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WORLD ENERGY CONGRESS UNVEILS PROGRAM THEMES

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

Ministers, CEOs and experts to address full range of energy issues

LONDON &SEOUL– 14th May 2013: The 2013 World Energy Congress Organizing Committee announced today some of the significant program topics that will be discussed by leading figures in the energy sector at the world’s premier energy event, to be held in Daegu, South Korea from October 13 to 17, 2013.

Under the theme of ‘Securing Tomorrow’s Energy Today’, topics range from the future prospects of the oil & gas, coal, nuclear, and renewables sectors to the tough policy decisions needed to balance the often conflicting priorities of energy security, universal access to affordable energy, and environmental protection. Delegates will also be given insights into how finance and innovation are shaping our energy future.

“The Congress will provide a fascinating overview of the opportunities and challenges of our energy world in transition,” said Dr. Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the World Energy Council. “The issues to be highlighted will be addressed from a number of viewpoints, encompassing the perspectives of individual energy sectors and geographical regions, as well as providing a strategic overview of global energy trends.”

More than 200 prominent speakers, including energy ministers, industry CEOs and top experts and researchers, will answer the most pressing questions facing the global energy industry today, such as:

· Oil: Will state oil companies and independents come to dominate the industry?

· Gas: Will shale gas be a game changer in redrawing the global energy map or is it just a bubble?

· Coal: Can demand for coal overcome environmental concerns?

· Renewables: Is the honeymoon over?

· Nuclear: Can effective international governance rules keep alive the nuclear renaissance?

· Hydro: Has its time finally come?

· Biofuels: What are the critical success factors for sustainable projects?

· Utilities: Will new business models succeed in promoting decentralization?

· Energy access: Is it achievable against the competing demands for water and food?

· Energy security: What are the next big energy sources?

· Environment mitigation: Are green growth and rapid economic growth compatible?

· Energy efficiency: Are yesterday’s cities fit for tomorrow’s energy?

· Finance: Is development finance delivering inclusive green growth?

· Energy innovation: Is venture capital more important than government support?

· Asia: Can the region become a showcase for green growth?

· Eurasia: Can it achieve partnerships to unlock its full energy potential?

· Middle East: Will it balance the needs of energy exports, local energy growth and job creation?

· Latin America: Blessed with resources, but overwhelmed by choice?

· Europe: Can it achieve effective energy market integration?

· Africa: Is there an energy infrastructure road map?

“The program at the 22nd World Energy Congress captures the full range and complexity of today’s energy challenges,” said Cho Hwan-eik, chair of the Organizing Committee of the 2013 World Energy Congress. “The Congress offers an impressive and unmatched list of speakers to provide insights on how these challenges can be addressed and overcome.”

Specific sessions and speakers will be announced shortly.

For further information, registration and other details, please log on to www.daegu2013.kr

Media Enquiries:

World Energy Congress – international

Seán Galvin

Tel: +44 (0)20 7269 7133

M: +44 (0)7788 568 245

Email: sean.galvin@fticonsulting.com

World Energy Council

Monique Tsang

Tel: +44 (0)20 3214 0616

Email: tsang@worldenergy.org

About the World Energy Congress

The World Energy Congress is the world’s premier energy gathering. The triennial World Energy Congress has gained recognition since the first event in 1923 as the premier global forum for leaders and thinkers to debate solutions to energy issues. In addition to the discussions, the event provides an opportunity for executives to display their technologies and explore business opportunities. With the upcoming Congress in Daegu the event will have been held in 20 major cities around the world since its founding.

Further details at www.daegu2013.kr and @WECongress

About the World Energy Council (WEC)

The World Energy Council (WEC) is the principal impartial network of leaders and practitioners promoting an affordable, stable and environmentally sensitive energy system for the greatest benefit of all. Formed in 1923, WEC is the UN-accredited global energy body, representing the entire energy spectrum, with more than 3000 member organisations located in over 90 countries and drawn from governments, private and state corporations, academia, NGOs and energy related stakeholders. WEC informs global, regional and national energy strategies by hosting high-level events, publishing authoritative studies, and working through its extensive member network to facilitate the world’s energy policy dialogue.

Further details at www.worldenergy.org and @WECouncil

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IMF Mission Concludes the 2013 Article IV Mission to the Republic of Congo

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

BRAZZAVILLE, Republic of the Congo, May 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ An International Monetary Fund (IMF) mission led by Mr. Mbuyamu Matungulu visited Brazzaville during April 29–May 13, 2013, to conduct discussions for the 2013 Article IV consultations. The mission met with the Honorable Obami Itou, President of the Senate; the Honorable Koumba, Speaker of Parliament; State and Finance Minister Ondongo, Special Presidential Advisor Gokana, National Director of the BEAC Ondaye Ebauh, and other senior officials. It held discussions with development partners and representatives of the private sector, including members of the banking profession.

At the end of the mission, Mr. Matungulu issued the following statement:

“In 2012, real GDP growth rebounded to about 4 percent despite a marked decline in oil production. Activity in the non-oil sectors was robust, driven by a surge in public spending in response to the ammunitions depot explosion of March 2012. The brisk increase in spending put pressures on prices, bringing end-year inflation to 7.5 percent as domestic supply response was limited. Reflecting the high import content of increased government outlays, the external current account turned negative in 2012. Credit growth remained robust. The basic non-oil primary budget deficit increased considerably, stemming from the expansion of government spending. However, the deficit was smaller than projected, with domestically-funded investment outlays somewhat lower than anticipated.

“Real GDP growth is expected to strengthen to 5.8 percent in 2013 despite a further decline of oil production, underpinned by continuing strong activity in construction and public works, telecommunications, as well as a timid start of iron ore production. Inflation eased to a monthly average of -0.1 percent in January-February 2013, and is projected to remain subdued during the remainder of the year as pressures from the 2012 ammunitions explosions fallout gradually recede. While the current account is expected to improve, the country remains vulnerable to adverse changes in external conditions, particularly on terms of trade. Compared to the initial budget, the mission’s current fiscal projections for 2013 reflect a shortfall in oil revenue equivalent to 4.8 percent of non-oil GDP, a reduction in government spending, as well as much higher-than-anticipated payments on arrears to social sectors. While the basic non-oil primary budget deficit should be contained below the projected level, the build-up of government deposits with the central bank would likely be much lower than targeted under the 2013 budget. The mission urged stronger treasury management and discussed quarterly fiscal targets for the remainder of the year to minimize slippages.

“The authorities’ medium-term development agenda seeks to foster private sector development, facilitate economic diversification, and secure growth inclusiveness. It appropriately emphasizes preservation of macroeconomic stability, improvements in governance and transparency and in business conditions, as well as a scaling up of investment to begin closing large infrastructure and skills gaps, while seeking further gains in budget consolidation. The mission encouraged the authorities to expedite reforms to improve the quality of spending; and welcomed World Bank involvement in the efforts to improve the management of the public investment program and enhance the productivity of the development budget. It underscored accelerated implementation of World Bank-supported reforms to improve the business environment, including in financial sector; and to roll out envisaged social protection systems. Regarding the management of oil resources, the mission reiterated calls for early adoption by Parliament of the draft law on budget transparency and accountability, following the achievement last February of compliant status under the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). As Congo moves ahead with the establishment of Special Economic Zones, the staff team urged caution. In particular, the mission encouraged the authorities to refrain from extending special fiscal incentives, and to focus instead on revamping infrastructure, including the inadequate electricity network, and advancing administrative facilitation. The staff team favored implementation of economy-wide reforms that improve the business environment for all so as to prevent abuses. It confirmed Congo’s low risk of debt distress but noted the need for continuing prudent borrowing policies to maintain long-term debt sustainability in the post-HIPC era.

“The mission discussed a medium- and long-term fiscal framework aimed at protecting spending from oil revenue volatility and ensuring budget and debt sustainability while supporting growth and guarding against the risks in the face of declining oil reserves. The framework makes provisions for scaled up investment and a buildup of net wealth that would sustain expenditures when oil resources are depleted. Under the agreed framework, nearly 65 percent of projected total oil revenue for 2013–2019 would be spent (two thirds of which on capital goods), and 35 percent saved; and the basic non-oil primary budget deficit would be limited to 36.1 percent of non-oil GDP by 2015.

“The authorities concurred with the need to improve coordination of economic policy management through development of appropriate reform-monitoring mechanisms. In this context, staff welcomed the government’s support to the ongoing review of the Economic and Monetary Community of Central African States (CEMAC)’s reserves pooling framework. Finally, the mission reminded the authorities of Congo’s legal obligations under Article VIII, Section 5, including the obligation to provide data to Fund staff on official holdings of foreign exchange.

“The mission wishes to express gratitude to the authorities for their hospitality. Upon its return to Washington D.C., the team will prepare a staff report to be discussed by the IMF’s Executive Board.”

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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What Is Needed for Sustainable Energy for Africa?

Posted on 09 May 2013 by Africa Business

18 – 20 FEBRUARY 2014 | SANDTON CONVENTION CENTRE |

JOHANNESBURG SOUTH AFRICA | WWW.ENERGYINDABA.CO.ZA

AFRICA ENERGY INDABA APRIL 2013

What Is Needed for Sustainable Energy for Africa?

The African Development Bank is at the forefront of initiatives aimed at providing energy access, and providing energy availability to Africans.  The Bank’s Southern African Director; Dr Ebrahim Faal delivered a presentation at the 2013 Africa Energy Indaba in February 2013 along these lines.  He looked at Africa’s energy landscape and presented the topic, “Towards Providing Sustainable Energy in Africa”.  In this newsletter, we take a look at the important issues covered in his presentation.

While Africa has plenty of energy resources, its energy statistics are not good.  Eighty-percent of the world’s population without electricity lives in rural Sub-Saharan Africa where per capita consumption is only 124KW per year.  Ninety-three percent of Africa’s hydropower potential is untapped and less than 10% of Africa’s hydro-electric power potential has been exploited. Africa also has the highest solar irradiation in the world.

Access to energy is critical to economic growth and development, and is the key to the achievement of the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs).  While two thirds of African economies are expected to grow around 6.2% this year, which is still below the 7% needed to make a sizeable dent in poverty levels, it is nevertheless remarkable.   Greater access to energy is needed in order for economies to grow at levels beyond 6.2% up to 7%.  Sustainable economic growth in Africa can only be realised through greater provision of energy access and availability.  If MDG related targets are to be met by 2015, access to energy needs to rise from the present low levels of 27%, to 64%. Dr Faal identified a number of key initiatives that need to be done in order to ensure a supply of sustainable energy in the African continent. These included:

· Governments in Africa need to enact energy policies that will produce reforms in the energy sector with regard to cost reflective tariffs that support vulnerable customers.

· The promotion of regional integration through NEPAD.

· The private sector needs to play an increasing role in energy infrastructure development.

· International finance institutions need to mobilise financial support;

· Implementation partnerships need to be crafted across development partners, governments, regions, between South-South, and between public & private sectors in order to accelerate and upgrade Africa’s infrastructure delivery.

Current African Development Bank projects include the following outcomes:

· Distributing electricity solutions in a number of rural electrification projects in Burkina Faso, Guinea and DRC.

· Working within some low-income countries in scaling gap renewable energy within the framework of climate investment funds, plus within the UN’s ‘Co-generation for Africa’ project.

· Projects for improving grid infrastructure and supply efficiency in on-going regional transmission projects, in Sierra Leone, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, and Guinea, which will connect fragile states through to the other countries in the West Africa Power Pool and lay the foundation of leveraging the HEP potential of Guinea.

· Facilitation work that includes institutional capacity building and development of policy and regulatory frameworks for enhanced regional collaboration.

· Involvement in large-scale renewable energy projects, for example Inga HEP project in the DRC, and concentrated solar power 500 MW plant in Morocco, as well as wind and energy projects.

· Engaging with clients in energy planning and policies; the ADB has a wealth of experience in advisory services, and as such provides guidance and support in issues such as reforming regulatory frameworks, improving governance and creating an enabling environment for private sector development

· Developing innovative financial instruments to meet specific African challenges. For example in 2011 established a SEF [Sustainable Energy Fund] for Africa that provides SME’s in the energy sector with project preparation grants and growth capital through private equity vehicles. Another innovative instrument in the pipeline is the mobilisation of additional finance from sources such as African Central Bank Reserves, African Pension Funds, the African Diaspora, and high net worth individuals on the continent.

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African Development Bank Group approves a new Ten-Year Strategy

Posted on 30 April 2013 by Africa Business

“This document reflects Africa’s vision for itself – a vision of transformation that is achievable”, said Donald Kaberuka

TUNIS, Tunisia, April 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The economic transformation of the African continent is the cornerstone of the African Development Bank Group’s new Ten-Year (2013-2022) Strategy (http://www.afdb.org). The Strategy, which has been approved by the Executive Directors of the Bank, emphasizes the quality and sustainability of growth.

 

Mr. Donald Kaberuka

The Directors’ approval followed a wide and deep consultation process, within and outside the Bank.

“This document reflects Africa’s vision for itself – a vision of transformation that is achievable”, said Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank Group since 2005. “It is a ten-year vision, which can make this continent – within another generation – the global growth pole that we know it can be and want it to be: a place fit for our aspirations and those of our children.”

“The Strategy reaffirms the Bank’s strategic choices around infrastructure, economic integration and the private sector. It charts the way towards inclusive growth that spans age, gender and geography, and takes special account of Africa’s fragile states which are home to 200 million people, as well as building climate resilience and the sustainable management of natural resources.”

The Strategy identifies the five main channels through which the Bank will deliver its work and improve the quality of growth in Africa. They are: infrastructure development, regional economic integration, private sector development, governance and accountability, skills and technology. The new strategy will also seek new and creative ways of mobilizing resources to support Africa’s transformation, especially by leveraging its own resources. Wider use of public-private partnerships, co-financing arrangements and risk-mitigation instruments will draw in new investors.

Mr Kaberuka added: “In a decade of seismic shifts in the global economy, Africa has defied the pessimists and experienced significant growth. That economic growth must now translate into real economic transformation, which will bring jobs and opportunities to its citizens. That is what makes the next decade so decisive, and the African Development Bank’s Strategy for 2013 to 2022 so vital”.

 

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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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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60 African countries to participate in the AIM 2013

Posted on 27 April 2013 by Africa Business

Dubai, an inspiring city for African countries in their policies, strategies and sustainable development

African countries look to attract investments in infrastructure, agriculture, energy, mining and tourism during their participation

Victoire Ndikumana Ministry of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism in Burundi: AIM is important platform to promote investment opportunities in our country

Gorden Moyo, Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals in Zimbabwe: AIM brings investors from all over the world and government representatives to interact and discuss investment opportunities

Hon Minister Kebba S Touray - Gambia

 

Kebba S. Touray, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration & Employment in Gambia: AIM is great opportunity and platform for strategic networking, establishing partnerships, promotion and learning best practices

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

The African countries sees Dubai as an inspiring city for them in their policies, strategies and sustainable development plans. 60 African countries will participate in the 3rd Edition of Annual Investment Meeting (AIM 2013). The AIM runs between April 30 & May 2 and is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. It is set to attract more investments to the UAE, region and enhance investment flows internationally and specially towards Africa that need FDI flows to achieve sustainable development in sectors like infrastructure, energy, agriculture, mining, tourism and many others given the attractive Return on Investment levels in Africa compared to other continents.

Victoire Ndikumana Minister of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism in Burundi described the AIM as a global event focused on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). AIM 2013 will be of great importance for Burundi because it provides representatives from the private and public sector an exclusive environment to establish MOUs and exchange views on the importance of multilateral trade agreements, economic governance and strategic cooperation with economic operators in the world in general and the UAE in particular.

Ndikumana said the Burundi looks forward to exchanging with the authorities of the United Arab Emirates and other countries represented at the AIM to learn about their regulation of FDI, the strengths and opportunities of investment offered by their country and then see how to improve trade with them.

We will present foreign investors with the progress made by our country in the promotion of trade and investment and we invite them to visit Burundi in order to assess for themselves the business environment in Burundi, says the Minister. Burundi delegation will present a number of projects for partners and investors. We hope that Burundian businessmen who are participating in this conference will conclude partnership with foreign investors present here, she noted.

The Minister of Trade, Industry, Posts and Tourism in Burundi said trade and investment between Burundi and the United Arab Emirates are doing well. Burundi has many investment opportunities which may be the subject of cooperation between the United Arab Emirates and Burundi. These opportunities include agriculture, livestock and fisheries, fruit, flowers, cereals, oilseeds (oil palm), enhancement of coffee and tea production. She also highlighted the possibilities of hydroelectricity, renewable energy and industrial fishing on Lake Tanganyika, extraction and processing mining: nickel, gold, coltan. Beach tourism and water sports on Lake Tanganyika, development of housing, public buildings, hotel and lodges, marine transportation on Lake Tanganyika and development of infrastructures such as roads, railways, airports, marina and sports are among the major opportunities available in Burundi, according to Ndikumana.

About supporting UAE’s bid to host Expo 2020 in Dubai, the minister noted that a team of experts is analyzing all the bids, and we are waiting for their reports. The government will then take a decision in due time.

Speaking about historical background, she said that Burundi has experienced many years of war and after many years of crisis, Burundians negotiated and signed a peace agreement in August 2000. Currently, peace and stability have been restored and Burundians are rebuilding their country. The authorities of the country are striving for social reconstruction and economic development.

The main challenges the Government of Burundi now faces is the fight against poverty and unemployment, the energy deficit, transport infrastructures low cost like railway, limited access to finance for small and medium enterprises. However, all these challenges are opportunities for investment.

The Government of Burundi has made many reforms to improve the business climate. That is why the country has been ranked as one of the top ten reformers in the 2012 and 2013 Doing Business reports of the World Bank. We welcome all potential investors. We promise that they will enjoy to invest in our country, the minister noted.

The Minister noted that the trade and investment between Burundi and UAE has developed over the past years and many businessmen and women from Burundi regularly visit the United Arab Emirates and specifically Dubai to make purchases of goods and services. In recent years, import from United Arab Emirates have improved strongly from $ 13.7 million in 2008 to $ 32.6 million in 2011, before falling to $ 27.6 in 2012. Burundi’s imports from United Arab Emirates consist primarily of vehicles, rice, flour, fiber fabrics, clothing, carpets, tubes, pipes, wooden furniture, powdered milk, oil, juice, panels, paper and cardboard. Exports to United Arab Emirates are made of gold in the state raw, hides and skins. The UAE’s share in Burundi’s exports has strongly increased from virtually nothing in 2003 to 13% of total exports in 2010. This increase largely reflects gold exports, Ndikumana concluded.

Gorden Moyo, Minister of State Enterprises and Parastatals in Zimbabwe said AIM is an important event in the investment arena as it brings investors from all over the world and government representatives to interact and discuss investment opportunities with the aim of achieving a win-win situation. It also provides opportunities for governments to exhibit information, market their investment opportunities and at the same time learn from current international best practices in investment promotion strategies. The event provides a networking platform and it brings together participants with broader knowledge and appreciation of the importance of FDI in economic development which is important for fruitful dialogue. Dubai is viewed as one of the wonders of the world in terms of investment focus, friendly investment environment and business climates. It provides a location for focused collaboration and sharing of information on the realities and challenges of future beneficiaries.

The Minister will be presenting investment opportunities in SEPs in Zimbabwe in the Agricultural, Energy & Financial Sectors. During AIM, the delegation of Zimbabwe will provide an opportunity to strengthen the trade and investment ties with UAE and the GCC Countries. The Minister’s aim is also to market the investment opportunities in the public enterprises reforms being undertaken in Zimbabwe as the country is looking for strategic investors for two banks namely POSB and Agribank. The country is also looking for investors for the Hydro Power Generating project at Hwange Power station at a cost of US$2.1 billion and the Gairezi Mini Hydro station at a cost of US$90 million.

The Minister will explore possible Lines of Credit for our State Enterprises and Parastatals in Zimbabwe as they are rehabilitating their infrastructures and building new projects. Signing of any Memorandum of Understanding with potential Strategic and Joint Venture Partners is a major priority in this important event. He noted that the emphasis at AIM should be at matchmaking major projects with possible financers or investors. The challenges faced by most countries are to market their abundant investment opportunities especially in developing countries. As the opportunities unfold it is important that information is disseminated to possible investors at the right time. A follow-up report should be produced to appraise the participants of the deals and business contracts established during AIM, says Gorden Moyo.

Kebba S. Touray, Minister of Trade, Regional Integration & Employment in Gambia emphasizes that AIM presents a great opportunity and platform for strategic networking, establishing partnerships, promotion and learning best practices on international policies and strategies for FDI attraction and boost in trade for sustainable growth.

Minister Touray said Dubai is one of the greatest hubs in terms of investment, trade and finance in the world. It is a city that inspires hope and confidence and a demonstration that with the right policies, strategies and dedication, we can all achieve sustainable growth and development for our people.

The Gambia delegation will be promoting both public and private sector projects. Projects from the Government of the Gambia and Public Enterprises: Railway, Business Park Development and Management, Airport City ,tourism and real estate development according to the Minister along with projects from the private sector including Agro processing, Fisheries and ICT.

About their agenda in Dubai, the Minister of Trade, Regional Integration & Employment in Gambia noted thy will discuss strategic networking both at the bilateral, regional and multilateral level to promote our national development aspirations. Also they will exchange of visions , strategies and experiences with leaders from governments, private sector and multilateral institutions to enhance our policies and strategies to boost trade and investment in Gambia and our region. Other objectives during the AIM will be promoting Gambia as one of the best locations for investment in Africa and to promote projects from the government and private sector to individual and institutional investors and financiers along with establishing/strengthening strategic alliances and partnerships.

AIM provides an excellent forum and platform to generate new ideas, enhance international policies and strategies, broker deals and establish strategic partnerships to reignite growth in the global economy through greater investment and trade with emerging and developing countries, says the Gambian Minister.

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AfDB’s COMPELLING CASE FOR AFRICA’S STRUCTURAL TRANSFORMATION

Posted on 27 April 2013 by Amat JENG

For the African Development Bank (AfDB), transforming Africa’s economies entails diversifying and expanding the sources of economic growth and opportunity in a manner that promotes greater productivity for sustained and inclusive economic development.

“A major policy challenge for Africa today is how to broaden access to economic opportunities for its expanding population, including the most vulnerable groups,” the Bank says in its 2012 Annual Report, which will be presented to the institution’s Governors at the Marrakech meetings.

“Africa requires structural transformation to propel it towards inclusive growth,” the report says, citing high unemployment and underemployment especially among young people and women, as one of the main problems facing the continent today.

AfDB's headquarters in Abidjan, Cote D'ivoire

Structural transformation will not materialize unless there is a concomitant investment in skills development in areas that have kept the continent behind other developing regions. In this regard, Africa needs to harness its natural resources to build skills for its youthful population in order to leapfrog development and secure a place in the global value chain. Developing skills will unleash the dynamism of Africa’s untapped entrepreneurship potential, creating opportunities for increased job and wealth creation. An enlightened population is also important in Africa’s global engagement in trade and commerce.

“The key message is that Africa should accelerate its structural transformation by boosting the potential of its youthful population, investing in science and technology and innovation, speeding up its rate of economic integration, greening the economy and supporting private sector enterprise,” the report emphasized.

The report identifies leadership, degree of economic integration at the national, regional and global levels, as well as inclusive growth as the key factors that can influence transformation. Regional political events, weather, and price shocks must also be taken into consideration.

Mr. Donald Kaberuka

According to the report, Africa’s transformation can be realized by leveraging the huge potentials in some of the following areas:

- Infrastructure – Africa’s infrastructure financing needs — about USD 390 billion in the medium term, mostly for power and energy — are in the USD trillions in the longer term.

- Natural resources – It is estimated that Africa’s natural resource extractive industries will contribute over USD 30 billion per annum in government revenues in the next 20 years.

- Revenues from natural resources could finance a substantial part of Africa’s infrastructure development. Some countries have already issued Eurobonds for infrastructure, on the basis of natural-resource revenues.

- Demographics – Young people comprise the bulk of Africa’s one billion population. To convert this “youth bulge” into a “demographic dividend” will require investing in skills and the creation of job opportunities on a large and unprecedented scale.

- Promoting agriculture – the agriculture sector employs the vast majority of Africa’s population, and provides direct inputs to the agro-processing value chain, supplies food to urban areas, and is a source of household savings for investment.

- The Private Sector – As Africa’s economies expand, the private sector, which accounts for 90 per cent of informal employment, will become even more important, especially in industry.

- Urbanization –- Africa’s cities, with 40 per cent of the population in 2010 — projected to be 50 per cent in a generation, and 65 per cent by 2060 — are increasingly becoming the drivers of consumer demand and hence economic growth.

- Governance/Investment climate – improved governance and better macroeconomic policies – lower debt, low inflation and stable exchange rates are essential in fostering economic competitiveness.

- Technological innovation – Investment in technology, and particularly ICT, have greatly improved public access to information, spurring a knowledge economy and innovative approaches to micro-finance and the mobilization of rural producers, e.g. Kenya’s M-PESA, Kenya’s innovative mobile banking.

The strategies to unlock Africa’s potential reside in elimination of the causes of national and regional conflict to bring peace; visionary leadership and strong and effective government institutions, while empowering women and youth; strengthening human capital development through education and training, especially in science and technology, and improvements in basic services; fostering diversification, especially in agriculture and rural areas, including sustainable greening of the economy and promotion of manufacturing; and promoting intra-Africa trade through increased domestic and regional investment, and forging strong trade links with emerging partners.

The Bank will continue to support and monitor the transformation efforts of the Regional Member Countries. Accordingly, the Bank has adopted a 10-year strategy whose overarching goal is to promote socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth. The core operational priorities of this strategy include infrastructure development; regional integration; private sector development; governance and accountability; as well as skills and technology development.

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IMF Executive Board Concludes 2012 Article IV Consultation with Cape Verde

Posted on 24 April 2013 by Africa Business

PRAIA, Cape Verde, April 24, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ On March 8, 2013, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the Article IV consultation with Cape Verde.1

Background

After recovering in 2010, Cape Verde’s growth slowed in 2011 and 2012, reflecting the difficult external environment and weak domestic demand. Growth is estimated at 4.3 percent in 2012, with foreign direct investment (FDI) having fallen significantly and confidence indicators across several sectors waning. However, tourism has remained resilient and remittances have held up well. The overall balance of payments is expected to move into surplus in 2012, aided by a significant narrowing of the current account deficit owing to strong tourism receipts and weaker imports. Accordingly, reserves are estimated to have stabilized at an estimated 3.8 months of current year imports (staff estimate 3.3 months of prospective imports). This outturn was aided by an adjustment of fiscal policy in 2012, particularly capital spending, in support of the monetary policy tightening that began in late 2011. Average inflation was well contained in 2012 at 2½ percent. Fiscal deficits have increased over recent years as the authorities have ramped up public investment on infrastructure, partly as a countercyclical policy response to the global crisis. Debt service indicators remain sustainable, although public debt levels have continued to increase, reaching elevated levels.

Cape Verde is likely to face a more difficult external environment in 2013, especially with near zero growth forecast in the euro area. Growth is expected to slow to 4.1 percent. Competition in tourism is intensifying as North African markets recover. The growth of private remittances is slowing, driven by economic stagnation in euro area countries. The prospects for higher private capital flows, including FDI, are dimmed by weaknesses in Europe. Likewise, concessional assistance flows are also under stress with the fiscal adjustment underway in Europe.

On the structural front, government’s reforms focus on rebuilding the tax administration and reforming tax policy, improving oversight over the financial system, strengthening monetary operations, and enhancing the governance of state owned enterprises to reduce fiscal risks and improve their service delivery to help boost competitiveness of the economy.

Executive Board Assessment

Executive Directors commended the authorities’ strong track record of prudent macroeconomic management, which has increased the economy’s resilience to shocks, supported economic growth, and advanced progress toward the Millennium Development Goals. They stressed that the difficult external outlook and fiscal and external vulnerabilities call for continued efforts to strengthen macroeconomic buffers, and to foster inclusive growth while preserving external sustainability.

Directors commended the authorities’ efforts to upgrade the infrastructure, using concessional assistance, but noted that the rising public debt could pose risks to debt sustainability. They therefore welcomed the authorities’ intention to undertake medium-term fiscal consolidation beginning in 2013, and advised that it be implemented in a growth-friendly manner. Directors looked forward to the planned reform of tax policy and tax administration to reverse the recent decline in tax revenue relative to GDP. They encouraged restraint on capital spending and more focus on improving the quality of public investment. They also pressed for rationalization of current spending and reforms to improve the operational efficiency and financial position of loss-making state-owned enterprises.

Directors agreed that the current tight monetary stance is appropriate, given the need to further increase reserves to a more comfortable level. They encouraged measures to strengthen the monetary transmission mechanism, including more active liquidity management, better liquidity forecasting, and reforms to increase the efficiency of the interbank market and develop the government securities market.

Directors noted staff’s assessment that the real effective exchange rate is broadly aligned with economic fundamentals. While higher reserve coverage would support the peg, Directors also called for steadfast pursuit of structural reforms to improve the business environment and boost productivity and competiveness. They welcomed in this regard the Third Growth and Poverty Reduction Strategy, which provides a sound basis for higher and more inclusive growth.

Directors welcomed the recent measures taken to safeguard financial stability, including the drafting of new banking legislation, improvements to the regulatory and supervisory framework, and the establishment of a Financial Stability Committee. In light of rising non-performing loan ratios, they encouraged the authorities to continue to strengthen supervisory capacity and to accelerate implementation of the FSAP recommendations.

 

Cape Verde: Selected Economic and Financial Indicators, 2011–16

 

2011    2012    2013    2014    2015    2016

 

Est.    Projections

 

National accounts and prices


Real GDP

5.0    4.3    4.1    4.5    4.7    5.0

Real GDP per capita

3.6    2.9    2.7    3.1    3.3    3.6

GDP deflator

3.9    3.5    3.5    3.1    3.1    3.0

Consumer price index (annual average)

4.5    2.5    4.0    3.3    2.8    2.5

Consumer price index (end of period)

3.6    4.1    3.5    3.1    2.5    2.5

External sector


Exports of goods and services

17.3    10.7    9.0    7.6    7.9    7.3

Of which: tourism

26.5    10.6    6.5    9.2    9.1    9.0

Imports of goods and services

17.9    0.1    10.4    0.5    0.1    2.3

Money and credit 1


Net foreign assets

-4.2    0.9    1.4    0.3    2.1    1.1

Net domestic assets

6.5    3.8    5.1    5.5    5.3    6.1

Net claims on the central government

3.0    1.2    0.8    0.5    0.2    0.2

Credit to the economy

6.3    1.7    4.3    5.8    5.8    6.9

Broad money (M2)

2.2    4.6    6.5    5.8    7.5    7.1

Reserve money (M0)

-1.3    4.3    1.6    1.4    1.8    1.7

Savings and investment


Domestic savings

20.5    21.8    21.9    23.2    24.6    25.9

Government

2.8    0.1    2.3    -3.1    -2.2    1.4

Private

17.7    21.7    19.6    26.3    26.8    24.5

National investment

36.5    32.9    35.2    34.5    33.0    32.0

Government

9.9    7.6    9.9    8.4    5.8    4.0

Private

26.6    25.3    25.3    26.1    27.2    28.0

Savings-investment balance

-16.0    -11.1    -13.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

Government

-7.1    -7.5    -7.5    -11.5    -8.0    -2.5

Private

-8.9    -3.6    -5.7    0.2    -0.3    -3.5

External sector


External current account (excluding official transfers)

-19.6    -13.5    -15.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

External current account (including official transfers)

-16.0    -11.1    -13.2    -11.4    -8.3    -6.1

Overall balance of payments

-2.3    1.5    1.1    0.3    1.9    1.3

Gross international reserves (months of prospective imports of goods and services)

3.2    3.3    3.3    3.4    3.6    3.8

Gross international reserves (months of current year imports of goods and services)

3.2    3.8    3.3    3.4    3.7    3.9

Government finance


Revenue

25.0    21.8    24.9    25.6    25.5    24.3

Tax and nontax revenue

22.2    19.4    22.1    21.9    22.4    22.4

Grants

2.8    2.4    2.8    3.6    3.1    1.9

Expenditure

32.3    29.3    32.5    31.5    27.6    24.1

Overall balance (excl. grants)

-10.1    -9.9    -10.4    -9.6    -5.2    -1.7

Overall balance (incl. grants)

-7.3    -7.5    -7.6    -5.8    -2.2    0.2

External financing

9.4    9.1    11.8    8.2    5.3    1.0

Domestic financing (incl. onlending)

-0.7    -1.6    -4.2    -2.4    -3.1    -1.2

Errors and omissions

-1.4    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0    0.0

Public debt stock and service


Total nominal government debt

77.3    81.0    88.6    92.2    92.1    85.6

External government debt

56.1    59.8    67.4    71.4    72.0    68.2

Domestic government debt

21.2    21.2    21.2    20.8    20.0    17.4

External debt service (percent of exports of goods and services)

4.2    4.6    4.6    4.8    4.6    4.3

Memorandum items:


Nominal GDP (billions of Cape Verde escudos)

150.8    162.8    175.4    189.1    204.2    220.8

Gross international reserves (€ millions, end of period)

263.3    300.0    302.7    308.3    342.6    369.5

 

Sources: Cape Verdean authorities; and IMF staff estimates and projections.

1 Adjusted for data inconsistency in December 2011.

1 Under Article IV of the IMF’s Articles of Agreement, the IMF holds bilateral discussions with members, usually every year. A staff team visits the country, collects economic and financial information, and discusses with officials the country’s economic developments and policies. On return to headquarters, the staff prepares a report, which forms the basis for discussion by the Executive Board. At the conclusion of the discussion, the Managing Director, as Chairman of the Board, summarizes the views of Executive Directors, and this summary is transmitted to the country’s authorities. An explanation of any qualifiers used in summings up can be found here: http://www.imf.org/external/np/sec/misc/qualifiers.htm.

 

SOURCE

International Monetary Fund (IMF)

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World Organization of Creditors took part in the United Nations thematic debates

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Africa Business

April 15, Robert Abdullin – President of the World Organization of Creditors – took part in the thematic debates at the United Nations headquarters in New York. These debates were devoted to the issue of “Global Economic Governance”.

Prime ministers and ministers of the developed and developing countries of the world also became participants of this event. The discussions were held in the run-up to the meeting of Secretaries of the Treasury and Central Banks Governors from all over the world in Washington.

During the opening of the thematic debates the President of the UN General Assembly Vuk Jeremić pointed out that “with the onset of the global economic, financial and debt crisis, discussions on the ways of improvement of global economic governance and its efficiency became more frequent”.  Jeremić also made a note of the importance of General Assembly in this process. According to him, it is General Assembly which should serve as the springboard for strengthening the interaction between international financial and trade institutions of G20 member countries and other alignments for the purpose of solving their common problems.

General Assembly Vice President, Jan Eliasson, addressed G20 member countries and suggested allocating 0.7% of GDP by way of an aid to the UN Assistance Fund for further development of the countries facing a difficult economic situation.

Robert Abdullin -  President of WOC – on the debates: “There were extremely interesting speeches made by Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Ali Babacan, Minister for National Policies of Nicaragua government Paul Oquist and other high-ranking officials from different countries of the world;  they have expressed radically different opinions related to G20 and the future of the world”.

Discussions will be continued in May, 2013 within the framework of VI Astana Economic Forum in Kazakhstan. World Anti-crisis Conference (WAC) will be held in Astana under the auspices of the United Nations Organizations. Upon the results of WAC work there will be worked out recommendations on overcoming the world crisis for G-20 member countries.

REFERENCE: Non-profit Partnership, World Organization of Creditors (WOC) was established in 2009 to unify the creditors by well-established organizations with years of practical experience in the international financial market. WOC Research – is a project of the World Organization of Creditors (WOC) which analyzes the global and regional economies.

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The African Development Bank’s Compelling Case for Africa’s Structural Transformation

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Africa Business

AfDB Annual Meetings take place from 27-31 May in Marrakech, Morocco

MARRAKECH, Morocco, April 23, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The African Development Bank (AfDB) Group’s 2013 Annual Meetings (http://www.afdb.org) take place from 27-31 May in Marrakech, Morocco. The 48th meetings of the AfDB and the 39th meetings of the African Development Fund (ADF) will be held under the central theme of “Structural Transformation in Africa.”

For the AfDB, transforming Africa’s economies entails diversifying and expanding the sources of economic growth and opportunity in a manner that promotes greater productivity for sustained and inclusive economic development.

“A major policy challenge for Africa today is how to broaden access to economic opportunities for its expanding population, including the most vulnerable groups,” the Bank says in its 2012 Annual Report, which will be presented to the institution’s Governors at the Marrakech meetings.

“Africa requires structural transformation to propel it towards inclusive growth,” the report says, citing high unemployment and underemployment especially among young people and women, as one of the main problems facing the continent today.

Structural transformation will not materialize unless there is a concomitant investment in skills development in areas that have kept the continent behind other developing regions. In this regard, Africa needs to harness its natural resources to build skills for its youthful population in order to leapfrog development and secure a place in the global value chain. Developing skills will unleash the dynamism of Africa’s untapped entrepreneurship potential, creating opportunities for increased job and wealth creation. An enlightened population is also important in Africa’s global engagement in trade and commerce.

“The key message is that Africa should accelerate its structural transformation by boosting the potential of its youthful population, investing in science and technology and innovation, speeding up its rate of economic integration, greening the economy and supporting private sector enterprise,” the report emphasized.

The report identifies leadership, degree of economic integration at the national, regional and global levels, as well as inclusive growth as the key factors that can influence transformation. Regional political events, weather, and price shocks must also be taken into consideration.

According to the report, Africa’s transformation can be realized by leveraging the huge potentials in some of the following areas:

-    Infrastructure – Africa’s infrastructure financing needs — about USD 390 billion in the medium term, mostly for power and energy — are in the USD trillions in the longer term.

 

-    Natural resources – It is estimated that Africa’s natural resource extractive industries will contribute over USD 30 billion per annum in government revenues in the next 20 years.

 

-    Revenues from natural resources could finance a substantial part of Africa’s infrastructure development. Some countries have already issued Eurobonds for infrastructure, on the basis of natural-resource revenues.

 

-    Demographics – Young people comprise the bulk of Africa’s one billion population. To convert this “youth bulge” into a “demographic dividend” will require investing in skills and the creation of job opportunities on a large and unprecedented scale.

 

-    Promoting agriculture – the agriculture sector employs the vast majority of Africa’s population, and provides direct inputs to the agro-processing value chain, supplies food to urban areas, and is a source of household savings for investment.

 

-    The Private Sector – As Africa’s economies expand, the private sector, which accounts for 90 per cent of informal employment, will become even more important, especially in industry.

 

-    Urbanization –- Africa’s cities, with 40 per cent of the population in 2010 — projected to be 50 per cent in a generation, and 65 per cent by 2060 — are increasingly becoming the drivers of consumer demand and hence economic growth.

 

-    Governance/Investment climate – improved governance and better macroeconomic policies – lower debt, low inflation and stable exchange rates are essential in fostering economic competitiveness.

 

-    Technological innovation – Investment in technology, and particularly ICT, have greatly improved public access to information, spurring a knowledge economy and innovative approaches to micro-finance and the mobilization of rural producers, e.g. Kenya’s M-PESA, Kenya’s innovative mobile banking.

The strategies to unlock Africa’s potential reside in elimination of the causes of national and regional conflict to bring peace; visionary leadership and strong and effective government institutions, while empowering women and youth; strengthening human capital development through education and training, especially in science and technology, and improvements in basic services; fostering diversification, especially in agriculture and rural areas, including sustainable greening of the economy and promotion of manufacturing; and promoting intra-Africa trade through increased domestic and regional investment, and forging strong trade links with emerging partners.

The Bank will continue to support and monitor the transformation efforts of the Regional Member Countries. Accordingly, the Bank has adopted a 10-year strategy whose overarching goal is to promote socially inclusive and environmentally sustainable economic growth. The core operational priorities of this strategy include infrastructure development; regional integration; private sector development; governance and accountability; as well as skills and technology development.

Distributed by the African Press Organization on behalf of the African Development Bank.

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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