Industrialisation et commerce en Afrique
Optimiser les secteurs productifs en misant sur les chaînes de valeur pour renforcer le commerce intra-africain et l’intégration régionale
Turning extractive resources (mining, oil and gas) into development outcomes has proven to be a challenge for African governments and developing countries in general. The channels linking minerals in the ground with higher living standards are complex. This article sets out some thoughts that the authors would like to share and also, initiatives taken by the African Development Bank and the Collaborative African Budget Reform Initiative (CABRI) to help African governments on the issue.
The discovery and exploitation of oil, gas and mining usually brings in its wake high expectations of employment opportunities for countries where the resource extraction is taking place. However, there is often a mismatch between these expectations and the actual jobs that the oil, gas and mining sectors can offer. In practice, oil and gas, and to a lesser extent, mining projects in Africa often do not generate much employment locally. This is partly as a result of the capital intensive nature of extractives and, especially oil and gas projects.
Typically, there are two kinds of sovereign wealth funds: saving funds and stabilization funds. The latter is particularly pertinent in countries whose economies are overly reliant on oil and commodity exports, and whose revenues are volatile in nature. Other reasons for the creation of Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWF) include war chests and, in the case of nations with an abundance of natural resources, a SWF can help to avoid the ‘resource curse’ or ‘paradox of plenty’. These are all valid ‘stabilization’ reasons for setting up a SWF. In Africa, however, stabilization reasons are not enough.
African resource-rich countries are facing significant economic headwinds. Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, depends on oil for over 90% of its foreign exchange earnings and three-quarters of government revenue. The slump in oil prices has adversely affected Nigeria’s economic prospects, pushing GDP growth into negative territory to -1.5% in 2016.
Over the past seven years, the African Union (AU) has emerged as a central actor in regional level efforts to improve natural resource governance. As African economies grapple with the negative impact of the commodity price fall – including dimmer growth and job creation prospects over the medium term - the AU has an opportunity to reinvent itself as both thought-leader and harmonizer in resource governance initiatives. This is key for a coherent structural economic transformation across the continent.
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