What’s driving Africa’s growth

Africa’s economic pulse has quickened, infusing the continent with a new commercial vibrancy. Real GDP rose by 4.9 percent a year from 2000 through 2008, more than twice its pace in the 1980s and ’90s. Telecommunications, banking, and retailing are flourishing. Construction is booming. Private-investment inflows are surging.

To be sure, many of Africa’s 50-plus individual economies face serious challenges, including poverty, disease, and high infant mortality. Yet Africa’s collective GDP, at $1.6 trillion in 2008, is now roughly equal to Brazil’s or Russia’s, and the continent is among the world’s most rapidly growing economic regions. This acceleration is a sign of hard-earned progress and promise.

While Africa’s increased economic momentum is widely recognized, its sources and likely staying power are less understood. Soaring prices for oil, minerals, and other commodities have helped lift GDP since 2000. Forthcoming research from the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI) shows that resources accounted for only about a third of the newfound growth.1 The rest resulted from internal structural changes that have spurred the broader domestic economy. Wars, natural disasters, or poor government policies could halt or even reverse these gains in any individual country. But in the long term, internal and external trends indicate that Africa’s economic prospects are strong.

Each African country will follow its own growth path. We have developed a framework for understanding how the opportunities and challenges differ by classifying countries according to levels of economic diversification and exports per capita. This approach can help guide executives as they devise business strategies and may also provide new insights for policy makers.

Satellite image of Africa, showing the ecologi...

More than a resource boom

To be sure, Africa has benefited from the surge in commodity prices over the past decade. Oil rose from less than $20 a barrel in 1999 to more than $145 in 2008. Prices for minerals, grain, and other raw materials also soared on rising global demand.


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World Bank: “Nigeria has most attractive investment environment”

Nigeria has the most attractive environment for investment despite the current infrastructure challenge facing it, Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, Country Director, World Bank, Nigeria, has said.
Marie-Nelly stated this on the sidelines of the launch of the World Bank’s Investment Climate Assessment (ICA) report in Abuja on Thursday.

She, however, said there was need for the country to improve its business environment in order to maximise the hugely untapped investment opportunities that exist across the country.

Marie-Nelly said, “Nigeria has the most attractive environment for investment because Nigeria is a large market in the continent; it is the second largest economy in the continent. It is a market that any investor cannot ignore with over 160 million people and a gateway to ECOWAS. For me, while we say the country’s current investment climate could be better in terms of providing electricity, access to finance and other things, you should also look at the huge opportunities for investment in Nigeria.

“The basic lesson from the World Bank Assessment Report titled, ‘Nigeria, an Assessment of the Investment Climate in 26 States’, is that there are critical constraints in Nigeria that impede the development of the non-oil sector. Some of the critical issues include electricity, which affects the productivity and competitiveness of enterprises. However, the labour cost in Nigeria is actually lower than most of Nigeria’s competitors such as Brazil and South Africa. So, there is need for Nigeria to address some of the constraints in order to take advantage of the huge investment opportunities that exist in the country.”
English: Political map of the 36 States of Nig...
Corroborating Marie-Nelly’s views at the launch, governor of Anambra State and Vice Chairman, Nigeria’s Governors’ Forum, Peter Obi, noted that foreigners’ perception of Nigeria was at variance with the true situation in the country.
In his keynote address titled, ‘Reforming Nigeria’s Investment Climate’, the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said that Nigeria’s domestic investment grew by 46 percent in 2011.


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Ban, UNDP want Nigerian youths in leadership

THE United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has urged more youth engagement in global development.

Also the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Country Representative in Nigeria, Daouda Toure, has decried the lack of opportunities for Nigerian youths to correctly participate in the political process.

The concerns by Ban and Toure were expressed at the commemoration of the International Youth Day in Abuja, yesterday.

The event was organised by the Democratic Governance for Development (DGD) of the UNDP.

According to them, the world was fast losing grip of youth potential for economic, political and social development spreading underdevelopment through “low-wage, dead-end work and record levels of unemployment.”

Ban, whose message was delivered by the Deputy Country Director of the UNDP in Nigeria, Ade Mamonyane-Lekoetje, stressed further that, “the global economic crisis has hit youth the hardest and many are understandably discouraged by rising inequalities. A large number have no immediate prospects and are disenfranchised from the political, social and development processes in their countries without urgent measures, we risk creating a lost generation of squandered talent and dreams.”

Speaking on the theme for this year’s anniversary: “Youth Political Participation: Setting an Agenda for Good Governance and Sustainable Democracy in Nigeria, Toure said: “The youth constitute over 50 per cent of the voting population in Nigeria. However, inadequate and deliberate measures to actively engage them in the electoral process have largely hindered their input in the nascent electoral democracy in Nigeria.”

English: Ban Ki-moon 日本語: 潘基文

English: Ban Ki-moon 日本語: 潘基文 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The UNDP chief listed some of the “obvious shortcomings” in youth involvement in Nigeria’s political process to include “somehow low participation of youths in the election of political leaders at all levels, relatively limited political parties youth leaders, lack of effective representation of youths in the political governance structure of the country and the political manipulation of youths for undesirable ends.”

On the way forward, he said: “Undoubtedly, there is a dire need for greater social investment in young people to promote active citizenry to develop tolerance and commitment to peace, justice and human rights in Nigeria and to develop their full potential for creative leadership in democratic governance.”


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Ghana cancels policy on $300,000 capital base for Nigerian traders

The Ghanaian government has rescinded its policy compelling Nigerian businessmen and traders to pay a minimum capital of $300,000 or have their businesses shut down.

The defunct policy had also mandated Nigerian businessmen and traders to employ at least five Ghanaians as condition to operate their offices and shops.

Nigeria’s High Commissioner to Ghana, Ademola Onafowokan made this known to State House correspondents in the advanced team of President Goodluck Jonathan’s visit to Accra.

President Jonathan will participate in the funeral rites of John Atta Mills, Ghana’s president who died in office on July 24 . The funeral for Mills is scheduled for Friday. Jonathan will meet with Ghana’s new leader, President John Dramani Mahama during his visit to Accra.

The Nigerian president was expected in Accra last night.

The controversial capital base requirement of Nigerian businesses by the Ghana government had stirred the waters, as Nigerian businessmen, under the auspices of the Nigerian Union of Traders Association in Ghana (NUTAG) and the Eagle Circle Traders, had implored the Federal Government back home to intervene and stop what they alleged to be gross discrimination and unfair trade laws which were contrary to the tenets of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Onafowokan said the Nigerian High Commission had stepped in and succeeded in halting the policy. “Ghana, just like Nigeria, welcomes foreigners; so let us quickly remove the erroneous impression that Ghanaians are trying to drive Nigeriansaway like we did to ourselves in the past,” he said.

flag of the Economic Community of West African...

flag of the Economic Community of West African States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


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UNDP: Africa’s growth may rise to 7% in 2015


Africa’s growth could rise to seven per cent by 2015 driven by a rush of investors attracted by its drive to improve its infrastructure, the Head of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP) in Africa said.

Ranked as the poorest continent in the world, Africa, according to Reuters, has posted strong growth rates of about five per cent in recent years, second only to Asia, drawing rising inward investment.

Although Africa may have enviable economic growth rates by global standards, they are still not enough to pull its growing population out of poverty.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF)  revised its growth forecasts for Africa in 2012 to 5.4 per cent, lower than previous forecasts.

Corruption and civil wars are also likely to puncture the momentum in several African countries, officials said at an African leadership meeting in Mombasa.

Many African countries had embarked on rehabilitation and construction of vital infrastructure systems that were quickly attracting investors locally and internationally, Tegegnework Gettu, who heads the UNDP Africa Bureau, told a conference in Mombasa yesterday.

“Investment in Africa has gone up to 15 per cent in the last five years alone. This is a remarkable achievement. Africa is, so far, the fastest growing continent globally. We need to keep this spirit. We need to hasten our infrastructural development, because this is the time for Africa,” Gettu said.


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Apple ordered to run Samsung ‘did not copy iPad’ adverts..

A UK judge has ordered Apple to publish announcements that Samsung did not copy the design of its iPad, according to the Bloomberg news agency.

It said the judge said one notice should remain on Apple’s website for at least six months, while other adverts should be placed in various newspapers and magazines.

It follows the US company’s failed attempt to block sales of the South Korean firm’s Galaxy Tab tablets.

Apple has not commented on the news.

The order did not feature in Judge Colin Birss’s judgement published on 9 July, but Bloomberg said the matter was discussed in the court following the verdict.

It said the notices must make reference to the court case and should be designed to “correct the damaging impression” that Samsung’s tablets had aped the look of Apple’s products.Image representing iPad as depicted in CrunchBase

“They do not have the same understated and extreme simplicity which is possessed by the Apple design,” said the judge at the time.

Peace Corps Aids-Free Generation Photo Contest…

Singer/songwriter Alicia Keys selected the thought-provoking winning images. As co-founder and global ambassador for Keep a Child Alive, Keys is dedicated to improving the lives of children and their families living with AIDS.
The winning photos will be displayed during the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. at the Convention Center from July 22 to 27. The photo exhibit will be across the street in Carnegie Library and open to the public July 23-26 from 9am-5pm.

Current and returned Peace Corps Volunteers and staff submitted over 500 photos entries. Thank you to everyone who contributed creative, thought provoking photos that truly represented the work Peace Corps does globally in support of an AIDS-free generation. All photo submissions have been permanently added to the Peace Corps Digital Library.