Economic Briefs



Southern Africa Quarterly Report 3rd Quarter -2014 - Issue No.14


Africa Economic Brief - Financing for innovation: what can be done for African SMEs?

Summary Financing SMEs is a challenge all around the globe. In Africa, this challenge is compounded by several deep-rooted issues which pertain both to the environment in which firms are working, as well as to the lack of breadth and depth of financial markets. When it comes to financing innovative firms, these issues are even more acute given the perceived risks they carry. On the firm’s side, many are unable to find adequate ways of promoting and presenting their innovative projects to obtain financing. On the financial infrastructure side, more than average caution is exercised by...

Africa Economic Brief - The Banking System in Africa: Main Facts and Challenges

Abstract This brief presents a comparative review of the banking systems and regulations in Africa relative to other regions of the world. It compares indicators of the banking environment (including efficiency, depth, penetration, innovation, and competition), as well as regulation and supervision standards. The review suggests that while Africa’s banking environment is relatively shallow and less penetrated, it is as competitive as those in other developing and high income regions. The region has made improvements in banking technology and innovation, and in some cases, has leap-frogged...

Africa Economic Brief - Modélisation du choc pétrolier de 2014 dans les pays importateurs de pétrole en Afrique du Nord

Les prix du pétrole Brent ont chuté sous la barre des cinquante dollars américains le baril en janvier 2015 (voir Graphique 1) en raison d’une offre internationale plus importante que prévue2, d’un dollar fort et d’une demande mondiale faible par ticulière ment de la part de la Chine, de la zone Euro et du Japon. Le Fonds Monétaire International (FMI) estime que ce prix ne dépassera pas soixante-dix dollars améri cains au cours de l’année 2015 à condition que l’Organisation des Pays Producteurs de Pétrole (OPEP) ne diminue pas sa production pour faire augmenter les prix (IMF, 2015). Toutefois...

West Africa Monitor Quarterly – Issue 7

West Africa continues its transformation. This 7th edition provides an update on the latest political, economic, and social developments in the region, and in select countries. The thematic paper and country notes analyse the contribution of Diasporas to regional development. Since 2006, remittances to West Africa have surpassed ODA in terms of volume received by the region. Although still scattered and fragmented, these funds could potentially finance development, provided that recipient countries support investment by the Diaspora, and encourage members to launch socio-economic projects in...

Africa Economic Brief - Understanding South Africa’s current account deficit: The role of foreign direct investment income

This article unpacks the contribution of the investment income balance to South Africa’s current account deficit post-1994 and places it within the context of South Africa’s balance of payments and FDI history. It highlights the prominence of net investment income payments made to foreign direct investors in driving South Africa’s current account deficit (37% between 2004-2013). During the same period net payments to all other investors accounted for 14.5% of the deficit. The slow accumulation of direct investment assets by South African firms prior to 2006 coupled with the higher returns on...

West Africa Monitor Quarterly – Issue 6

West Africa continues its transformation. This 6th edition provides an update on the latest political, economic and social developments at the regional level and in individual countries. Through country updates and thematic papers, it explores the mobile financial services sector. The rapid and widespread adoption of cell phone technology has allowed for the emergence of mobile payment, promoting the financial inclusion of an unbanked majority, in areas where cash dominates trade. The current issue presents an overview of the market in West Africa and analyses the main obstacles to wider...

Economic Brief - Innovation and Productivity : Empirical Analysis for North African Countries

Key Messages • In North Africa, especially in Morocco and Egypt, the impact of qualified human resources on innovation incentives and productivity levels is insignificant. This points to the under-utilization and inefficient allocation of capital in these countries. • The impact of exports on innovation is insignificant, mainly as a result of the rigid structure of comparative advantages in these countries and the concentration of exports in sectors with little value addition and limited technological potential, particularly in the case of Morocco.

Economic Brief - Taking Africa's Irregular Migrants into Account Trends Challenges and Policy Options

According to the International Organization of Migration (2013), irregular migration refers to “movement that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the origin, transit and destination countries”. A migrant is considered as irregular when he does not meet the immigration laws’ requirements while entering, residing or working in a given transit or receiving country. In its 2010 report, IOM (2010) estimated irregular migrants at between 20 to 30 million people worldwide. This represents 10 to 15% of international migration flows. The United Nations (2013) estimate that inter-State migrants...

Africa Economic Brief - The Trade Finance Market in Africa

Trade contributes to economic growth and development through different channels. Exports allow firms to access larger markets and to innovate through greater competition, leading to higher productivity and growth. Imports expand the range of goods and services that consumers can access.

Africa Economic Brief - Trade Finance in Africa: Letters of Credit

Trade finance is critical for the facilitation of international trade by overcoming the challenges of information asymmetry, contract enforcement and liquidity issues inherent in cross-border transactions. A key instrument used by banks in trade finance is the letter of credit. In a typical cross-border trade operation involving bank intermediation, an importer (buyer) would request a bank2 to issue a letter of credit which would represent its obligation to pay the exporter (seller3) provided the terms of the contract are fulfilled. Hence, the letter of credit provides a guarantee to the...

West Africa Monitor Quarterly – Issue 5

This 5th edition is dedicated to the health sector in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak that hit the region last year unveiled underlying shortcomings of various West African health systems. Beyond the crisis, structural weaknesses explain the difficulty experienced by most affected countries to deal with health challenges are regularly confronted with, such as identified by the Millennium Development Goals in 2000. The thematic note provides a brief overview of the health situation and identifies the main obstacles to the improvement of health systems in the region. It then illustrates a...

Economic Brief - Rendre efficient le fonctionnement des marchés interbancaires dans la zone FCFA

Messages clés • Des marchés interbancaires plus actifs donneraient plus de signification aux taux directeurs des Banques Centrales ; • L’introduction des taux de référence interbancaires flottants renforceraient le rôle dévolu au marché interbancaire dans la stabilité du système financier et permettraient de stimuler l’innovation financière avec l’apparition de nouveaux produits financiers tels que : (i) les émissions obligataires à taux flottants ; (ii) les swaps de taux d’intérêts ; (iii) et les options de taux d’intérêts; • L’intégration des marchés interbancaires est une...

West Africa Monitor Quarterly - Issue 4

The West Africa Monitor is produced by the country economists of the African Development Bank Group’s (AfDB) West Africa Regional Department (ORWA) and Nigeria Department (ORNG). The current issue has been produced in close collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), the the Bank’s Agriculture Department (OSAN) and Statistics Department (ESTA).

Economic Brief - Promoting crisis-resilient growth in North Africa

Key messages • The Arab Spring was an internally generated crisis, the result of two interwoven processes relating to the patterns of growth and crisis resilience in the region. While North African countries enjoyed moderately high growth between 2003 and 2010, notwithstanding the two crises (food and financial) that hit the region during that period, growth was not inclusive and benefits were not shared broadly across sectors or widely across groups. While North African governments took steps to strengthen crisis resilience at macroeconomic level, they generally failed to protect small...

Southern Africa Quarterly Report 2nd Quarter-2014 Issue No.13

The Southern Africa region reported an acceleration of growth in over half of the countries in the second quarter of 2014. In five countries, growth either decelerated or stayed on course. Growth was strongest in Angola, which grew by 8.8 percent, driven by growth in non-oil activities in the construction and energy sectors; followed by Mozambique, which grew by 7.5 percent, supported by the acceleration of trade related activities, transport, telecoms, and manufacturing and electricity; and Zambia, which grew by 6.5 percent following strong public expenditure in social sectors and...

Southern Africa Quarterly Review and Analysis – 1st Quarter 2014 - Issue 12

The Southern Africa region continued on a positive growth path with significant differences in growth rates among countries in the region. Mozambique, Zambia and Angola registered the fastest growth rates, exceeding the 7 percent growth rate target of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), supported by positive performance of the mining sectors and strong public expenditure. Officials in Zimbabwe also predict a significant acceleration of growth (from 3.7 percent in 2013 to 6.1 percent in 2014) premised on the successful implementation of its Agenda for Sustainable SocioEconomic...

West Africa Monitor Quarterly - Issue 3

The West Africa Monitor is produced by the country economists of the African Development Bank Group’s (AfDB) West Africa Regional Department (ORWA) and Nigeria Department (ORNG). The current issue has been produced in close collaboration with the Bank’s Energy Department (ONEC) and Statistics Department (ESTA). Part of the Bank’s Knowledge Management Strategy for West Africa, it aims at monitoring key socio-economic developments in the region and provides brief analysis on latest events across the countries. The report is deliberately crafted to be succinct and in non-technical language...

July 2014 - Implementation Update- Action Plan to Improve Statistics for Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Africa

This is the sixth issue of the Bulletin on the Action Plan to Improve Statistics for Food Security, Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development in Africa 2012-2017. The Action Plan is part of the Global Strategy endorsed by the international community, which was jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Bank/IBRD, and the United Nations in September, 2010.

Economic Brief - Employment and Productivity Growth in Egypt in a Period of Structural Change 2001-2008

Key messages • The private sector was the main source of employment absorption, while the public sector witnessed declines in employment in almost all activities. MSEs represent around 96% of all enterprises in Egypt, and employ around 70% of the private non-agricultural workers. Within those enterprises the informal MSEs constitute the majority of enterprises (78%). • The movement of labor from low productivity to high productivity economic activities, the "between" effects, were the main determinants of labor productivity changes in most activities. However, analysis also revealed...