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Upon taking office, President Obama committed to supporting strong, open, and accountable governments and sustainable development in Africa. In his speech before the Ghanaian Parliament in July 2009, the President asserted that Africa is a fundamental part of our interconnected world, and called for a partnership with Africa that is “grounded in mutual responsibility and mutual respect.” The National Security Strategy, released in May 2010, reinforces this vision, and calls for partnership with African nations as they grow their economies and strengthen their democratic institutions and governance. In June 2012, the President approved a Presidential Policy Directive that outlines his vision with respect to U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa. This document is drawn from and reflects that Directive.
Over the last three and a half years, we have worked to translate the President’s words to the Ghanaian Parliament into action. We have supported democratic development by strengthening institutions and challenging leaders whose actions threaten peaceful political transitions, including in Cote d’Ivoire. We have advanced peace and security by playing an integral role in the birth of South Sudan, supporting the African Union Mission in Somalia, and working with regional partners to counter the predatory Lord’s Resistance Army. We have engaged young African leaders who will shape the continent’s future. We have invested in development partnerships to foster sustained economic growth, promote food security, increase resilience to climate change, and improve the capacity of countries and communities to address HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other health threats. We have been the world’s leader in responding to humanitarian crises, including in the Horn of Africa, while at the same time working with our African partners to promote resilience and prevent future crises.
The economies of sub-Saharan Africa are among the world’s most rapidly growing. An increasing number of African governments and regional organizations are taking a lead role in addressing the security and political challenges within their borders and beyond and are increasingly influential players in international fora. The African Union serves as an important leader on political, diplomatic, and peacekeeping issues across the continent. At the same time, urbanization and a burgeoning youth population are changing the region’s demographics in profound ways, and young people are increasingly making their voices heard.
While the continent has made important gains on democracy and institution building, those gains are fragile. There are still too many countries where the transition to democracy is uneven and slow, and leaders who resist relinquishing power. In many countries, corruption is endemic, and state institutions remain weak. In addition to eroding the legitimacy of governments, these factors impede local business activity and foreign investment. Despite having much of the world’s arable land and many of its richest fisheries, the agricultural sectors of many sub-Saharan African states are underperforming, and poverty still cripples the lives of too many. Transnational security challenges pose threats to regional stability, economic growth, and U.S. interests.
As the United States addresses these opportunities and challenges, we will be guided by our core interests in sub-Saharan Africa: ensuring the security of the United States, our citizens, and our allies and partners; promoting democratic states that are economically vibrant and strong partners of the United States on the world stage; expanding opportunities for U.S. trade and investment; preventing conflict and mass atrocities; and fostering broad-based, sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation.
Given the growing strategic importance of sub-Saharan Africa to the United States, over the next 5 years we will elevate our focus on and dedicate greater effort to strengthening democratic institutions and spurring economic growth, trade, and investment, while continuing to pursue other objectives on the continent. Stronger democratic institutions lead countries to achieve greater prosperity and stability; are more successful in mitigating conflict and countering transnational threats; and serve as stronger partners of the United States. Additionally, promoting sustainable, inclusive economic growth is a key ingredient of security, political stability, and development, and it underpins efforts to alleviate poverty, creating the resources to support health care, education, and other public goods.
The Four Pillars of the U.S. Strategy Toward Sub-Saharan Africa
The United States will partner with sub-Saharan African countries to pursue the following interdependent and mutually reinforcing objectives: (1) strengthen democratic institutions; (2) spur economic growth, trade, and investment; (3) advance peace and security; and (4) promote opportunity and development. Across all objectives, we will: deepen our engagement with Africa’s young leaders; seek to empower marginalized populations and women; address the unique needs of fragile and post-conflict states; and work closely with the U.N. and other multilateral actors to achieve our objectives on the continent.
I. Strengthen Democratic Institutions
As the President said in Ghana, “Africa doesn’t need strong men, it needs strong institutions.” We will work to advance democracy by strengthening institutions at every level, supporting and building upon the aspirations of Africans for more open and accountable governance, promoting human rights and the rule of law, and challenging leaders whose actions threaten the credibility of democratic processes. As the National Security Strategy states, our support for democracy is critical to U.S. interests and is a fundamental component of American leadership abroad. We will pursue the following actions:
• Promote Accountable, Transparent, and Responsive Governance. The United States will expand efforts to support and empower key reformers and institutions of government at all levels to promote the rule of law, strengthen checks on executive power, and incorporate responsive governance practices. We will also seek to expand African membership in the Open Government Partnership and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which promote sound governance, transparency, and accountability.
• Bolster Positive Models. The United States recognizes that Africans must forge lasting solutions, and build their own democracies. To this end, we will support those leaders and actors who are creating vibrant democratic models, including elected leaders as well as young Africans who are leaders in civil society and entrepreneurship. We will use the facilitating power of the United States Government to help young African leaders network with one another, share innovative solutions, and demonstrate America’s support for their efforts.
• Promote and Protect Human Rights, Civil Society, and Independent Media. The United States will amplify and support voices calling for respect for human rights, rule of law, accountability and transitional justice mechanisms, and independent media. Further, we will continue to focus on empowering women and marginalized populations, and opposing discrimination based on disability, gender, or sexual orientation.
• Ensure a Sustained Focus on the Credibility of Democratic Processes. The United States will take a strong and consistent stand against actions that undermine democratic institutions or the legitimacy of democratic processes. We will evaluate elections against the highest possible standards of fairness and impartiality. The United States will seek to expand adherence to the principle of civilian control of the military, and will support strong measures against individuals or groups that threaten legitimately elected governments.
• Promote Strong Democratic Norms. The United States will support efforts by regional and international bodies to enforce the consistent application of democratic practices, particularly the African Union’s African Charter on Democracy, Elections, and Governance and other multilateral standards. We will support basic and civic education to ensure future generations are active, informed, and committed to the rights and responsibilities of democratic citizenship.
II. Spur Economic Growth, Trade, and Investment
It is in the interest of the United States to improve the region’s trade competitiveness, encourage the diversification of exports beyond natural resources, and ensure that the benefits from growth are broad-based. We will pursue the following actions as we seek to accelerate inclusive economic growth, including through trade and investment:
• Promote an Enabling Environment for Trade and Investment. Building on U.S. programs such as the Partnership for Growth and New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition, as well as international programs such as the Open Government Partnership and the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, we will encourage legal, regulatory, and institutional reforms that contribute to an environment that enables greater trade and investment in sub-Saharan Africa. We will also encourage sub-Saharan Africa’s private sector to engage governments to undertake these necessary reforms.
• Improve Economic Governance. We will help to build the public sector’s capacity to provide services and improve protections against illicit financial activity. Greater economic governance facilitates effective management of public finances, more efficient and transparent use of (and less reliance on) donor aid, and increased transparency and accountability. In turn, strong public financial management helps increase transparency and effectiveness in government operations and broaden the revenue base.
• Promote Regional Integration. Increased African regional integration would create larger markets, improve economies of scale, and reduce transaction costs for local, regional, and global trade. We will work with regional economic communities, including through the U.S.-East African Community Trade and Investment Initiative, and national governments to reduce the barriers to trade and investment flows across the continent. In particular, we will promote trade facilitation, customs modernization, and standards harmonization; support regulatory coherence and transparency; improve infrastructure that strengthens regional trade and access to global markets; and explore ways to remove impediments to efficient operation of supply chains in the region.
• Expanding African Capacity to Effectively Access and Benefit from Global Markets. Notwithstanding the tariff advantages afforded by the United States to sub-Saharan Africa, non-oil exports from Africa to the United States continue to grow slowly and have not reached their full potential. To increase Africa’s capacity to produce goods for export that are diverse, competitive, and meet global standards, we will (1) work with the Congress to extend the unilateral preferences under the African Growth and Opportunity Act beyond 2015 and extend the Generalized System of Preferences beyond 2013, while also exploring ways to update these programs and enhance African capacity to fully utilize and benefit from these programs, including through the African Competitiveness and Trade Expansion Initiative; (2) increase cooperation and technical assistance on a range of issues, including building Africa’s capacity to meet product standards, food safety and sanitary and phytosanitary requirements, product testing, and certification requirements; and (3) take steps to increase productive capacity and improve the competitiveness of African exports, including by helping to address a range of supply-side constraints that raise costs and reduce the efficiency of exports.
• Encourage U.S. Companies to Trade with and Invest in Africa. Many U.S. businesses – particularly small- and medium-sized enterprises – are unaware of opportunities for trade with and investment in Africa, or face challenges establishing business relationships in sub-Saharan African countries. In harmony with the National Export Initiative, we will develop a “Doing Business in Africa Campaign” to harness the resources of the United States Government to assist U.S. businesses in identifying and seizing opportunities in sub-Saharan Africa. We will also engage with members of the sub-Saharan African Diaspora in the United States, who are showing an increasing level of interest in investing in their countries of origin.
III. Advance Peace and Security
African states are showing increasing capacity to take the lead on security issues on the continent. Nonetheless, international and domestic conflict and the inability of some governments to meet the basic security needs of their people continue to be key obstacles to effective democratic governance, economic growth, trade and investment, and human development. Only Africa’s governments and people can sustainably resolve the security challenges and internal divisions that have plagued the continent, but the United States can make a positive difference. Recognizing this fact, we will pursue the following actions:
• Counter al-Qa’ida and Other Terrorist Groups. In our approach to counterterrorism, we will continue to be guided by the President’s affirmation in the National Security Strategy that he bears no greater responsibility than ensuring the safety and security of the American people. Consistent with the National Strategy for Counterterrorism, we will concentrate our efforts on disrupting, dismantling, and eventually defeating al-Qa’ida and its affiliates and adherents in Africa to ensure the security of our citizens and our partners. In doing so, we will seek to strengthen the capacity of civilian bodies to provide security for their citizens and counter violent extremism through more effective governance, development, and law enforcement efforts.
• Advance Regional Security Cooperation and Security Sector Reform. We will deepen our security partnerships with African countries and regional organizations and their stand-by forces by expanding efforts to build African military capabilities through low-cost, small-footprint operations, consistent with the vision set forth in “Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense.” We will also seek to strengthen the capacity of civilian bodies and institutions to improve the continent’s ability to provide security and respond to emerging conflicts. Moreover, U.S. military and civilian agencies will help establish effective partner nation security forces, intelligence organizations, and law enforcement and border control agencies that are subordinate to and operating jointly with their constitutional civil authorities.
• Prevent Transnational Criminal Threats. We will build comprehensive partnerships that leverage our land border, maritime, aviation, cybersecurity, and financial sector expertise to counter illicit movement of people, arms, drugs, and money, as well as guard against the criminal facilitation of weapons of mass destruction material and technology. We will work to curb armed robbery at sea and protect fisheries, and continue to implement our Counter-Piracy Action Plan off the coast of Somalia. Consistent with the Strategy to Combat Transnational Organized Crime, we will support efforts and build partner capacity to combat corruption and instability as well as to combat trafficking in persons.
• Prevent Conflict and, Where Necessary, Mitigate Mass Atrocities and Hold Perpetrators Accountable. Consistent with the objectives of Presidential Study Directive-10, we will address atrocity risks at the earliest stage possible to help prevent violence before it emerges, and bolster domestic and international efforts to bring perpetrators to justice. We will also cultivate deeper and broader support among governments and multilateral organizations to work toward the same objectives.
• Support Initiatives to Promote Peace and Security. We will support U.N. peacebuilding and peacekeeping missions in sub-Saharan Africa, including by working to ensure that peacekeeping missions are well-led, well-supported, and appropriately resourced in order to maximize their effectiveness. Within African countries, we will support those who work to overcome communal divisions in pursuit of sustainable and peaceful political processes.
IV. Promote Opportunity and Development
This Administration, including through the Presidential Policy Directive on Global Development, has charted a new approach that focuses on sustainable development outcomes and a new operational model for U.S. development assistance and builds on our work to date. Africa is the focus of three key Presidential development initiatives: the Global Health Initiative, Feed the Future, and the Global Climate Change Initiative. Additionally, two of the four Partnership for Growth countries (Ghana and Tanzania) are in Africa. In each of these efforts, we have highlighted the importance of reform and transparency to development and prioritized good economic and project management to promote sustainability. We are investing in a growing number of good-performing countries and seeing the evidence in clear outcomes and the increased capacity and commitment of our partners. We will pursue the following actions as we strive to further accelerate development progress:
• Address Constraints to Growth and Promote Poverty Reduction. We will leverage our engagement via multilateral financial institutions to advocate for increased financing for poorer countries, and will focus on addressing constraints to growth. We will encourage governments to use revenues, particularly from energy sources, to more broadly benefit their populations, and we will continue to support the expansion and improvement of sub-Saharan Africa’s education services.
• Promote Food Security. Food security will remain a priority, consistent with the commitments made by the United States at the L’Aquila Summit, through the Feed the Future Initiative, and the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition launched at the 2012 G-8 Summit. We will build on the progress achieved thus far, while also intensifying our efforts to promote policy reforms, drive increased private capital to African agriculture, scale innovation, and reduce risk.
• Transform Africa’s Public Health. We will work through the Global Health Initiative and our disease-specific programs, including the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President’s Malaria Initiative, to tackle other diseases and malnutrition while strengthening health systems for sustainable impact. We will continue to leverage the leadership being demonstrated by a growing number of African countries on global health in order to bolster our efforts to promote good governance, development, and economic growth, including as we pursue the expanded AIDS prevention targets announced on World AIDS Day in 2011 and through the June 2012 Child Survival Call to Action.
• Increase Opportunities for Women and Youth. We will continue to use our diplomacy and assistance programs to empower women, including through the African Women Entrepreneurship Program, implementing the U.S. National Action Plan on Women, Peace, and Security, and focusing on maternal and child health as a centerpiece of the Global Health Initiative. This includes enhancing efforts to protect women in the context of conflict and humanitarian emergencies. We will also continue engaging with Africa’s next generation of leaders by advancing the President’s Young African Leaders Initiative to provide tools to support leadership development, promote entrepreneurship, and connect young leaders with one another and the United States.
• Respond to Humanitarian Crises While Promoting Resilience. While continuing to lead the world in response to humanitarian crises in Africa, we will promote and bring to scale resilience policies and programs. In that context, we will work to prevent the weakening or collapse of local economies, protect livestock, promote sustainable access to clean water, and invest in programs that reduce community-level vulnerability to man-made and natural disasters.
• Promote Low-emissions Growth and Sustainable Development, and Build Resilience to Climate Change. We will continue promoting resilience and adaptation to impacts of climate change on food, water, and health in vulnerable African countries, supporting the adoption of low-emissions development strategies, and mobilizing financing to support the development and deployment of clean energy. We will also work to protect and encourage sustainable use of Africa’s natural resources.
Read more: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/texttrans/2012/06/201206147448.html#ixzz2EzPgbyvM
LET me start by acknowledging this great honour done to me and indeed my country Nigeria by the organizers of this symposium, The Canadian Council for Africa. I am truly humbled and appreciative of the choice of my person as the Keynote Speaker. Thank you very much. I bring you felicitations from the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, and your friends back home in Nigeria nay Africa.
I have chosen this topic principally to draw attention to the fundamental change taking place in Africa, a change that not only challenges conventional paradigms about Africa’s development (or lack of it) but, importantly, points to an evolving vista which many observers may be too slow to grasp. What is important about the evolving transformation is its inherent propensity to soak-up the embedding dysfunctionalisms hitherto associated with Africa’s long and sad journey towards economic resilience.
About 9 months ago, the famous development economist, Prof. Mathiason, had this to say about Africa: “It has taken 50 years for the wind of change to blow through the continent, but former colonies, rich in commodities, are finally inching towards stable government thus providing a challenge for enlightened foreign investors.”
To put this in context, a classic mistake many scholars and policy analysts make in their evaluation of Africa’s prospects is to view the continent monolithically. Whilst some share severe forms of deprivation, underdevelopment and stultifying business environments, many are genuinely implementing far-reaching institutional reforms in order to promote a more effective involvement in the global economy. On this occasion I intend to speak on these bold attempts.
Africa still faces a number of critical challenges that were articulated over ten years ago, which must be met if the region is to have a sustainable future. Poverty, low economic growth, lack of financial resources, severe degradation of land, water and forests, wars, civil unrest, and major health problems are all familiar problems. It really appears as if nature has conspired with man in most cases to create these challenges. In Nigeria for instance, we are experiencing our very first natural disaster in the form of terrible floods that sacked whole towns and indeed about 40 per cent of the land mass is submerged thereby rendering millions of people homeless. Doubtless this is a set back on the progress recorded in certain areas of the polity. It calls for international assistance. We also get to hear of erosion, desert encroachment, civil wars and famine among others in various parts of Africa, including Nigeria.
Africa’s economic development has stagnated particularly from the 1980s and 90s with the adoption of the Breton Woods Institution’s Structural Adjustment Programmes and other policies intended to make the continent move forward. The Washington Consensus, for instance, emphasized openness and privatization.
Though Africa leaders had over the years adopted various development strategies as enunciated in the Lagos Plan of Action of 1980, the Final Act in Lagos, Nigeria of 1985 and NEPAD Initiative of 2001, and so many others; yet, the experiences of the African countries in their attempt to achieve economic cum political development and integration have not been very salutary. In fact, African economies became worse and increasingly more dependent at the end of the experimentation of each development strategy.
However, African leaders have not rested on their oars in this direction. The transmutation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) to African Union (AU) was for, among other reasons, to promote socio-economic development of Africa and to enable her face more effectively the challenges posed by globalization (AU Act 2002).
The paradox of Africa’s socio-economic and political problem is that Africa is blessed with both human and rare natural resources that can transform this region of the world to the status of highly developed and politically powerful region. In the area of population and size, Africa is at least in good strength when compared to other regions of the world. With a population of about 1 billion, sub-Saharan Africa alone, is a larger democratic community than the nine countries of the European Union combined, but less than half of those of India and China.
Similarly, in terms of natural resources endowment, Africa compares very favourably with other continents of the world. In addition to its enormous forest resources, the range, quality and quantity of Africa’s mineral resources are impressive. For instance, Africa is among the largest producers of chromium, cobalt, copper, bauxite, gold, platinum, diamond, uranium and phosphate – all minerals of vital strategic and agro industrial values. To be precise and in line with Africa’s Pulse, in 2010, Guinea’s production alone represented over 8 per cent of total world bauxite production; Zambia and the Democratic Republic of Congo have a combined share of 6.7 per cent of the total world copper production; while Ghana and Mali together account for 5.8 per cent of the total world gold production. Paradoxically, all these resources and endowments fail to produce the type of development that the continent requires. This is as a result of the failure of its leadership, not only to use the right gears but even to kick-start its engine of progress.
Experiences have shown that past African leadership showcased high level of amateurish, mystified and personal expression of the people’s mandate: Haile Selassie of Ethiopia became the king of kings, lord of lords and the conquering lion of the tribe of Judah and elect of God; Mobutu Sese Seko became the ‘Actor and Director of his destiny.’ Jean-Bedel Bokassa of Central African Republic saw himself as semi-god, married seventeen wives, converted back and forth from Islam to Christianity. Idi Amin Dada of Uganda became the ‘Butcher of Africa,’ ‘Conqueror of the British Empire,’ ‘Lord of All the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea.’ Teodoro Mbasogo became the god of Equatorial Guinea and enjoyed the right to “do and undo without having to give account to anyone.” Yahya Jammeh of Gambia is a self-proclaimed doctor of voodoo and administered it on patients admitted at the Royal Victoria Hospital.
In their bid to hold sway, African leaders willingly created unquantifiable crisis situations; Eyadema of Togo’s bid to transform himself to Life President turned Lome into a battlefield. Doe’s arrogance changed the face of Monrovia just as Taylor repainted with blood. Gbagbo’s untamed attachment to the Presidential Palace made him so blind that he did not know when a free and fair election was held; Tijan’s attempt to change the constitutional provisions on tenure has sown another crises seed in Niger. Gaddafi’s grip on Libya was total and Obasanjo’s tenure extension bid almost truncated Nigeria’s civil democracy. The list can go on and on.
The major issue here is how well has the continent done in the past ten years. It is pertinent to note that it has not all been tales of woe because we have made good progress in many areas especially in democratization. It would have been unimaginable ten years ago that a sitting President would be defeated in a general election and the winner is not only alive but sworn in as the new President. Dictatorships have been sacked, all thanks to the political re-awakening of our people. President Goodluck Jonathan has been very sincere, vocal and practical in his campaign for free, fair and credible elections. He insists on the gospel of one man, one vote, one woman one vote, emphasizing that no electoral victory is worth any citizen’s blood. He leads by example as shown in the July 2012 Edo State Governorship elections where he was the first to congratulate the winner who is from an opposing party. In the case of the fight against the perpetrators of terrorism in Nigeria, the Boko Haram group, the State has gained complete ascendancy over them. Our President recently made far-reaching changes in the security high command with commensurate rise in counter insurgency training and adequately equipping the personnel.
We Africans have decided to take our destiny in our hands in order to make the continent progressively better for our children and the future. There has been an increasing awareness of the need to integrate economic, social and environmental components of sustainable development; increased recognition of the fragility of the African environment; and improved access to education especially for females.
I am a very strong advocate of the view that the top priority for Africa is to consolidate and build on sustainable developmental achievements. A cursory look at a number of other priority issues shows that Africa is fast becoming an active partner in a globalizing world: these include greater regional integration, infrastructure development, nurturing of science and technology, fostering education and learning, engendering a culture of discipline, and enhanced ability for policy analysis of emerging issues. To be part of the globalised economy, Africa has to move from being primarily a producer of agricultural products and other commodities to a manufacturing, value added economy. This is where we need committed friends such as members of the Canadian Council of Africa.
The future lies in the collective effort of African leaders to provide purposeful, disciplined leadership that shuns corruption while seeking to enhance the existence of the citizenry. Leaders must utilize the resources effectively to create an environment that will accommodate industrial development. At the moment the low technological base in Africa is a major constraint to development. Africa must strive to be a learning society through promoting education and scientific research, including sustainable science. Africa must foster links with research institutes overseas and draw on the expertise of expatriate Africans.
Achieving peace and social stability is one of the top priorities for Africa. Without this basic condition, the achievement of sustainable development will not be possible. Good governance, regional cooperation and active mechanisms for conflict prevention and resolution are key requirements to counteract this longstanding challenge.
Africa the acclaimed sleeping giant is really waking up and I believe that the next ten years will bring us a long way into our glorious destiny.
Even though corruption is a favour in Africa, the fight against the evil is yielding results because if the thief does not have a safe haven to stash his loot, he will think again before doing it. The collaboration of most countries of the world on this issue will soon help wipe out or at least reduce corruption to a barest minimum. A case in point is in Nigeria where in recent years very highly placed government officials and private sector individuals have been prosecuted and jailed.
We need all the friends we can get in order to bring us into the full reawakening process. There is so much to invest in, especially energy, solid minerals, transport (particularly railways), agriculture (especially food processing & storage), education, aviation and tourism to mention but a few. I believe many of you sitting here today will have great roles to play.
Financing is paramount for achieving sustainable development goals. At the moment about 90 per cent of the financial resources used in Africa are from domestic sources. However, ambitious but achievable time-bound goals to uplift Africa will require much more than the resources available domestically. We need generous foreign financing in order to achieve credible long-term goals in Africa.
Let me conclude by congratulating the Canadian Council on Africa for this timely symposium aptly titled “Looking Forward.” It is refreshing to know that in this faraway land there are people that are earnestly ready to join hands with Africa in realizing her destiny. Our President in Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR is moving on courageously with the Transformation Agenda whose ultimate goal is to place Nigeria among the 20 leading nations in the world by the year 2020.
Finally, we would gladly partner with the Council to see our two nations move forward. We want action as the era of talking and expressing interest is gone.
Senator Ben Ndi Obi
Aliko Dangote of Nigeria tops the list for the second year running, with a net worth of $12 billion, up from $10.1 billion in November 2011. Most of his net worth lies in publicly traded Dangote Cement, which operates in 14 African countries. Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa comes in once again as the second richest, with a $6.4 billion fortune—down $100 million from a year ago. Oppenheimer decided in late 2011 to sell his family’s 40% stake in diamond producer DeBeers to mining company Anglo American for $5.1 billion. The deal got final regulatory approval in July 2012, marking the end of 85 years of Oppenheimer family control of DeBeers.
South Africa, the continent’s economic giant, is home to 12 of Africa’s 40 richest, followed by Nigeria, with 11. Egypt comes next, with 8 list members, and Morocco with 5. It is perhaps no surprise that the overwhelming majority of Africa’s 40 Richest come from the countries with the largest stock exchanges.
Rank Name Net Worth ($ mil)
1 Aliko Dangote $12,000 Nigeria
2 Nicky Oppenheimer & family $6,400 South Africa
3 Johann Rupert & family $ 5,700 South Africa
4 Nassef Sawiris $5,500 Egypt
5 Mike Adenuga $4,600 Nigeria
6 Christoffel Wiese $3,700 South Africa
7 Othman Benjelloun $2,750 Morocco
8 Patrice Motsepe $2,650 South Africa
9 Naguib Sawiris $2,500 Egypt
10 Mohamed Mansour $2,200 Egypt
11 Onsi Sawiris $2,170
12 Miloud Chaabi $2,100
13 Yasseen Mansour $2,000
14 Youssef Mansour $1,950
15 Desmond Sacco $1,400
16 Anas Sefrioui $1,350
17 Stephen Saad $975
18 Sudhir Ruparelia $900
19 Jim Ovia $825
20 Shafik Gabr $720
21 Abdulsamad Rabiu $675
22 Cyril Ramaphosa $675
23 Lauritz (Laurie) Dippenaar $625
24 Folorunsho Alakija $600
25 Theophilus Danjuma $600
26 Oba Otudeko $575
27 Raymond Ackerman $550
27 Mohammed Indimi $550
29 Samih Sawiris $525
30 Said Salim Bakhresa $520
31 Isabel dos Santos $500
32 Moulay Hafid Elalamy $500
33 O.B. Lulu-Briggs $500
34 Alami Lazraq $490
35 Gerrit Thomas (GT) Ferreira $480
36 Koos Bekker $450
37 Sani Bello $425
38 Jannie Mouton $415
39 Naushad Merali $410
40 Hakeem Belo-Osagie $400
The world's first potential malaria vaccine proved only 30 percent effective in African babies in a crucial trial, calling into question whether it can be a useful weapon in the fight against the deadly disease.
The surprisingly poor result for the vaccine, which GlaxoSmithKline has been developing for three decades, leaves several years of work ahead before a protective malaria shot could be ready for countries that desperately need one.
Malaria, a mosquito-borne parasitic disease, kills hundreds of thousands a year, mainly babies in Africa, and scientists say an effective vaccine is key to hopes to eradicate it.
Philanthropist Bill Gates, who helped fund the GSK vaccine's development, said further research was now needed to see whether and how it might be used.
"The efficacy came back lower than we had hoped, but developing a vaccine against a parasite is a very hard thing to do," he said in a statement.
Results from the final-stage trial with 6,537 babies aged six to 12 weeks showed the vaccine provided "modest protection", reducing episodes of the disease by 30 percent compared to immunization with a control vaccine, researchers said on Friday.
That efficacy rate a year after vaccination is less than half the 65 percent in an earlier trial in babies which analyzed protection rates after six months. It is also a lot less than the 50 percent rate seen in five to 17 month-olds.
Vaccinating babies, rather than toddlers, is the preferred option, since the new vaccine could then be added to other routine infant immunizations. A separate program for older children would involve a lot of extra costs.
Eleanor Riley, a professor of immunology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said the results showed that GSK's vaccine, called RTS,S or Mosquirix, is potentially useful, but "not the complete solution".
"The slightly lower than expected efficacy will ... affect the cost-benefit analysis that health providers and funders will have to undertake before deciding whether the vaccine represents the best use of limited financial resources," she said.
NOT GIVING UP
Despite the setback, Britain's top drugmaker said it would push ahead with developing RTS,S and GSK Chief Executive Andrew Witty said it could be an important tool in fighting malaria.
"We've been at this for 30 years, and we're certainly not going to give up now," he told reporters on a conference call.
GSK does not expect to make any profit from the vaccine, which would only be sold in poor countries.
Witty reiterated a promise that if RTS,S is ultimately approved for market, it would be priced at cost of manufacture plus a 5 percent margin, and the margin would be reinvested by GSK in malaria research.
Given the target market, it is governments and international groups that will fund the vaccine's roll-out, and they now need more positive data before deciding whether it is worth buying.
"We will have to have more information to give us a clearer idea as to how useful this vaccine will be," said Seth Berkley, CEO of the GAVI Alliance, which funds bulk-buy vaccination programs for poorer nations.
In particular, Berkley told Reuters he wanted to see longer-term data, including the effect of booster shots, and an analysis of how the vaccine performed in different settings.
Details of the malaria trial, which is Africa's largest ever clinical trial involving almost 15,500 children in seven countries, were presented at a medical meeting in Cape Town and published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.
Witty said he would have liked to have seen efficacy rates of around 50 percent in infants, but stressed that more data would become available before the trial ends in 2014 which may throw more light on why rates of success are so variable.
"It may open up a more customized approach to how this potential vaccine gets used," he said.
Malaria is caused by a parasite carried in the saliva of mosquitoes. It is endemic in more than 100 countries worldwide and infected around 216 million people in 2010, killing around 655,000 of them, according to the World Health Organisation.
Control measures such as insecticide-treated bed nets, indoor spraying and anti-malaria drugs have helped cut cases and deaths significantly in recent years, but scientists say it will take an effective vaccine and many more years work to wipe out malaria.
Scientists around the world are working on other potential malaria vaccines but RTS,S is by far the furthest ahead in development.
(Editing by Mark Potter and Jon Hemming)
I began this blog post almost a year ago, and even today, I still have mixed feelings about the role of China in Africa. Africa needs help, I really believe Africans can do it themselves but after years of colonialism and independence, we are still in our infancy as Modern nations. Africa was transformed with western intervention; now the east is coming in with their version of transformation. I am still waiting for Africans to build their countries. I am traditional African that way but the global African sees the need for some help. The truth really is -- that the world is co-dependent, whether it is Africa and the West or Africa and the East.
I first noticed the Chinese invasion when I arrived in Nigeria on my way to Calabar in 2000. There was a large group of Chinese people -- almost twenty, on my flight and at the airport; they were unloading about 20 computers. To be frank, as an African, I stared at them. It is what we Africans bold-face do on the continent when we see strangers.
The next time, I saw more Chinese was when I went looking for furniture for my family home in Calabar. It was suggested I go the EPZ - The Calabar Export Processing Zone. There, I found a Chinese furniture company making products and training Nigerians. I bought some furniture and talked extensively with the Chinese owner who had opted to sleep in his office (in a room next to the office) as opposed to renting a "huge house". He looked at it this way: I will keep the $10,000 and send it home to my wife in China. I thought that was unusual as most westerners came to work and took all the amenities provided: a house, a driver and tickets for their family members who came to visit or lived in the country. I knew then that the Chinese were unusual business thinkers.
Almost ten years later, I went to the Falomo Shopping Center area in Lagos and discovered next to it was a building which was a stark reminder of the New York Jewelry wholesale district. There, I discovered that most shops were owned by Chinese people selling cheap jewelry, clothing and fake Nigerian fabrics. What had Nigeria come to? I wondered. China was deep in Lagos. How did this happen?
And just last month, I posted a series of articles on Facebook an article on Senegalese banning Chinese from some of their markets and in Kano, Nigeria - the same phenomena -- where the government arrested Chinese for illegal trading of textiles. I see ordinary Africans are fighting back in small measures.
China became another reminder when my friend Leslie-Ann Murray got a teaching position in Beijing and we spent the last of the summer realizing she would be a black woman in China who did not speak a word of Chinese and she wondered how she would get things done. What a reminder, indeed. So, as she begins her adventures, we are talking often and she is blogging on her experience here.
China's invasion of Africa is riddled with fear and concern from the west and less for African countries that are still recovering or have not recovered from the west's colonization. It is amazing to see the Chinese who came to Africa about 600 years ago to help build it as workers return as owners. That transformation is vital - to global Africans like me who are watching carefully, it is important to learn from them. There are lessons from this transformation. It is a lesson for Africa to understand that we have the ability to do this too. We just need a grand plan that we can execute. The Chinese have one.
The main issue for Africans however is the major problem: Africa's resources - water, oil, and diamonds, etc. are being sold to the Chinese. This sale is a bit different from the "reaping" of Africa during its colonial period with the West, but just because you pay for something does not mean it is not the same equivalency of the theft. The theft is of the resources that should be shared by Africans.
The minor problem for Africa in the Chinese invasion is one that most people are not paying attention to - its artisan sector. I see the reality as a business owner who tries to buy authentic African fabrics and clothing. I have to be more careful sourcing Africa textiles. The Chinese have invaded its entire textile sector and frankly, helped destroy it like the west. It is time for Africa to really fight back and require a 'Made in Africa' label which also lists the country of production. Europe already buried Africa's textiles with Dutch Wax fabric and Africans preference for it versus their local fabric helped create the breakdown of the textile industry.
Recently, African Growth Opportunity Act (AGOA) was extended by the US government and it includes the Third Country Bill which many are applauding but I am concerned about. It is because it makes African clothing not authentic to a particular country. According to the defenders of the bill: "By giving African manufacturers the freedom to purchase fabric from outside the continent to sew garments for export to the U.S. market, AGOA's Third Country Fabric provision will save approximately 300,000 textile and apparel-related jobs which support 10 million people. It also saves U.S. taxpayers $5 million." My take is that Africa needs to create for its population, build its industries and not just rely on export. Simply, we have people to feed, house and clothe.
Countries like Nigeria with 150 million people still need a focus on Nigerian-only made clothing because rebuilding the textile and clothing industries is imperative. African countries should maintain their authentic textiles - and this exception will create an inauthentic version of textiles and clothing. The focus on export maybe good for business but we really need to develop our economies focused on serving our people's needs. Most of the textile industries across the continent are dying or are not supported; this is a problem and further cannibalization of it by intermixing of fabrics and textiles loses authenticity of the fabric and design.
The Chinese invasion of Africa speaks volumes - in many ways, Africa needs China's help to develop but I am still a strong believer in Africans doing it themselves. We are a continent of grand bargains - the west divided us into countries and we got some of our independence from them and with the eastern invasion, we still have not had time to do it ourselves - and as nations that are about 50 years old, we are still too young to figure it out. In time, we will.
Atim Oton, blogger at Huffington Post is a Designer and Co-Founder of Black Design News Network
Mitt Romney, Republican Presidential candidate erstwhile ago took a foreign trip to Britain, Israel and Poland to bolster his foreign policy credentials but there was no African visit. Mitt Romney has an overview policy on his website on Africa. But Romney was less specifics on his African plan. According to Mitt’s Plan which was captioned, “Bolster Economic Ties and the Rule of Law,” it stated that:
“The United States must regard Africa not as a problem to be contained, but as an opportunity to be embraced by us and our partners on the continent. Recognizing that Africa’s road to stability and prosperity lies through a robust private sector economy, increased trade, and good governance, a Romney administration will encourage and assist African nations to adopt policies that create business-friendly environments and combat governmental corruption. Such policies will lift those nations and their people, boost economic ties to the United States, and provide greater certainty to U.S. and international investors. Greater market access across the continent for U.S. businesses will bolster job creation in Africa as well as in the United States.”
Mitt’s Plan as it was called was more of general outlook than a plan on Africa which was short on specifics; it reechoed, rehatched the issue of trade and commerce without giving the compass to its fulfillment. It may be good to travel to Africa to show his concern but a thoughtful and comprehensive plan is probably what Africans expected most in the Republican Presidential candidate.
President Barrack Obama laid down specifics on his policy on Africa during his 2008 presidential election. Then Senator Obama took a trip to Africa before he became the president. Since being elected the president of United States, Obama has traveled to Ghana on official visit while Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been to many African countries including her most recent trip to the continent. Africans have not been fully satisfied but they knew for sure that Africa matters to Obama’s United Sates.
President Bush 43rd was generous to Africa, he budgeted $15 Billion to fight AIDS/HIV and the result speaks for itself, and the death caused by the dreadful disease has been significantly curtailed.
With the financial state of global economy, Africa is willing to trade not ask for handout. But for free trade to be possible there are still barriers that prevent Africa from fully participating in global trade and commerce. From subsidies that are dole out to Western farmers to high traffic on African agricultural products.
The contemporary Africa is not your grandfather’s Africa. Many countries in Africa including Nigeria, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and others are now classified as emerging economies. While the rest of world are mired in recession and anemic economic growth, Africa economy has been growing over 5 percent and Africa’s contribution to global trade is steadily increasing not shrinking as have been experienced by many countries in the global trade arena.
Nigeria an African frontline state has its economy growing over 6.5 percent for more than three years. The economies of West African countries are laying the foundation for a common market that will attract investments and capitals. This is the market that American investors and traders will need to expand American trade; thereby spurring and increasing demand for American goods and services.
An online magazine, This is Africa, a publication from the Financial Times, stated in its global Africa’s perspective that:
“A number of economies in West Africa are expected to exceed the 7 percent mark. Nigeria, the most important economy in the region, will grow at 6.6 percent. Ghana, Côte d'Ivoire and Liberia are expected to post growth of 7.3 percent, 8.5 percent and 9.4 percent respectively. Sierra Leone is forecast to grow by 51.4 percent in 2012 as major iron ore projects begin operations.
East Africa's dominant economy, Kenya, will grow by 6.1 percent. The same figure is forecast for Tanzania, with Rwanda set to be the fastest growing economy in the region at 6.8 percent. Ethiopia and Uganda are both predicted to post growth of 5.5 percent. The Southern African region is led by Angola, Africa's second largest oil producer, with growth of 10.8 percent, with Zambia and Mozambique forecast to grow at 6.7 and 7.5 percent respectively. South Africa, the regional giant, continues to struggle to breach the 4 percent growth mark, and is expected to hit 3.6 percent in 2012 “
With African population fast approaching one billion and with increasing middle class, Africa market is getting the attention of the world. That is not to say that poverty has been defeated but increasingly, poverty has been receiving a resourceful blow from women and men of Africa. African people are no longer waiting on their corrupt and inefficient governments but are pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps. Go to the major cities and towns of Africa including Lagos, Onitsha, Jonesburg, Accra and others the myriad and number of private businesses are overwhelming. Africans especially Nigerians have money to spend and they are spending it in Africa, London, Dubai etc.
Africa is natural resources-rich continent and can rightly be called the raw materials depository storage of the world. When it comes to African oil consumption, United States of America is importing more crude oil from sub-Sahara Africa than Saudi Arabia. At the moment United States gets its 16 percent of oil from sub-Sahara Africa and it is expected to reach up to 25 percent by 2015.
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) stated that, “Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the fastest growing oil sectors in the world. Nigeria, Angola, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea and Congo Brazzaville are all expanding their output and Chad, Cameroon and Sudan are in the race to catch up. A US Government think-tank, the National Intelligence Council, has estimated that in just over a decade, West African oil exports to the US will constitute about 25% of US oil import requirements from the current level of 16%.”
With all the insecurity arising from Middle East, United States will have Africa to turn to for its oil needs. Moreover, in spite of the proximity of Africa’s oil to the American market, the oil coming from Bight of Guinea has the least sulfur content and therefore cheaper to refine.
Writing in Slate On-Line Magazine, Dr. John Ghazvinian supported this assertion:”To begin with, one of the more attractive attributes of Africa's oil boom is the quality of the oil itself. The variety of crude found in the Gulf of Guinea is known in industry parlance as "light" and "sweet," meaning it is viscous and low in sulfur, and therefore easier and cheaper to refine than, say, Middle Eastern crude, which tends to be lacking in lower hydrocarbons and is therefore very "sticky." This is particularly appealing to American and European refineries, which have to contend with strict environmental regulations that make it difficult to refine heavier and sourer varieties of crude without running up costs that make the entire proposition worthless”
Africa can be called a reliable friend of America. But that is not the whole story, United States interest in Africa is beyond human rights, the trade ties between Africa and America have been growing tremendously since the end of cold war and inception of globalization. It is significant because Africa is fast becoming a landscape that is attractive to so many parts of the world. China for instance is taking Africa very serious and has been steadily solidifying its trade ties with Africa by increasing its investments in the African emerging economies.
This is not to say that Africa existential problems have evaporated. Africa still has many challenges that she must defeated. The problem of religious intolerance manifested with violent eruptions in Nigeria, Sudan and Mali cannot be allowed to threaten the national unity of these respective nations while weakening their economies.
The embryonic democratic dispensation on African soil has not taken root. The Big man syndrome with weak democratic infrastructures has come to define Africa’s nascent democracy. It is essential that African leadership to be cautious about interference and meddling with democracy with regards to rigging of elections while truncating freedom of gathering and expression.
The problems of diseases, food shortages, global warming, poor governance, corruption and capital fight must be confronted head-on by the leadership and people of Africa. The good news coming from Africa is that Africans are no longer folding their hands and waiting for a hero on a shining horse to bail them out.
African people and in few cases the leadership are slowly but steadily rising to the occasion and doing things to mitigate those problems. This is not to say that African leadership has completely turned away from their bad ways of exploiting African resources for selfish gain.
This is where friends like America will come in and support the continent but not to do for Africa what she must do for herself. Africa must lead and that is exactly what she is struggling to do and a help from America will go a long way.
The last decade has markedAfrica’s highest level of growth in history. Businesses have experienced increasing returns on their investments, proving that investing inAfricatoday can yield high returns compared to most regions around the world.
Although foreign investment is still low, a collective decision by Africans to take advantage of this opportunity can stimulate the push required to bring the region into the forefront of the global economy. We have the knowledge, skills, know-how and capital to build a new future forAfricaand by investing in our people, we can make large strides towards eradicating poverty and closing the development gap.
Creating a business climate that will attract investment also requires the creation of an environment where human capital can flourish. Businesses need people who are empowered, well-educated and can think critically in an environment that is stable, peaceful and values diversity. The continent needs healthy, curious children and youth who have the stimulation, education and training needed, starting at an early age, to become change agents and entrepreneurs capable of driving economic and social growth. For these reasons, I am a founding member of the Global Business Coalition for Education, which is focused on enabling businesses to support efforts to achieve education for all.
I first became interested in a career in business when I was still in primary school. I remember buying cartons of sugar and selling them to make a small profit. Even at that age, people told me I had a flair for business – but without the literacy, maths and interpersonal skills I learned in school, I would not have been able to tap into this talent. It is therefore sad to see so many young children in my country, Nigeria, who are not able to gain these basic skills at an early age.
The current statistics paint a gloomy picture. Over 10 million school-aged children are not attending primary school in Nigeria– and this number has increased over the past three years. The number of out-of-school children in Nigeria is approaching 20 percent of the world’s total and makes up over one-third of the 30 million children in sub-Saharan Africa who receive no education whatsoever. In Africa as a whole, another 21.6 million children are out of lower-secondary school.
While getting every child into school is vitally important, the quality of education they receive must also be addressed. In Nigeria, for example, we see children pass through school without learning the basic skills expected from primary level education. I recently read a study conducted in two states in northern Nigeria last year indicating that nearly 70 percent of Primary 3 students could not read a single word of simple text. This is yet another reminder that the potential of our country and region is in jeopardy if we fail to have every child in school and learning.
My company, Dangote Group, continues to address issues on education through our corporate social responsibility efforts and the Dangote Foundation. Dangote Academy, for example, has two programmes for vocational and management training. The vocational programme provides a one-year scholarship for technical and vocational skills training for students from polytechnics around Nigeria.
This year, we absorbed 87 percent of the students into our existing operations. But we know more needs to be done – singular efforts cannot change the trajectory of a nation, let alone a continent. Our governments need to make education and learning a priority. Educational budgets must exceed their current numbers. Civil society must continue to hold government accountable and as the private sector continues to drive growth, businesses need to support these efforts strongly. With the Global Business Coalition for Education, I am committed to bringing more national and global businesses together to support efforts to expand educational opportunities across Nigeria.
Without a global push to achieve universal education by 2015, supported by the Secretary-General and his newly-appointed Special Envoy, Gordon Brown, we will remain a continent that will fail to unlock our potential and instead continue to be bound to conflict, poverty and limited development. Repeating the growth of the previous decade will be impossible without ambitious investments in the people of Africa. Quality education is the right of every child and the obligation of every country. Businesses cannot be bystanders – we must do our part to be active, collaborative, and supportive participants.
On my desk I have a mounted quote that says, “Nothing is impossible”. That is how I feel about the future of the African continent. Nothing is impossible if we make sure every child – and adult – has the opportunity to unleash their potential through an inclusive, high-quality education that prepares each individual to succeed and propelAfricainto the league of global economic champions.
Aliko Dangote is President and CEO of the Dangote Group
Across Africa, oil, gas and minerals are being discovered more often than ever before. Nowhere is the global commodities boom being felt more acutely. Over the next decade, billions of dollars will flow into countries previously starved of financial capital.
Used wisely, these natural resource revenues could lead to sustainable economic growth, new jobs and investments in health, education and infrastructure. But sadly, history teaches us that a more destructive path is likely — conflict, spiraling inequality, corruption and environmental disasters are far more common consequences of resource bonanzas. The cliché remains true: striking oil is as much a curse as a blessing.
There are no easy answers to this problem. It can only be tackled with global cooperation among private sector leaders in the extractive industries, African leaders in government and civil society. The ultimate goal is a transparent and accountable sector-generating financial firepower that will enable countries that have previously lagged behind to accelerate rapidly toward the Millennium Development Goals.
The good news is that momentum is building behind this objective, and from an unlikely source. Financial regulators in the United States ruled on Aug. 22 that all U.S.-listed oil, gas and mining companies will have to publish all the payments they make to governments, broken down to the level of individual projects.
This historic implementation of the Cardin-Lugar amendment of the Dodd-Frank Act passed by Congress two years ago will open some of the world’s most opaque financial dealings to public scrutiny. The challenge now is to bring similar legislation to other jurisdictions, starting in the European Union, where policymakers will vote on new transparency laws next week. From there, African governments must pass their own reforms. The benefits will be huge.
First, citizens will be empowered with the information they need to hold government and companies to account for the money made from natural resources. This is not an abstract concept, as some have suggested. A former World Bank vice president for Africa, Dr. Oby Ezekwesili, estimates that Nigeria has had at least $400 billion of its oil revenue stolen or misspent since independence in 1960. It is vital that countries with newly discovered oil reserves, like Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, do not suffer the same fate.
Putting more information into the public domain makes it harder for those with bad intentions to profit from secrecy. Those with nothing to hide are not afraid of greater scrutiny — which is why many resource-rich countries and companies have adopted the complementary voluntary standards of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative.
Greater transparency will also improve the business climate. The politics around natural resources tends to be fractious and debilitating. The recent violence at the Marikana mine in South Africa show what happens when trust is in short supply at the local level. The east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo is an example of a whole region affected by mineral-fueled insecurity. Concerned communities in Northern Kenya send a signal of caution to the developers of newly found oil and gas.
Of course, transparency alone cannot solve complex conflicts, but without it the hope of resolution is dramatically diminished. It is in the interests of companies to support an atmosphere in which political risk is minimized, rumors and innuendo around revenues are replaced with fact, and the most responsible companies are rewarded with the contracts they deserve.
U.S. leadership on this issue should be the start, not the end, of efforts to break the resource curse. Europe’s proposed new transparency legislation would require another swath of companies to publish what they pay — but if it is to be effective, a number of loopholes and exemptions should be tightened up before it makes the statute book.
Most seriously, the proposed European law includes an exemption for autocrats who pass laws to prevent financial disclosure. This logic was explicitly rejected by the U.S. regulator and should be removed in Europe. It is also essential to require disclosure at the level of individual projects, rather than the national level, which some European countries have suggested. Local communities have the right to know what the mines and oil wells in their neighborhoods are contributing to the economy.
Beyond Europe, the G20 should step up negotiations to ensure that companies from emerging economies are also required to disclose their payments. Given their rapidly growing presence in Africa, this is important to secure a truly global standard.
In the meantime, African governments should legislate at the national level so that all companies competing for their contracts have similar expectations — a requirement that is a central part of the Africa Mining Vision endorsed by the African Union in 2009. It is also necessary to step up support to civil society groups that aim to hold governments accountable, so they can use and interpret the data this transparency boom will release.
Some African countries have successfully used natural-resource revenue for the public good. Botswana now has middle-income status, and among countries with newly discovered oil, Ghana has made encouraging moves toward publishing all present and future oil contracts. But the resource curse remains hard to shake off. The new global transparency momentum gives African countries a genuine chance to escape it once and for all.
Kofi Annan is chairman of the Africa Progress Panel, former secretary general of the United Nations and Nobel Laureate.
Source: New York Times
No African nation has yet joined the ranks of the developed nations in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), but there are some sizeable economies on the continent, and economies that are gradually increasing in size. Though South Africa is by far the continent’s wealthiest state in terms of GDP, accounting for 30 per cent of the continent’s GDP, economies such as Egypt and Nigeria are on the rise and could overtake South Africa in coming years. And with seven of the fastest ten growing economies in the world in Africa, there is plenty of scope to suggest that the list below may be an oft-changing one in years to come as Africa’s economic development continues apace.
Africa’s biggest economy has an estimated GDP of $524 billion. The main contributor to GDP is the services sector at 66.7 per cent, followed by industry at 30.8 per cent. Agriculture is relatively unimportant compared to the rest of the continent, contributing just 2.5 per cent to GDP. All is not bright for the South African economy, however. Of the country’s 50 million people an estimated 25 per cent are out of work, with the World Bank concluding recently that rife inequality was a threat to economic growth. The richest 10 per cent of South Africans account for 58 percent of the nation’s income, while the bottom 10 per cent accounts for 0.5 per cent, the global Bank said. The bottom half earns less than 8 per cent of the nation’s income. Unemployment in the first quarter of 2012 rose to 25.2%, up from 23.9% in the previous quarter, and black people form the bulk of the jobless. Modest economic growth, which averaged 3.2% since 1995, had proved “insufficient to absorb the wave of new entrants to the labour market from dismantling apartheid’s barriers”, the report said.
Egypt has a GDP estimated at $497.88 billion, primarily driven by the services and industrial sectors. Agriculture contributes 14 percent. Though unemployment is relatively low at 9.7 percent, the economy faces challenges after last year’s Arab Spring and the election of a new government. Rising debt and lower growth may threaten to derail Egypt’s revolution even more than grasping generals do. New president Mohammed Morsy’s political fate may depend on whether or not he can turn around a staggering Egyptian economy, which saw growth plunge from 5.1 percent in 2009/10 to 1.8 percent last year, according to the IMF. The IMF expects growth to be just 1.5 percent this year. Poor education and feeble governance have scared off the foreign investment and stifled the private entrepreneurship that drove the economic miracles in China, India and Indonesia. Unless Morsy manages to create more jobs and boost incomes, the disaffected and disappointed youth of the nation could turn on their elected leaders in a destabilising cycle of perpetual unrest.
Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation but its GDP has traditionally been well below that of South Africa. Its GDP of $377.9 billion is provided by industry, agriculture and services. But this looks set to change, according to a Renaissance Capital report. This year, Nigeria will change the base year for its GDP to 2008 from 1990. This looks likely to revise the size of its economy dramatically upwards. Depending on the scale of the revision, Renaissance Capital says Nigeria could surpass South Africa as the continent’s largest economy as soon as 2014. When Ghana’s GDP was rebased in 2010, the size of its economy was found to be 60 percent bigger than previously recorded – $31 billion, compared to $18 billion. Nigeria is expected to rebase its GDP sometime this year, having missed an earlier January target because of nationwide fuel protests. Rebasing involves changing the weighting of sectors of the economy to reflect changes in economic activity over the past three decades. The new figures would, for instance, put more weighting on the country’s telecommunications industry, which has grown strongly over the past 10 years.
The Algerian economy is expected to remain in relatively good condition in 2012 despite global economic uncertainties. It’s GDP of $251.1 billion, provided mostly by the industrial sector, is expected to grow by 3 to 3.5 percent. Economic growth remained strong in 2011 as oil prices strengthened the country’s foreign reserves and budget. “Public expenditure plans will keep growth in non-oil sectors at 5 percent and boost up GDP by 2.5 percent,” the IMF said. Increased food prices in international markets and the augmentation of public wages in Algeria was not reflected in inflation rates due to ongoing food subsidies, increased family savings, increasing demand for imports, and prudent monetary policy. “Budget deficit will likely remain at 4 percent of the total GDP as public expenditures as well as wage augmentation continue,” added the IMF.
These are not good times for Morocco, Africa’s fifth biggest economy, where in April the new Islamist government finally passed its 2012 budget, four months late. This saw protests outside parliament, previously unheard of in the stable and relatively prosperous North African country. Its budget is overstretched, its farm fields drought-stricken, its credit rating is wobbly, and economic crisis is hobbling its closest trading partners in Europe, even as protests by disgruntled Moroccans are on the rise. Abdelilah Benkirane’s government came in with a five-year plan predicting 5.5 percent growth, which it then had to revise downward at the beginning of the year to 4.2 percent. Then at the end of March, the central bank, noting the crisis in Europe and impending drought, cut its own predictions to less than 3 percent.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is in the midst of an 11-day trip across sub-Saharan Africa. Speaking on 1 August on the topic “Remarks on Building Sustainable Partnerships in Africa,” Clinton at the University of Cheikh Anta Diop in Dakar, Senegal, Clinton told her audience, “The Obama Administration’s comprehensive strategy on Sub-Saharan Africa is based on four pillars: first, to promote opportunity and development; second, to spur economic growth, trade, and investment; third, to advance peace and security; and fourth, to strengthen democratic institutions.”
Warming to her themes, Clinton continued, “We’re also working with resource-rich nations to help make sure that their mineral and energy wealth actually improves the lives of their citizens. The days of having outsiders come and extract the wealth of Africa for themselves leaving nothing or very little behind should be over in the 21st century.”
While Clinton did not specify the “outsiders,” in Beijing it was taken as a direct criticism of Chinese African policies and the country was quick to reply. Xinhua news agency stated that Clinton's Africa trip was a "plot to sow discord between China (and) Africa" and continued, Whether Clinton was ignorant of the facts on the ground or chose to disregard them, her implication that China has been extracting Africa's wealth for itself is utterly wide of the truth."
Leaving no rhetorical stone unturned, China, which suffered colonial depredations at the hands of European powers in the 19th century, saw the editorial continue, "Ironically, it was the Western colonial powers that were exactly the so-called outsiders, which, in Clinton's words, came and extracted the wealth of Africa for themselves, leaving nothing or very little behind."
What is the overall picture then?
In 2011 Africa-China bilateral trade reached $166 billion in 2011, an increase of 300 percent over 2006 figures and China's direct investments in Africa are now nearly $15 billion.
The Government of China is estimated to maintain over 150 commercial attachés and associated staff at its embassies in 48 African countries, while “according to a recent report produced by the Brooking Institution’s Africa Growth Initiative, there are currently just five U.S. Commerce Department Foreign Commercial Service Officers in Africa and one is set to leave from the embassy in Ghana this summer.” Furthermore, Chinese President Hu Jintao has made seven trips to Africa, five as head of state and has visited 17 countries.
U.S. exports to sub-Saharan Africa during 2011 were $21.1 billion, up 23 percent compared to 2010 and U.S. imports from sub-Saharan Africa during 2011 were $74.2 billion, up 14 percent compared to 2010 for a total of $95.3 billion, according to the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR). The figure represents just 57 percent of China’s bilateral trade figures.
But Washington is obviously looking to improve its “bottom line” – as the USTR's Office of African Affairs notes, “Sub-Saharan Africa presents many opportunities for U.S. businesses as an emerging market for American exports. Between 2000 and 2010, six of the ten fastest-growing economies in the world were in sub-Saharan Africa.”
But what about energy?
In 2011, about 62 percent of African exports to China consisted of crude oil, with over $24.7 billion coming from Angola, now the source of over 9 percent of China’s oil imports. And the U.S.? Over the past decade, petroleum products accounted for roughly 89 percent of U.S. imports from Africa, with no less than 40 percent of Nigeria’s oil exports head westwards to the U.S., with Nigeria now the fifth largest source of oil imports to the U.S. and Angola the eighth. Companies operating in Nigeria include the U.S. companies Exxon-Mobil, Chevron and ConocoPhillips and… the Chinese National Offshore Oil Corporation. International oil companies operating in Angola include U.S. companies Chevron, ExxonMobil and Occidental Petroleum and… Sinopec.
And U.S. interest in African petroleum is only going to increase. The U.S. National Intelligence Council forecasts that U.S. oil imports from Africa will rise to 25 percent within three years, primarily from Gulf of Guinea countries, Nigeria and Angola.
So, in the shadow war between Beijing and Washington for influence on the “Dark Continent,” the latter should take note of the results of Beijing hosting the Fifth Forum on China-Africa Cooperation on 19-20 July, where it promised a) $20 billion in assistance to the continent, double the amount pledged three years ago in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, in 2009; b) an “African Talents Program” to train 30,000 people in various sectors and set up vocational training centers, 18,000 government scholarships and the dispatch of 1,500 Chinese medical personnel to Africa; c) to build infrastructure partnerships; d) people-to-people exchanges and finally, security pledges, led by the Initiative on China-Africa Cooperative Partnership for Peace and Security.
Seems a bit more than Hillary’s hectoring lectures on human rights. Of course, any African nation that wants to host the Pentagon’s AFRICOM headquarters will also be most welcome in Washington.
For the moment though, African leaders are more likely to be interested in $20 billion aid, training for 30,000 people 18,000 government scholarships and 1,500 medical personnel, whatever the source.
And, eyes on the prize, such largesse will probably pay off in energy concessions.
Dr. John C.K. Daly is the chief analyst for Oilprice.com, Dr. Daly received his Ph.D. in 1986 from the School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University of London. While at the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute at Johns Hopkins University's Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, where he is currently a non-resident scholar, in 199 he founded The Cyber-Caravan, which continues today under the title, The Central Asia-Caucasus Analyst. He subsequently served as Director of Programs at the Middle East Institute in Washington DC before joining UPI as International Correspondent.