IOA Position Papers

African stock exchanges hold the key to unlocking the continent’s economic growth and development

By Jacqueléne Coetzer

Analysis in brief:  Due to increased economic growth and development, largely as a result of improved political stability, African exchanges offer great investment value for both African and foreign investors.  Although there are still some difficulties to overcome to make African Exchanges more attractive to international investors, with the political will and dedicated efforts by governments and exchanges, these difficulties can be overcome.

Few people are aware of the business, economic and IT successes being achieved in Africa.  Mauritius is poised to become Africa’s first high-income economy within the next 10 years and there are a number of other African countries that are working actively to achieve the same.  The former-President of Botswana, Ian Khama, has famously remarked that Africa has the ability to solve its own problems and he was right.
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Africa can work global trade wars to its advantage by asserting independence and better negotiating the value of its resources

By James Hall

Analysis in Brief: The world is engulfed in trade wars begun by the US for motives that are political and not economic. Africa has been shaken by threats of tariffs and loss of trade benefits. However, the unsettled trade landscape gives African countries an opportunity to expand their trade ties to their benefit.

Trade wars are roiling economies and international relationships in 2018 like never before. In the long term, African nations can come out ahead if they prioritise inter-African trade and carefully select foreign trade partners. African nations with important commodities to sell, from Mozambique’s natural gas and Nigeria’s oil to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s minerals and South Africa’s abalone shellfish, have never been in a better position to play one foreign trade partner off another. This is particularly true when it comes to realigning East versus West relations based on trade issues.
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As Horn of Africa tensions lessen, trade and transportation opportunities proliferate

By James Hall

Analysis in brief: In East Africa, countries that were once bitter enemies have quickly patched animosities and now seek ways out of old impasses, with regional security and economic trade benefitting. The following article is based on information obtained by the author while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for clients of IOA. Other IOA research is also referenced.

Ethiopia’s economic miracle – becoming East Africa’s largest economy after a decade of 10% growth per annum – found its twin accomplishment in the political miracle of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s reformist government. He took over in April 2018 from hardliners that made Ethiopia one of East Africa’s most repressive governments, in stark contrast with the country’s progressive economic achievements. Ahmed has freed political prisoners, expanded the political space, and put in the past the record of the past few years that saw continuous States of Emergency, concentration camps and human rights abuses perpetuated against the largest ethnic group, the Oromo. As the world absorbed and applauded the domestic change, Ahmed charged into diplomatic movement to inform change, beginning with Eritrea.
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Laying the groundwork to make high-tech medical solutions available in Africa

By James Hall

Analysis in brief: Africa’s healthcare system stands to hugely advance with newly available technologies; but existing energy and transportation infrastructures must be improved to allow these innovations. This article is based on information obtained by IOA while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for clients of IOA.

Healthcare has always been a difficult social welfare objective to achieve throughout Africa. In addition to underdeveloped healthcare facilities, a largely rural population lives in areas unconnected by effective electric and water infrastructures and not serviced by capable road networks. A healthcare delivery revolution beckons – new technologies that allow Africa to ‘leapfrog’ past standard development patterns by bringing care to individuals via the internet and home visits.
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Shake up in African aviation stresses profitability

By James Hall

The following article is based on information obtained by the author while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for clients of IOA. Other IOA research is also referenced.

Economic liberalisation, giving African consumers wider choices and cheaper goods and services through greater competition, is taking its time in the commercial aviation sector. Most African nations are signatories to Open Skies treaties that, if implemented, will allow African airlines to pass through African air spaces and land at African airports without having to pay heavy taxes for the privilege. This would make inter-Africa flying cheaper for passengers and increase passenger and freight volumes, also giving a boost to the tourism sector. However, African governments are rather fond of their tax revenues and are not implementing these agreements.
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In fits and starts, the Trans-African Highway extends its reach

By James Hall

The following article is based on information obtained by the author while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for clients of IOA. Other IOA research is also referenced.

The decision by Mozambique’s state-run National Roads Administration to solicit the private sector in highway management was a turning point in governmental transportation infrastructure growth that will have a positive impact on the African dream of a transcontinental highway girding the continent.By the end of 2018, private firms will erect tollgates and collect fees on four sections of the main EN1 north to south highway. Government has a huge foreign debt crisis, and necessary funds to expand much-needed road infrastructure are best sought from sources other than additional bilateral loans.
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Africa’s energy crossroads: The market forces, coal and oil, are making way to renewable energies.

The following article is based on information obtained by the author while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for a client of IOA. Other IOA research is also referenced.

Africa’s energy landscape is changing, driven by new market imperatives and technological innovations. Vested interests seeking to preserve the dominance of old forms of energy may be resisting, but cannot hold back the tidal force of an evolving energy market place. Coal and oil are becoming dinosaurs, not just because they are literally composed of the remnants of prehistoric plants and animals, but because money is gradually moving toward renewable energies: geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind.
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Africa’s slow but sure movement toward value added economies

The following article is based on information obtained by the author while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for a client of IOA. Other IOA research is also referenced.

Is there an African economist who hasn’t advised against making an economy predominantly dependent on raw material exports? The governments of Africa mostly lack the political will to venture into value added manufacturing rather than shipping out natural resources in their unprocessed state. With investment in the value added chain, raw agricultural products and minerals have their profitability enhanced. Oil that can be refined for domestic consumption in oil-rich African countries is instead refined on other continents and shipped back at higher cost to African countries of origin. Instead, Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, recently invited tenders for the importation of petroleum products.
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Africa’s Top 5 most politically-stable countries

President Ian Khama is proving to be a successful leader for Botswana. [1]
Political stability is a quality hard to acquire in African governments, and often fleeting once obtained. Politicians once taking office can hijack a democratic system to remain in power indefinitely, turning the country into a ‘paper democracy’ that has democratic institutions like a constitution, courts and legislature but in fact is an autocracy whose governance institutions serve the head of state. Political stability is also a relatively new factor in the governance of Africa. The longest continuously stable democracy is Botswana. The vast arid country has faced its own governance issues but remained committed to its constitutional roots that ensure a government that benefits the Botswana people rather than any one leader.

Is there a formula that allows an African country to sidestep the pitfalls of military coups d’état and ambitious tyrants that in an instant can upend years of progressive democratic governance? The answer lies within the collective will of the governed, the people of any country.  The pro-democracy movement that in 2011 rid North Africa of its despots during the Arab Spring and the subsequent removal of long-seated autocrats in Angola, Burkina-Faso, The Gambia and Zimbabwe, suggests that populations are willing to be denied their political rights only for a finite period of time. In Togo, President Faure Gnassingbé whose family has ruled since 1967 is subject to massive weekly street demonstrations seeking an end to his dynasty. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, another family dynasty continues as Joseph Kabila remains in office more than a year after his last presidential term expired. However, he must rely on security forces to suppress unprecedented resistance from political opposition groups. Though in office less than two years, Tanzania’s President John Magufuli and Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu are showing alarming autocratic tendencies that will subsume their countries’ political freedoms if the Tanzanian and Zambian people allow.
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Africa’s Top 10 most food-secure countries

Finding enough to eat has been an ages-old challenge for Africans. Against a physical environment often hostile to agricultural and pastoral activity – deserts, mountains and dense forests – the population explosion of the past century has made the goal of food security an ever more difficult accomplishment. More and more people compete for a finite amount of agricultural production. However, political will by governments to prioritise food security, combined with use of new crop and food production technologies, has allowed some countries to break the chains of food insecurity.

Olive tree plantation in Tunisia. Olive oil is Tunisia’s largest agricultural export. Image courtesy: Getty Images. Available at http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/olive-tree-plantation-olive-growing-in-tunisia-olive-trees-news-photo/167065803?esource=SEO_GIS_CDN_Redirect#olive-tree-plantation-olive-growing-in-tunisia-olive-trees-olea-picture-id167065803

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Djibouti welcomes India: the strategic motivations for India’s visit

By Mandira Bagwandeen, Independent Analyst[1]

Analysis in brief | The newly elected Indian president’s visit to Djibouti and Ethiopia is indicative of India’s readiness to develop closer economic and strategic ties with the Horn of Africa, especially against the backdrop of China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean region.

Indian president, Ram Nath Kovind signs agreement on bilateral consultations with Djiboutian president, Ismaïl Omar Guelleh in October 2017. Photo courtesy: Press Trust of India. Available at: http://www.newindianexpress.com/world/2017/oct/04/india-djibouti-sign-agreement-on-bilateral-consultations-during-president-kovinds-visit-1666773.html

Key Points:

  • India recognises that the Horn of Africa, especially Djibouti, will be instrumental in realising the actualisation of the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor
  • With China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean region, India is aware of the need to also expand their presence in key maritime trade and connectivity regions to keep China in check
  • Unable to compete with China’s massive infrastructural investments in the Horn of Africa, India will have to draw on their strengths and present themselves as another investment partner

In early October, India’s newly elected president, Ram Nath Kovind, visited Djibouti and Ethiopia in his first foreign trip since taking office in July 2017. His choice of destinations suggests that India is finally taking the geopolitical and geostrategic significance of the Horn of Africa seriously, and Djibouti in particular. The visit occurred against the backdrop of the recently established Asia-Africa Growth Corridor (AAGC), an economic co-operation agreement between India and Japan that aims to connect African and Asian economies through new and ancient maritime networks.

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