With a rapidly growing middle class in most African countries the continent and the impact of IT technologies the continent has gained more attention of institutional investors in the last three years. Still described as a ‘frontier market’ and mostly confused by economic observers as a more or less homogeneous entity, the African patterns of modernization still need a much more differentiating analytical view than they have been established since the end of the colonial centuries.
The usual way of including South Africa in the economic development reports, a country that is generating its trade revenues by more than 85% with non-African countries can’t provide a sufficient picture. Impressive improvements of governance for example in Ghana and Botswana with corruption levels lower than in many Eastern European countries, the ongoing oil boom in Angola and visible progress in Ethiopia and Nigeria are still not fully recognized in the portfolios of most institutional investors.
Best performing Africa Fonds
|Name||Valor||Performance 3 years|
|Lyxor Pan Africa A ETF||FR0010636464||51,5%|
|Van Eck Africa Index ETF||US57060U7871||22,1%|
|JPM Africa Equity B||LU0355585190||17,3%|
|DWS Invest Africa FC||LU0329759921||15,3%|
Source: Morningstar and etinfo.com
Despite the disasterious humanitarian crisis related to the heavy draught in Southern Somalia and the neighbouring regions the speed of development, the improvement of educational standards in Eastern Africa and the rise of its economies is gaining more and more dynamic.
Ethiopia for example enjoys GDP growth rates beyond 10 percent since almost a decade joined by significant reforms in the technical educational sector.
Cooperating predominantly with China and Germany on its development pace the country is still embedded into the Western architecture of African security with a new airbase in the Southern Ethiopian city of Abraminch and with US-Ethiopian military cooperation along the border with Somalia.
Relative stability has helped to create a new middle class in the main cities, especially Addis Ababa, extended road projects contribute to the significant improvement of transport infrastructure in the country, a railway system is in the planning stage.
Nevertheless the progress is till overshadowed by increasing inflation up to 40%, state controlled prices and resulting scarceness of certain goods, dramatic poverty in some rural areas, censorship of the press, imprisonment of journalists and the obvious violation of democratic rules and human rights by the government. In addition the safety of foreign investment and permanently changing bureaucratic barriers hamper the leap forward that was necessary to create more employment.
Anyhow, observers are convinced that increasing interest of foreign investors might help significantly to improve the situation further.
Situation in Libya; excerpt from ‘Lybian youth movement’ homepage (http://feb17.info/news/live-libyan-unrest-october-13-2011/)
All updates are in Libyan local time (GMT +2)
4:00pm:Recent Amnesty International report claims it had uncovered evidence of torture and ill-treatment of thousands of people detained in recent months. Sub-Saharan Africans suspected of being Col Muammar Gaddafi’s mercenaries were particularly targeted, it said. The NTC pledged to look into the claims.
3:00pm: Islamic hard-liners have attacked about a half-dozen shrines in and around Tripoli belonging to Muslim sects whose practices they see as sacrilegious, raising religious tensions as Libya struggles to define its identity after Muammar Gaddafi’s ouster.
Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, head of the governing National Transitional Council, reacted with alarm to reports that graves were being desecrated and appealed to a top Muslim cleric, al-Sadek al-Gheriani, to issue a fatwa, or religious ruling, on the issue.
He also called for restraint. “I ask those destroying these mosques to stop doing that because this is not the time to do that,” Abdel-Jalil said on Tuesday at a news conference. “What they did is not on the side of the revolution.”
2:00pm: National Transitional Council [NTC] forces pulled back under ferocious fire from Muammar Gaddafi loyalists in the fugitive leader’s hometown Sirte on Thursday, an AFP correspondent reported. “We have been told to retreat to the police HQ and will be using artillery cannon to hit Gaddafi’s forces,” fighter Hamid Neji of the Martys of Free Libya Brigade told AFP on the new front line.
1:00pm: The Italian firm Eni oil has started transferring natural gas through the Greenstream pipeline connecting Libya and Italy for the first time in eight months. Eni said on Thursday that it will run initial tests of 3 million cubic meters worth of gas a day during the preliminary phase.
12:00pm: A senior military commander inside Sirte said on Thursday that Motassim remained on the run, denying reports that he was in custody. “It is not true that Motassim was captured,” said Wesam Bin Hamid, brigade commander of the Martyrs of Free Libya Brigade, one of the new regime’s main units inside Gaddafi’s hometown. “But some prisoners we have captured are saying that [Muammar] Gaddafi is in Sirte,” Bin Hamid added.
7:36am: In response to the situation in Libya, China’s Red Cross Society (RCSC) will send 50 million yuan (about 7.8 million U.S. dollars) in humanitarian aid to the north African country, the society said on Thursday.
The first relief shipment reached Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, on Aug. 18, the society said in a statement, adding that the second shipment, which will include medicine, rice and cooking oil, will arrive in Tripoli by Oct. 15.
With reserves in foreign currencies of more than 3 trillion USD and tremendous surplusesses in trade and balances China has all the potential to become a main donor in cases of humanitarian disaster around the world. Right now such a disaster has happened in Somalia and the Eastern areas of Ethiopia and Kenya where 10 million people are threatened to die of hunger.
From 1, 1 Billion USD necessary right now to help the draught victims quickly and urgently, not even 50% has been transfered up to now to the respective UN emerency accounts.
On the existing donor list you find again mainly the established first aid providers Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain and now the United Arab Emirates.
China, benefiting significantly from its booming trade with Africa and using extensively African natural resources, has not announced yet any direct help to the region. Also Brazil, India and Russia did not announce publicly any relief efforts for the hard hit region.
But with the US being close to state illiquidity, the main power of humanitarian relief might have become unable to play its former role. Europe is circling around itself.
With the Western world entering a period of austerity and self-uncertainty the chances of the poor in Africa and other parts of the world to receive at least life-saving first aid is substantially diminished. Unfortunately the local political environment also does not seem to be capable of providing this urgent help. One reason might be that even due to experts of UNHCR and in opposite to common belief money is most urgently needed to help the draught victims.
This is why China as the country with the largest financial reserves as well as other booming countries needed urgently to take over humanitarian responsibilities and provide necessary resources. Besides financial support it might be seen as a related fact that Indian stocks of wheat are currently full beyond their capacity due to excellent harvesting results and Russian helicopters and cargo planes are still available in great numbers fully suitable to upgrade urgently needed transport capacities in the region right now.
A new update on the economic outlook of Kenya released by the world bank shows a thin line between extraordinary challenges and chances in the African country. Being on the fast track economically for several years the country is still struggling with poverty, corruption and high crime rates. But progress has been made and the outlook is more promising than recent years.