This year’s Economic Report on Africa, a flagship publication of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) focuses on fiscal policy.
MARRAKESH, Morocco, March 24, 2019/ — Africa must digitise its economies, broaden its tax base, prevent further deterioration of fiscal and debt positions, and aim for double-digit growth to achieve the UN 2030 global goals (SDGs), and the AU Agenda 2063 according to the 2019 Economic Report on Africa released today at the Conference of Ministers.
This year’s Economic Report on Africa, a flagship publication of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) focuses on fiscal policy. Government revenues account for 21.4%, insufficient to meet countries’ development financing needs.
“The Report identifies several quick wins in Africa’s pursuit of additional fiscal space to finance its accelerated development,” Vera Songwe, the ECA’s Executive Secretary stated at the launch. “[It also] focuses on the instrumental role of fiscal policy in crowding-in investment and creating adequate fiscal space for social policy, including supporting women and youth-led small and medium enterprises.”
But, a decade away from the SDG, she added that “African countries continue to search for policy mixes to help accelerate the achievement of the SDGs. However, for many countries, financing remains the biggest bottleneck with implementing capacity a close second.”
While analysing and highlighting both challenges and opportunities, the Report also recommends comprehensive macroeconomic reforms aimed at building financial resilience, placing emphasis on the need for Africa to accelerate growth to double digits by 2030 and to boost investment from its current 25 per cent of GDP.
While economic growth in Africa remained moderate at 3.2 per cent in 2018 – due to “solid global growth, a moderate increase in commodity prices and favourable domestic conditions”, the Report emphasises that Africa needs to to do more, and work towards achieving a fine balance between raising revenue and incentivizing investments, in order to boost growth.
In some of Africa’s largest economies—South Africa, Angola and Nigeria – the Report reveals, growth trended upwards but remains vulnerable to shifts in commodity prices. East Africa remains the fastest growing, at 6.1 per cent in 2017 and 6.2 per cent in 2018, while in West Africa, the economy expanded by 3.2 per cent in 2018, up from 2.4 per cent in 2017. Central, North and Southern Africa’s economies grew at a slower pace in 2018 compared to 2017.
On the issue of Africa’s debt burden, the Report reveals that debt levels remained high as African countries increased their borrowing, to ease fiscal pressures most of which have been precipitated by the narrowing of revenue streams that has gone on since the commodity price shocks of 2014.
It argues that African countries can increase government revenue by 12–20 per cent of GDP by adopting a policy framework that strengthen revenue mobilisation, including through digitalising African economies stating that digitization could enhance revenue mobilization by up to 6 per cent.
“Digital identification can broaden the tax base by making it easier to identify and track taxpayers and helping taxpayers meet their tax obligations. By improving tax assessments and administration, it enhances the government’s capacity to mobilize additional resources. Digital ID systems yield gains in efficiency and convenience that could result in savings to taxpayers and government of up to $50 billion a year by 2020.”
United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA).
SA Chamber’s data shows business confidence waned in May
JOHANNESBURG – South Africa’s business sentiment and conditions deteriorated in May, data from the South Africa Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) and Standard Bank showed.
Sacci’s business confidence index waned from 93.7 points in April to 93 points in May on the rand’s depreciation against the major currencies with the decline of the JSE all-share index, poor vehicle sales and depressed retail sales weighing further on sentiment.
Sacci chief executive Alan Mukoki said although business confidence was not at an ideal level, there was a positive mood coupled with hopes that President Cyril Ramaphosa would drive a positive growth of the economy.
“There are still uncertainties about physical electricity supply, and this factor alone has the highest and immediate impact on business, consumer and investor confidence. This, among several other factors, needs urgent attention,” Mukoki said.
“Public sector financial challenges at all levels of government as well as some state-owned enterprises also call for urgent remedies by the new administration.”
The local bourse endured a torrid month shedding more than 4 percent, with Naspers responsible for a quarter of the loss as it slumped 10 percent last month due to its biggest subsidiary, Tencent, plummeting 14 percent in local currency-terms as Chinese markets bore the brunt of trade-war escalations between the worlds two biggest economies.
Dave Mohr from Old Mutual Multi-Managers, in an investment note, said that May was a gloomy month for the JSE.
“In rand, the JSE All Share Index lost 4.8 percent in the month, which reduced 2019 returns to 7.1 percent. This is still ahead of cash, but over one year local cash has beaten equities,” Mohr said.
The National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa yesterday said new vehicle sales fell 5.7 percent on a yearly basis in May with 40 506 units sold compared to the 42 950 vehicles sold in May last year. Export sales were also down for the first time this year, declining 8.8 percent.
Meanwhile, the Standard Bank Purchasing Managers Index, which gauges private sector activity, slid back into contraction territory in May, following a slight expansion in April. The index declined from 50.3 the prior month to 49.3.
Standard Bank said businesses were hampered by a faster drop in new orders and a fourth successive fall in export sales, leading them to reduce output and cut back on purchases.
David Owen, economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the index, said firms however remained hopeful that the new government would bring some much-needed stability to the markets.
“Future sentiment rose to the highest for 13 months, showing that there is still confidence in the South African economy.
“Nevertheless, recent PMI readings show that the government faces a difficult struggle to reignite growth this year,” Owen said.
The South African Revenue Service said last week that South Africa’s trade balance unexpectedly swung to a deficit in April, recording a gap of R3.4 billion against market expectations of a R1.6bn surplus.
German Businesses to Partner with Angola in Economic Diversification
Source: African Energy Chamber
This is one of the best platforms for German investment, cutting-edge technology and service providers to engage in Africa’s second-largest oil producing market
BERLIN, Germany, May 27, 2019 – The Germany Africa Business Forum (GABF) proudly endorses the Angola Oil & Gas Conference 2019, organized by Africa Oil & Power and taking place in Luanda on June 4-6, 2019. This is one of the best platforms for German investment, cutting-edge technology and service providers to engage in Africa’s second-largest oil producing market.
Since swearing into office, President João Lourenço has galvanized his country’s oil and gas sector, business opportunities and foreign investment with its transformational government reforms. The move supports the government’s quest of diversifying the economy via the development of export-oriented industries and other commodities that will benefit all Angolans and increase the ability of employers to further generate more opportunities for citizens, investors and the African region at large.
Sebastian Wagner, CEO of DMWA Resources and Co-Founder of the Germany Africa Business Forum, said: “President João Laurenço’s focus on creating an enabling environment for investors is resonating with German entrepreneurs and institutional investors. He has matched the rhetoric with substance through reforms. Germany’s business and economic interests in energy especially gas is served when Germans invest in Angola’s economic diversification drive and also technology transfer. Germans will play a strong role in the midstream, downstream, power and petrochemical projects in Angola.”
With a resurgent economy, Angola is one of the most lucrative business locations in Africa. With its upcoming Marginal Fields Bidding Round, ongoing licensing of several blocks from this year onwards, and numerous opportunities across the gas value-chain, Angola has become one of the most attractive markets for oil investors.
“We are very focused when it comes to supporting government and the oil industry in accomplishing the right reforms that will help German companies succeed in Angola. German businesses can work with Angola in the power sector, petrochemicals, oil and gas infrastructure,” stated Sergio Pugliese, President of the African Energy Chamber (www.EnergyChamber.org) in Angola. “German businesses can have a huge impact through their ability to grow and create jobs, to address a lack of enabling infrastructure and to increase efficiency,” added Sergio Pugliese.
During the visit of the former President José Eduardo dos Santos in Berlin, the Federal State of Germany and the Republic of Angola signed a bilateral commercial agreement, strengthening German-Angolan relations, which resulted in initiatives such as the educational cooperation between the Goethe Institut and the German Ministry of Economics.
The Germany Africa Business Forum advocates for German companies, entrepreneurs and Influencers to sojourn with us, on the chartered road to the Angola Oil & Gas Conference 2019 in Luanda. “Manufacturing, technology and increased power generation will be part of Angola’s economic resurgence. German businesses have a strong role to play in this and we welcome them at Angola Oil & Gas 2019,” said Guillaume Doane, CEO of Africa Oil & Power.
For registration and more information: https://bit.ly/2ze4oDZ
African Energy Chamber
Jordanian, Egyptian, Iraqi meeting to discuss economic cooperation
President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi receives his Jordanian counterpart King Abdullah II – Press Photo
AMMAN – 9 May 2019: A Jordanian-Egyptian-Iraqi meeting discussed in Amman on Thursday preparation of plans and mechanisms to implement what was agreed upon during the three-way summit held recently in Cairo between King Abdullah II, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.
The meeting, which brought together Minister of Industry and Trade, Tarek Al-Hammouri, Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals Saleh Al-Jubouri and Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar, reviewed the mechanisms of enhancing economic integration and cooperation, including the promotion and development of cooperation in industrial fields and joint industrial zones.
It also discussed cooperation in the sectors of energy and infrastructure, reconstruction as well as increasing trade exchange.
The ministers agreed to facilitate trade and increase the volume of trade between the three countries, enhance integration and cooperation in the field of energy (oil pipeline, electric linkage), achieve industrial integration among the three countries, and develop joint industrial zones.
Al-Hammouri said the meeting comes to build on the trilateral summit of the leaders of our countries and to institutionalize joint cooperation and coordination efforts. “The meeting represents an important opportunity to translate the special relations between the three countries into fruitful and constructive cooperation in the economic, trade and investment fields,” he added.
For his part, Egyptian Minister of Trade and Industry Amr Nassar said that the meeting reflects the interest of our countries to follow up on the results of the tripartite summit held in Cairo, calling for building strategic partnership relations between Jordan, Egypt and Iraq in the economic and trade fields.
Iraqi Minister of Industry and Minerals Saleh Al-Jubouri also stressed the importance of the meeting to following up on the results of the three-way summit held recently in Cairo and working together to implement items that have been agreed upon.