Undercounting Africa, And Why Egypt’s Economy Could Be Larger Than Nigeria’s

egyptIn the last decade the gross domestic product of the 11 largest countries in sub-Saharan Africa has grown 51 percent — more than double the world average of 23 percent and four times that of the U.S., according to Bloomberg.
The continent’s average consumer price index has stayed at 8 percent since 2013 compared to 13 percent plus in 2008 — a combination of rapid economic expansion and low inflation that has enticed investors as other once-favored emerging markets struggle.
The major drivers in Africa were consumer-focused industries that are taking advantage of the burgeoning population, materials (construction) and financial services, which outpaced emerging markets by 11 percent.
Only energy was the main loser. Yet the struggles of major exporters such as Angola and Nigeria have been conflated with the reduced demand by China for commodities to paint a dire outlook for the continent.
The picture is nowhere as bad as persistently advanced, says Carlos Lopes, executive secretary of the U.N. Economic Commission for Africa. Most African countries are not important exporters of commodities, and it is difficult to predict just how the downturn will actually hurt Africa’s growth.
There is actually a benefit to the downturn: the current market volatility could accelerate the drive to turn the continent’s attention towards seeking internal and more sustainable growth.
A counter-argument to the rapid expansion of GDP has been that data on Africa’s growth is weak. It definitely is, but it presents a different “problem”: that of undercounting.
Compelling data from the international economics analysis organisation World Economics shows how in four ways:

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Brics bank open for jobs

Flag patches  of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, so called BRICS, which is an association of the emerging economies countries.

Flag patches of Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, so called BRICS, which is an association of the emerging economies countries.

Johannesburg – The New Development Bank is formally “open for business” and the recruitment process for its Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg has started, National Treasury announced this weekend.

Treasury said in a statement the bank is in the process of establishing the Africa Regional Centre in Johannesburg, as announced by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in his 2016 Budget Speech.

Treasury said South Africans are encouraged to apply to work for the bank.

The start of formal operations of the so-called Brics Bank follows an agreement signed on February 27 2016 by the People’s Republic of China and the New Development Bank regarding the headquarters of the New Development Bank. The headquarters will be in Shanghai, China.

This agreement marks the completion of legal procedures that give way for the bank to begin its operations. The bank is intended to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects in the Brics (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) and other emerging economies and developing countries.

In December last year President Jacob Zuma said the Brics New Development Bank is a concrete reality. Zuma also announced that axed finance minister Nhlanhla Nene was nominated to head the regional centre.

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Nairobi: Online Platform Pilot Launched for Some Immigration Applications

Guide - Kenya CoverThe Department of Immigration in Kenya has launched a new online platform – called the Electronic Foreign Nationals Service (eFNS) – for work, family and student immigration applications. The eFNS will be rolled out on a pilot basis for some services and is likely to be mandatory for all immigration applications in the near future.

The new platform follows the recent introduction of the eVisa system, which has streamlined visa processing and in part replaced the visa-on-arrival system.

Online Application Process

Individual and corporate applicants can follow the below steps to use the eFNS:

• Create an eFNS account to access the system;
• Choose an immigration service;
• Fill out and print an online application form;
• Pay the government fee by credit card, cash or banker’s check; and
• Submit the form and supporting documents online for processing.

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Welcome to Lego land, Africa’s biggest solar farm in De Aar

legolandCape Town – An Irishman’s passion for job creation and solving South Africa’s energy restrictions with green technology resulted in the development of the largest solar farm in Africa. It launches this month.

Phelan Energy Group’s Pascal Phelan told Fin24 how he decided to transform his game farm near Kimberley into a solar farm to generate 175MW electricity. It will light up 175 000 households.

“I call the solar photovoltaic business Lego land,” he said. “If you can work out how to make a megawatt, you simply plug another set of metawatts together and the sky is the limit in terms of volume.”

Phelan has invested R4bn into the project near the small town of De Aar in the Northern Cape, creating 2 000 jobs during the construction phase and 50 full time employees to run the solar farm.

Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson singled out the project in her debate on the state of the nation this year, where she will open it officially on 17 March in De Aar.

This forms part of her successful independent power producers programme, which has seen R194bn invested in South Africa.

“The big, old electrical utilities have all failed at it (keeping up with energy sector) because they’re not nimble enough,” said Phelan. “It’s an entrepreneurs business and you have to be quick and fast on your feet, focus on low costs, focus on efficiency and don’t spend so much time thinking about it.

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Kampala is at position 169, followed by Nairobi (184), Kigali (191) while Dar es Salam managed 198.

kampala1456729336539400According to the latest Quality of Life Survey, Kampala is ranked the best East African capital city to live, in a study by Mercer which surveyed 230 cities in the world.

Kampala is at position 169, followed by Nairobi (184), Kigali (191) while Dar es Salam managed 198.

This year’s study is the 18th annual quality of living ranking done by the New York-based consultation.

The firm ranked Vienna in Austria as the world’s best city to live and Baghdad, Iraq the worst.
Only two African cities made it in top 100

According to the report, top hundred cities were dominated by Europe, North America and East Asia.

However, only two African cities; Cape Town (92) and Johannesburg (95) made it to top 100.

For people who have travelled to Kigali and Nairobi, Kampala might appear at the bottom of the table because the former cities are far well planned compared to the latter.

However, Mercer’s study examines social and economic conditions, terrorism threats, education, health, housing and the environment in making the conclusions.

Additionally, personal safety in each of the countries was the first priority when ranking the capitals as it is considered a top issues for multinational companies sending employees abroad.

Why Kampala?

Speaking to the New Vision, Simon Kaheeru, a communication specialist at Ssiyaya Tours affirmed the claims by the report adding that “a city is about people, it is more than just infrastructure.”

He noted that Ugandans are always fantastic, polite and hospitable, making it the best city to live in.

“You can party in a club from morning to morning with people who you do not even know. You cannot move from place to place at night in other countries because of insecurity, not even in New York,” Kaheeru says adding that, unlike in most cities, in Kampala one does not have to worry about being shot by random gunmen.

A businessman and chairperson of Kampala City Traders’ Association (KACITA), Everest Kayondo, also agreed that Kampala remains the best city to live in, New Vision reported. According to Kayondo, living in Kampala is cheaper compared to other cities in East Africa due to the cheap prices of food, shelter, electricity, and other basic commodities.

“Most of Uganda’s population practices agriculture, therefore food prices are low, but also one can easily change diet at a cheap price, unlike some east African cities where people live on a specific menu,” he says, adding that the business community is hospitable and favorable for all.

Kampire Bahana argues in her blog that Kampala is home to more than 40 ethnic groups as well as a host of citizens of every nation bearing different titles; expatriate, refugee or immigrant. These diverse cultures have enabled Kampala to adopt to a variety of foods proffered in the multi-cultural city.

Big companies use the study to assess where they should locate and how much they should pay staff. In a statement, Mercer said that their “authoritative survey is one of the world’s most comprehensive, and is conducted annually to enable multinational companies and other employers to compensate employees fairly when placing them on international assignments. Employee incentives include a quality-of-living allowance and a mobility premium. Mercer’s Quality of Living surveys provide valuable data as well as hardship premium recommendations for over 440 cities throughout the world; this year’s ranking includes 230 of these cities.”

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