According to the latest report by the World Economic Forum (WEF), at 72nd Morocco is the most competitive country in Northern Africa (an improvement from the previous report), and ranked 4th in all of Africa. Above are Mauritius, South Africa and Rwanda at 39th, 56th and 62nd respectively. Morocco is making a transition toward lower, and eventually, elimination of subsidized government spending through collaboration with international lenders, and more toward innovation, education, and free trade leading to overall economic amelioration.
Ethiopia, a country of about 90 million people, covers just 1,127,127km2—less than 10% of the territory of China. Despite its comparably tiny size, Ethiopia is proving to be a massively important resource for China’s demand for essential minerals necessary in its insatiable demand for technological goods.
Some experts, British-born Ethiopia specialist Richard Pankhurst, believe that trade between the two countries could date back more than 1400 years. Though China’s demand on Ethiopia has evolved from exotic animals and jewelry to minerals and leather, their trade partnership has an unbroken past.
The Middle East is proving to be a lucrative market for Bosch, a German multinational company with expertise in engineering and electronics. The company closed the 2014 fiscal year with AED 945 million (approximately USD 257 million) in consolidated sales across 15 countries in the region, representing an increase of seven per cent over the previous year.
Since the opening of its regional office in Dubai a little over ten years ago, Bosch has experienced continued expansion and sales growth in the Middle East. The UAE now accounts for the highest sales in region, with the largest percentage of growth coming from power tools business.
26 Countries, $1 trillion USD and 600 million people: The World’s Newest (and Biggest) Free Trade Bloc
In June, the world’s largest free trade block was signed into existence in perhaps the world’s least likely place: Africa.
Three existing African economic blocks, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the East African Community (EAC), have formed a 26-state free trade block stretching from Cairo to Cape Town. The goal of this enormous free trade zone is to increase the amount of intra-African trade. Currently, the poor quality of roads, railways and unreliable nature of airlines have inhibited trade across the continent.
After years of increasing allocations to sovereign wealth funds (SWF), the persisting decline in oil prices has led regional fund managers to prepare for major changes.
As Middle Eastern governments became more dependent on the influx of foreign currency from oil sales, SWFs were set up as an insurance policy against potential decreased revenue streams.
Derived from surpluses in reserves, SWFs provide a means of reallocating income into other investments in order to diversify the country’s revenue. Should funding decline, these investments could be sold on short notice to support economic growth.
During Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s last visit to Africa, he emphasized, in a press conference in Ethiopia, that Japan’s focus in the continent are “young people,” who will shoulder the responsibility for the future of Africa, and women, who will give life to the continent’s future generations. Japan presents its policies regarding Africa as altruistic and humanitarian but some critics say it is driven very much by Realpolitik. In the past century, Japan’s activities in Africa have ranged from mostly business relationships to what Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs calls an aid-based diplomacy. What are we seeing now and what are Japan’s true intentions going forward?
Trade relations between Africa and Japan started developing significantly during World War I, with Egypt and South Africa being the main trade partners. Between the World Wars, substantial trade relationships developed between Japan and Uganda, as well as Egypt, both of which supplied cotton for the Japanese textile industry with Japan supplying manufactured goods.
In mid- January 2015, many real-estate developers and financial experts were worried: with Dubai World’s debt-restructuring talks looming overhead, a stock market meltdown and subsequently devastating property crash seemed almost inevitable. (more…)
The increasing number and capitalization of Chinese investment funds in Africa causes both opportunities and losses for African countries.
According to the latest China-Africa Economic and Trade Cooperation White Paper published in 2013, cumulative Chinese OFDI (outward foreign direct investment, showing the total accumulated value of assets) to Africa amounts to US$21 billion (by official figures). Statistics published by Chinese Ministry of Commerce show that Chinese yearly OFDI flows to Africa increased sharply from $317 mn in 2004 up to $2.52 bn in 2012. Chinese premier minister Li Reqtang, while his official visit to Africa in 2014, predicted that Chinese OFDI to Africa will reach $100 bn by 2020. (more…)