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Economist predicts doom for Africa

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Professor Paul Collier, one of the world’s most influential development economists, has warned that Africa’s “easy decade” of accelerated economic growth is coming to an end.

He said that the only accelerated job creation and integration will ensure sustainable growth and development across the continent.

Dr. Collier, Professor of Economics and Public Policy in the Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford, was delivering a keynote at the African Economic Conference 2018, hosted by the African Development Bank in Kigali, Rwanda.

He was spoke on the first day of the Conference at a high-level panel on “Drivers, Opportunities and Lessons for Africa’s integration”, comprising experts as well as high-level policymakers, who provided their reflections and perceptions on regional and continental integration.

“Africa’s easy decade is over; but the last decade of African growth was not sustainable. Now Africa must focus on its big resource – its young people. No other continent has anything like such a huge influx of young labour. Productive jobs are the priority,” Collier said.

“Young people can’t create priority jobs by themselves. Those jobs have to be created, so the prime task of policymakers in Africa over the next decade is to create productive jobs for young people at a rate that has never happened before.”

Collier added that connectivity between African countries will unlock the potential of many countries, and this connectivity has to be in terms of both physical transport and political ideology.

“Small countries are doomed to poverty unless they have open markets and free societies. And yet, the typical African country is small, with closed markets. That is a disastrous combination. So the African Continental Free Trade Area is a very important step forward,” he said.

The African Development Bank has pledged full support to the Continental Free Trade Area as part of its High 5 strategy to Integrate Africa and has invested more than $20 million over the past five years to support the institutional and human capacities of the Continental Free Trade Area Secretariat.

Another high-level panelist, Professor Ademola Oyejide, the Emeritus Professor of Economics, University of Ibadan and Chairman of the Centre for Trade and Development Initiatives, noted that regional integration must drive overall continental integration.

“We should not destroy regional economic communities by protectionism and unnecessary barriers to trade. We as African leaders are not in the business of designing theoretical regional programmes: we expect real progress from the regional blocs,” he said.

Professor Klaus Zimmermann, President of the Global Labor Organization, added, “Africa is now on the right path and has to move in the direction of the AfCFTA. One of the most important playing cards in this game is the people of Africa.”

A common message from other high-level panelists, such as Prof. Emmanuel Nnadozie, the Executive Secretary of the African Capacity Building Foundation, was that governments must adopt policies to enable their countries to achieve economic diversification and reduce their dependence on primary commodities.

The Continental Free Trade Area is expected to boost intra-African trade by up to $35 billion per year, creating a 52% increase in trade by 2022; and a vital $10 billion decrease in imports to Africa.

In addition, the African Development Bank Group is accelerating the impact of its flagship Jobs for Youth in Africa (JfYA) Strategy (2016-2025) designed to support African countries in overcoming youth unemployment and underemployment.

The goal of the strategy is to create 25 million jobs for African youth over the next decade and to equip 50 million youth with employability and entrepreneurial skills.

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Global Trade Firm Says Removal of Trade Barriers, Panacea to Africa’s Economic Gloom

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By Eric Ojo, Abuja

DP World, a leading enabler of global trade and an integral part of the supply chain has said that the key to African economic emergence lies in removal of barriers, increased connectivity between nations and infrastructure development.

The company which operate multiple yet related businesses ranging from marine and inland terminals, maritime services, logistics and ancillary services to technology-driven trade solutions, noted that economic emergence of the continent is dependent on increasing inter African trade.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of DP World, Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, who made the observation while addressing African leaders and top executives at the Africa Emergence Conference 2019 in Dakar, Senegal, noted that the removal of trade barriers is very important in Africa.

“The Removal of trade barriers is very important. In Africa tariffs are 50 percent higher in than in Latin America and Asia. Intra regional trade in Africa is only 12 percent while in Europe, Asia and Latin America is over 50 percent, we need to improve this to prosper,” he said.

He added that his company which currently has a portfolio of 78 operating marine and inland terminals supported by over 50 related businesses in over 40 countries across six continents with a significant presence in both high-growth and mature markets, believes in the viability of investing in Africa..

“We be believe in the viability of Africa, we believe in investing in the continent during our investment in Senegal we improved efficiency and volumes 135 percent in 10 years”, he added.

Speaking on how private institutions can help support emergence in Africa in a panel session attended by the President Macky Sall of Senegal and Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammed of Malaysia, Bin Sulayan, noted that DP World is poised to support Africa in actualizing its economic goals.

He stated that as a smart trade enabler, DP World has the extensive expertise and know-how that can help African countries realise their trade and infrastructure goals, while assisting countries to address national ports and logistics infrastructure challenges.

He also reiterated the company’s commitment to supporting the economic growth of Senegal and developing Dakar into a major logistics hub and gateway for West Africa.

The DP World’s CEO also highlighted the importance of developing a logistics infrastructure reflecting DP World’s activities in Rwanda and Mali.

“We believe in connecting landlocked nations to the world and international markets. Our logistics park in Rwanda will reduce costs across the country and region. The Price of container moving from Shanghai to an East African port is anywhere between $500 to $1000, the price of same container from the port to Kigali is $5000,” he further explained.

Also in his address at the occasion, President Macky Sall of Senegal acknowledged that DP World has helped in the development of Senegal.

“What the CEO said is the truth, in Senegal we have experienced a change because DP World was present before I became President with a concession of 25 years at the Port of Dakar,” he said.

President Sall also disclosed that the government, has a consolidation of DP World’s presence and are working together finalise new port investments by the company in Senegal.

He further harped on the need to promote the culture of stability in terms of formulating policies that will attract foreign investments and enable the private sector to that participate more in the development of the country.

“Country stability is essential but also the stability of the contracts between the a state and the private sector to develop foreign investment. It is evident that the public investment cannot satisfy the basic needs of the population so we need to work with private sector,” he noted.

DP World has operations in Senegal, Egypt, Mozambique, Somaliland, Rwanda and Algeria and has recently signed an agreement with the Republic Mali to develop a logistics platform and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for the countries first deep-sea port.

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Dangote targets foreign markets in sales push

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Alhaji Aliko Dangote

Alhaji Aliko Dangote


Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, said on Monday he expected to step up exports of cement and other commodities from Nigeria from this year as he focuses on foreign markets to boost sales and generate much-needed hard currency.

Dangote told Reuters he expected to have 8 million tonnes of cement to start exporting from July and was commissioning a 650,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery near Lagos – set to be Africa’s biggest – next year.

The export drive would expand further from 2020.

“By next year we will start exporting more than 2 million tonnes of ammonia out of our 3 million tonnes’ capacity and we will export more than 35 percent of petroleum products and about 30 million tonnes of cement,” he said.

He did not identify which foreign markets he was targeting.

Availability of hard currency in Nigeria would not be an issue provided oil prices stayed relatively buoyant.

“If the price of oil stabilizes at $60, I don’t think we would have any problem,” said Dangote, who according to Forbes is currently worth $10.5 billion.

OPEC member Nigeria suffered severe dollar shortages after prices of crude, its top export and main source of foreign exchange, plunged in late 2014, prompting the introduction of capital controls in 2015.

It now has multiple exchange rates against the U.S. currency and has been selling the dollar on the interbank market to boost liquidity after floating the local naira currency for investors.

“We are looking forward and making sure that we supply more forex in the domestic market,” Dangote said.

Nigeria used to spend around $2.5 billion a year to import cement but with increased investment it has become a net exporter. Dangote said his firm, Dangote Cement, could earn about $600 to $700 million annually from cement export.

It has been expanding across the continent in recent years and already operates in 10 African countries, it has about 45 percent market share in sub-Sahara Africa with an annual production capacity of around 45 million tonnes.

Dangote Cement has been seeking to double that capacity. (Reuters)

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Zenith Bank board approves 2018 audited result

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Zenith Bank International Plc on Monday notified the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) of the approval of its financial results for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2018 just as trading ended on a negative trend.

The bank in a letter by Mr Michael Otu, its Company Secretary-General and Counsel, said that the result was approved on Jan. 18.

Otu said that the board of directors of the bank at its meeting of Jan. 18 approved among other things, the audited account for the year ended Dec. 31, 2018.

“Consequent upon the approval, the said audited accounts will be forwarded to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for approval in line with regulatory requirements after which the bank will notify the exchange of the results,’’ Otu said.

Meanwhile, trading resumed on the exchange with a loss of 0.88 per cent due to profit taking after about one week steady growth.

The All-Share Index shed 272.45 points or 0.88 per cent to close at 30,732.72 compared to 31,005.17 posted on Friday.

Also, the market capitalisation which opened at N11.562 trillion lost N102 billion or 0.88 per cent to close at N11.460 trillion.

Seplat topped the losers’ chart, dropping by N46 to close at N530 per share.

Mobil Oil trailed with a loss of N8 to close at N180, while Dangote Cement was down by N4.90 to close at N190 per share.

Lafarge Africa dipped 40k to close at N12.40, while Etranzact depreciated by 31k to close at N3.25 per share.

Conversely, Cement Company of Northern Nigeria led the gainers’ table during the day, appreciating by N1.80 to close at N26.90 per share.

NEM Insurance followed with a gain of 12k to close at N2.60, while FCMB Group appreciated by 7k to close at N1.83 per share.

Linkage Assurance added 5k to close at 61k, while United Bank for Africa grew by 5k to close at N7.35 per share.

Breakdown of the activity chart shows that Diamond Bank was the most active stock, exchanging 239.36 million shares worth N497.89 million.

Guaranty Trust Bank followed with an account of 119.35 million shares valued at N3.79 billion, while Zenith International Bank sold 26.11million shares worth N563.19 million.

NEM Insurance traded 21.16 million shares valued at N57.46 million, while FBN Holdings transacted 15.97 million shares worth N115.64 million.

In all, investors bought and sold 499.21 million shares valued at N5.53 billion in 3,874 deals.

This was against the 300.80 million shares worth N3.76 billion exchanged in 3,317 deals on Friday. (NAN)

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