Saturday, February 8, 2020

Spears' Magazine on Africa

From Spears':
It’s time to invest in an African future – inside the latest issue of Spear’s
January 13
The latest issue of Spear’s magazine makes the unarguable case that Africa is the future of our planet – whether you’re talking in terms of human capital or economic heft, writes Alec Marsh

In about 1903, no one can quite remember, my great-grandfather, a medical man who had gone stone deaf, upped-sticks and moved the family to Kenya, in what was then British East Africa.

We have some photographs to show for it, and a bit of family folklore, but mostly all that I’ve inherited is a quiet a ffinity for Africa. This may have something to do with the African theme of this edition of Spear’s. More likely, it’s because of the unarguable case that I hope we make in this edition that, in many important respects, Africa is the future of our planet – whether you’re talking in terms of human capital or economic heft. This is a theme addressed in our leader, in our Spear’s interview with the entrepreneur and philanthropist Mo Ibrahim on, and explored further in our special 11-page Africa section.

Here we detail the extent and breadth of the economic expansion that Africa is embarking upon. We also look at the impact of tourism, the diamond industry, and we hear from our columnist and long-time Africa-watcher Robert Amsterdam....

This is the start of a crucial decade for Africa
January 30
Not before time, Africa is on the verge of a rapid economic expansion – but who will benefit from it? Robert Amsterdam has an idea

Since liberation swept across Africa in the Sixties, there have long been high hopes for a breakthrough economic moment – a clear set of events and circumstances that could unlock the continent’s vast potential, transforming the region into a global investment hotspot.

So far, that moment hasn’t yet come to fruition. Instead, we’ve seen many opportunities for growth squandered – sometimes by poor governance, often by conflicts and crises, and in other cases just bad timing. But many observers, myself included, feel the coming decade has the potential to be very big for Africa, and if everything finally falls into place you won’t want to be left behind.

What is different now from the past? For one thing, we are finally seeing a sweeping generational change of leadership, as many of the sclerotic despots left over from the post-independence and Cold War eras are finally being chased from power. Robert Mugabe is gone, there are new governments from Algeria to Gambia to Sudan, while the old stalwarts like Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni are increasingly regarded by their own citizens as illegitimate and unwelcome.

Perhaps a high point for the continent was the 2019 Nobel Prize being awarded to Ethiopian prime minister Dr Abiy Ahmed, whose pursuit of peace with Eritrea, successful political reforms and pro-growth agenda have shown many neighbours Africa’s tremendous potential with his own version of African ‘glasnost’.

In addition to fresh, youthful leadership, the continent also has its demographics trending in the right direction, with a massive population of youth about to become productive workers and avid consumers in relatively untapped markets.

Home to four of the fastest-growing economies in 2018, soon 43 per cent of Africans will join the middle and upper classes, while consumer spending is expected to reach $6.7 trillion by 2030. And yet, despite all the strong fundamentals, a paltry 0.47 per cent of global investments are destined for the region, leaving many opportunities.

Certainly, there are risks that need to be addressed, from property rights to rule of law to basic insecurity and inequality. One of the main problems has been Africa’s tremendous fragmentation. But there are finally some signs of hope for integration to take off. In March 2018, 55 member countries of the African Union signed the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, which will eliminate tariffs on most goods, liberalise trade of services, establish mechanisms to sort out intraregional trade disputes, and eventually create a continental single market with free movement of labour and capital....

‘Over the next 50 years this is where you should be putting your money’
January 20
As Chinese growth decelerates and Western economies slow to a crawl, investors of all stripes are asking the same question: Where will growth come from? Edwin Smith discovers that Africa could be the answer

A large part of the challenge facing the world economy – particularly in the West, but also in China and Japan – is the spectre of ageing populations. They threaten the balance between profit-making, tax-paying workers on the one hand, and public service-reliant pensioners on the other. However, there is one part of the world where things couldn’t be much more different.

Africa is the only region of the world where the number of people under the age of 25 is increasing; they already account for 60 per cent of the continent’s 1.3 billion people. By 2036, the working-age population of the continent will exceed each of India and China’s, according to research by the Institute for Securities Study and International Futures. By 2050 the population of Africa is expected to grow to 2.5 billion people and, from there, on to 4.2 billion by the end of the century, according to the Pew Research Center. As a result, many of Africa’s growing urban hubs are expected to evolve into megacities....

January 30
Meet Jack Ma’s favourite African start-up

February 3
Mo Ibrahim: ‘We invested in Africa…I made embarassing amounts of money

And a few of our prior posts
January 2020
"African economies will outperform global growth in 2020 despite a lag from its biggest countries"
October 2017
Needed: 800 Million Jobs For Africa
By now most of our readers have seen a version of the U.N. projections for world population in 2050 and 2100. If not, here's a post from April with the graphic:

IMF: Sub-Saharan Africa has Just Completed One of its Best Decades of Growth--It's Not Enough (UPDATED)

Update below.
Original post:
This may be one of the more important graphics you are likely to come across today.
Africa's population is projected by the United Nations to reach 2 billion people by 2045, 4 billion before the end of the century:

We followed up with "To Jumpstart Development, Should We Give Africa Bonds a Whirl?"
The problem, as always, is keeping the money from sticking to the hands of the kleptocrats,
And whether investment will actually do any good.

Following on "IMF: Sub-Saharan Africa has Just Completed One of its Best Decades of Growth--It's Not Enough" here are a couple women who have thought about this stuff, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala a former two-time Finance Minister of Nigeria and World Bank Managing Director, currently a senior advisor at Lazard and Nancy Birdsall, former EVP at the Inter-American Development Bank where she ran a $30 billion loan portfolio....
And today it's the population analysts at Populyst, September 28:

Africa: 800 Million Jobs Needed
African economies are in a race to get ahead of the demographic boom.....MORE
Up to 500 Million Sub-Saharan Africans Would Like to Move to Europe; Mayfair, Monte Carlo Favored