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Un nouveau rapport de la Banque mondiale prévoit un triplement de la part des pays en développement dans les investissements mondiaux d’ici 2030

Posted on 20 May 2013 by Africa Business

D’ici dix-sept ans, les pays en développement, et principalement ceux d’Asie de l’Est et d’Amérique latine, abriteront la moitié des capitaux mondiaux — soit 158 000 milliards de dollars (en dollars de 2010) — contre un tiers seulement aujourd’hui. C’est ce que prévoit la dernière édition des Global Development Horizons (GDH) de la Banque mondiale, un rapport qui étudie l’évolution probable des tendances en matière d’investissement, d’épargne et de mouvement de capitaux sur les vingt prochaines années.

Selon cette nouvelle publication intitulée Capital for the Future: Saving and Investment in an Interdependent World (« Les capitaux de demain : épargne et investissement dans un monde interdépendant »), les pays en développement, qui ne représentaient qu’un cinquième des investissements mondiaux en 2000, devrait voir leur part tripler d’ici 2030. Les changements démographiques joueront un grand rôle dans ces mutations structurelles puisque la population mondiale devrait passer de 7 milliards en 2010 à 8,5 milliards en 2030 tandis que les pays développés connaissent un vieillissement rapide.

« Le rapport GDH repose sur l’exploitation d’une somme phénoménale d’informations statistiques et constitue l’un des efforts les plus aboutis de projection dans un futur éloigné », explique Kaushik Basu, premier vice-président et économiste en chef de la Banque mondiale. « L’expérience de pays aussi divers que la Corée du Sud, l’Indonésie, le Brésil, la Turquie et l’Afrique du Sud nous montre combien le rôle de l’investissement est crucial pour la croissance à long terme. Dans moins d’une génération, l’investissement mondial sera dominé par les pays en développement, la Chine et l’Inde en tête. Ces deux pays devraient, en effet, assurer 38 % des investissements bruts mondiaux en 2030. Ces changements vont modifier le paysage économique mondial et c’est ce qu’étudie le rapport GDH. »

Le rattrapage des retards de productivité, l’intégration croissante dans les marchés mondiaux, la poursuite de bonnes politiques macroéconomiques ainsi que les progrès accomplis dans l’éducation et la santé sont autant de facteurs d’accélération de la croissance qui créent d’énormes opportunités d’investissement, lesquelles entraînent à leur tour une modification de l’équilibre économique mondial en faveur des pays en développement..À cela s’ajoute l’explosion démographique de la jeunesse, qui contribuera aussi à doper l’investissement : la population globale des pays en développement devrait s’accroître de 1,4 milliard d’individus d’ici 2030, sachant que le bénéfice de ce « dividende démographique » n’a pas encore été totalement récolté, en particulier dans les régions relativement plus jeunes que sont l’Afrique subsaharienne et l’Asie du Sud.

Les pays en développement auront probablement, enfin, les ressources nécessaires pour financer des investissements massifs dans les infrastructures et les services, au premier rang desquels l’éducation et la santé, ce qui est une bonne nouvelle. Les robustes taux d’épargne des pays en développement devraient culminer à 34 % du revenu national en 2014 et enregistrer une moyenne annuelle de 32 % jusqu’en 2030. Globalement, le monde en développement représentera 62 à 64 % de l’épargne mondiale en 2030 (25 à 27 000 milliards), contre 45 % en 2010.

Toutefois, comme le souligne Hans Timmer, directeur du Groupe des perspectives de développement à la Banque mondiale, « malgré de hauts niveaux d’épargne, et pour être en mesure de financer leurs importants besoins d’investissements, les pays en développement devront à l’avenir accroître considérablement leur participation, actuellement limitée, aux marchés financiers internationaux s’ils souhaitent tirer parti des profonds bouleversements en cours ».

Le rapport GDH envisage deux scénarios qui diffèrent par la vitesse de convergence entre les niveaux de revenu par habitant des pays développés et des pays en développement, et par le rythme des transformations structurelles des deux groupes (sur le plan du développement du secteur financier et de l’amélioration des institutions notamment). Le premier scénario prévoit une convergence progressive entre les pays développés et les pays en développement et le second une évolution nettement plus rapide.

Pour les vingt prochaines années, le scénario progressif et le scénario rapide prévoient une croissance économique moyenne de, respectivement, 2,6 % et 3 % par an dans le monde, et de 4,8 % et 5,5 % dans les pays en développement.

Dans les deux hypothèses, à l’horizon 2030, les services représenteront plus de 60 % de l’emploi total dans les pays en développement et plus de 50 % du commerce mondial. Ce changement est lié à l’augmentation de la demande en services d’infrastructure induite par l’évolution démographique. Le rapport GDH chiffre d’ailleurs à 14 600 milliards de dollars les besoins de financement d’infrastructures du monde en développement d’ici 2030.

Le rapport souligne aussi le vieillissement des populations d’Asie de l’Est, d’Europe de l’Est et d’Asie centrale, régions dans lesquelles les taux d’épargne privée devraient afficher une baisse particulièrement marquée. L’évolution démographique mettra à l’épreuve la pérennité des finances publiques et les États devront résoudre des enjeux complexes afin de maîtriser la charge des soins de santé et des retraites sans imposer de trop grandes difficultés aux personnes âgées. L’Afrique subsaharienne qui a une population relativement jeune, en augmentation rapide, et qui connaît une solide croissance économique, sera la seule région à ne pas enregistrer de baisse du taux d’épargne.

En termes absolus, l’épargne continuera néanmoins à être dominée par l’Asie et le Moyen-Orient. Selon le scénario de convergence progressive, en 2030, la Chine épargnera nettement plus que les autres pays en développement (9 000 milliards en dollars de 2010), suivie de loin par l’Inde (1 700 milliards), dépassant les niveaux d’épargne du Japon et des États-Unis dans les années 2020.

Selon le même scénario, à l’horizon 2030, la Chine représentera à elle seule 30 % des investissements mondiaux, tandis que le Brésil, l’Inde et la Russie y contribueront ensemble à hauteur de 13 %. En volume, les investissements atteindront 15 000 milliards (en dollars de 2010) dans les pays en développement contre 10 000 milliards pour les pays à revenu élevé. La Chine et l’Inde représenteront près de la moitié des investissements mondiaux dans le secteur manufacturier.

« Le rapport GDH met clairement en évidence le rôle croissant des pays en développement dans l’économie mondiale, et c’est incontestablement une avancée significative », indique Maurizio Bussolo, économiste principal à la Banque mondiale et auteur principal du rapport, tout en soulignant que « cette meilleure répartition des richesses entre pays ne signifie pas que tous les habitants des différents pays en bénéficieront de manière égale ».

Selon le rapport, les groupes de population les moins instruits d’un pays, qui ont peu ou pas du tout d’épargne, se trouvent dans l’impossibilité d’améliorer leur capacité de gain et, pour les plus pauvres, d’échapper à l’engrenage de la pauvreté.

Maurizio Bussolo conclut : « Les responsables politiques des pays en développement ont un rôle déterminant à jouer pour stimuler l’épargne privée par des mesures qui permettront d’élever le capital humain, en particulier pour les plus pauvres ».

Points marquants des différentes régions

L’Asie de l’Est et le Pacifique enregistreront une baisse de leur taux d’épargne et une chute encore plus forte de leur taux d’investissement, taux qui resteront toutefois élevés à l’échelle internationale. Malgré cette baisse des taux, la part de la région dans l’investissement et l’épargne continuera d’augmenter au plan mondial jusqu’en 2030 en raison d’une solide croissance économique. La région connaît un fort dividende démographique, avec moins de 4 personnes d’âge non actif pour 10 personnes d’âge actif, ce qui représente le plus faible taux de dépendance du monde. Ce dividende arrivera à son terme après avoir atteint un pic en 2015. La croissance de la population active ralentira ensuite et en 2040 la région pourrait afficher l’un des taux de dépendance les plus élevés de toutes les régions en développement (avec plus de 5,5 personnes d’âge non actif pour 10 personnes d’âge actif). La Chine, grand moteur de la région, devrait continuer à enregistrer d’importants excédents de la balance des opérations courantes, en raison de fortes baisses de son taux d’investissement liées à l’évolution du pays vers un système de plus faible engagement public dans les investissements.

L’Europe de l’Est et l’Asie centrale forment la région la plus avancée en termes de transition démographique, qui devrait être la seule du monde en développement à atteindre une croissance démographique nulle d’ici 2030. Ce vieillissement, qui devrait ralentir la croissance économique de la région, pourrait aussi entraîner une baisse du taux d’épargne plus forte que dans les autres régions en développement, à l’exception de l’Asie de l’Est. Le taux d’épargne pourrait ainsi descendre au-dessous du taux d’investissement, ce qui obligerait les pays de la région à attirer des flux de capitaux extérieurs pour financer leurs investissements. La région devra également faire face à une importante pression budgétaire due au vieillissement. La Turquie, par exemple, pourrait voir ses dépenses de retraites publiques augmenter de plus de 50 % d’ici 2030 en application du régime actuel. Plusieurs autres pays de la région seront aussi confrontés à d’importantes augmentations des dépenses de retraites et de santé.

L’Amérique latine et les Caraïbes forment une région où l’épargne est historiquement faible, qui pourrait afficher l’épargne la plus faible au monde en 2030. La démographie devrait certes y jouer un rôle positif (avec une baisse du taux de dépendance jusqu’en 2025) mais cet avantage sera probablement neutralisé par le développement du marché financier (qui réduit l’épargne de précaution) et une croissance économique modérée. De même, l’effet positif puis négatif de la démographie sur la croissance de la population active devrait d’abord entraîner une hausse du taux d’investissement à court terme puis une baisse progressive. Toutefois, la relation entre inégalité et épargne pourrait déboucher sur un autre scénario dans cette région. Comme ailleurs, les ménages les plus pauvres ont tendance à moins épargner ; l’amélioration des capacités de gain, l’augmentation des revenus et la réduction des inégalités pourraient donc doper l’épargne nationale et surtout contribuer à rompre le cercle vicieux de la pauvreté entretenu par le faible niveau d’épargne des ménages pauvres.

Le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord disposent d’une importante marge de développement du marché financier, susceptible de soutenir l’investissement mais aussi, en raison du vieillissement de la population, de réduire l’épargne. De ce fait, les excédents de la balance des opérations courantes pourraient baisser modérément jusqu’en 2030, en fonction du rythme du développement du marché financier. Cette région est dans une phase de transition démographique relativement précoce qui se caractérise par une croissance encore rapide de la population générale et de la population active en même temps qu’une augmentation de la part des personnes âgées. Le changement de la structure des ménages pourrait aussi influencer les modèles d’épargne. Cette structure pourrait, en effet, évoluer d’une organisation intergénérationnelle, où la famille prend en charge les anciens, vers une structure composée de ménages plus petits avec une plus grande dépendance des personnes âgées vis-à-vis des revenus patrimoniaux. C’est dans cette région que les ménages à faible revenu recourent le moins aux institutions financières officielles pour épargner, d’où une marge importante de développement du rôle des marchés financiers dans l’épargne des ménages.

L’Asie du Sud restera l’une des régions où l’on épargne et investit le plus jusqu’en 2030. Toutefois, compte tenu des possibilités de progression rapide de la croissance économique et des marchés financiers, l’évolution de l’épargne, de l’investissement et des flux de capitaux peut varier considérablement : dans l’hypothèse d’une progression plus rapide de la croissance économique et des marchés financiers, les taux d’investissement resteront élevés tandis que l’épargne baissera considérablement, d’où d’importants déficits de la balance des opérations courantes. L’Asie du Sud est une région jeune qui, vers 2035, aura probablement le plus haut ratio au monde des personnes d’âge actif par rapport aux personnes d’âge non actif. Le phénomène général de déplacement des investissements vers le secteur manufacturier et le secteur des services aux dépens de l’agriculture devrait être particulièrement marqué en Asie du Sud ; la part de cette région dans les investissements globaux devrait ainsi presque doubler dans le secteur manufacturier et gagner au moins huit points de pourcentage dans le secteur des services, dépassant les deux tiers du total.

En Afrique subsaharienne, le taux d’investissement restera stable en raison d’une solide croissance de la population active. C’est la seule région qui n’enregistrera pas de baisse de son taux d’épargne dans l’hypothèse d’un développement modéré des marchés financiers, le vieillissement n’y étant pas un facteur significatif. Dans le scénario d’une croissance plus rapide, les pays africains plus pauvres connaîtront un développement plus marqué des marchés financiers et les investisseurs étrangers seront de plus en plus disposés à financer des investissements dans la région. L’Afrique subsaharienne est actuellement la région la plus jeune, qui affiche aussi le plus haut ratio de dépendance. Ce ratio enregistrera une baisse constante sur toute la période considérée et au-delà, entraînant un dividende démographique durable. C’est cette région qui aura les plus grands besoins d’investissement en infrastructures au cours des vingt prochaines années (en pourcentage du PIB). Dans le même temps, on observera probablement un changement dans le financement des investissements en infrastructures qui devrait être davantage ouvert au secteur privé, avec une augmentation substantielle des afflux de capitaux privés, venant notamment des autres régions en développement.

Source: WorldBank.org

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Forte progression du poids du monde en développement d’ici 2030

Posted on 19 May 2013 by Africa Business

  • La part des pays en développement dans les investissements mondiaux va tripler d’ici 2030.
  • La Chine et l’Inde seront les plus grands investisseurs du monde en développement.
  • L’amélioration des conditions de vie des populations pauvres passe par une meilleure éducation.

Dans moins d’une génération, le monde en développement dominera l’épargne et les investissements mondiaux. C’est ce qui ressort du dernier rapport Global Development Horizons (GDH).

Ce rapport étudie l’évolution probable des tendances en matière d’investissement, d’épargne et de mouvement de capitaux au cours des vingt prochaines années. Il prévoit que, d’ici 2030, les pays en développement, et principalement ceux d’Asie de l’Est et d’Amérique latine, abriteront la moitié des capitaux mondiaux — soit 158 000 milliards de dollars (en dollars de 2010) — contre un tiers seulement aujourd’hui.

Selon cette nouvelle publication intitulée Capital for the Future: Saving and Investment in an Interdependent World (« Les capitaux de demain : épargne et investissement dans un monde interdépendant »), les pays en développement, qui ne représentaient qu’un cinquième des investissements mondiaux en 2000, devrait voir leur part tripler d’ici 2030.

Le rattrapage des retards de productivité, l’intégration croissante dans les marchés mondiaux, la poursuite de bonnes politiques macroéconomiques ainsi que les progrès accomplis dans l’éducation et la santé sont autant de facteurs d’accélération de la croissance qui créent d’énormes opportunités d’investissement, lesquelles entraînent à leur tour une modification de l’équilibre économique mondial en faveur des pays en développement.

À cela s’ajoute l’explosion démographique de la jeunesse, qui contribuera aussi à doper l’investissement. D’ici 2020, c’est-à-dire dans moins de sept ans, la croissance de la population mondiale en âge de travailler sera exclusivement déterminée par les pays en développement dont la population globale devrait s’accroître d’1,4 milliard d’individus d’ici 2030. Or tout le bénéfice de ce « dividende démographique » n’a pas encore été récolté, en particulier dans les régions relativement plus jeunes que sont l’Afrique subsaharienne et l’Asie du Sud.

Le rapport GDH envisage deux scénarios qui diffèrent par la vitesse de convergence entre les niveaux de revenu par habitant des pays développés et des pays en développement, et par le rythme des transformations structurelles des deux groupes (sur le plan du développement du secteur financier et de l’amélioration des institutions notamment). Le premier scénario prévoit une convergence progressive entre les pays développés et les pays en développement et le second une évolution nettement plus rapide.

Dans les deux hypothèses, à l’horizon 2030, les services représenteront plus de 60 % de l’emploi total dans les pays en développement et plus de 50 % du commerce mondial. Ce changement est lié à l’augmentation de la demande en services d’infrastructure induite par l’évolution démographique. Le rapport GDH chiffre d’ailleurs à 14 600 milliards de dollars les besoins de financement d’infrastructures du monde en développement d’ici 2030.

Le rapport souligne aussi le vieillissement des populations d’Asie de l’Est, d’Europe de l’Est et d’Asie centrale, régions dans lesquelles les taux d’épargne privée devraient afficher une baisse particulièrement marquée. L’évolution démographique mettra à l’épreuve la pérennité des finances publiques et les États devront résoudre des enjeux complexes afin de maîtriser la charge des soins de santé et des retraites sans imposer de trop grandes difficultés aux personnes âgées. L’Afrique subsaharienne qui a une population relativement jeune, en augmentation rapide, et qui connaît une solide croissance économique, sera la seule région à ne pas enregistrer de baisse du taux d’épargne.

Open Quotes

Les responsables politiques des pays en développement ont un rôle déterminant à jouer pour stimuler l’épargne privée par des mesures qui permettront d’élever le capital humain, en particulier pour les plus pauvres. Close Quotes

Maurizio Bussolo
Auteur principal du rapport, Global Development Horizons 2013

En termes absolus, l’épargne continuera néanmoins à être dominée par l’Asie et le Moyen-Orient. Selon le scénario de convergence progressive, en 2030, la Chine épargnera nettement plus que les autres pays en développement (9 000 milliards en dollars de 2010), suivie de loin par l’Inde (1 700 milliards), dépassant les niveaux d’épargne du Japon et des États-Unis dans les années 2020.

Selon le même scénario, à l’horizon 2030, la Chine représentera à elle seule 30 % des investissements mondiaux, tandis que le Brésil, l’Inde et la Russie y contribueront ensemble à hauteur de 13 %. En volume, les investissements atteindront 15 000 milliards (en dollars de 2010) dans les pays en développement contre 10 000 milliards pour les pays à revenu élevé. La Chine et l’Inde seront aussi en tête du classement des plus gros investisseurs du monde en développement, ces deux pays représentant ensemble 38 % des investissements bruts mondiaux en 2030 et près de la moitié des investissements mondiaux dans le secteur manufacturier.

« Le rapport GDH met clairement en évidence le rôle croissant des pays en développement dans l’économie mondiale, et c’est incontestablement une avancée significative », indique Maurizio Bussolo, économiste principal à la Banque mondiale et auteur principal du rapport, tout en soulignant que « cette meilleure répartition des richesses entre pays ne signifie pas que tous les habitants des différents pays en bénéficieront de manière égale ».

Selon le rapport, les groupes de population les moins instruits d’un pays, qui ont peu ou pas du tout d’épargne, se trouvent dans l’impossibilité d’améliorer leur capacité de gain et, pour les plus pauvres, d’échapper à l’engrenage de la pauvreté.

Et Maurizio Bussolo de conclure : « Les responsables politiques des pays en développement ont un rôle déterminant à jouer pour stimuler l’épargne privée par des mesures qui permettront d’élever le capital humain, en particulier pour les plus pauvres ».

Points marquants des différentes régions

L’Asie de l’Est et le Pacifique enregistreront une baisse de leur taux d’épargne et une chute encore plus forte de leur taux d’investissement, taux qui resteront toutefois élevés à l’échelle internationale. Malgré cette baisse des taux, la part de la région dans l’investissement et l’épargne continuera d’augmenter au plan mondial jusqu’en 2030 en raison d’une solide croissance économique. La région connaît un fort dividende démographique, avec moins de 4 personnes d’âge non actif pour 10 personnes d’âge actif, ce qui représente le plus faible taux de dépendance du monde. Ce dividende arrivera à son terme après avoir atteint un pic en 2015. La croissance de la population active ralentira ensuite et en 2040 la région pourrait afficher l’un des taux de dépendance les plus élevés de toutes les régions en développement (avec plus de 5,5 personnes d’âge non actif pour 10 personnes d’âge actif). La Chine, grand moteur de la région, devrait continuer à enregistrer d’importants excédents de la balance des opérations courantes, en raison de fortes baisses de son taux d’investissement liées à l’évolution du pays vers un système de plus faible engagement public dans les investissements.

 

L’Europe de l’Est et l’Asie centrale forment la région la plus avancée en termes de transition démographique, qui devrait être la seule du monde en développement à atteindre une croissance démographique nulle d’ici 2030. Ce vieillissement, qui devrait ralentir la croissance économique de la région, pourrait aussi entraîner une baisse du taux d’épargne plus forte que dans les autres régions en développement, à l’exception de l’Asie de l’Est. Le taux d’épargne pourrait ainsi descendre au-dessous du taux d’investissement, ce qui obligerait les pays de la région à attirer des flux de capitaux extérieurs pour financer leurs investissements. La région devra également faire face à une importante pression budgétaire due au vieillissement. La Turquie, par exemple, pourrait voir ses dépenses de retraites publiques augmenter de plus de 50 % d’ici 2030 en application du régime actuel. Plusieurs autres pays de la région seront aussi confrontés à d’importantes augmentations des dépenses de retraites et de santé.

 

L’Amérique latine et les Caraïbes forment une région où l’épargne est historiquement faible, qui pourrait afficher l’épargne la plus faible au monde en 2030. La démographie devrait certes y jouer un rôle positif (avec une baisse du taux de dépendance jusqu’en 2025) mais cet avantage sera probablement neutralisé par le développement du marché financier (qui réduit l’épargne de précaution) et une croissance économique modérée. De même, l’effet positif puis négatif de la démographie sur la croissance de la population active devrait d’abord entraîner une hausse du taux d’investissement à court terme puis une baisse progressive. Toutefois, la relation entre inégalité et épargne pourrait déboucher sur un autre scénario dans cette région. Comme ailleurs, les ménages les plus pauvres ont tendance à moins épargner ; l’amélioration des capacités de gain, l’augmentation des revenus et la réduction des inégalités pourraient donc doper l’épargne nationale et surtout contribuer à rompre le cercle vicieux de la pauvreté entretenu par le faible niveau d’épargne des ménages pauvres.

 

Le Moyen-Orient et l’Afrique du Nord disposent d’une importante marge de développement du marché financier, susceptible de soutenir l’investissement mais aussi, en raison du vieillissement de la population, de réduire l’épargne. De ce fait, les excédents de la balance des opérations courantes pourraient baisser modérément jusqu’en 2030, en fonction du rythme du développement du marché financier. Cette région est dans une phase de transition démographique relativement précoce qui se caractérise par une croissance encore rapide de la population générale et de la population active en même temps qu’une augmentation de la part des personnes âgées. Le changement de la structure des ménages pourrait aussi influencer les modèles d’épargne. Cette structure pourrait, en effet, évoluer d’une organisation intergénérationnelle, où la famille prend en charge les anciens, vers une structure composée de ménages plus petits avec une plus grande dépendance des personnes âgées vis-à-vis des revenus patrimoniaux. C’est dans cette région que les ménages à faible revenu recourent le moins aux institutions financières officielles pour épargner, d’où une marge importante de développement du rôle des marchés financiers dans l’épargne des ménages.

L’Asie du Sud restera l’une des régions où l’on épargne et investit le plus jusqu’en 2030. Toutefois, compte tenu des possibilités de progression rapide de la croissance économique et des marchés financiers, l’évolution de l’épargne, de l’investissement et des flux de capitaux peut varier considérablement : dans l’hypothèse d’une progression plus rapide de la croissance économique et des marchés financiers, les taux d’investissement resteront élevés tandis que l’épargne baissera considérablement, d’où d’importants déficits de la balance des opérations courantes. L’Asie du Sud est une région jeune qui, vers 2035, aura probablement le plus haut ratio au monde des personnes d’âge actif par rapport aux personnes d’âge non actif. Le phénomène général de déplacement des investissements vers le secteur manufacturier et le secteur des services aux dépens de l’agriculture devrait être particulièrement marqué en Asie du Sud ; la part de cette région dans les investissements globaux devrait ainsi presque doubler dans le secteur manufacturier et gagner au moins huit points de pourcentage dans le secteur des services, dépassant les deux tiers du total.

 

En Afrique subsaharienne, le taux d’investissement restera stable en raison d’une solide croissance de la population active. C’est la seule région qui n’enregistrera pas de baisse de son taux d’épargne dans l’hypothèse d’un développement modéré des marchés financiers, le vieillissement n’y étant pas un facteur significatif. Dans le scénario d’une croissance plus rapide, les pays africains plus pauvres connaîtront un développement plus marqué des marchés financiers et les investisseurs étrangers seront de plus en plus disposés à financer des investissements dans la région. L’Afrique subsaharienne est actuellement la région la plus jeune, qui affiche aussi le plus haut ratio de dépendance. Ce ratio enregistrera une baisse constante sur toute la période considérée et au-delà, entraînant un dividende démographique durable. C’est cette région qui aura les plus grands besoins d’investissement en infrastructures au cours des vingt prochaines années (en pourcentage du PIB). Dans le même temps, on observera probablement un changement dans le financement des investissements en infrastructures qui devrait être davantage ouvert au secteur privé, avec une augmentation substantielle des afflux de capitaux privés, venant notamment des autres régions en développement.

Source: WorldBank.org

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

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Regional Highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: WorldBank.org

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

Posted on 18 May 2013 by Africa Business

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Open Quotes

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

Maurizio Bussolo
Lead Author, Global Development Horizons 2013

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

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

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

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

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

Regional Highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Source: WorldBank.org

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China and Russia commit to World Energy Congress

Posted on 14 May 2013 by Africa Business

“Most important energy event in the world this year”

SEOUL – May 14, 2013: The Chinese and Russian governments have committed to sending high-level delegations to the World Energy Congress in South Korea in October, organizers said.

The Organizing Committee for the 2013 World Energy Congress said it had been notified that China’s National Energy Administration (NEA) would send a ministerial-level delegation to the event and that the government body had advised Chinese energy companies of its plan to attend.

The Chinese delegation will be one of the largest to the Congress, which will host up to 5,000 delegates from around the world, organizers said.

The Committee further announced that Alexander Novak, the Minister of Energy of the Russian Federation, would lead a delegation that will include the Russian ministries of Natural Resources and Environment, and of Foreign Affairs, as well as Gazprom, Transneft, Rosneft, RusHydro, the State Atomic Energy Corporation and other major energy companies.

The Russian delegation is planning a “Russia Day” event at the Congress.

The World Energy Congress is the world’s premier energy gathering and will take place on 13–17 October in the city of Daegu.

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

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.

“We are delighted with the decision by the governmental and industry leaders in China and Russia,” said Dr. Christoph Frei, Secretary General of the London-based World Energy Council, which hosts the triennial event. “Having just been in China and Russia I know that this high level participation in the Congress will provide a fascinating overview of the opportunities and challenges of our energy world in transition. Such engagement by the world’s biggest players is crucial for a meaningful event.”

“Both countries are in the centre of many critical energy developments. We want to understand, within the global energy transformation, whether there is a refocus of ambition within the respective governments,” he said.

“We look forward to hearing more about developments in Russia and the energy challenges and opportunities in China at the World Energy Congress in October,” said Cho Hwan-eik, Chair of the Organising Committee of the 2013 World Energy Congress.

He added: “This will be the first time in the 90-year history of the event that China will have participated in such a significant way. For both the Chinese and Russians now to commit to the Daegu event underscores the fact that the Congress is the most important event on the global energy calendar this year.”

The Organising Committee also confirmed that a number of other governments are currently planning significant activity for the Congress. Mr. Cho added, “The discussions we are having with many governments at this early stage in our planning only serve to highlight the importance of this global event being staged in the heart of Asia at a time of significant transition in the energy sector.”

Media Enquiries:

Organizing Committee, World Energy Congress

Inang Park

Tel: +82 (2) 739 7016

M: 010 3213 7465

Email: inang.park@insightcomms.com

John Burton

Tel: +82 (2) 739 7045

M: +82 (0)10 2437 6265

Email: john.burton@insightcomms.com

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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La BAD appuie la reprise économique du Mali avec plus de 30 milliards FCFA

Posted on 09 May 2013 by Africa Business

Les financements en cours accordés par la BAD au Mali s’élèvent à près de 140 milliards de FCFA

TUNIS, Tunisie, 8 mai 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ Le Groupe de la Banque africaine de développement (BAD) (http://www.afdb.org) a consenti, ce mercredi 8 mai 2013 à Tunis, un financement de 30 288 683 280 FCFA à la République du Mali. Ce montant sera prélevé sur les ressources du Guichet du Fonds africain de développement (FAD) et contribuera au financement du Programme d’urgence d’appui à la reprise économique (PUARE).

Le PUARE est un appui budgétaire d’urgence, qui s’inscrit dans le cadre d’un effort concerté de la communauté internationale destiné à aider le Mali à sortir des crises successives (sécuritaire, politique, institutionnelle) que le pays a traversé, en appuyant le rétablissement des services publics et en favorisant la reprise économique. L’opération contribuera à la consolidation des efforts de paix et de cohésion sociale entrepris par les autorités maliennes dans le cadre de la transition en cours et favorisera la reconstruction du pays, y compris le rétablissement des capacités de l’Etat. Il permettra de promouvoir l’amélioration du cadre macroéconomique et budgétaire et de créer les conditions de la reprise économique. Les résultats spécifiques escomptés de la mise en œuvre du Programme sont, entre autres, la restauration du fonctionnement et le renforcement des capacités de l’administration publique, la restauration de l’accès aux services sociaux de base, en particulier, les services de santé et d’éducation et le soutien à la reprise de la croissance, qui passerait de -1,2% en 2012 pour osciller autour de 5% en moyenne entre 2013 et 2014.

Le Gouvernement de transition du Mali a élaboré un Plan d’actions prioritaires d’urgence (PAPU), dont les principaux objectifs sont de rétablir le fonctionnement normal de l’administration, restaurer l’accès des populations aux services sociaux de base, et relancer l’économie. Le PUARE vise à aider l’Etat à répondre aux besoins sociaux et économiques urgents nés des crises successives que le pays a connues en contribuant à sa mise en œuvre. Par ailleurs, cette opération, conforme à la stratégie d’intervention de la Banque au Mali, est reflétée dans la Stratégie d’appui à la gestion de la transition (2013 – 2014), qui s’articule autour de deux objectifs : atténuer l’impact de la crise et renforcer la résilience des populations et consolider la stabilité de l’Etat et les bases de la reprise économique.

Les bénéficiaires du Programme sont, de façon générale, les populations maliennes dans leur ensemble, soit près de 15,4 millions d’habitants, et en particulier les populations habitant dans le Nord du pays, notamment celles qui ont été déplacées à cause du conflit. Il s’agit plus spécifiquement de personnes vivant dans la précarité en raison de l’absence de services publics de base dans les zones sinistrées et à leur engorgement dans les zones d’accueil. Les principales structures bénéficiaires sont constituées du réseau scolaire, des services de santé publique, et, plus généralement, de l’administration publique qui doit retrouver un fonctionnement normal. L’Etat pourra ainsi consolider sa légitimité et retrouver sa souveraineté sur l’ensemble du territoire.

A ce jour, les financements en cours accordés par le Groupe de la Banque africaine de développement au Mali s’élèvent à près de 140 milliards de francs FCFA.

La BAD est déterminée à accroître et à renforcer son appui aux Etats fragiles et aux pays touchés par un conflit.

 

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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The AfDB supports economic recovery in Mali with a loan of more than 30 billion CFA francs

Posted on 08 May 2013 by Africa Business

TUNIS, Tunisia, May 8, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ The African Development Bank Group (AfDB) (http://www.afdb.org) approved on Wednesday, May 8 in Tunis, a loan of 30 billion CFA francs to the Republic of Mali. This amount will be drawn from the resources of the African Development Fund (ADF), the Bank’s concessional window, to finance an Emergency Economic Recovery Support Programme (EERSP).

The EERSP is an emergency budget support operation and part of a concerted effort by the international community to help Mali out of its successive crises (security, political, institutional) that have affected the country, by providing support to the reestablishment of public services and fostering economic recovery. The operation will contribute to the consolidation of peace initiatives and social cohesion undertaken under the ongoing transition. It will help to enhance the reconstruction of the country including the rebuilding of the capacities of the State. The program will equally improve macroeconomic and budgetary framework and create the conditions required for economic recovery. The program’s specific economic outcomes are, among others, restoration of functioning and rebuilding of the capacities of the public administration, restoration of access to basic social services, especially health and education services and support to economic growth expected to increase from 1.2% in 2012 to an average of 5% between 2013 and 2014.

The Transition Government in Mali has prepared an Emergency Priority Action Plan (PAPU) the objectives of which are the restoration of the functioning of public services, re-establishing access of the populations to basic social services and resumption of economic activity. The EERSP will help the State respond to urgent social and economic needs in the wake of the successive crises and its implementation. Furthermore, this operation, in line with the Bank’s intervention in Mali, is found on the Transition Support Strategy (2013-2014) hinged on a dual objective, to mitigate the impact of the crisis and strengthen the population’s resilience, and to consolidate the Government’s stability and the foundations for economic recovery.

The program beneficiaries will be the Malian population as a whole, i.e. about 15.4 million inhabitants, and, in particular, those living in the northern part of the country, especially those displaced as a result of the conflict. More specifically, these are people living under difficult conditions due to the absence of basic public services in the areas affected and the congestion of basic public services in the areas that accepted the displaced persons. The main beneficiary structures comprise the school network, public health services, and in general, the public administration which must return to a normal working order. The Government will then be able to consolidate its legitimacy and restore its sovereignty in the whole of Mali.

To date, funding approved by the African Development Bank Group in Mali is about 140 billion CFA francs.

The aim of the AfDB is to enhance and strengthen its support to Fragile States and those affected by conflict.

 

SOURCE

African Development Bank (AfDB)

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ICG’s Conjectures on Eritrea: Realistic and Probable or Wishful and Imaginary?

Posted on 27 April 2013 by Africa Business

Eritrean Center for Strategic Studies, ECSS

On 28 March last month, the ICG released a report entitled: “Eritrea: Scenarios for Future Transition”. Unfortunately, as we illustrate below[1], ICG’s primary sources are mostly the same circle of personalities and entities that harbor a hostile agenda against Eritrea while its basic presumptions are predicated on a superfluous predilection to project a calamitous trend of imminent “doom and gloom”.   As it happened, these skewed approaches have rendered its scenario analysis extremely flawed, and, rather wishful and imaginary.

Political forecasting is not, admittedly, an exact science; it is a messy business indeed.   Still, it’s critical usefulness cannot be glossed over.   The architectures of conflict prevention and management depend on perceptive and sufficiently reliable early warning systems for a timely prognosis of fault lines and trends in order to avoid or mitigate crisis conditions.   But this task requires, in the first place, the existence of a potential crisis-situation as well as objective, neutral and dispassionate appraisal of political realities and trends on the basis of full and accurate information.  The ICG report is found wanting on all these critical parameters.

The ICG’s current report is a follow-up of its last report on Eritrea released on 21 September 2010 with the title “ERITREA: A SIEGE STATE”.   It was claimed then that the report was compiled in ten years of thorough field research that the think tank conducted inside and outside Eritrea.[2] ICG experts visited Eritrea for extensive interviews with senior government officials and canvassed the opinion of various internal sources of their choice.  But even then, there was a lingering impression among most knowledgeable observers of the Eritrean reality that the ICG was more inclined in corroborating a certain pre-conceived narrative rather than honestly and fairly depicting a balanced and nuanced picture.

This time around, the gloves are off and the ICG appears to have discarded all pretentions of objectivity and neutrality.  The ICG claims that it was denied entry to Eritrea although this remains contested by officials in Eritrea’s Foreign Ministry.[3] Whatever the case, and although the ECSS understands that the ICG did maintain some perfunctory communication with the Eritrean Mission to the UN5, the current report is conspicuous for its failure to cite official and neutral and credible sources for countervailing opinion and/or the validation of the facts and events that are described with authority.

Furthermore, and as we highlight below, the welter of information that the ICG cobbled together essentially emanate from rumorsand innuendos6 that are attributed to undisclosed sources.  This is rationalized by considerations of confidentiality.[4] Nonetheless, it casts deeper doubt on the validity of its postulates and conjectures since these “confidential interlocutors” that provided the baseline data may well be affiliated to fringe groups that espouse certain political agendas.   A cursory analysis of the 156 footnotes attached to the report illustrates that 71 % fall in that category. This is unduly large.  And, as we intimated above, the remaining references are virtually recycled data provided by the usual, Eritrea-bashing, hostile elements and groups. These glaring shortcomings of data collection and validation can only dent the reputation of the ICG besides carving out a gaping puncture on the reliability, coherence and probability of the “scenarios of transition” that it envisages.

For purposes of illustration, we cite below some of the outlandish rumors that the ICG blindly replicates in its report without questioning their validity.

· Isaias’s disappearance from public view for several weeks in April 2012 amid rumours of his illness and death made evident the lack of a succession plan;[5]

· During the latter half of 2012, more rumors circulated about disagreements inside the regime on the direction of the country, as well as Isaias’s leadership;[6]

· In November 2012 there were rumors of a round of arrests and “freezing” of senior military leaders including the defense minister, Sebhat Ephrem;[7]

· There are rumors the skeptics have asked the President to step aside and support a smooth, internal transition, so as to avoid the country’s collapse….[8]

· The military …appears to have maintained a certain degree of autonomy, such that it has reportedly (sic) questioned Isaias’s capacity to retain control and asked him to consider a transition at various points in the recent past;[9]

· The posters created for the celebration of the twentieth anniversary of liberation… portray Isaias in the image of Jesus Christ, the shepherd of the people, leading elders of both low and highlands;[10]

· Isaias has been grooming his son for succession;[11]

· The incident of 21 January 2013 is described as an event that was “not unprecedented” but as “the most recent in a number of unreported events”.[12] The report further states “the government reportedly negotiated with the soldiers, and in the end, the Ministry’s employees were released”.[13]

All these assertions are at variance with the true facts and represent gullible regurgitation of wild stories that normally thrive in the grape vine. In a nutshell, the litany of rumor-inspired, unsubstantiated, facts; the blunders of methodological omission and commission, are too many for ICG’s prognosis and “scenarios of transition” to be taken seriously.  After all, if the diagnosis of a presumed illness is wrong in the first place, the prescribed antidote will not only be useless but it may turn out to be toxic.

We now revert to examine in some detail the ICG’s substantive conjectures.

1. Aggravated Ethnic and Religious fault lines

The ICG report paints a curiously explosive picture in regard to potential ethnic and religious conflicts and strife in Eritrea.   To drive the point home, it opines:  “Eritrean diversity, especially the Christian–Muslim divide”,[14] may usher in social upheavals.  The ICG waxes alarmist particularly in other sections of the report when it warns: “existing ethnic and religious divisions may come into play in a confrontation between military factions…leading to a disastrous civil war”,[15] (emphasis ours).

This sudden, doomsday, prognosis is not only utterly wrong, but it contradicts the ICG’s own report as spelled out in its previous report, which was the result, by its own admissions, of ten years meticulous research in Eritrea.  This is what the ICG had to say on the same subject in its September 2010 report:

Despite occasional conflict (sic) and the marked diversity, Eritrea has by and large avoided the kind of serious interethnic and religious strife associated with the region. Economic lifestyles, cultures, faiths and ethnicities have mostly coexisted peacefully. Church and mosque have stood side by side, occasional clashes notwithstanding.[16]

National cohesiveness and identity in Eritrea is, indeed, robust by all accounts; transcending parochial sentiments and allegiances to exclusive ethnic and/or religious sectarianism.  Whatever it’s other problems, the Eritrean polity has been blessed with ethnic and religious harmony that has further been reinforced in the past twenty two years of independence. The periodic communal/tribal infightings that erupt in virtually all the neighbouring countries and, the deep sentiments of religious/ethnic marginalization that characterize diverse communities in our region are literally inexistent in Eritrea.  These have come about as a result of history, the long years of armed struggle as well as judicious government policies anchored on equality of rights and opportunities for all its constituent parts.  The ICG’s new narrative of a volatile, worrisome, trend towards “ethnic/religious civil war” is thus a malevolent chimera that exists only in the minds of Eritrea’s detractors.

2. Forceful nation building

The ICG describes, in a rather deprecating manner, Eritrea’s normative trajectory of nation building as a failed, “forceful process”.[17]

This statement provokes a host of questions both in terms of abstract political theory as well as underlying motive.  In the ICG’s inexplicable view, nation building in the Eritrean case is found to be “forceful” because the “PFDJ has been seeking to further entrench the notion of a single national identity as defined during the struggle”[18]?  In the first place, Eritrean national identity was not forged or invented during the 30 years of liberation war.  Present-day Eritrea was shaped by European colonialism as is the case in the rest of Africa.  And in any case, the post-liberation political process could not have occurred on an artificial and centrifugal setting of polarizing a cohesive national society along ethnic and religious identities if that is what the ICG is alluding to.  The politics of ethnic institutionalization pursued by some countries in the region and that have been enshrined in their Constitutions is certainly not a positive example that must be emulated by Eritrea.  These political precepts are not only dangerous and a recipe for perpetual strife but they are not also warranted by the Eritrean reality.  In as far as ethnic/religious harmony during the armed liberation struggle is concerned; Eritrea’s positive experience had attracted almost universal accolades from all historians and political pundits associated with those times.[19] ICG’s concerns for that period are thus difficult to comprehend.

3. Peace with Ethiopia

The ICG’s position on this cardinal issue is difficult to decipher.  The imperative for Ethiopia to abide by its treaty obligations and to respect international law; the enhancement of regional peace and security that this would entail is not examined from its legal and political perspectives and is curiously absent from its lengthy discourse.  It is totally ignored in the Executive Summary where the ICG suggests various “recommendations” purportedly to address all the critical problems that require urgent solution.

In the sections where it broaches the subject, its point of departure is a presumptive acknowledgement that there are no indications “for unprecedented opening or softening of the previous policy”[20]on the part of Ethiopia.  The ICG then concludes, even if not in so many words, that the compromise must emanate from Eritrea.  What follows next is simply absurd.   The ICG quotes an anonymous “Eritrean analyst” to state:

“… In the event of a regime change, the Generals cannot last long without making peace with Ethiopia… Eritreans would propose negotiations on the status of Badme; a decision the population would not contest….there is no way for the Eritrean nation to survive as it is, if it does not make peace with Ethiopia.  It will, simply, collapse.[21]

The ICG then proceeds to outline steps that a “transitional government” could be expected to take … to open negotiations with Ethiopia in the eventuality/scenario of a Peaceful Transition to Multiparty Democracy.[22]

This analysis is too crass and simplistic to merit serious exposition.   Obviously, the ICG has no clue and is out of sync with mainstream Eritrean political opinion. Even the inconsequential Eritrean armed groups that Ethiopia supports for subversive reasons would not contemplate making concessions on Badme or any other sovereign Eritrean territories.  Apparently, the ICG also suffers from an acute lapse of institutional memory.  Because this is what it had to say in its previous report:

The international community, in particular donors and the Security Council, repeatedly failed to pressure Ethiopia to comply.  Eritrea’s sense of outrage heightened, notwithstanding that the Claims Commission ruled that it violated international law during its military operation in may 1998, in effect, had started the war.[23]

The key point is that the Eritreans felt Ethiopia was once again being appeased by an international community that was tacitly or explicitly hostile to Eritrea. The already deep-rooted sense of isolation and betrayal was reinforced.[24]

The international community erred seriously in 2002 in not putting greater pressure on Ethiopia to fully implement the Boundary Commission’s findings.[25]

4. The Vulnerabilities of the Eritrean State:

Perhaps because of its sources or for reasons better known to it, the ICG’s overarching intention seems to prove not only the “extreme vulnerability of the Eritrean Government” but even the “non-viability of the nation itself”.  The “inevitable collapse of the State and the threat this poses to regional security”, as well as the “weakness and fragmentation of the opposition… and the difficulty of reconciling the political cultures of PFDJ members and Diaspora leaders” are invoked for greater dramatization.

And, to cap it all, the ICG quotes again, an anonymous but “long time observer of the Eritrean reality”, who states:

“Is the system reformable from within…even after Isaias’ removal? …Is Isaias’s absence from the Eritrean political system the answer to all the problems of the nation? Ultimately will Eritrea ever be viable as a nation?”[26]

With all these hyperbole in the background, the ICG considers “six scenarios of transition” which are all permutations of, and predicated on, the sequel after the “prior removal of the President”, by whatever means.  Indeed, in almost all the sections that follow, the ICG emphatically envisions and calls for “the President’s exit”, which it describes as “if not the sole one”, but “still as the absolute sine qua non for transition”.  Isaias’s exit … “is about surely a precondition for anything much to change”,[27] we are reminded time and again!

What is pushing the ICG to dwell on and forecast cataclysmic developments in Eritrea in the times ahead?  Surely, this cannot be a logical extrapolation from the isolated incident that transpired on January 21st early this year.  As we emphasized in the first part of this article, ICG’s almost singular reliance on hostile sources may partially explain this muddled output.   But one would have expected the ICG to consult more objective diplomatic and other sources as well as published materials.  Although we do not subscribe to the underlying concept and analytic methods employed, the annual Index of Failed States,[28] for instance, ranks Eritrea in the upper middle rung, i.e. less prone to potential turmoil than Ethiopia and other countries in the region.  ICG’s obsession with its conjecture is thus difficult to comprehend.

The other intriguing element in the whole report is the obvious disconnect between the recommendations in the Executive Summary and the rest of the report including the “six transition scenarios”.  In the Executive Summary, the recommendations have two parts: the first option dwells on proposals for coordinated action by regional and international players in order to “promote talks with President Isaias Afwerki and the current leadership with a view to avert chaos and further displacement of populations”.[29] The second option focuses on residual measures that must be taken by the “US, EU and countries with special relations with Eritrea” in the event of “transition”.[30] But, as explained above, the entire report then swerves into a different discourse anchored on the agenda of imminent, inevitable and necessary “regime change”.   One is led to believe that the two parts of the article were written by two groups of researchers with disparate views and conclusions.  And these were not reconciled when the end product was published.  The report thus fails even to meet minimum editorial standards.

5. External intervention

The ICG does not conceal its overriding aim of establishing a case for external intervention. The scenarios it envisages for such an eventuality are however puzzling.  This is what it has to say in its scenario of External Mediation or Domination.[31]

Dragged for various reasons, Addis Ababa and Khartoum could play at their intervention in two ways: either a political agreement on how to establish peace (perhaps through IGAD) and setting a closely mentored government or by splitting the country in effect into zones of influence as has happened in south-central Somalia. Alternatively, should a regional agreement over Eritrea not be reached, they could offer direct or material support to competing Eritrean factions in order to satisfy their national and regional security interests.[32]

In the last scenario of Regime Change with Ethiopian intervention, the ICG envisages a positive role being played by the new post-Meles leadership in which the latter offers a transitional leadership in Asmara a fresh diplomatic start, reopening economic ties and providing support for a non-partisan, inclusive, political initiative.[33]

We have never come across such a brazen and horrid apology or advocacy of colonialism under the disguise of academic research work.  In the first place, what would be the contents of a “fresh diplomatic start” by Ethiopia and what are the dividends to Eritrea?  If the ICG is privy to any “concessions” that Ethiopia is prepared make to respect the border rulings of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Border Commission in the event of a “transition”, it does not spell them out in the report.  And in any case, the ICG had categorically asserted in previous sections of the same report that there will not be any “new opening on the border problem on the part of the new Ethiopian government” thus throwing the gauntlet to Eritrea for any progress on that front.  So what is this fresh diplomatic start?  The re-opening of economic ties is another riddle that begs more nuanced answers.  Although mutual benefits that may accrue from bilateral trade may not be discounted, the asymmetric advantages to Eritrea are not clear particularly as the report does not at all discuss economic issues and development strategies and policies in Eritrea, Ethiopia or the region as a whole.  Ethiopia’s potential support for a “non-partisan, inclusive, political initiative” only underscores the authors’ utter ignorance of the political dynamics in the region.  In the first place, Ethiopia – the old regime as well as its successor – is enmeshed in the political quagmire of ethnic and highly partisan politics in its own country.   In Eritrea, Ethiopia’s futile policy of regime change has been pursued in the last ten years by mainly propping up what it calls the “Kunama and Afar Liberation Fronts”.   And, in a report where incoherent and mutually contradictory conclusions appear in successive paragraphs, the ICG also states:

Any Ethiopian intervention would likely have a security rather than a democratic agenda.  Hawkish responses are conceivable; Ethiopia could seal the border or seize the opportunity to support one faction in Asmara.  It might even take advantage of instability to achieve one of the longstanding goals of hard-liners, control of the port of Assab in order to end the country’s land-locked status.[34]

The positive role that the ICG assigns to other regional actors similarly provokes more questions than answers.  The ICG professes to be keenly aware of grave fault lines that obtain in the region’s countries in its multiple publications. It has written extensively on the dangers posed by the precarious leadership transition in Ethiopia (though without dwelling on the challenges this poses, as well as the internal dynamics of instability in the country).   It has also written, in its recent reports, on what it has termed as the “embattled situation of the ruling National Congress Party in Sudan”, as well as the “electoral unrest in Djibouti”.[35] Yet despite its gloomy predictions on the potential consequences of these fault lines, it argues for entrusting Eritrea’s troubled neighboring States with the responsibility of “managing change in Eritrea”.  This haphazard and ill-advised advice is indeed  confusing and difficult to fathom.    The ICG advocates, on the one hand, for an “urgent need for transition in Eritrea to ensure its stability” and for the “benefit of the entire region”.[36] At the same time, it envisages this change to come about through the intervention of Eritrea’s neighbors when each of them is embroiled in perhaps deeper political quagmire.

From the foregoing, it is clear that the ICG did not set out to appraise the reality in Eritrea in good faith.  It must have started its research work from a pre-conceived conclusion.  The end result is not really a professional and objective work of situation analysis but a catalogue of biases and suggestive conjectures.


[1] In both the current report and its predecessor, the ICG makes repeated reference to individuals and entities that espouse hostile attitudes towards Eritrea, being at the same time ardent champions of regime change. The list includes Bereket Habteselassie, Berouk Mesfin (a senior researcher at the Institute for Security Studies who finds it difficult to divorce  from the version of the Ethiopian government when writing on Eritrea)  Dan Connell, Gaim Kibreab, Kjetel Tronvor, Leonard Vincent (author of Les Erytheens and cofounder of a Paris-based anti-Eritrean radio station), Martin Plaut, Tekeste Negash who is opposed to Eritrean independence, and Yosief Ghebrehiwet a permanent contributor of anti-regime articles in the Gedab News, a website devoted to Eritrean division and referred to repeatedly in ICG reports. Other entities of similar category referred to in the ICG reports are the TPLF website aigaform.com, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Reporters Without Borders.

[2] International Crisis Group, Eritrea the Siege State Africa Report No.136 31 September 2010 p.1

[3] ECSS interview with Dr. Fessehatzion Petros, Foreign Office, Asmara,

[4] International Crisis Group, Eritrea: Scenarios for Future Transition African report No.200 28March 2013, p.2, see fn. 6.

[5] Ibid, p.7

[6] Ibid, p.8

[7] Ibid, see fn.41

[8] Ibid, p.16

[9] Ibid, p.10

[10] Ibid, see fn. 62

[11] Ibid,  p.22

[12] Ibid,  p.6

[13] Ibid,  p.4

[14] Ibid, see fn. 2.

[15] Ibid, p.24

[16] ICG, Report No.136, p.17

[17] ICG Report 200 see Executive Summary.

[18] Ibid, p. 12

[19] Reference to witnesses made by several close observers which among others included: Basil Davidson and Dan Connell.

[20] ICG Report No.200, p.24.

[21] Ibid, see fn.140.

[22] Ibid, p.26

[23] Ibid, p.21

[24] ibid

[25] Ibid, p.25

[26] Ibid, see fn.118

[27] Ibid, p.21

[28] Failed States Index , 2010,2011,2012

[29] ICG Report No. 200; see Executive Summary.

[30] Ibid.

[31] Ibid, p.25

[32] Ibid.

[33] Ibid p.27

[34] Ibid, p.27

[35] Ibid p.28

[36] Ibid.

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BP TO INVEST MORE THAN R5-BILLION IN SOUTH AFRICA

Posted on 23 April 2013 by Africa Business

BP today announced plans to invest in excess of R5 billion in South Africa and Mozambique over the next five years in new and on-going infrastructure upgrade projects to improve business efficiency and assist Government’s objectives to enhance energy security and enable the transition to cleaner fuels.

During a visit to South Africa today, Iain Conn, BP Group Managing Director and Chief Executive of Refining and Marketing, said that BP was committed to pursuing operations and investments across Africa. In Upstream, BP is pursuing opportunities in Angola, Algeria, Namibia, Libya and Egypt. In Downstream, beyond today’s announcement about South Africa, BP is also making investments to improve and upgrade the fuel import infrastructure in neighbouring Mozambique.

In South Africa, an investment of close to R5 billion will be spent on various projects across the BP Fuels Value Chain including refinery, terminal and retail network assets. This is a sign of BP’s growing confidence in the South African economy as an attractive investment destination especially after the adoption of the National Development Plan (NDP) as the road map for the country.

Mr Conn stated that around half the investment will be spent in upgrading and modernising the refinery infrastructure at Sapref, a joint venture with Shell. The infrastructure upgrade will primarily be to comply with South Africa’s proposed clean fuels requirements.

In February 2013, the South African Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan undertook to announce the support mechanism for biofuels and upgrade of refineries to encourage South Africa to produce cleaner fuels which are environmentally friendly.

“We anticipate that the remuneration mechanism will be finalised shortly as we have already started to invest in the project and our intent is to be ready to produce clean fuels in 2017,” said Mr Conn.

Part of the R5 billion investment is aimed at building and upgrading terminals to world-class facilities that are leading the industry in terms of safety, operational integrity and technology. BP’s investment will also ensure greater security of supply. An example of this investment is the new and recently-commissioned facility built in partnership with Sasol at Alrode outside Johannesburg. Once completed, this terminal will be the most modern and technologically advanced in Africa with high safety management systems and standards.

BP’s retail network will benefit from the announced investment which will improve customer experience. The conversion to a “best in class” convenience retail offering, in partnership with Pick n Pay, will see 120 Pick n Pay Express stores opened in the next five years across South Africa. Coupled with improvements to the BP Express convenience offering, the fuel forecourts will be upgraded with a standardised look.

Iain Conn emphasised that BP’s commitment is not only about the capital and commercial investment, it is also about being part of a South African community and continuing to contribute to the improvement of people’s lives through a focused transformation programme aligned with Government’s goal to create jobs, develop skills and build entrepreneurs, as well as achieve sustainable economic growth.

“This is part of our on-going efforts to be a good corporate citizen as we pursue our business objectives in all the markets in which we operate”, said Mr Conn.

BP has been at the forefront of transformation over a number of years. In 2001, BP became one of the first companies to form an empowerment initiative and this has resulted in cash pay-outs to BEE shareholders to the tune of R300 million.

Subsequently, Masana, a joint venture between BP and its BEE partners, was formed in 2005. This has been one of South Africa’s empowerment success stories which has doubled its growth since inception.

BP continues on pioneering the transformation journey with the latest hydrocarbon (crude oil) procurement initiative which invited and encouraged local previously disadvantaged enterprises to participate in a tender process.

A long standing support for skills development and quality education continues to be at the cornerstone of BP’s involvement in high school enrichment programmes, artisan to PhD support programmes, and general industry skills development for the previously disadvantaged. To this end, BP, as part of the South African Petroleum Industry Association (SAPIA), is involved in an industry-wide skills development initiative that will culminate in a Petroleum Institute which will assist the Southern Africa region.

Mr Conn reiterated that “the investments we are making in South Africa are not only a sign of confidence in the policy direction the country is taking, but they are also our commitment to all South Africans through the successful development of the energy infrastructure, market and associated skills and opportunities.”

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Mervyn Goliath, Executive Vice President of Engineering and Operations, Clickatell:”Watch this space … we are geared up and energized!”

Posted on 13 April 2013 by Thandisizwe Mgudlwa

Mervyn Goliath has over 25 years of experience in the telecommunications, mobile banking, payment and transaction services industries and has held and excelled in executive roles at leading outfits, including ABSA (part of Barclays), MWeb (part of MIH) and Telkom.  Most recently, Mervyn was the Chief Operating Officer of Digital Banking Services for ABSA one of the largest financial services providers on the African continent, where his primary responsibility focused on transforming the bank’s digital channels. Before ABSA, Goliath served as CTO and General Manager of Technology and Operations at MWEB and as Group Head in National Telematics and Data Services at Telkom.

Founded in 2000, Clickatell is a global leader in providing the ability for its customers to alert, interact and transact with their customers, business partners and communities. Utilizing its global footprint, Clickatell can deliver short message services (SMS) through its Clickatell Mobile eXchange (CMX) to nearly every mobile phone user in the world. In addition, with Clickatell Transaction eXchange (CTX), the company is providing the essential link between the mobile consumer and their financial institution through such services as airtime top up. With its investment in Social Mobile Solutions, Clickatell is uniting customer communication, community creation and transaction services.

1) What is the nature of your business?

A: Clickatell is a global leader in mobile messaging and transaction service. We enable our customers to alert, connect, interact and transact with their business partners and communities on the mobile device.

We are the international pioneer for Business-2-Consumer mobile messaging. We have grown since the inception of the company in 2000 to our present global market position where we serve more than 65% of the top banks, insurance companies and retailers in South Africa as well as an impressive and diverse set of international clients.

2) Where did it all start?

A: The Clickatell story is such an exciting and inspirational story. It is a large part of the reason that I decided to leave a corporate financial services conglomerate, despite the fact that my primary role, just two months ago, was to head up the digital transformation of the largest bank in South Africa.

Clickatell has grown from a cash-strapped startup operating out of Cape Town 12 years ago to become a leading US-based multinational with very impressive annual revenues.

De Villiers and his twin brother Casper founded Clickatell with Danie du Toit and Patrick Lawson in 2000. It was the time of the Internet boom and they wanted to build a dot-com business. They originally planned to capitalise on the proliferation of low-price airlines and set out to build an Internet business that would sell discounted flight tickets to students at short notice. They looked for a mechanism that would enable them to inform customers by SMS about last-minute airfare deals. They couldn’t find one. That’s when they recognised the potential for a service like Clickatell, which would provide an interface between the Internet and telecommunications services.

Initial capital of R180 000, raised by the four founders, was quickly consumed, but fortunately they managed to secure funding from two angel investors who injected R1.2 million into the business.

By 2005, Clickatell was performing well and generating healthy profits. One of its international rivals then made a bid to take over the company. Their angel investors were keen to sell but management wasn’t. Ethos Private Equity stepped in, bought out the angel investors and enabled them to stave off the takeover bid. They recognised then, that they had to expand and grow internationally.

Ethos and Internet Solutions co-founder David Frankel funded an acquisition in 2006 and helped facilitate the relocation of the firm’s headquarters from Cape Town to Redwood City in California.

Soon after Clickatell moved to the US, prominent venture capital firm Sequoia Capital invested $7 million in the company. Sequoia was an early investor in technology giants Apple, Google, Cisco, Oracle and LinkedIn. Together with fellow venture capital firm DAG Ventures, Sequoia stumped up a further $12 million for Clickatell last year in its second round of financing.

3) What are the most memorable moments in your career?

A: I am humbled and pleased to have been part of some of the best teams in the telecommunications industry, all the way back to where I started as a pupil technician at the then South African Post and Telecommunications.

I was part of its transition to what is now called Telkom, serving in the very exclusive Telematics division, which was run by the legendary Allan Knot-Craig before he started Vodacom.

A memorable first career highlight for me was running the national technical support call center for the first online banking service, in the form of a videotext service known as Beltel.

We were all so privileged to work inside the nucleus of the telecommunications industry at the time, at the very beginning of the internet.

My move to MWEB was a key career change for me and right at the inception of the company. During my 12-year career there, I transitioned through numerous roles in technology, which culminated in a marathon tenure as Chief Technology Officer and arguably the most exciting phase of my career so far.

I once again found myself in an environment where I was able to contribute to both changing South African telecommunications regulation and as part of one of the best executive and technology leadership teams, blazing a trail of innovation and excellence. This culminated for me personally in building the largest IP network in South Africa, initiating and establishing open peering for the first time in South Africa, becoming a very significant anchor tenant on the SEACOM undersea Internet cable and bringing uncapped Internet to the market. These were game changers that created excitement and energy and again made a real difference across South Africa.

4) Any bad moments you can recall?  If yes, how did you overcome them?

A: It hasn’t always been plain sailing. I will never forget the day that I was fired and re-hired by my CEO on the same day. The market was tough due to disruptive competition and nerves were frayed.

My CEO was extremely unhappy about the slow rate at which we were developing new value propositions. Our software engineering practices were no longer serving us effectively. Smaller players in the market were outsmarting us left and right and my tenure as CTO came to an abrupt end.

I took one last breath and re-organized my team to introduce an Agile / Scrum methodology into our software engineering. Just 6 months later we were the darlings of the boardroom, rolling out projects with high levels of precision, speed and agility.

It was the best thing that I ever did. It took months of focused effort and many weeks of sleep deprivation to get it right – but we did it. I have many people from my team then to thank for believing in me and helping me to turn a sinking ship around and we still talk about it today.

While the SA ISP industry is small and while people never forget about the bad times and the failures, they also don’t forget about the successes and great times. Success should never be about the triumphs of you as a leader on an individual level – its ultimately highly collaborative teams that create winning companies.

5) What is happening in the mobile finance industry in Africa?

A: I delivered a number of talks last year on my strongly held view that “the future is decidedly mobile”. In 2013, the message is still the same, but amplified in orders of magnitude that have exceeded even the most aggressive forecasts.

Africa is the region that is leading the charge in mobile transactions and payments. It is fastest growing mobile financial services market globally because of the technology’s ubiquity, cost-effectiveness and the sheer unmet demand for financial services.

6) And what about Cickatell?  What’s been happening?

A: I joined Clickatell because it was particularly appealing for me to take on the challenge of leading a Clickatell team of engineering and financial services experts charged with growing the Clickatell enterprise business in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Clickatell’s deep enterprise and financial services experience in Africa positions us well to continue to be a technology innovator in this region. Expansion of the necessary intellectual capital and skills capability has already entered its second phase, with some key talent additions to our enterprise and engineering teams.

7) What is going to happen next?

A: We are entering Africa in a more determined fashion. Although Africa is the place where everyone wants to be, it’s not for everyone. There are enough failed mobile financial services starts in our industry to necessitate caution.

That said, we have already and will continue to expand our mobile financial services footprint into the rest of Africa, with the assistance of partners that complement our plans and capability. The partnership opportunities and benefits abound and the right time is now.

8 ) Do you think you are on the right track insofar as reaching your goals?

A: With the Clickatell team and partners behind our goals, absolutely YES.

9) Where to from here?

A: Pieter and the rest of the team have an incredible story to tell of tenacity, skill, and the courage and will to succeed. The strong Clickatell company culture that embraces these traits will see us charge into the next chapter of Clickatell’s growth and success.

Expansion into West and East Africa with Mobile Transactional services, are just some of the big plans for the business. We will continue to be an integral player where mobile, Internet and the consumer come together.

10) Is there anything you would like to add?

A: Watch this space … we are geared up and energized!

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