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Africa to Register Mild Economic Growth in 2022

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After being the slowest growing region in 2021, Africa will register mild growth in 2022 (+3.5%) as vaccination rates will remain very low (32% in the overall continent but only 4% in Sub-Saharan Africa) according to the Allianz Economic Outlook report: Don’t Look Up.

GDP growth expectations in countries are as follows: Senegal (6.1%), Kenya (5.6%), Ivory Coast (5.5%), Ghana (5.4%), Egypt (4.6%), Mozambique (4.6%), Namibia (3.7%), Morocco (3.3%), Tunisia (3.2%), Gabon (3.2%), Algeria (2.4%), Nigeria (2.3%), Angola (2.2%) and South Africa (2.0%).

In 2022, oil exporters such as Angola and Algeria will continue to benefit from the commodity upcycle tailwind. On the other hand, amid rapidly rising inflation to double digits in most countries, monetary policy rates are expected to increase in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa and Egypt. In an environment of continued sanitary uncertainty, this monetary tightening is expected to put a brake on growth.

In addition to rising energy prices, food inflation has soared to hardly bearable levels in Angola, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ghana. The food security situation is likely to deteriorate in 2022 in southern and eastern Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia as a result of adverse climate events. The deteriorating security situation in Ethiopia entails significant risk of spillovers to the region, including migration flows to the Kenyan border. Tunisia, Ghana, Mozambique, Kenya and South Africa are hot spots regarding debt sustainability. Tunisia, Morocco, Egypt and Burkina Faso will see current account deficits only improve slightly in 2022 after deteriorating in 2021.

Global growth should remain robust but uneven, with rising divergence between advanced and emerging market economies. Our 2022 GDP forecast remains broadly unchanged, with the Eurozone and the US expected to grow by +4.1% and +3.9%, respectively, while growth in China slows to +5.2% due to ongoing disruptions in the real estate sector and the government’s focus on financial stability. China’s lowest contribution to global GDP growth since 2015 is likely to have negative spillover effects on emerging markets whose recovery will be shallower compared to past crises.

Global trade is expanding once again above the long-term average but will be disrupted by labor and supply chain bottlenecks, amplified by omicron. We expect global trade in volume to grow by +5.4% in 2022 and +4.0% in 2023.

Allianz has been operating in Africa since 1912 in the following countries EgyptSouth Africa through Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, NigeriaGhana, KenyaIvory CoastMadagascarMoroccoSenegal, Cameroon and Congo.

Economy

Zambia’s Finance Minister Faces Dual Challenge in Upcoming Budget Address

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As Zambia’s Finance Minister, Situmbeko Musokotwane, prepares to present the nation’s budget, he finds himself at a pivotal crossroads.

The second-largest copper producer in Africa is grappling with two pressing concerns: debt sustainability and soaring living costs.

Debt Restructuring Dilemma: Musokotwane’s foremost challenge is finalizing the $6.3 billion debt-restructuring deal with official creditors, led by China and France.

Delays have hindered disbursements from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and left private creditors in limbo.

To reassure investors, a memorandum of understanding with the official creditor committee is urgently needed.

President Hakainde Hichilema emphasizes the importance of sealing these transactions to signal closure on this tumultuous chapter.

Plummeting Tax Revenue: The key copper-mining industry, which accounts for 70% of Zambia’s export earnings, is in turmoil.

First-half mining company taxes and mineral royalty collections have nosedived, adding to economic woes.

This, in turn, has depreciated the local currency, exacerbating imported inflation, particularly in fuel prices.

Rising Food Inflation: Musokotwane faces mounting political pressure to combat soaring living costs, with annual inflation reaching an 18-month high of 12%. Corn meal prices, a staple in Zambia, have surged by a staggering 67% in the past year.

Neighboring countries’ demand for corn has led to smuggling and further price spikes, raising concerns about food security.

Currency Woes: The kwacha’s value has been a barometer for the nation’s economic health. It depreciated by 16% since June 22, the worst performance among African currencies, reflecting the ongoing debt-restructuring uncertainty.

In his budget address, Musokotwane faces the daunting task of striking a balance between debt management, economic stability, and alleviating the burden on Zambia’s citizens.

The international community will keenly watch to see if his fiscal measures can steer the nation toward a path of recovery and prosperity.

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Economy

IMF Urges Sub-Saharan African Nations to Eliminate Tax Exemptions for Fiscal Health

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Sub-Saharan African countries have been advised by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to tackle their fiscal deficits by focusing on eliminating tax exemptions and bolstering domestic revenue rather than resorting to fiscal expenditure cuts, which could hamper economic growth.

The IMF conveyed this recommendation in a paper titled ‘How to avoid a debt crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa.’

The IMF’s paper emphasizes that Sub-Saharan African nations should reconsider their overreliance on expenditure cuts as a primary means of reducing fiscal deficits. Instead, they should place greater emphasis on revenue-generating measures such as eliminating tax exemptions and modernizing tax filing and payment systems.

According to the IMF, mobilizing domestic revenue is a more growth-friendly approach, particularly in countries with low initial tax levels.

The paper highlights success stories in The Gambia, Rwanda, Senegal, and Uganda, where substantial revenue increases were achieved through a combination of revenue administration and tax policy reforms.

The IMF also pointed out that enhancing the participation of women in the labor force could significantly boost Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in developing countries.

The IMF estimates that raising the rate of female labor force participation by 5.9 percentage points, which aligns with the average reduction in the participation gap observed in the top 5% of countries during 2014-19, could potentially increase GDP by approximately 8% in emerging and developing economies.

In a world grappling with the weakest medium-term growth outlook in over three decades, bridging the gender gap in labor force participation emerges as a vital reform that policymakers can implement to stimulate economic revival.

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Economy

Pipeline Vandalism Costs NNPC N34.47 Billion in 18 Months

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The Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPCL) has revealed that it spent nearly N34.47 billion in the past 18 months to combat the persistent issue of pipeline vandalism in the country.

The latest Oil and Gas Report from the Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative covering 2021 disclosed that N22.05 billion was allocated to pipeline repairs and maintenance alone.

During the first half of 2021, NNPCL reported a distressing 350 pipeline points vandalized, highlighting the urgent need for countermeasures. In response, NNPCL has been actively collaborating with local communities and stakeholders to mitigate pipeline vandalism.

NNPCL’s CEO, Mele Kyari, attributed recent improvements to the introduction of Operation White and the Automated Downstream Operations and Financial Monitoring Centre.

These innovations have enabled NNPCL to enhance its monitoring capabilities and reduce illicit activities such as oil theft and cross-border smuggling of petroleum products, which previously led to supply disruptions and significant revenue losses.

Also, in January 2021, NNPCL received interest from 96 companies to participate in the rehabilitation of downstream facilities via the Build, Operate, and Transfer financing model.

However, despite the substantial investments, NNPCL continues to grapple with significant losses. The company disclosed that it loses 470,000 barrels per day of crude oil, amounting to $700 million monthly, due to oil theft.

In a related development, 10 individuals accused of vandalizing NNPCL’s pipeline on the high seas faced charges of conspiracy and willful tampering. They were ordered to be remanded in the Nigerian Correctional Service by Justice Akintoye Aluko of the Federal High Court in Lagos.

As pipeline vandalism remains a significant challenge, the Nigerian government and NNPC are determined to safeguard their critical infrastructure while exploring new ways to combat this menace.

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