analysis, the African Development Bank and its partners will support Tunisia in overcoming these constraints to achieve a stronger and sustainable broad-based growth.

 

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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IMF Executive Board Completes First Review Under ECF Arrangement for Niger and Approves US$16.9 Million Disbursement

Posted on 29 March 2013 by Africa Business

NIAMEY, Niger, March 29, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) today completed the first

review of Niger’s economic performance under the program supported by a three-year, SDR 78.96 million (about US$118.3 million) Extended Credit Facility (ECF) arrangement approved by the IMF’s Executive Board on March 16, 2012 (see Press Release No. 12/90). The decision enables an immediate disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 11.28 million (about US$16.9 million), bringing total disbursements under the arrangement to an amount equivalent to SDR 22.56 million (US$33.8 million).

In completing the review, the Executive Board approved the request for a waiver for nonobservance of the performance criterion on new non-concessional external debt with maturities of one year or more. The Executive Board’s decision on the first review was taken on a lapse of time basis.1

Economic activity was buoyant in 2012, with economic growth estimated at over 11 percent, thanks to the coming onstream of a new oil project and a rebound in agricultural production. Average inflation is estimated to have remained slightly below 1 percent, as upward pressures on food prices caused by food shortages in the first part of the year were largely offset by lower energy prices. Credit to the private sector expanded significantly, driven by high credit demand from public enterprises and trading firms. The current account deficit is projected to decline, reflecting the coming onstream of petroleum production resulting in net exports of petroleum products.

Fiscal revenues in 2012 increased relative to 2011, but are likely to fall short of program targets for 2012 due to weaknesses in customs and oil revenue. All end-June quantitative performance criteria were met, but at the expense of expenditure constraint. Several end-September fiscal targets were missed as spending increased in order to bring poverty-reducing spending back in line with program targets and due to an increase in military spending following the deterioration in the regional security situation. Additional measures were taken to limit spending during the remaining months of 2012. The continuous performance criterion on non-concessional borrowing was breached because of the contracting of a non-concessional loan with the Republic of Congo, but a waiver was granted by the Executive Board, as the loan was cancelled before disbursing. The majority of the structural reforms under the program were implemented, albeit with delays, and a plan to stem the losses at the oil refinery has been developed for implementation in 2013.

Medium-term prospects remain positive, thanks to ongoing investment in the natural resource sector, with growth projected at 6¼ percent in 2013 and inflation projected to remain moderate. However, risks remain tilted to the downside given the fragile security situation in the region; the frequent climatic shocks, as evidenced by the August 2012 floods; the uncertainty regarding commodity prices; and potential delays in the implementation of natural resource sector projects.

The ECF-supported program for 2013 builds on the government’s medium-term strategy set out in the Memorandum of Economic and Financial Policies of March 2, 2012. It also takes into account the authorities’ newly adopted ambitious poverty reducing strategy paper, the Plan for Economic and Social Development. A key goal of the 2013 program is to tackle the revenue weaknesses by advancing the plan to strengthen the financial position of the oil refinery and the implementation of measures already taken to strengthen customs. Other elements of the program include (i) creating fiscal space for development spending while maintaining debt sustainability; (ii) rebuilding the government deposits at the central bank; (iii) implementing structural reforms to strengthen budget execution, treasury management, and domestic revenue collection; (iv) enhancing the oversight of the natural resource sector; and (v) continuing ongoing reforms aimed at financial development and improving the business environment.

1 The Executive Board takes decisions under its lapse of time procedure when it is agreed by the Board that a proposal can be considered without convening formal discussions.

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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Africa’s Agriculture and Agribusiness Markets Set to Top US$ One Trillion in 2030

Posted on 06 March 2013 by Africa Business

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Africa has the potential to create a trillion-dollar food market
  • But farmers need better access to help them grow and trade their products
  • A new report outlines challenges and solutions to Africa’s Agriculture and Agribusiness sectors

WASHINGTON –A new World Bank report “Growing Africa: Unlocking the Potential of Agribusiness,” says that Africa’s farmers and agribusinesses could create a trillion-dollar food market by 2030 if they can expand their access to more capital, electricity, better technology and irrigated land to grow high-value nutritious foods.  The report calls on governments to work side-by-side with agribusinesses, to link farmers with consumers in an increasingly urbanized Africa.

“The time has come for making African agriculture and agribusiness a catalyst for ending poverty,” says Makhtar Diop, World Bank Vice President for Africa Region. “We cannot overstate the importance of agriculture to Africa’s determination to maintain and boost its high growth rates, create more jobs, significantly reduce poverty, and grow enough cheap, nutritious food to feed its families, export its surplus crops, while safeguarding the continent’s environment.”

New Findings

Good prospects: Africa’s food and beverage markets are projected to reach $1 trillion by 2030. By way of comparison, the current size of the market is $313 billion, offering the prospect of a three-fold increase, bringing more jobs, greater prosperity, less hunger, and significantly more opportunity enabling African farmers to compete globally.

Performance boost needed: Africa’s agriculture and agribusinesses are underperforming.  Many developing countries such as Brazil, Indonesia, and Thailand now export more food products than all of Sub-Saharan Africa combined.  Even as export shares are falling, import of food products is rising.  The report argues that these adverse trends can be reversed through good policies, sustained public-private investment, and strong public-private partnerships backed by open, transparent procedures and processes along the entire value chain.

Untapped land and water: Africa has more than half of the world’s fertile yet unused land.  Africa uses only two percent of its renewable water resources compared to the global average of five percent.  Post-harvest losses run 15 to 20 percent for cereals and are higher for perishable products due to poor storage and other farm infrastructure.

While pointing to the need for significant investment in infrastructure the report carries an unequivocal warning: in the rush to allocate land for agribusiness, care needs to be taken so that acquisitions do not threaten people’s livelihoods and land purchases or leases are conducted according to ethical and socially responsible standards, including recognizing local users’ rights, holding consultations with local communities, and paying fair market-rate compensation for land acquired.

Adding Value

The report took an in-depth look at entire value chains – the process for taking products from farms to markets – for five commodities, rice, maize, cocoa, dairy and green beans.  Africa is the world’s leading importer and consumer of rice, paying US$3.5 billion for import bills. By increasing rice production, Senegal can help meet local demand but more capital is needed together with greater investment in irrigation and easing restrictions on access to land. Ghana, another top importer, produces more varieties of rice but at significantly higher cost.

“Improving Africa’s agriculture and agribusiness sectors means higher incomes and more jobs. It also allows Africa to compete globally. Today, Brazil, Indonesia and Thailand each export more food products than all of sub-Saharan Africa combined.  This must change,” says Jamal Saghir, World Bank Director for Sustainable Development in the Africa Region.

Success Story

Although much of Eastern and Southern Africa is well suited to dairy production, only Kenya has established a competitive dairy industry. Kenya’s industry is based partly on a formal sector for processed milk and other dairy products, but its dynamic informal sector (based mostly on raw milk) is even more important, supplying over 80 percent of the market. Kenya’s success largely comes from the entrepreneurship of smallholders’ who choose high milk-yielding cross-bred cattle, improved feeds and paid better attention to animal health.  Also, Kenya success points to the importance of improving linkages to the formal sector through cooperative milk collection and milk cooling centers. Even though challenges remain government policy, especially flexibility in setting quality and safety standards for the informal chain were vital.

Looking Ahead

The report says agriculture and agribusiness should be at the top of the development and business agenda in Sub-Saharan Africa. Strong leadership and commitment from both public and private sectors is needed.  For success, engaging with strategic “good practice” investors is critical, as is the need for strengthening of safeguards, land administration systems, and screening investments for sustainable growth.  Concluding on an upbeat note, the report says Africa can draw on many local successes to guide governments and investors toward positive economic, social and environmental outcomes.

“African farmers and businesses must be empowered through good policies, increased public and private investments and strong public-private partnerships,” says Gaiv Tata, World Bank Director for Financial and Private Sector Development in Africa.  “A strong agribusiness sector is vital for Africa’s economic future.”

 

Source: WorldBank.org

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South Africa: Progress made but step up economic reforms to achieve full potential, says OECD

Posted on 04 March 2013 by Africa Business

PARIS, France, March 4, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ South Africa must step up efforts to foster strong, inclusive economic growth that creates jobs, according to the OECD’s latest Economic Survey of South Africa. Priorities include a growth-enhancing macroeconomic policy-mix, and better implementation of structural reforms, notably to improve education.

 

The Survey, presented in Pretoria by OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and South African Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan, recognises also the important advances South Africa has made in recent years. “South Africa has recorded tremendous success in a number of economic and social policies” Mr Gurría said. “Per capita income is rising, public services are expanding, health indicators are improving and public finances are in better shape than in many OECD countries.”

 

However, the country is growing at a slower pace than other leading emerging economies, according to the Survey. “A high proportion of the population is out of work; offering people a brighter future by creating jobs is a policy priority,” Mr Gurría said. “Income inequality remains high, educational outcomes should be improved and access to education needs to be inclusive. Environmental challenges like climate change and water scarcity need to be tackled to make economic growth green and sustainable. There is unfinished business that will require additional reform efforts.”

 

The OECD identifies several priority areas for action:

Make better use of macroeconomic policy to support growth. The deficit expanded rapidly during the crisis and has been brought down only gradually since. Much of the increase in spending came through large increases in the public sector wage bill, while public investment has fallen as a share of total expenditure. With core inflation remaining well contained, monetary policy has been eased cautiously. The rand has fluctuated with international sentiment, and has been overvalued for extended periods.

Implement reforms to boost competition and improve the functioning of labour markets. Most industries are highly concentrated, with network industries dominated by state owned enterprises. Large firms are able to share excess returns with their employees via collective bargaining, and in some sectors the collective agreements are extended to other firms, creating a barrier to entry for small enterprises. This results in a sharply dualised labour market, with a well-paid formal sector covered by collective bargaining and a secondary market where pay is low and conditions poor. Many South Africans are excluded from work altogether, contributing to poverty, inequality, and ill health. Strengthening product market competition and improving the functioning of labour market institutions should be high priorities.

Improve education to give people better prospects and opportunity. Skill mismatches are a key element of the persistently high unemployment rate, especially for youth: the education system is not producing the skills needed in the labour market. The benefits of obtaining a high school diploma – as concerns the probability of finding a job and the earnings premium when employed – are mediocre, whereas the shortage of skilled workers is reflected in a high premium for university graduates. Shortages of learning materials, teachers, support staff and well-trained principals across most of the school system contribute to the poor outcomes. If South Africa is to achieve full employment, the quality of basic and vocational education must be improved.

Work towards a greener and cleaner economy. Greater use of market instruments can help the authorities deal with long-term environmental challenges. In most respects the policy framework for addressing green issues, including climate change and water scarcity, is sound, but implementation has been inadequate. Similar problems are seen in the electricity and water sectors, where supply struggles to keep up with demand in a setting where prices – when they exist – do not cover total costs. The policy challenge is to explain the necessary increases in the relative price of energy and water and then bring them about in a manner that minimises adjustment costs to protect the poor, by applying appropriate social policy instruments.

Further information on the Economic Survey of South Africa is available at: http://www.oecd.org/eco/surveys/southafrica2013.htm. You are invited to include this Internet link in coverage.

 

SOURCE

Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

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Standard Bank Group cautiously optimistic about BRICS development bank

Posted on 01 March 2013 by Africa Business

 

The feasibility of establishing a BRICS development bank will be an agenda item prominent in the upcoming fifth BRICS summit. The envisioned bank is expected to focus on financing infrastructure development projects and providing auxiliary support for project preparation such as feasibility studies, according to a report released by Standard Bank Group today.

Standard Bank Group sees the proposed BRICS bank as an attempt to give an institutional underpinning to the BRICS grouping, with the main ambition of directing development in a manner that reflects the BRICS priorities and competencies. Standard Bank Group believes that the proposed institution would contribute constructively to the development of more robust and inter-dependant ties between the BRICS.

Standard Bank Group expects the BRICS to establish a working group at the summit to give effect to the notion of a BRICS bank, and expects the summit to yield a relatively concrete outcome pertaining to the objective, structure and governance of the bank, which would ultimately allow for its formal establishment.

“The proposed BRICS bank is expected to operate as a conduit for funding economic development, much like the World Bank. We believe the bank will focus on financing projects linked to intra-BRICS bilateral multipliers and shared interests such as job creation and urbanisation, with a particular emphasis on physical infrastructure projects,” says Jeremy Stevens, Standard Bank Group’s Beijing-based economist, who is also one of the authors of the report. “However, the BRICS bank is not a counterweight to multilateral development banks, notably the World Bank, but is an auxiliary funding institution, albeit more aligned to BRICS development agenda.”

He adds that the success of a BRICS bank will depend on its specialisation, rather than creating overlapping agendas with other development financing institutions and BRICS’ state policy banks, including Brazil Development Bank, China Development Bank and Export-Import Bank of India.

“A host of pragmatic issues require resolution, including the funding source, ideal borrower (whether it will be sovereigns or includes the private sector), types of projects, geographical reach, bank headquarters and many others,” Mr Stevens notes.

It has been proposed that each of the five member states would initially contribute USD10 billion in seed capital to the BRICS bank. And the bank would then aim to borrow from global capital markets by issuing bonds, thus becoming a non-resident borrower in the US, Europe, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

“The egalitarian principle behind the proposal for the seed capital is commendable and based, presumably, on a desire to avoid discrepant influence and political tension created by varying contributions, but it is inevitable that the contribution will pressure some members more than others. It seems as though the eventual contribution to the bank, and the distribution of the associated risk, may vary and influence over the fund’s decision-making process may too. Unless pragmatically managed, political strains similar to those faced within the IMF may emerge,” Stevens says.

“For a BRICS bank, a critical divergence with the World Bank will likely emerge in the cost of funding. World Bank bonds are AAA-rated, given the fact that they are guaranteed by the institution’s 180 member states. With a much smaller pool of economies acting as guarantors, the BRICS bank is likely to have less favourable cost of funding than the World Bank as well as individual BRICS state policy banks.”

 

Source: Standard Bank

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