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Living the FATCA life in Africa: New U.S. tax regulations add to burden of compliance on financial institutions across Africa

Posted on 21 May 2013 by Eugene Skrynnyk

Eugene Skrynnyk

Eugene Skrynnyk (CIPM, MILE, BComm) is a senior manager and specialist for the asset management industry in the Africa Sub-Area at Ernst & Young in Cape Town, South Africa.

Eugene Skrynnyk is the Ernst & Young Senior Manager and specialist for the asset management industry in the Africa Sub-Area.

Eugene holds a Certificate in Investment Performance Measurement (CIPM), Master of International Law and Economics (MILE) and Bachelor of Commerce and Finance (B.Comm.).

 

When the U.S. Department of the Treasury (“Treasury”) and Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued final Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (“FATCA”) regulations in January of this year, there was a sigh of relief that the financial services industry in Africa could begin to digest FATCA’s obligations. However, achieving FATCA compliance remains a challenge for banks operating across Africa.

FATCA is already law in the U.S. but negotiations are under way to enshrine it in national law of countries around the world via intergovernmental agreements (“IGAs”) with the U.S. While a variety of African jurisdictions will each face unique obstacles with FATCA compliance, many in the industry share a general unease with FATCA’s scope, as well as scepticism that FATCA’s rewards (an estimated US$1 billion in additional tax revenue annually) justify its expenses. Generally, FATCA attempts to combat U.S. tax evasion by requiring that non-U.S. financial institutions report the identities of U.S. shareholders or customers, or otherwise face a 30% withholding tax on their U.S. source income. Overwhelmingly, FATCA compliance obligations apply even where there is very little risk of U.S. tax evasion and it impacts all payers, including foreign payers of “withholdable payments” made to any foreign entities affecting deposit accounts, custody and investments.

General issues in Africa

Concerns about privacy abound. FATCA requires financial institutions to report to the IRS certain information about U.S. persons. For this reason, IGAs are being put in place so that institutions could instead report information to their local tax authority rather than the IRS. In some jurisdictions, investment funds and insurance companies are permitted to disclose information with client consent. In other jurisdictions, such disclosure is prohibited without further changes to domestic law. The process to make necessary changes locally involves time and effort.

Cultural differences in Africa need to be considered. In certain situations FATCA requires that financial institutions ask a customer who was born in the United States to submit documents explaining why the customer abandoned U.S. citizenship or did not obtain it at birth. African financial institutions never pose such a delicate and private question to their customers. Even apparently straight-forward requirements may pose challenges; for example, FATCA requires that customers make representations about their identities “under penalty of perjury” in certain situations. Few countries have a custom of making legal oaths, so it would not be surprising if African customers will be reluctant to give them.

FATCA contains partial exemptions (i.e., “deemed compliance”) and also exceptions for certain financial institutions and products that are less likely to be used by U.S. tax evaders. It still has to be seen to what extent these exemptions have utility for financial institutions in Africa. For example, the regulations include an exemption for retirement funds and also partially exempt “restricted funds” — funds that prohibit investment by U.S. persons. Although many non-U.S. funds have long restricted investment by U.S. persons because of the U.S. federal securities laws, this exemption could be less useful than it first appears. It should be pointed out that the exemption also requires that funds be sold exclusively to limited categories of FATCA-compliant or exempt institutions and distributors. These categories are themselves difficult for African institutions to qualify for. For example, a restricted fund may sell to certain distributors who agree not to sell to U.S. persons (“restricted distributors”). But restricted distributors must operate solely in the country of their incorporation, a true obstacle in smaller markets where many distributors must operate regionally to attain scale.

Other permitted distribution channels for restricted funds are “local banks,” which are not allowed to have any operations outside of their jurisdiction of incorporation and may not advertise the availability of U.S. dollar denominated investments.

Challenges and lessons learned – the African perspective

Financial institutions will have to consider what steps to take to prepare for FATCA compliance and take into account other FATCA obligations, such as account due diligence and withholding against non-compliant U.S. accountholders and/or financial institutions.

The core of FATCA is the process of reviewing customer records to search for “U.S. indicia” — that is, evidence that a customer might be a U.S. taxpayer. Under certain circumstances, FATCA requires financial institutions to look through their customers and counterparties’ ownership to find “substantial U.S. owners” (generally, certain U.S. persons holding more than 10% of an entity). In many countries the existing anti-money laundering legislation generally requires that financial institutions look through entities only when there is a 20% or 25% owner, leaving a gap between information that may be needed for FATCA compliance and existing procedures. Even how to deal with non-FATCA compliant financial institutions and whether to completely disengage business ties with them, remains open.

The following is an outline of some of the lessons learned in approaching FATCA compliance and the considerations financial institutions should make:

Focus on reducing the problem

Reducing the problem through the analysis and filtering of legal entities, products, customer types, distribution channels and account values, which may be prudently de-scoped, can enable financial institutions to address their distinct challenges and to identify areas of significant impact across their businesses. This quickly scopes the problem areas and focuses the resource and budget effort to where it is most necessary.

Select the most optimal design solution

FATCA legislation is complex and comprehensive as it attempts to counter various potential approaches to evade taxes. Therefore, understanding the complexities of FATCA and distilling its key implications is crucial in formulating a well rounded, easily executable FATCA compliance programme in the limited time left.

Selecting an option for compliance is dependent on the nature of the business and the impact of FATCA on the financial institution. However, due to compliance time constraints and the number of changes required by financial institutions, the solution design may well require tactical solutions with minimal business impact and investment. This will allow financial institutions to achieve compliance by applying low cost ‘work arounds’ and process changes. Strategic and long-term solutions can be better planned and phased-in with less disruption to the financial institution thereafter.

Concentrate on critical activities for 2014

FATCA has phased timelines, which run from 2014 to 2017 and beyond. By focusing on the “must-do” activities, which require compliance as of 1 January 2014 – such as appointing a Responsible Officer, registering with the IRS, and addressing new client on-boarding processes and systems – financial institutions can dedicate the necessary resources more efficiently and effectively to meet immediate deadlines.

Clear ownership – both centrally and within local subsidiaries

FATCA is a strategic issue for the business, requiring significant and widespread change. Typically it starts as a ‘tax issue’ but execution has impacts across IT, AML/KYC, operations, sales, distribution and client relationship management. It is imperative to get the right stakeholders and support onboard to ensure that the operational changes are being coordinated, managed and implemented by the necessary multidisciplinary teams across the organization. These include business operations, IT, marketing, and legal and compliance, to name but a few. Early involvement and clear ownership is key from the start.

Understand your footprint in Africa

Many African financial institutions have operations in various African countries and even overseas, and have strategically chosen to make further investments throughout Africa. The degree to which these African countries have exposure to the FATCA regulations needs to be understood. It is best to quickly engage with appropriate stakeholders, understand how FATCA impacts these African countries and the financial institutions’ foreign subsidiaries, and find solutions that enable pragmatic compliance.

What next for financial institutions in Africa?

Negotiations with the U.S. are under way with over 60 countries to enshrine FATCA in national law of countries around the world via IGAs. Implementation of FATCA is approaching on 1 January 2014 and many local financial institutions have either not started or are just at the early stages of addressing the potential impact of FATCA. In South Africa, only few of the leading banks are completing impact assessments and already optimizing solutions. Other financial services groups and asset management institutions are in the process of tackling the impact assessment. Industry representative in Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria and Zimbabwe have started engaging relevant government and industry stakeholders, but the awareness is seemingly oblivious to date. In the rest of Africa, FATCA is mainly unheard of.

Financial institutions choosing to comply with FATCA will first need to appoint a responsible officer for FATCA and register with the IRS, ensure proper new client on-boarding procedures are in place, then identify and categorize all customers, and eventually report U.S. persons to the IRS (or local tax authorities in IGA jurisdictions). Institutions will also need to consider implementing a host of other time-consuming operational tasks, including revamping certain electronic systems to capture applicable accountholder information and/or to accommodate the new reporting and withholding requirements, enhancing customer on-boarding processes, and educating both customers and staff on the new regulations. Where possible, institutions should seek to achieve these tasks through enhancing existing initiations so as to minimise the cost and disruption to the business.

Conclusion

Financial institutions in Africa face tight FATCA compliance timelines with limited budgets, resources, time, and expertise available. This is coupled with having to fulfil multiple other regulatory requirements. To add to the burden, FATCA has given stimulus to several countries in the European Union to start discussing a multilateral effort against tax evasion. The support of other countries in the IGA process indicates that some of these countries will follow with their own FATCA-equivalent legislation in an attempt to increase local tax revenues at a time when economies around the world are under unprecedented pressure. The best approach for African financial services industry groups is to engage their local governments in dialogue with the IRS and Treasury, while for African financial institutions to pro-actively assess their FATCA strategic and operational burdens as they inevitably prepare for compliance.

 

About Ernst & Young

Ernst & Young is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. Worldwide, our 167,000 people are united by our shared values and an unwavering commitment to quality. We make a difference by helping our people, our clients and our wider communities achieve their potential.

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Ernst & Young refers to the global organisation of member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. All Ernst & Young practices in the Africa Sub Area are members of Ernst & Young Africa Limited (NPC). Ernst & Young Africa Limited (NPC) in turn is a member firm of Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee. Neither Ernst & Young Global Limited nor Ernst & Young Limited (NPC) provides services to clients.

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Global Trade Partners in the 21st Century

Posted on 15 May 2013 by Africa Business

WASHINGTON, May 15, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Remarks

Robert D. Hormats

Under Secretary for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment

World Economic Forum

Pretoria, South Africa

May 14, 2013

 

 

As Prepared

 

Thank you Lyal for the kind introduction.

I am delighted to be in South Africa again. I visited last fall with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

What was most striking then, and continues to be the case today, is the extent to which the image of Africa has changed. According to the IMF, growth in sub-Saharan Africa will surge to 6.1% next year, well ahead of the global average of 4%.

Africa is booming in nearly every sector, ranging from massive energy developments in Mozambique, Tanzania, Ghana, and other countries; to the growth of Rwanda and Kenya’s information and communications technology sectors; to South Africa’s thriving auto industry. And, though far from declaring victory, Africa is reaching a turning point in its hard-fought battles against poverty and corruption.

Today’s Africa looks nothing like what, in 2000, The Economist referred to as the “Hopeless Continent.” It is critical that we concentrate the world’s eyes on the new image of Africa, that of progress and promise. Perspectives are evolving—in 2011, The Economist referred to Africa as the “Rising Continent” and, last March, as the “Hopeful Continent.”

Trade is at the heart of Africa’s economic resurgence. So, in this context, I will speak first about America’s vision for global trade in the 21st century and then, focus on implications and, indeed, opportunities for Africa. America’s global trade agenda in the 21st century is shaped by a foundation laid, in large part, in the mid-20th century. After World War II, American and European policymakers worked together to build a set of international institutions that embodied democratic and free market principles.

The GATT—which led to the WTO—World Bank, IMF, and the OECD were designed to foster international economic cooperation. These institutions were vital to the economic prosperity of the United States, and to the success of America’s foreign policy and national security for the next three generations.

As we move into the 21st century, a new multi-polar global economy has surfaced. The emergence of a new group of economic powerhouses—Brazil, Russia, India, and China, of course, but also countries in Africa—has created momentum (if not necessity) for greater inclusiveness in the global trading system.

At the same time, these new players must assume responsibilities for the international economic system commensurate with the increasing benefits they derive from the global economy. In addition to the geography of international trade, the nature of trade and investment has evolved to include previously unimaginable issues such as e-commerce and sustainability.

So, part of our vision for trade in the 21st century is to build a system that is more inclusive, recognizes the new realities of economic interdependence, and matches increased participation in the global trading system with increased responsibility for the global trading system.

We are making progress with bringing new players into the global trading system as equal partners. Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Colombia, and Panama entered into force last year.

And, we are continuing negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership—or TPP as it is more widely known. With Japan’s anticipated entry into the negotiations, TPP will grow to include 12 countries of different size, background, and levels of development. The agreement, when finalized, will encompass nearly 40% of global GDP and one-third of global trade.

In addition to TPP, we are embarking on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union. TTIP—as it is being called—will strengthen economic ties between the United States and Europe, and enhance our ability to build stronger relationships with emerging economies in Asia, Africa, and other parts of the world.

TPP and TTIP are truly historic undertakings. Our objective is not only to strengthen economic ties with the Asia-Pacific and Europe, but also to pioneer approaches to trade and investment issues that have grown in importance in recent years.

These agreements will seek to break new ground by addressing a multitude of heretofore unaddressed non-tariff barriers, setting the stage for convergence on key standards and regulations, and establishing high quality norms and practices that can spread to other markets. TPP, for example, will raise standards on investment and electronic commerce, and afford protections for labor and the environment.

Our agenda also includes strengthening the multilateral trading system through the World Trade Organization. For example, the United States would like to see a multilateral Trade Facilitation Agreement, which would commit WTO Members to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods, and improve cooperation on customs matters. A Trade Facilitation Agreement would be a win-win for all parties—Africa especially.

Cross-border trade in Africa is hindered by what the World Bank calls “Thick Borders.” According to the latest Doing Business Report, it takes up to 35 days to clear exports and 44 days to clear imports in Africa. Clearing goods in OECD countries, in contrast, takes only 10 days on average and costs nearly half as much. Countries like Ghana and Rwanda have benefited tremendously from the introduction of trade facilitation tools and policies.

Ghana, for instance, introduced reforms in 2003 that decreased the cost and time of trading across borders by 60%, and increased customs revenue by 50%. A multilateral Trade Facilitation Agreement will create a glide path for increased trade with and within Africa.

Our views for 21st century global trade partnerships go beyond Europe and the Asia-Pacific, and efforts at the WTO. We are committed to supporting Africa’s integration into the global trading system. The cornerstone of our trade relationship with sub-Saharan Africa is the African Growth and Opportunity Act—known as AGOA. Of all of our trade preference programs, AGOA provides the most liberal trade access to the U.S. market.

Exports from Africa to the United States under the AGOA have grown to $34.9 billion in 2012. While oil and gas still represent a large portion of Africa’s exports, it is important to recognize that non-petroleum exports under AGOA have tripled to nearly $5 billion since 2001, when AGOA went into effect. And, compared to a decade ago, more than twice the number of eligible countries are exporting non-petroleum goods under AGOA.

South Africa, in particular, has made great strides in diversifying its exports to the United States. Thanks to AGOA, the United States is now South Africa’s main export market for passenger cars, representing more than 50% of exported value in 2012. Because AGOA is such an important mechanism for African countries to gain access to the U.S. market, the Administration is committed to working with Congress on an early, seamless renewal of AGOA. Our trade relationship with Africa goes beyond AGOA. For instance, AGOA represents only one-quarter of South African exports to the United States. The composition of South Africa’s exports to the United States, moreover, reflects complex interdependencies and industrial goods.

And, our trade relationship with Africa is not just about one-way trade. There is an immense opportunity for U.S. companies to do business on the continent.

We recently launched the “Doing Business in Africa Campaign” to help American businesses identify and seize upon trade and investment opportunities in Africa. The campaign was announced in Johannesburg, in part, because South Africa can play a prominent role in directing U.S. investment into other parts of the continent.

Although progress has been made on diversifying exports beyond energy, there is much more to be done. African ingenuity and entrepreneurship must be unleashed to drive innovation and growth throughout the continent. This requires closer integration to share ideas, transfer knowledge, and partner on solutions. Through AGOA and the “Doing Business in Africa Campaign”, we are promoting a business climate in Africa that enables and encourages trade and investment. However, realizing these goals is goes beyond trade preferences and commercial linkages.

Africa is also featured in America’s vision for global trade in the 21st century.

For example, we recently launched the U.S.-East African Community Trade and Investment Partnership—the first of its kind—to expand two-way trade and investment. The Partnership is designed to build confidence among the private sector by building a more open and predictable business climate in East Africa. We are considering a variety of mechanisms to accomplish this, including a regional investment treaty and trade facilitation agreement. The Partnership highlights our desire to help Africa integrate and compete in today’s global economy.

I will conclude with one final point. I began by saying that trade is at the heart of Africa’s economic resurgence. Trade is also at the heart of America’s economic recovery. We have a common interest and a common goal.

When it comes to enhanced trade, what is good for Africa is good for America. And what is good for America is good for Africa.

Thank you.


SOURCE

US Department of State

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AFRICA ATTRACTIVENESS: CONTINENT’S SHARE OF GLOBAL FDI INCREASES

Posted on 13 May 2013 by Amat JENG

 

Africa’s share of global foreign direct investment (FDI) has grown over the past five years highlighting the growing interest from foreign investors, according to Ernst & Young’s third Africa Attractiveness Survey , released yesterday.

The report combines an analysis of international investment into Africa over the past five years with a 2013 survey of over 500 global business leaders about their views on the potential of the African market. The latest data shows that despite a fall in project numbers from 867 in 2011 to 764 in 2012 — in line with the global trend — project numbers are still significantly higher than anything that preceded the peak of 2008. The continent’s global share of FDI has also grown from 3.2% in 2007 to 5.6% in 2012.
Mark Otty, Ernst & Young’s EMEIA Managing Partner comments, “A process of democratization that has taken root across much of the continent; ongoing improvements to the business environment; exponential growth in trade and investment and substantial improvements in the quality of human life have provided a platform for the economic growth that a large number of African economies have experienced over the past decade.”

Despite the impact of the ongoing global economic situation, the size of the African economy has more than tripled since 2000. The outlook also appears positive, with the region as a whole expected to grow by 4% for 2013 and 4.6% for 2014. A number of African economies are predicted to remain among the fastest growing in the world for the foreseeable future.

Eighty-six percent of those with an established presence on the continent believe that Africa’s attractiveness as a place to do business will continue to improve. Those surveyed rank Africa as the second most attractive regional investment destination in the world after Asia.

Increasing investment from emerging markets

Investment in FDI projects from developed markets fell by 20%. Although FDI projects from the UK grew (by 9% year-on-year), those from the US and France — the other two leading developed market investors in Africa — were considerably down. In contrast investments from emerging markets into Africa grew again in 2012, continuing the trend over the past three years.
In the period since 2007, the rate of FDI projects from emerging markets into Africa has grown at a healthy compound rate of over 21%. In comparison investment from developed markets has grown at only 8%. The top contributors from the emerging markets are India (237), South Africa (235), the UAE (210), China (152), Kenya (113), Nigeria (78), Saudi Arabia (56) and South Korea (57) all among the top 20 investors over that period.

Intra-African investment has been particularly impressive during the same period, growing at 33% compound rate. South Africa has been at the forefront of growth in intra-African trade and broader emerging market investment – (the single largest investor in FDI projects in 2012 outside of South Africa.) Kenya and Nigeria have also invested heavily but it is expected that others such as Angola, for example, with a US$5b sovereign wealth fund, will become increasingly prominent investors across the continent over the next few years.

Ajen Sita, Ernst & Young’s Africa Managing Partner comments, “There is a growing confidence and optimism among Africans themselves about the continent’s progress and future.”

AJEN SITA

There has also been an important shift in emphasis in investment into the continent over the past few years, in terms of both destination markets and sectors. While investment into North Africa has largely stagnated, FDI projects into Sub-Saharan Africa have grown at a compound rate of 22% since 2007. Among the star performers attracting growing numbers of projects have been Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia Mozambique, Mauritius and South Africa.

Perception versus reality

Our 2013 Africa Attractiveness Survey shows some progress in terms of investor perceptions since the inaugural survey in 2011. The majority of respondents are positive about the progress made and the outlook for Africa. Africa has also gained ground relative to other global regions. In 2011 Africa was only ranked ahead of two other regions, while this year it ranked ahead of five other regions (the former Soviet States, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Middle East and Central America).

However, there still remains a stark perception gap between those respondents who are already doing business in Africa versus those that have not yet invested in the continent. Those with an established business in Africa are overwhelmingly positive. They understand the real rather than perceived operational risks, have experienced the progress made and see the opportunities for future growth. Eight-six percent of these business leaders believe that Africa’s attractiveness as a place to do business will continue to improve, and they rank Africa as the second most attractive regional investment destination in the world after Asia.

In contrast, those with no business presence in Africa are far more negative about Africa’s progress and prospects. Only 47% of these respondents believe Africa’s attractiveness will improve over the next three years, and they rank Africa as the least attractive investment destination in the world.
The two fundamental challenges that are present for those already present or those looking to invest in Africa are transport and logistics infrastructure and anti-bribery and corruption. However, moves are being made on both accounts to help allay fears of investors.

Infrastructure gaps, particularly relating to logistics and electricity, are consistently cited as the biggest challenges by those doing business in Africa. At a macro level, too, Africa’s growth will be inherently constrained until the infrastructure deficit is bridged. The flip side of this challenge, however, is that strong growth has been occurring despite such infrastructure constraints. This indicates the potential to not only sustain, but accelerate growth as the gap is narrowed. Our analysis indicates that in 2012 there were over 800 active infrastructure projects across different sectors in Africa, with a combined value in excess of US$700b. The large majority of infrastructure projects are related to power (37%) and transport (41%).

Moving away from extractive industries

Due to volatile nature of commodity prices, an over-dependency on a few key sectors clearly raises questions about the sustainability of growth. Despite perceptions to the contrary, less than one third of Africa’s growth has come from natural resources.

The trend of growing diversification continues, with an ever increasing emphasis on services, manufacturing and infrastructure-related activities. In 2007 extractive industries represented 8% of FDI projects and 26% of capital invested in Africa; in 2012, it was a mere 2% of projects and 12% of capital. In comparison, services accounted for 70% of projects in 2012 (up from 45% in 2007), and manufacturing activities accounted for 43% of capital invested in 2012 (up from 22% in 2007).

Mining and metals is still perceived by survey respondents as the sector with the highest growth potential in Africa, but the number of respondents who believe this (26%) is down from 38% in 2012 and 44% in 2011. In contrast, interest in African infrastructure projects is clearly increasing, with 21% of respondents identifying this as growth sector versus 14% last year and only 4% in 2011. Other sectors where there has been a noticeable shift include ICT (14%, up from 8% last year), financial services (13%, up from 6% last year), and education (which has come from virtually nowhere to register 10% this year).

Mark comments, “These changing perceptions of relative sector attractiveness in Africa reflect the changing fundamentals of many Africa economies: the diversification of both sources of growth (for example, the increasing contribution of services and the growing consumer class), and of the actual FDI flowing into these economies.”

South Africa most attractive for foreign investors but others hot on its heels

The large majority of respondents view South Africa as the most attractive African country in which to do business: 41% of all respondents put South Africa in first place, while 61% included it in their top three. The primary reasons for South Africa’s popularity appear to be it relatively well developed infrastructure, a stable political environment and a relatively large domestic market. The next most popular countries were Morocco (20% placing in the top three, and 8% in first place), Nigeria (also 20% in top three, and 6% in first place), Egypt (15% top three and 5% first), and Kenya (15% top three and 4% first). In general, these rankings align with emerging regional hubs for doing business across different parts of Africa.

Looking ahead

Ajen concludes, “With an increasingly solid foundation of economic, political and social reform, together with resilient growth rates, we are confident that the continent as a whole is on a sustainable upward trajectory. This direction of travel, rather than the current destination, is what is most important.

“A critical mass of African economies will continue on this journey. Despite the fact that there will undoubtedly be bumps in the road, there is a strong probability that a number of these economies will follow the same development paths that some of the Asian and other Rapid Growth Markets have over the past 30 years. By the 2040s, we have no doubt that the likes of Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa will be considered among the growth powerhouses of the global economy.”

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Renewed UK-Lebanese partnership on two conferences

Posted on 09 May 2013 by Africa Business

2nd LIOG Summit 2013 and LICEX 2013 launched with a positive commitment to Lebanon

Following the remarkable success last December of the Lebanon International Oil and Gas Summit (LIOG 2012) in its first edition, organizers of the summit, Global Events Partners Ltd. (GEP) from the UK and Lebanon’s Planners and Partners S.A.L., are partnering again to launch two events in 2013, in Beirut.

This shows a commitment to Lebanon as an attractive investment destination and as one of the best venues for conferences and exhibitions in the region, according to organizing partners.

The first event will be the “Lebanon Infrastructure Conference and Exhibition” (LICEX 2013) in October and the second will be this year’s edition of the 2nd Lebanon International Oil and Gas Summit (LIOG 2013) in December like last year.

Building on success – The 2nd LIOG Summit 2013

The 2nd Lebanon Oil and Gas Summit (LIOG 2013) will be held on 4 and 5 December 2013, in the Phoenicia Intercontinental Hotel in Beirut.

This year’s edition is expected to build on the momentum and success of the 2012 summit, which was held under the patronage of the Ministry of Energy and Water and in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance, attracting over 330 delegates and 35 speakers from 23 countries representing 150 local and international companies and organizations, including major IOCs.

Paul Gilbert, Managing Director of GEP, said, “In the coming second edition of LIOG, we are committed to keeping the highly strategic nature of the event for the second consecutive year, with a very strong conference programme and a couple of new activities.”

Dory Renno, Managing Director of Planners and Partners S.A.L.,highlighted the fact that “The 2nd edition of LIOG has established a solid position for the conference as a platform for the emerging oil and gas industry in Lebanon.”

He explained that the timing will be perfect, as companies will be preparing themselves for the start of the negotiations phase. “The early response from companies has been great,” Renno added.

Always innovative –LICEX 2013

The Lebanon Infrastructure Conference and Exhibition (LICEX 2013), on the other hand, is taking place on 10 and 11 October 2013 in Beirut.

Supported by the Secretariat General of the Higher Council for Privatization, LICEX 2013 is gaining unprecedented support from government organizations and private businesses both locally and internationally.

‘’LICEX 2013 will feature an exhibition and conference,’’ said Paul Gilbert. ‘’Participants will have the opportunity to hear from government officials and industry experts about the latest planned infrastructure projects and to discuss the vast investment opportunities available in the country. They will have also the opportunity to hear from international experts about the latest on the Public Private Partnership.”

“There are a lot of new business opportunities to develop in Lebanon through a number of infrastructure contracts on offer,” explained Dory Renno, who expected that the exhibition segment of the event will turn those opportunities into real projects in the near future.

The timing of LICEX 2013 coincides with the increased interest and talk about the much-needed partnership between the private and public sectors in Lebanon.

A land of opportunities

“We believe in Lebanon and in its business climate, which makes it a great place for the conferences and exhibitions industry,” said Gilbert. “We also strongly believe that successful conferences like LIOG, in both of its annual editions, reflect a positive image about Lebanon as an attractive investment arena.

“Investors who want to be involved in Lebanon should come to events that are organized in Lebanon, experience the wonderful hospitality and the beautiful city of Beirut and importantly to understand first-hand the many opportunities that Lebanon has to offer.”

*******

To learn more about the events, how to participate and other details on the programme, participating delegates, speakers and sponsors, please visit: www.liog-summit.com and www.lebanoninfrastructure.com

***********

To confirm interviews and appointments please Contact Ms. Mariette Mokbel (Media Relations): Tel: +961 70 44014
Email:
mariette.mokbel@planners-partners.com

For further questions related to agenda items, please contact Mr. Antoine Dagher (Summit Producer / Media Consultant) Tel: +961 3 982 505. Email: adagher@gep-events.com

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Africa Attractiveness Survey: Africa’s Share of Global FDI Increases Over the Last Five Years

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Africa Business

JOHANNESBURG, South-Africa, May 6, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/

-    Global share of FDI up but project numbers down in 2012

-    African GDP expected to be 4% in 2013 and 4.6% in 2014

Africa’s share of global foreign direct investment (FDI) has grown over the past five years highlighting the growing interest from foreign investors, according to Ernst & Young’s third Africa Attractiveness Survey (http://www.ey.com/za), released today.

Download the presentation: http://www.apo-mail.org/Africa_attractiveness_2013_Low_Res.pdf

The report combines an analysis of international investment into Africa over the past five years with a 2013 survey of over 500 global business leaders about their views on the potential of the African market. The latest data shows that despite a fall in project numbers from 867 in 2011 to 764 in 2012 — in line with the global trend — project numbers are still significantly higher than anything that preceded the peak of 2008. The continent’s global share of FDI has also grown from 3.2% in 2007 to 5.6% in 2012.

Mark Otty, Ernst & Young’s EMEIA Managing Partner comments, “A process of democratization that has taken root across much of the continent; ongoing improvements to the business environment; exponential growth in trade and investment and substantial improvements in the quality of human life have provided a platform for the economic growth that a large number of African economies have experienced over the past decade.”

Despite the impact of the ongoing global economic situation, the size of the African economy has more than tripled since 2000. The outlook also appears positive, with the region as a whole expected to grow by 4% for 2013 and 4.6% for 2014. A number of African economies are predicted to remain among the fastest growing in the world for the foreseeable future.

Eighty-six percent of those with an established presence on the continent believe that Africa’s attractiveness as a place to do business will continue to improve. Those surveyed rank Africa as the second most attractive regional investment destination in the world after Asia.

Increasing investment from emerging markets

Investment in FDI projects from developed markets fell by 20%. Although FDI projects from the UK grew (by 9% year-on-year), those from the US and France — the other two leading developed market investors in Africa — were considerably down. In contrast investments from emerging markets into Africa grew again in 2012, continuing the trend over the past three years.

In the period since 2007, the rate of FDI projects from emerging markets into Africa has grown at a healthy compound rate of over 21%. In comparison investment from developed markets has grown at only 8%. The top contributors from the emerging markets are India (237), South Africa (235), the UAE (210), China (152), Kenya (113), Nigeria (78), Saudi Arabia (56) and South Korea (57) all among the top 20 investors over that period.

Intra-African investment has been particularly impressive during the same period, growing at 33% compound rate. South Africa has been at the forefront of growth in intra-African trade and broader emerging market investment – (the single largest investor in FDI projects in 2012 outside of South Africa.) Kenya and Nigeria have also invested heavily but it is expected that others such as Angola, for example, with a US$5b sovereign wealth fund, will become increasingly prominent investors across the continent over the next few years.

Ajen Sita, Ernst & Young’s Africa Managing Partner comments, “There is a growing confidence and optimism among Africans themselves about the continent’s progress and future.”

There has also been an important shift in emphasis in investment into the continent over the past few years, in terms of both destination markets and sectors. While investment into North Africa has largely stagnated, FDI projects into Sub-Saharan Africa have grown at a compound rate of 22% since 2007. Among the star performers attracting growing numbers of projects have been Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia Mozambique, Mauritius and South Africa.

Perception versus reality

Our 2013 Africa Attractiveness Survey shows some progress in terms of investor perceptions since the inaugural survey in 2011. The majority of respondents are positive about the progress made and the outlook for Africa. Africa has also gained ground relative to other global regions. In 2011 Africa was only ranked ahead of two other regions, while this year it ranked ahead of five other regions (the former Soviet States, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, the Middle East and Central America).

However, there still remains a stark perception gap between those respondents who are already doing business in Africa versus those that have not yet invested in the continent. Those with an established business in Africa are overwhelmingly positive. They understand the real rather than perceived operational risks, have experienced the progress made and see the opportunities for future growth. Eight-six percent of these business leaders believe that Africa’s attractiveness as a place to do business will continue to improve, and they rank Africa as the second most attractive regional investment destination in the world after Asia.

In contrast, those with no business presence in Africa are far more negative about Africa’s progress and prospects. Only 47% of these respondents believe Africa’s attractiveness will improve over the next three years, and they rank Africa as the least attractive investment destination in the world.

The two fundamental challenges that are present for those already present or those looking to invest in Africa are transport and logistics infrastructure and anti-bribery and corruption. However, moves are being made on both accounts to help allay fears of investors.

Infrastructure gaps, particularly relating to logistics and electricity, are consistently cited as the biggest challenges by those doing business in Africa. At a macro level, too, Africa’s growth will be inherently constrained until the infrastructure deficit is bridged. The flip side of this challenge, however, is that strong growth has been occurring despite such infrastructure constraints. This indicates the potential to not only sustain, but accelerate growth as the gap is narrowed. Our analysis indicates that in 2012 there were over 800 active infrastructure projects across different sectors in Africa, with a combined value in excess of US$700b. The large majority of infrastructure projects are related to power (37%) and transport (41%).

Moving away from extractive industries

Due to volatile nature of commodity prices, an over-dependency on a few key sectors clearly raises questions about the sustainability of growth. Despite perceptions to the contrary, less than one third of Africa’s growth has come from natural resources.

The trend of growing diversification continues, with an ever increasing emphasis on services, manufacturing and infrastructure-related activities. In 2007 extractive industries represented 8% of FDI projects and 26% of capital invested in Africa; in 2012, it was a mere 2% of projects and 12% of capital. In comparison, services accounted for 70% of projects in 2012 (up from 45% in 2007), and manufacturing activities accounted for 43% of capital invested in 2012 (up from 22% in 2007).

Mining and metals is still perceived by survey respondents as the sector with the highest growth potential in Africa, but the number of respondents who believe this (26%) is down from 38% in 2012 and 44% in 2011. In contrast, interest in African infrastructure projects is clearly increasing, with 21% of respondents identifying this as growth sector versus 14% last year and only 4% in 2011. Other sectors where there has been a noticeable shift include ICT (14%, up from 8% last year), financial services (13%, up from 6% last year), and education (which has come from virtually nowhere to register 10% this year).

Mark comments, “These changing perceptions of relative sector attractiveness in Africa reflect the changing fundamentals of many Africa economies: the diversification of both sources of growth (for example, the increasing contribution of services and the growing consumer class), and of the actual FDI flowing into these economies.”

South Africa most attractive for foreign investors but others hot on its heels

The large majority of respondents view South Africa as the most attractive African country in which to do business: 41% of all respondents put South Africa in first place, while 61% included it in their top three. The primary reasons for South Africa’s popularity appear to be it relatively well developed infrastructure, a stable political environment and a relatively large domestic market. The next most popular countries were Morocco (20% placing in the top three, and 8% in first place), Nigeria (also 20% in top three, and 6% in first place), Egypt (15% top three and 5% first), and Kenya (15% top three and 4% first). In general, these rankings align with emerging regional hubs for doing business across different parts of Africa.

Looking ahead

Ajen concludes, “With an increasingly solid foundation of economic, political and social reform, together with resilient growth rates, we are confident that the continent as a whole is on a sustainable upward trajectory. This direction of travel, rather than the current destination, is what is most important.

“A critical mass of African economies will continue on this journey. Despite the fact that there will undoubtedly be bumps in the road, there is a strong probability that a number of these economies will follow the same development paths that some of the Asian and other Rapid Growth Markets have over the past 30 years. By the 2040s, we have no doubt that the likes of Nigeria, Ghana, Angola, Egypt, Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa will be considered among the growth powerhouses of the global economy.”

 

SOURCE

Ernst & Young

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La part africaine des investissements directs à l’étranger (IDE) mondiaux augmente depuis les cinq dernières années – Africa Attractiveness Survey

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Africa Business

JOHANNESBURG, Afrique du Sud, 6 mai 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/

- Part mondiale des IDE en hausse, mais baisse du nombre de projets en 2012

-    Croissance africaine prévue à 4 % en 2013 et 4,6 % en 2014

La part africaine des investissements directs à l’étranger (IDE) mondiaux a augmenté au cours des cinq dernières années, reflétant l’intérêt croissant des investisseurs étrangers, selon la troisième étude Africa Attractiveness Survey d’Ernst & Young (http://www.ey.com/za), parue aujourd’hui.

Download the presentation: http://www.apo-mail.org/Africa_attractiveness_2013_Low_Res

Ce rapport associe une analyse des investissements internationaux en Afrique au cours des cinq dernières années à une enquête menée en 2013 auprès de plus de 500 chefs d’entreprises à propos de leur opinion sur le potentiel du marché africain. Les dernières données montrent que malgré une baisse du nombre de projets, de 867 en 2011 à 764 en 2012 (ce qui correspond à la tendance mondiale), ce nombre reste nettement supérieur à ceux qui ont précédé le pic de 2008. La part mondiale des IDE dans le continent est également passée de 3,2 % en 2007 à 5,6     % en 2012.

Mark Otty, Managing Partner EMEIA chez Ernst & Young, commente : « Un processus de démocratisation qui s’enracine dans la plus grande partie du continent ; des améliorations constantes à l’environnement commerciale, une croissance exponentielle du commerce et de l’investissement ainsi que des améliorations substantielles dans la qualité de la vie humaine ont offert une plateforme à la croissance économique qu’un grand nombre d’économies africaines ont connu au cours de la dernière décennie. »

Malgré l’impact de la situation économique mondiale actuelle, la taille de l’économie africaine a plus que triplé depuis 2000. Les perspectives semblent aussi positives, avec la région dans sa globalité qui devrait connaître une croissance de 4 % en 2013 et de 4,6 % en 2014. Plusieurs économies africaines devraient conserver certaines des croissances les plus rapides au monde dans un avenir proche.

86 % des répondants qui ont une présence établie sur le continent pensent que l’attractivité de l’Afrique en tant que lieu pour faire des affaires continuera à augmenter. Ils ont classé l’Afrique seconde destination d’investissement la plus attractive après l’Asie.

Des investissements croissants des marchés émergents

L’investissement des pays développés dans des projets d’IDE a chuté de 20 %. Bien que les projets d’IDE du Royaume-Uni aient augmenté (de 9 % par année), ceux des États-Unis et de la France (les deux autres grands marchés développés investisseurs en Afrique) ont considérablement diminué. En revanche, l’investissement des marchés émergents en Afrique a encore augmenté en 2012, poursuivant la tendance des trois dernières années.

Depuis 2007, les projets d’IDE des marchés émergents en Afrique ont augmenté à un taux cumulé conséquent de plus de 21 %. En comparaison, l’investissement des marchés développés n’a augmenté que de 8 %. Les plus grands contributeurs des marchés émergents sont l’Inde (237), l’Afrique du Sud (235), les EAU (210), la Chine (152), le Kenya (113), le Nigeria (78), l’Arabie Saoudite (56) et la Corée du Sud (57), tous classés parmi les 20 plus grands investisseurs sur cette période.

L’investissement intra-africain a été particulièrement impressionnant pendant cette même période, avec un taux de croissance cumulé de 33 %. L’Afrique du Sud a été en première ligne de la croissance du commerce intra-africain et des investissements accrus des marchés émergents (le plus grand investisseur en projets d’IDE hors d’Afrique du Sud). Le Kenya et le Nigeria ont également fortement investi mais on prévoit que d’autres, à l’instar de l’Angola, avec un fonds souverain de 5 milliards de dollars, deviendront des investisseurs de plus en plus présents sur le continent au cours des prochaines années.

Ajen Sita, Managing Partner Afrique chez Ernst & Young, explique : « Il y a une confiance et un optimisme croissant chez les Africains eux-mêmes au sujet des progrès et de l’avenir du continent. »

Un important changement s’est également produit dans l’investissement sur le continent ces dernières années, tant en termes de marchés de destination que de secteurs. Tandis que l’investissement en Afrique du Nord a largement stagné, les projets d’IDE en Afrique sub-saharienne ont augmenté à un taux de croissance cumulé de 22 % depuis 2007. Parmi les pays « stars » attirant un nombre croissant de projets, on compte le Ghana, le Nigeria, le Kenya, la Tanzanie, la Zambie, le Mozambique, l’île Maurice et l’Afrique du Sud.

Perception contre réalité

Notre édition 2013 d’Africa Attractiveness Survey montre des progrès en termes de perception des investisseurs depuis la première édition de 2011. La majorité des répondants a une vision positive des progrès réalisés et des perspectives pour l’Afrique. L’Afrique a également gagné du terrain par rapport aux autres régions du monde. En 2011, l’Afrique était seulement classée au-dessus de deux autres régions, tandis que cette année, elle surclasse cinq autres régions (les anciens États soviétiques, l’Europe de l’Est, l’Europe de l’Ouest, le Moyen-Orient et l’Amérique centrale).

Cependant, il reste toujours un fossé de perceptions entre les répondants qui opèrent déjà en Afrique et ceux qui n’ont pas encore investi dans le continent. Ceux qui ont une activité établie en Afrique sont extrêmement positifs. Ils comprennent les risques opérationnels réels plutôt que ceux perçus, connaissent les progrès réalisés et voient les opportunités de croissance future. 86 % de ces chefs d’entreprise pensent que l’attractivité de l’Afrique en tant que lieu où faire des affaires continuera à augmenter, et ils classent l’Afrique seconde destination d’investissement la plus attractive au monde après l’Asie.

En revanche, ceux qui ne sont pas présents en Afrique sont bien plus négatifs en ce qui concerne les progrès et les prospects de l’Afrique. Seuls 47 % de ces répondants pensent que l’attractivité de l’Afrique augmentera dans les trois prochaines années, et ils classent l’Afrique destination d’investissement la moins attractive au monde.

Les deux défis fondamentaux qui existent pour ceux qui sont déjà présents ou qui cherchent à investir en Afrique sont les infrastructures de transport et de logistique, ainsi que la corruption et les pots-de-vin. Toutefois, des mesures sont prises sur ces deux plans pour dissiper les craintes des investisseurs.

Les manques d’infrastructures, particulièrement en matière de logistique et d’électricité, sont constamment cités comme plus gros problèmes par ceux qui font des affaires en Afrique. Au niveau macro-économique également, la croissance africaine sera forcément limitée tant que le déficit d’infrastructure ne sera pas comblé. Le côté positif de ce problème, cependant, est qu’une croissance forte a lieu malgré ces contraintes infrastructurelles. Cela augure un potentiel pour non seulement maintenir, mais accélérer la croissance lorsque ce manque sera réduit. Nos analyses indiquent qu’en 2012 il y avait plus de 800 projets d’infrastructure actifs dans différents secteurs en Afrique, avec une valeur combinée dépassant les 700 milliards de dollars. La grande majorité des projets d’infrastructure sont liés à l’électricité (37 %) et aux transports (41 %).

S’éloigner des industries extractives

En raison de la nature volatile des prix des matières premières, une sur-dépendance à quelques secteurs clés soulève des questions sur la pérennisation de la croissance. Malgré les perceptions contraires, moins d’un tiers de la croissance africaine provient de ressources naturelles.

La tendance à la diversification se poursuit, avec une emphase toujours plus grande sur les services, la fabrication et les activités liées aux infrastructures. En 2007, les industries extractives représentaient 8 % des projets d’IDE et 26 % des capitaux investis en Afrique ; en 2012, elles représentaient 2 % des projets et 12 % du capital. En comparaison, les services comptaient pour 70 % des projets en 2012 (contre 45 % en 2007), et les activités de fabrication comptaient pour 43 % du capital investi en 2012 (contre 22 % en 2007).

Le secteur minier et des métaux est toujours perçu par les répondants à l’enquête comme celui présentant le plus grand potentiel de croissance en Afrique, mais le nombre de répondants qui pensent cela (26 %) a diminué, puisqu’il était de 38 % en 2012 et de 44 % en 2011. En revanche, l’intérêt pour les projets d’infrastructure en Afrique augmente nettement, avec 21 % des répondants les identifiant comme un secteur de croissance contre 14 % l’année dernière et seulement 4 % en 2011. Les autres secteurs où un changement notable s’est produit sont les technologies de l’information et de la communication (14 %, contre 8 % l’année dernière), les services financiers (13 %, contre 6 % l’an dernier), et l’éducation (qui est partie de pratiquement rien pour arriver à 10 % cette année).

M. Otty commente : « Ces perceptions changeantes de l’attractivité relative des secteurs en Afrique reflètent l’évolution des fondamentaux de nombreuses économies africaines : la diversification à la fois des sources de croissance (par exemple, la contribution croissante des services et une classe de consommateurs croissante), et des IDE entrant dans ces économies. »

L’Afrique du Sud plus attractive pour les investisseurs étrangers, suivie par d’autres pays en grande forme

La grande majorité des répondants considère l’Afrique du Sud comme le pays africain le plus attractif pour faire des affaires : 41 % de tous les répondants ont placé l’Afrique du Sud en première place, et 61 % dans leur top 3. Les principales raisons de la popularité de l’Afrique du Sud semblent être ses infrastructures relativement bien développées, un environnement politique stable et un marché intérieur relativement important. Les pays suivants en ordre de popularité sont le Maroc (20 % le plaçant dans leur top 3, et 8 % en première place), le Nigeria (également 20 % dans le top 3, et 6 % à la première place), l’Égypte (15 % dans le top 3 et 5 % en première place) et le Kenya (15 % dans les trois premiers et 4 % à la première place). En général, ces classements correspondent aux centres régionaux émergents pour les affaires dans différentes régions d’Afrique.

Se tourner vers l’avenir

M. Sita conclut : « Avec un contexte de plus en plus solide de réformes économiques, politiques et sociales, associés à des taux de croissance résilients, nous sommes convaincus que le continent dans son ensemble est sur une trajectoire de croissance durable. Cette direction, plutôt que la destination actuelle, est ce qui compte le plus.

Une masse cruciale d’économies africaines continuera ce parcours. Malgré le fait qu’il y aura forcément des obstacles sur la route, il est fort probable que plusieurs de ces économies suivront le même développement que certains des marchés asiatiques et autres marchés à croissance rapide au cours des 30 dernières années. D’ici les années 2040, nous sommes sûrs que des pays tels que le Nigeria, le Ghana, l’Angola, l’Égypte, l’Éthiopie et l’Afrique du Sud seront considérés comme des moteurs de croissance de l’économie mondiale. »

 

SOURCE

Ernst & Young

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Multi-faceted consumer car market bucks economic trend, says Standard Bank South Africa

Posted on 06 May 2013 by Africa Business

The South African new car market is bucking the economic trend with sales increasing by 4.1% to 163 092 units during the first three months of 2013 when compared to the same period last year. This is despite tough economic conditions, with the South African Reserve Bank expecting GDP to grow by only 2.7% during 2013.

Sydney Soundy, head of Vehicle and Asset Finance at Standard Bank South Africa, says that the prosperity within the market is notable when compared to other sectors, which were feeling the brunt of reduced consumer spending and the cost pressure caused by higher inflation and fuel prices, among other factors.

“Consumers seem to be taking advantage of the low interest rate environment and clearly still have an appetite for secured credit,” Mr Soundy says.

Vehicle sales continue to be driven by passenger vehicles and individual purchases. As at February 2013 total vehicle instalment debtors and leases were made up largely by individuals, who made up 72% of the instalment and leases book.

Looking at the South African buyer reveals several interesting facts.

“The majority of people applying for vehicle finance are between the ages of 18 and 45, constituting 62.4% of the market. These consumers display the highest level of awareness about technical changes to vehicles taking place in the industry, the brand offerings available, the legislation and the financial offerings available to buyers,” Mr Soundy says.

He notes that manufacturers have reacted to this knowledgeable sector of the market by ensuring that their offerings are competitively priced and offer the features demanded. One of the results is a diversified market in which about 70 brands of passenger vehicle are available, offering customers a choice of around 2 500 variants.

“About 65% of consumers are purchasing cars that cost less than R200 000. Toyota, Hyundai and Volkswagen are some of the manufacturers that have met the need for buying economical vehicles, capturing 50% of the new car market in this segment,” he said. Smaller engine vehicles (<1.7 litres) have seen the biggest sales growth in recent times, growing by just under 12% in 2012 from 2011, compared to growth of 9% and 1% for medium (1.8 to 3 litres) and large (>3 litres) engine vehicles respectively.

Consumers have been addressing the monthly affordability of repayments for their vehicles of choice in different ways, including through financing vehicles over a longer period, using the Residual Value option on their finance deals, and varying the extent of deposits offered.

The advent of the National Credit Act has also seen finance contracts taken over longer terms, with the average contract for new vehicles now being just over 60 months. “The average settlement period for new vehicles however, is just over 40 months,” Mr Soundy says.

Applications with a residual value request have increased, with the overall percentage of applications received with residual values at around 13% in the first quarter of 2013, from just over 11% in 2012. Consumers are seeing the benefit of this finance option, in which the monthly installments are reduced due to a residual value.

In the first quarter of this year, Standard Bank South Africa has seen an increase in the number of vehicle finance applications; however the percentage of applications with deposits have declined, with more consumers seeking to finance vehicles without a deposit.

Mr. Soundy also notes that although the traditional installment sale agreement remains very popular, consideration for alternative financing options, such as rental and leasing options, is gaining traction.

“Astute consumers are well aware that a vehicle cannot be deemed an asset. They are shifting the risk of vehicle ownership and residual values, and the responsibility of disposing the vehicle at the end of the contract, to the financier.”

Looking ahead, Mr Soundy notes that certain factors this year may work against growth in new vehicles sales. These include the Rand exchange rate which could put pressure on vehicle prices, continuing high levels of consumer household debt, and the high level of households with impaired credit records. Increases in food prices, energy prices (both fuel and electricity), and transport costs, including toll fees, will also impact on consumers’ disposable income. Inflation will be under pressure to remain below the target of 6% in 2013, impacted largely by the depreciation of the Rand and higher fuel prices.

“The Rand is likely to remain sensitive to both domestic and global developments. This could have a negative knock-on effect on vehicle prices,” he says. “However, the effect of the exchange rate has not yet reflected in car sales. Last year, vehicle prices rose by only 2.2% year-on-year.”

Mr Soundy believes that the continuing current low interest rate environment and the competitive nature of the South African motor industry will provide potential boost for growth in the market.

He says that Standard Bank South Africa’s financing activities will continue to be based on responsible lending that takes into account cash flow optimisation for both personal and commercial customers.

“Regardless of the economic situation, we will continue to assist customers by developing and providing financial services that make the acquisition of vehicles, whether for private or corporate use, as easy as possible.”

Source: StandardBank.com

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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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Vers un nouveau modèle économique pour la Tunisie : contraintes majeures à une croissance généralisée

Posted on 30 April 2013 by Africa Business

Le Gouvernement de la Tunisie, La Banque africaine de développement le Gouvernement des États-Unis ont publié un rapport


TUNIS, Tunisie, 30 avril 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Le Gouvernement de la Tunisie, La Banque africaine de développement (http://www.afdb.org) et le Gouvernement des États-Unis ont publié le rapport intitulé « Vers un nouveau modèle économique pour la Tunisie : contraintes majeures à une croissance généralisée ». Ce nouveau rapport, cherche à cerner les principales contraintes à la croissance en Tunisie afin d’identifier les domaines où les réformes sont le plus nécessaires. La présente étude s’emploie à définir ces obstacles tels qu’ils se sont manifestés pendant les années qui ont conduit à la révolution et sous leur forme actuelle. Elle se fonde sur l’hypothèse communément admise que l’investissement dans le secteur privé et l’entreprenariat sont, en définitive, les clés d’une croissance économique durable et suit l’approche du diagnostic de croissance proposée par Ricardo Hausmann, Dani Rodrik et Andrès Velasco.

L’application du cadre méthodologique a mis en évidence deux grandes catégories de contraintes à la croissance économique en Tunisie :

Tout d’abord, l’absence d’institutions efficaces pour assurer la responsabilisation du secteur public, l’Etat de droit et les contrôles et les contrepoids au pouvoir, aboutit en Tunisie à la faible protection des droits de propriété et l’établissement de barrières à l’entrée. Les droits de propriété et les libertés d’investissement sont fondamentaux pour le développement de l’esprit d’entreprise et pour l’investissement, l’innovation et la prise de risque, et sont donc essentiels à la réalisation de la croissance, l’amélioration de la productivité et l’augmentation des salaires et des niveaux de vie. L’effort doit aussi être soutenu afin d’établir un cadre solide de gouvernance économique, avec des institutions qui fournissent aux investisseurs un ensemble clair et transparent de règles ainsi que l’assurance qu’ils seront en mesure de récolter les fruits de leurs investissements.

Deuxièmement, bien que les programmes de sécurité sociale et de protection du travail visent à améliorer la rémunération, les avantages et la sécurité économique des travailleurs, de nombreuses mesures actuellement en place en Tunisie ont été contre-productives dans la réalisation de ces objectifs et n’ont profité qu’aux travailleurs les plus fortunés. Plutôt que d’améliorer la fourniture d’emplois acceptables, elles se traduisent par une réduction des investissements, plus d’informalité, une rémunération inférieure des travailleurs, la hausse du chômage et augmentation de l’insécurité économique. Les entreprises restent petites et utilisent diverses méthodes pour contourner les exigences liées à l’embauche formelle des travailleurs, dont un recours à l’informalité et la sous-déclaration des employés. Leur incapacité à ajuster l’emploi en fonction des conditions de marché les décourage de grandir afin de réaliser des économies d’échelle et d’investir dans la formation des travailleurs. Cette dynamique réduit l’innovation et la croissance de la productivité et rend les entreprises tunisiennes moins compétitives à l’international. Des solutions alternatives pour la conception de systèmes de sécurité sociale et la protection du marché du travail doivent être considérées dans le but de protéger les personnes plutôt que les emplois spécifiques.

Ces contraintes majeures se ressentent au niveau national et ont par conséquent des effets néfastes aussi bien dans les régions enregistrant une croissance plus rapide que dans celles à la traîne. Si l’on estime en général que l’absence d’investissement dans l’infrastructure et la mauvaise qualité de l’éducation réduisent les opportunités d’investissement et d’emploi dans les régions peu développées, l’absence de la demande produits et de travailleurs issus de ces régions tient surtout aux marchés nationaux et internationaux. En effet, les contraintes identifiées dans ce diagnostic seraient encore plus pesantes sur la croissance des régions à la traîne.

Les contraintes identifiées affectent les entreprises exportatrices et les firmes étrangères à un moindre degré que les entreprises essentiellement tournées vers les marchés intérieurs. Les entreprises exportatrices bénéficient d’exonérations sur les charges sociales et d’autres impôts pendant plusieurs années et, compte tenu de leur grande taille et de leur productivité plus élevée, ces entreprises sont mieux à même de respecter les exigences du marché officiel du travail. Ces entreprises semblent également avoir été moins touchées par les violations des droits de la propriété pendant l’ancien régime. Cependant, les contraintes identifiées sont encore de nature à inhiber les investissements et la création d’emploi par les entreprises exportatrices elles aussi. Entre temps, ces contraintes constituent un énorme obstacle pour les entreprises tunisiennes desservant le marché intérieur – dont certaines auraient pu autrement fournir les entreprises exportatrices ou exporter directement mais ne peuvent pas, dans l

es conditions actuelles, se développer ou innover au niveau requis pour être compétitives à l’international. Bien que la Tunisie se soit appuyée sur une politique industrielle et divers moratoires fiscaux pour promouvoir l’innovation et la compétitivité, les efforts supplémentaires du gouvernement visant à subventionner directement ou promouvoir l’innovation ne pourront pas déboucher sur la transformation de l’économie si ces contraintes majeures ne sont pas levées.

Outre les deux contraintes majeures relevées plus haut, des risques ont apparu depuis la révolution, susceptibles devenir des contraintes majeures si on n’y remédie pas efficacement. Il y a d’abord le risque que les troubles sociaux deviennent persistants et généralisés, ce qui découragerait les investissements au cours des prochaines années. Ce risque a pour corollaire l’instabilité macroéconomique qui pourrait s’installer si les pressions sociales et économiques internes l’emportent sur l’engagement du gouvernement à préserver la stabilité budgétaire. En plus de ce risque, l’analyse met en évidence les problèmes qui minent le secteur financier, la faible qualité de l’éducation primaire et secondaire, en particulier dans les régions à la traîne, la nécessité d’une meilleure gestion des ressources en eau et les limites actuelles de la capacité et de la gestion portuaires de la Tunisie. Si ces problèmes ne constituent pas actuellement des contraintes majeures, ils pourraient devenir des contraintes plus sérieuses à l’avenir.

À la lumière des résultats de cette analyse, la Banque africaine de développement et ses partenaires fourniront l’appui à la Tunisie pour que ce pays lève ces contraintes et parvienne à une croissance plus forte, durable et généralisée.

 

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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AGGREKO, SHANDUKA RECOGNISED FOR DELIVERING AFRICA’S BEST FAST TRACK POWER PROJECT

Posted on 27 April 2013 by Amat JENG

The Aggreko Shanduka cross-border power project, located at Ressano Garcia in Mozambique has been awarded Africa’s Best Fast Track Power Project in 2012 at the Africa Energy Awards. The award ceremony took place during the gala dinner of the Power and Electricity World Africa conference and exhibition being held from the 8th to 11th of April in Johannesburg.

Commissioned in July 2012, the Ressano Garcia project is recognised as the world’s first interim cross-border IPP (Independent Power Provider) project. Utilising natural gas from Mozambique’s Temane gas fields, the output of the plant is being injected directly into the national grid of Mozambique on site via a purpose built substation. The project saw the generation and supply of 110 MW of power to Electricidade de Mocambique (EDM), the national utility of Mozambique and cross-border to Eskom, the South African national utility.

Aggreko Generator Rentals are a global business in 133 locations in 100 countries, we have recently entered the footsie 100 and in Australia have been associated with the Webb group for 13 years.

While being a highly innovative project in terms of delivering much needed power to both countries, the judges where impressed by the truly fast-track nature of the project. Commissioning the project, from first breaking ground to being fully operational, took less than four months. This included a substantial civil infrastructure programme involving the building of access roads, a 1.2 km high pressure gas pipeline, gas processing and de-pressurising infrastructure, a major substation and 1.5 kilometres of 275 kV transmission line.

The project is connected to the Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) which links the power grids of nine Southern African countries. Taking advantage of this exceptional transmission infrastructure and the flexible nature of Aggreko’s power installations, on March 14th 2013 Aggreko (http://www.aggreko.com) announced that it would extend the Ressano Garcia facility to add an additional 122 MW. Coming on-line within the second quarter of 2013, this additional power will be shared between EDM and NamPower, the Namibian national utility and bring the total generating capacity of Ressano Garcia to 232 MW.

“To realise a project of this scale and complexity, the global resources of Aggreko were mobilised to project manage and engineer the installation of Ressano Garcia. This capability coupled with the expertise of our partnering contractors and customers, working together as one team resulted in the successful delivery of this remarkable project,” commented Ron Sams, Global Operations and Technology Director, Aggreko.

“We are thrilled to receive this award in conjunction with our partner Aggreko,” commented Phuti Mahanyele, CEO, Shanduka Group. “Access to sufficient and stable power supplies creates tremendous value for the development of the region. This project has also brought significant benefits to the local population, providing increased employment opportunities, stimulating wider economic activity and, through Shanduka’s Adopt-a-School Foundation, assisting in the development of a local primary school, Escola Primaria Completa De Ressano Garcia.”

Commenting on the award James Shepherd, Managing Director, Aggreko Southern and East Africa, “I’m delighted that what is indeed a unique and ground-breaking project has been recognised as such by our industry peers. Building a power plant of such size and complexity, on a completely greenfield site, in less than four months is truly remarkable. This award recognises the vision and hard work of the project team from Aggreko and Shanduka, our customers EDM and Eskom and all the partners that made this project such a resounding success.”

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