Economic Briefs


Africa Economic Brief - Resurgent Asia and Lessons for Africa - Volume 11 | Issue 1

Deepak Nayyar – economist, thinker, and leading scholar – has come up with yet another splendid book. Resurgent Asia: Diversity in Development, together with the excellent Asian Transformations: An Inquiry into the Development of Nations (2019), recently edited by Nayyar, and an earlier path-breaking book, Catch Up: Developing Countries in the World Economy (2013), form a trilogy of scholarly work on Asia. The significance of Resurgent Asia lies in its timing, coming as it does 50 years after the publication of Myrdal’s Asian Drama: An Enquiry into the Poverty of Nations (1968) – itself a...

Africa Economic Brief - China’s Presence in Africa: A Boon or a Bust? - Volume 10 | Issue 1

While an increasing number of people agree that the major challenge facing humanity today is global warming, the defining geo-political challenge is who will dominate the planet economically, politically and militarily in the decades to come? Will it remain a unipolar world with the United States the sole superpower, as it has been since the fall of the Soviet Union? Or will it be displaced by a rapidly emerging China seeking to dominate its closest neighbors, while replacing the West as the dominant rule-setter globally, including within multilateral institutions. Will it move from following...

Development Research Briefs - Lengthening Financial Contracts, an Issue in the West Africa Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) Region

The key constraints faced by the banking sector in the region include the following: • The main source of long term funding for banks is time deposits (over 24–month maturity); • The regulations by the Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest- (BCEAO) stipulate that the ratio of medium and long term loans to time deposits (transformation ratio) must not exceed 25 percent; • High corporate tax rates are a serious burden and restrict the amount of available resources to be leveraged by banks (Table 1).

Commodity Market Brief - Coffee Production in Africa and the Global Market Situation

Coffee producers in Africa accounted for about 12% of global supply and less than 11% of global exports of the product for the 2009/10 season. These contributions to the global coffee market are almost equal to Indonesia’s, the third largest world producer of the commodity. Notwithstanding the small contribution of African countries to the global coffee market, the commodity constitutes a large proportion of both GDP and exports share in some of the continent’s small economies. For example, in Ethiopia and Rwanda, coffee exports generated about 26% and 22%, respectively, in export revenue in...

Jannuary 2011 - Implementation Update- Action Plan to Improve Statistics for Food Security- Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Africa

Concerned about the declining quantity and quality of agricultural statistics and the need to provide data to support emerging data requirements and the requirement for the data systems to be integrated to achieve synergy and costeffectiveness, the United Nations Statistical Commission, in February 2010, endorsed a Global Strategy for Improving Agricultural and Rural Statistics. The purpose of the Strategy is to provide a framework and methodology that will lead to the improvement of national and international agricultural and rural statistics to guide policy analysis and decision making in...

Economic Brief - Towards Sustaining Malawi's Farm Input Subsidy Program

As a land-locked country, Malawi is under pressure to grow its own food, since imports are both costly and unreliable. Maize is the main staple for 90 per cent of the population, and most smallholders operate on tiny plots of land1, making diversification difficult. Largely these constraints explain the long-standing and often contentious policy of subsidizing inputs in Malawi. Thus, from the mid-1970s to the early 1990s, the government financed a universal fertilizer subsidy program, provided cheap credit to the smallholder, and controlled maize prices. This system began to break down in the...

North Africa Quarterly Analytical - New Libya, New Neighbourhood - What Opportunities for Tunisia?

The Libyan conflict, that raged for close to ten months and led to the fall of Gaddafi, particularly hurt the Tunisian economy, especially in the first half of 2011. In a review of the period concerned, the African Development Bank (AfDB) (Santi, Ben Romdhane and Ben Aissa, 2011) estimated that despite a few positive externalities, the Libyan crisis negatively affected the Tunisian economy which was still reeling from the socio-economic impact of its 14 January 2011 Revolution.

Economic Brief - Economic Integration to Expand or to Deepen

This brief seeks to examine the various geographically proximate African FTAs in the context of analyzing the deeper and expand models of economic integration and endeavor to indicate which of the two is likely to prevail. The compelling discussion in the brief is on the real or potential of either or both models and their robustness in driving economic integration in the continent. The brief as well highlights some of the persistent challenges that are holding Africa’s integration thus denying it measurable gains. European Union integration experiences are weaved in by way of underlining...

Economic Brief - Capital Market Development in North Africa Current Status and Future Potential

Capital markets in North Africa have a long history but have been marginal to the region’s development. For the private sector to expand and flourish there is strong evidence which shows that the ability to raise equity finance is indispensable. However this investigation reveals the limited breadth and depth of the North African markets. Markets in sovereign and corporate bonds complement equity financing, but these are also underdeveloped in North Africa. The study finds that legal and regulatory provision is for the most part adequate, but there has been an absence of confidence by both...

Economic Brief - Health in Africa Over the Next 50 Years

The health landscape has transformed dramatically since the independence of African countries about 50 years ago, and this is expected to continue as the continent progresses over the next half-century. Africa has made considerable headway in improving the health outcomes of its populations, in spite of the challenges posed by pervasive poverty, epidemic diseases, and food insecurity. The traditional communicable diseases of HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis remain the main drivers of mortality. Concomitantly, chronic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer –...

Southern Africa Quarterly Review and Analysis – 1st Quarter 2013 - Issue 8

Southern Africa is projected to grow at 4.4 percent in 2013. A strong first quarter performance in many of the countries set the region on course towards this growth rate. In Angola, despite a slight deceleration of output in the non-oil sector, growth remained quite healthy, supported by oil production. Botswana maintained strong growth on the back of a resurging mining sector. Lesotho maintained positive growth that largely reflected the mining and textile sub-sectors’ good sustained performance, while in Malawi growth rebounded in the first quarter, with the main drivers being improved...

Market Brief - Africa Economic Financial Brief 03-07 June 2013

Combating food insecurity and promoting green economic growth are at the heart of the development agenda of the African continent. In recent years, Africa has achieved significant progress on the Millennium Development Goals including cutting hunger and environmental sustainability. However, much more needs to be done for full transition of African countries to green and inclusive economic growth. Here, Africa’s fishing industry can play an important part in fighting hunger and in the transition to more environment-friendly economic development. In fact, with more than 26,000 km of coast-line...

Southern Africa Quarterly Review and Analysis – 2nd Quarter 2013 - Issue 9

Economic activity in Southern Africa remained quite strong in the second quarter, giving optimism that the region is on course to attain a projected annual average growth rate of 4.4 percent. Angola witnessed a pickup in growth in the non-oil sector, which combined with strong oil production to maintain a healthy second quarter performance. Botswana sustained its strong growth on the back of a resurging mining sector. However, recent adverse weather conditions in the country moderated overall growth during the second quarter. Growth was positive in Lesotho, largely reflecting good performance...

Market Brief - Africa Economic Financial Brief 02-06 September 2013

From 2011 to date, many African countries took steps to drawdown on unsustainable fuel energy programs. The case for energy subsidy reforms was based on the fundamental argument that poorly targeted energy consumption subsidies deprive countries of scare resources critical to other priority sectors. In Africa it is estimated that the top quintile of the income distribution captures about 45 percent of energy subsidy; the bottom quintile only receives 8 percent. In 2011 alone, fuel consumption subsidies in Nigeria, Cameroon and Ghana cost USD 7.5 billion, USD 600 million and USD 276 million,...

Regional Integration Brief - Intra-SADC Cross-Border Investments

Cross-Border Investment (CBI) refers to all capital flows, both private and public, between countries i.e. investment across the geographical borders of countries. Intra-regional CBI is therefore related to capital flows listed within a Regional Economic Community (REC). CBI is an important indicator used to gauge the level, nature, content and depth of the economic and social integration of a Regional Economic Community (REC). In addition, as a source of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), it is expected to have positive impacts on the national economies, which include job creation,...

Economic Brief - Accelerating the AfDB’s Response to the Youth Unemployment Crisis in Africa

This paper was prepared as a background paper for the Joint Youth Employment Initiative for Africa which was launched in 2011 by the AfDB, African Union, ILO and UNECA. The objective of this initiative is to support Regional Member Countries (RMCs) in addressing the growing youth unemployment crisis in Africa. This paper was primarily a response to: (i) the Board’s concerns on high unemployment in the continent, particularly among the youth (ii) the need for a coherent Bank perspective for the high-level seminar on “youth unemployment and inclusive growth” at the 2011 annual meetings...

Market Brief - Africa Economic Financial Brief 04-08 November 2013

In October 2013 both Zambia and Ghana received downgrades from the global ratings agency Fitch. Both countries were downgraded from B-plus to B as a result of growing and persistent deficits and. The Zambian authorities expect a deficit of 8.5 percent of GDP in 2013, against an expected target deficit of 4.5 percent of GDP, and an average of 3 percent between 2006 and 2011[1]. South Africa is in an equally difficult position with frequent strikes in its bellwether mining and auto sectors dampening growth prospects while pullbacks in unsecured lending have shaved-off consumer spending. These...

Market Brief - Africa Economic Financial Brief 25-29 November 2013

Africa is becoming increasingly interconnected with the rest of the world through trade and financial transactions such as private capital flows, foreign direct investment (FDI), remittances, and Official Development Assistance (ODA).. From 2000 to 2010, Africa’s real export value quadrupled, with Europe as the main export destination followed by the United States and China. In 2012, 80% of African countries had export-GDP ratio of 20% or more. External financial flows hit a record high in 2012 and are expected to surpass the US$ 200 billion mark in 2013. The flow of FDI, portfolio investment...

Market Brief - Africa Economic Financial Brief 11-15 November 2013

It is widely agreed that universal health coverage is an effective way of reducing financial impoverishment caused by health spending and increasing access to key health services in less affluent countries [1]. In Africa, formal and well functioning health insurance schemes generally exist for the very few who are employed in the formal sector. Access to health care for the wide majority is mainly through out-ofpocket expenditure, which however could lead to suboptimal use of health care services [2]. Nevertheless, over the past two decades, a variety of health insurance schemes have emerged...

Market Brief - Africa Economic Financial Brief 23-27 December 2013

The success of an economy depends critically on the extent to which market structure, business climate and institutions promote the allocation of inputs to more productive businesses. Correspondingly, superior firm productivity brings about business dynamism critical for a country’s economic performance. Since exporters tend to be more productive than non-exporters, developing countries have actively pursued export oriented industrialization policies by encouraging manufacturing firms to export to international markets. Similarly, current thinking regarding ways of facilitating structural...