Comoros Islands – Africa’s Perfumed Islands

Comoros Islands, also known as the “perfumed islands” as they are the world’s largest producer of Ylang-Ylang, which is valued for the perfume extracted from its flowers and its oil used as a base oil for perfumes. Comoros is a volcanic archipelago off the coast of East Africa in the Indian Ocean, north of the Mozambique Channel, 350 km northwest of Madagascar and 250 km from the coast of Mozambique. Named after the Arabic word for ‘moon’ Qamar it comprises of four volcanic islands:  Grande Comore (Ngazidja), Anjouan (Nzwani) and Moheli (Mwali) which form the union of Comoros and the fourth Island Mayotte, which is under French administration.

Comoros has an estimated population of 850,886 of which 60% of the country’s population is under the age of 25 years. Since its independence from France in 1975, the country has experienced more than 20 successful and attempted coups d’états with the most recent in 2013, mainly due to the power struggle among the three Islands. The first-ever democratic transition of power took place in 2006 in which the agreement was also established that the presidential election will be held every after 5 years with the presidency rotating among the three islands.

Comoros economy is still undiversified, with Service and Agriculture sectors being the major drivers of the economy. In 2018, the country GDP was estimated at $1.2 billion (World Bank) of which the highest contributor with 56.3 percent was the service sector followed by the agriculture sector with 31.6 percent. Its primary agriculture produce is Vanilla, cloves, Ylang-ylang, coconuts, bananas, and cassava which are also its main exports. Despite, the economic activity is centred on agriculture, the country still imports 70 percent of its food products like meat, flour, sugar, fish and dairy products from its main trade partners; the United Arab Emirates and European Union. Furthermore, the Comoros agriculture sector employs 80 percent of the Comorians which has resulted in a shortage of habitable land in the country.

A story is told that King Solomon left his ring in a crater and some spirits stole it. In anger, the King swore that every day, every month and every year, there would always be eruptions in the land. On the Neil Economic scale, the price of a can of Coke costs 275 Comorian Franc (KMF) (R9) and the price of a liter of petrol is 493 Comorian Franc (KMF) (R16.16). Inflation in the country is around 1.75%.

Comoros is heavily dependent on donors and development partners with budget deficits averaging 2.1 percent of GDP and public debt standing at 28.4 percent of GDP. The Foreign Direct inflow is at $8.6 million with inflation at 1.0 percent and unemployment levels at 4.3 percent. In the last 15 years, net official development assistance averaged about 10 percent of GDP. Comoros business environment is affected mainly by lack of Infrastructure in tourism, transport and energy sector which has also affected trade among the island.

The country primary objective is an economy that is more diversified and resilient to external shocks and job-creating. Through the adoption of a new Constitution built on the autonomy of the islands and the rotating presidency among the three islands, the country has returned to relative political stability.

Although the history of this nation is one of severe instability from a political and natural point of view, one does hope that with the agricultural wealth and determination of the people, this country can rise to sustained stability and grow to be Africa’s Perfumed Nation.

Zambia – The Diversity of Africa

Formerly called Northern Rhodesia as an integral part of Cecil Rhodes’ Cape to Cairo Vision, Zambia celebrates its 55th Independence Day today, Kenneth Kaunda was appointed the first Prime Minister of the country and later the President in the same year in 1964 as Zambia adopted the Presidential system. The country which took its name from the Mighty Zambezi River, the fourth-longest river in Africa and the largest flowing into the Indian Ocean from Africa is also home to the spectacular and majestic Victoria Falls also known as ‘’Mosi-o-Tunya’’ (The smoke that thunders), one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World and the largest water falls in the world surpassing the magnificent Niagara and Iguazu Falls.

Zambia GDP was standing at US$26.72 billion as at December 2018 and its economy is a commodity dependent, mainly driven by minerals especially copper in which it’s the Second largest producer in Africa after the Democratic Republic of Congo and 8th in the world with the production 861,946.19 tonnes as at 2018. The country is rich in mineral resources like Gold, Uranium, Manganese, silver, cobalt, coal, lead, zinc, emeralds and other semiprecious gemstones. Besides the minerals, the country has 42 million hectares of land suitable for agriculture production yet only 14% is being utilised. The available land per capita is higher than it is for most developing countries in southern Africa (World Bank ,2018). The country also holds about 35% of southern Africa total natural water resource. Its major exports are Raw copper, Refined Copper, Cobalt, Raw Tobacco, cereals and its major imports are Copper ore, Cobalt Oxide and Hydroxides, Refined Petroleum, Crude Petroleum and Nitrogenous Fertilisers.

The country is currently battling with external debt which has kept increasing to US$10.23Billion and domestic debt, US$ 4.62 billion as at June 2019.The external debt servicing cost has also gone up to US$759 million as at December 2018.The four main external debt categories are Multilateral, Bilateral, Export and Supplier credit and Commercial debt of which Commercial debt is at 53 % which is the country’s biggest headache. Eurobonds account for 57% of the commercial debt and its first maturity will be in 2022 after Population census in 2020 and general election in 2021 (ZIPAR 2019).

On the Neil Economic scale, the price of a can of Coke is 7.56 Zambian Kwacha (R8.44) and the price of a liter of petrol is 14.06 Kwacha (R15.69). In August 2019 the country’s inflation rate stood at 9.3% from 7.9% in December 2018 and economic growth rate is projected to close at 2% at the end of 2019 (KPMG 2019)

The government has embarked on massive infrastructure projects in the Transport sector to: (1) Decongest Lusaka City under the Lusaka Decongestion Project, (2) Upgrading the four international airports namely, Kenneth Kaunda International Airport (KKIA), Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe, Harry Mwaanga Nkumbula and Mfuwe. The Lusaka decongestion project is being financed by the Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) and Exxim Bank of India at 15% and 85% respectively at a cost of $389 million. The KKIA has reached 75 percent completion with an estimated total cost of $360 million upon completion. With all the infrastructure development the Rail sector remains the dominant mode of transportation for goods on the local and international routes.

So with such a diverse nation of more than 70 language dialects, a multitude of mineral resources and a landlocked nation surrounded by 7 African nations, Zambia the country of water has more brightness in its future than ever. Today Zambia celebrates 55 years of Independence and President Lunga leads his nation to be stunning as The Diversity of Africa !

Ethiopia – The Horn of Africa

One of the most traded commodities in the world which has been very lucrative came to being after being discovered by a goat herder, imagine the story. Kaldi a goat herder from Ethiopia noticed his goats “dancing” after eating off bright red berries of a certain bush, he took the berries to an Islamic monk in a nearby Sufi monastery who disapproved the berries and threw them into the fire, from which an enticing aroma billowed and Coffee was born. The name coffee came from the region in which the berries were discovered, Kaffa Region in Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, formerly Abyssinia is a country in the East Africa, the 2nd Fastest growing economy in the world and the only country in Africa that has never been formally colonised. It is also the second most populous country in Africa (1st is Nigeria) with an estimated population of 109 Million People (2018). A population size that big is characterised by dozens of ethnic groups with competing claims to land, resources and influence, Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed has struggled to contain ethnic clashes. In 2018 close to three million Ethiopians were displaced by conflict, the highest figure recorded worldwide, with Islamist militant groups Al Shabab and ISIS planning attacks on the country recently.

Emperor Haile Selassie, former King of Ethiopia asserted that the people of Africa ought to join together and form a singular race. This prompted the introduction of Pan Africanism. This idea emerged to become what is known as the African Union today, headquartered in the Capital of Ethiopia Addis Abba which is the highest capital city in Africa.

Ethiopia’s economy experienced strong, broad-based growth averaging 10.3% a year from 2006/07 to 2016/17, (AFDB 2017) compared to a regional average of 5.4%. Boarded by six countries, Ethiopia’s location gives it strategic dominance as a jumping off point in the Horn of Africa, close to the Middle East and its markets. Ethiopia’s main challenges are sustaining its positive economic growth and accelerating poverty reduction, which both require significant progress in job creation as well as improved governance. Despite the Economic Growth, only 60% of the population has access to electricity, 65.7% of households have access to potable water, and paved road density is among the lowest in Sub-Saharan Africa. Which means that the Economic Growth has not translated to Human Development or improvement in the quality of life as poverty is still high. The country’s leading exports are coffee, oil seeds, and pulses, and manufacturing accounts for less than 10% of GDP. The estimated GDP of the country was at 83 Billion (2018) and looking to take advantage of its hydro-power by exporting to Kenya and Djibouti. Ethiopia is tackling lack of structural transformation with its five-year Growth and Structural Transformation Plan II.

On the Neil Economic scale, the price of a can of Coke costs 11.17 Br (5.69 R) and the price of a liter of petrol is 21.46 Br (10.93 R). Inflation in the country is expected to be around 19.10% at the end of the third quarter.

Ethiopia’s leadership is moving forward in building trying to stabilise and reduce conflict in the country which can be seen in the era of peace and friendship which was opened when Eritrea and Ethiopia signed a Peace Deal as a bilateral summit that took place on 8–9 July 2018. The country seeks to close its infrastructure gap, pursue regional integration, and to support improvements in agriculture, basic services and the business environment.

Burkina Faso – Land OF the Honest Man

One of the key issues in Africa which has contributed to growth regression in the 21st century within some of the African countries is conflict either arising from ethnic diversity or terrorism. Regionalism has contributed immensely to trade and through the formation of Trade Blocs which makes transfer of goods and services between countries easy and beneficial to the countries. However, as much as the Millennium Development Goal of achieving rural development and regional integration are positive and add value to the growth and development of African Economies, Integration also brings with it spillover effects of negativity.

Today one of the poorest countries in the world has been suffering and going through times of unrest caused by terrorist attacks and clashes between different ethnic groups. Burkina Faso has been affected by part of the inter regional conflict which began when Colonel Gaddafi was ousted in Libya which saw armed groups crossing the Sahara Desert and starting an insurgence in Northern Mali which later spread to the whole Sahel Region.

Burkina Faso a country with an estimated population of 19.7 Billion (World Bank 2018) whose Northern Part is within the Sahel Region, has been characterised by food insecurity, ethnic conflicts and terrorist related security threats. The country is also a member of the G5 Sahel an institutional framework for coordination of regional cooperation in development policies and security matters in west Africa which includes Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger. The purpose of the G5 S is to strengthen the bond between economic development and security, and together battle the threat of jihadist organisations operating in the region.

The country with an inviting Capital City’s name Ouagadougou which in the Moore dialect literally means “you are welcome here at home with us”, is green in the south, with forests and fruit trees and desert in the north. Burkina Faso is Africa’s leading producer of Cotton in Africa. Apart from cotton, most of Burkinabe practice subsistence farming with staple foods being predominant. Millet, sorghum, maize, rice, peanuts, and cassava are some of the main crops being cultivated. Burkina Faso remains vulnerable to climatic shocks related to changes in rainfall patterns and to fluctuations in the prices of its export commodities on world markets. The country with an estimated GDP of $14.4 Billion with main contributors being food agriculture (up 14.2% in 2018), extractive industry (20.5%), and cotton ginning (8.0%) and has enjoyed a real GDP growth of 7% in 2018 according to AFDB.

On the Neil Economic scale, the price of a can of Coke costs 583 CFA (XOF) (14.43R) and the price of a liter of petrol is 675 CFA (XOF) (16.71R). Inflation in the country is around 2%.

Despite the good fertile lands and the conflict in the north, Burkina Faso remains food insecure due to the population pressure as the country’s population is rising at an average annual rate of 3.1% with a with a fertility rate of 5.4 children per woman. In recent years, Burkina Faso has made considerable progress in the area of education. The gross enrolment ratio (GRE) at the pre-primary level rose from 3% in 2011 to 4% in 2017. More than 65% of the population of Burkina Faso is under the age of 25. This presents a long-term economic opportunity for the country as there will be a large and cheap workforce able to bring prosperity to the nation. The country must also take advantage of its position on the African continent as it is the main reason why the French colonialized the country in the first place, it was a bridge between coastal territories of Benin & Ivory Coast and Their desert holding (Mali and Niger).

Seychelles – Paradise on Earth

Known for its beauty the archipelago of 115 islands that includes lush mountains, arresting granite boulders, white sand palm-fringed beaches, and crystal-clear turquoise ocean waters, Seychelles has made its name as “The paradise on earth”. With its tropical climate and tantalising attractions, Seychelles has become a magnet for tourists and honeymooners who desire pristine surroundings, privacy and proximity to the best of luxuries and amenities. It’s no wonder that Prince William and Kate chose The Seychelles for their honeymoon in 2011, David and Victoria Beckham escaped to the Seychelles for their 10-day Indian Ocean break on their 10th wedding anniversary. Not only do the islands boast breathtaking landscapes with white sandy beaches and crystal-clear blue waters, but they’re also home to some of the world’s most luxurious – and secluded – hotels.

Seychelles is a small island nation found in the Indian Ocean on the east coast of Africa with an estimated population of 96 762 which is the smallest population of any Sovereign African State. Seychelles like most island nations, is not a one contiguous island, it is made up of a chain of islands with others dotted far off the chain. There are two sets of islands – the inner granite islands and the outer coral islands. There are 45 inner granite islands while the rest are outer coral islands. The inner granite islands are the world’s only oceanic granite islands. Mahe island is the largest island and the seat of Seychelles capital city – Victoria which is the smallest in the world covering 1.5km and can be explored on foot in less than a day.

Though small and eye catching, the country is the second richest country in Africa (1st is Equatorial Guinea) on the Continent with a GDP per capita of $28 712. Despite the size, the country has managed to turn itself into a prime tourist destination on earth as in 2018 it received 361,844 tourists, a number which is 3.5 times its resident population which increased by 3% from 2017. The Service industry has transformed the country into a high-income economy with an estimated GDP of $1.59 Billion (2018 World Bank) of which 84% of it is generated from the service sector through tourism.  Seychelles exports vanilla, coconuts, coconut oil, fish and guano (a fertiliser made from seabird and bat feces). Agriculture is not a significant contributor as it contributes 2.5% to the GDP and the industrial sector 13.5%.

On the Neil Economic Scale, the price of a can of coke is 18.67Rs (19.92R) and the price of a liter of petrol is 19.01Rs (20.28R). Consumer prices and rent are on average 39.7% higher in Victoria than in Cape Town.

Seychelles must ensure transformation aimed at sustained economic growth fuelled by increasing productivity as the economy is mainly vulnerable to external shocks. A weakening of tourism entries—for instance because of increased competition from newer markets in the Middle East and Asia, or a series of price hikes in international food and oil prices—could negatively affect the country’s economy.

The leadership of the country has ensured that there is preservation of flora and fauna which can be seen in most parts of the country remaining nature preserved. Just breathing in the pristine, unpolluted air on Alphonse makes you instantly feel healthier. It is no surprise to learn that the 2016 Environmental Performance Index found that the Seychelles has the purest air on the planet or that the islands have a world-record 50 per cent of the total land area under natural conservation. Surely this is Paradise!

 

Morocco – A old Kingdom for a New Continent

The highest-earning war movie of all-time starring Bradley Cooper as the late Chris Kyle in American Sniper is a 2014 biopic based on the memoir of the most lethal sniper in U.S. Military History. The scenes in Iraq are actually filmed in Rabat, Morocco’s capital. Parts of the city’s neighbourhoods are transformed to resemble the devastated Iraqi city Fallujah, as it was too dangerous to film in Iraq. For Game of Thrones fans, unknowingly you have been to the dazzling land, as most of the scenes in the continent of Essos and the constituent of Dorne were shot in Morocco.

The Kingdom of Morocco is one of two unitary constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament (alongside Lesotho) making up the 3 remaining sovereign monarchies of which the other is an absolute monarchy, Kingdom of Eswatini.

The country whose name describes its location of the Continent in Arabic “al-mamlakah al-maghribiyah” meaning ‘The Western Kingdom’ as it is the Western-most country in Maghreb region of North Africa. The country with an estimated population of 36 Million (World Bank 2018) is only 13 km from Europe, across the Strait of Gibraltar. European influence, specifically Spanish and French is seen in Tangier and Rabat respectively.

Morocco is the only country in the world which produce and exports Argan Oil as the Argan tree only grows in Morocco. The country with an estimated GDP of $118 Billion which is mainly driven by the agricultural sector as the main contributor to the GDP (15%) which also employs most of the workforce. The European Union is Morocco’s primary trading partner, accounting for about 77% of Morocco’s agricultural exports. Moroccan agricultural production also consists of orange, tomatoes, potatoes, olives, and olive oil. Morocco is also known for cannabis production and for its substantial hashish production, which at one point fueled over 70% of European consumption and continues to be the largest producer of hashish in the world.

On the Neil Economic scale, the price of a can of Coke costs 5.38 MAD (8.46R) and the price of a liter of petrol is 10.34 MAD (16.26R).  Morocco despite its stability in the economy and having an exchange rate pegged to a basket of euro and U.S. dollar, has managed inflation to remain below 1%.

The country imports approximately 90% of its energy requirements which 97% is from imported fossil fuels. The external position remains solid, despite the recent deterioration of the current account due to the impact of higher prices of imported energy. The kingdom has an average solar potential of 5 kilowatt hours (kWh) per square meter per day.  The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) plans for the installed capacity of at least 2,000 MW by 2020. The country has started the journey to reduce over reliance on imported energy by implementing alternative programs. This can be seen in the Tarfaya wind farm with a capacity of 300 MW which is the second largest wind farm in Africa.

Morocco having recently re-joined the AU and thus making it the 55th state of Africa. The huge legacy in the past that this Kingdom has brought, again will hopefully add to the continent as an effort for unity. King Mohammed VI has no doubt lead the nation to modernisation and taking his Kingdom to play a leading role in economic transformation. Although the country has huge agricultural emphasis, the trade aspects of the country is the future. This future will no doubt bring an old established Kingdom into its new membership of the African continent.

 

Rwanda – The African Miracle

‘’When can a woman make you a Millionaire?’’, with the answer “When you are a Billionaire’’ this was a joke printed on beer labels of Skol, the international Beer Brand popular in Rwanda. The joke was taken head on by the public when it was launched on Friday as being sexist and thus the company stopped it 2 days after. Rwanda is regarded as the world’s gender equality champion. The country boasts the highest percentage of women in parliament—67.5 percent—and, according to the World Economic Forum, ranks sixth for its effort to reduce the gender gap (preceded only by four Scandinavian countries and Nicaragua).

Rwanda, the fourth smallest country in Africa is one of the smallest nations on Earth measuring 26 338km2 with an estimated population of 12.3 million and an estimated GDP of $9.51 Billion (World Bank 2018). The country is ranked 2nd in Africa on ease of doing business report 2019 behind Mauritius which is 1st according to the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2019. Rwanda has moved to 29th globally from 49th place in 2016. Business registration in Rwanda is done in 48hours. The President Paul Kagame is aspiring to make Rwanda a Middle-Income Country (MIC) and High-Income Country (HIC) status by 2035 and 2050, respectively.

Rwanda is a rising star in the Great Lakes Region of Africa. It has risen from the ashes of the 1994 genocide to the heights of claiming a global prize as one of the fastest rising economies in Africa and the world. The impact of the Genocide was brutal and it led to internal displacements and refugees fleeing into the DRC and Uganda (close to 2 Million people) and death of close to 1 million people. Recovering from this could not have been easy yet it is both humbling and hopeful to see a country coming together so strongly and so willingly back from such a terrible event to rebuild one of the success stories in Africa both in terms of economic and social development.

Africa’s growth today, is characterised by short growth spells of its countries, this is a result of reliance on single sector to generate the much-needed revenue for the countries. Rwanda has been one of the countries leading in the structural transformation that has ensured revenue and employment creation in various sectors of the economy that is Agriculture, ICT, and Tourism. Rwanda has experienced robust economic and social performances with growth averaged 7.5% over a decade to 2017 while per capita growth domestic product (GDP) grew at 4.7% annually. The poverty rate dropped from 39.1% in 2014 to 38.1% in 2017, while inequality measured by the Gini coefficient stood at 0.42.

On the Neil economic scale, a can of coke cost 500 RwF (R8.25) and the price of a litre or petrol is 1091 RwF (R18.01). Inflation has declined from 13.5 % in 1990 to -0.8 in 2018

Kigali the Capital is regarded as one of the cleanest cities in the world as the Government of Rwanda implemented the ban for the use of plastic bags/sachet “Amasashi” for environmental protection. The government has led the country in respecting the small but value adding initiatives such “Umganda” a consistent schedule in community cleaning days which takes place every last Saturday of the month led by the President. The leadership has driven Rwanda to become Africa’s leading digital revolutions by investing in internet facilities like construction of fibre optic in all parts of country. This has seen public institutions service delivery improving and revenue collection made easy with less corruption as Tax declaration and payment, Traffic penalties’ payment, Business registration …. etc. are done online.

So when reflecting on this nation that comes from the depth of sadness, genocide and deprivation, one would of given this country no hope of recovery. Yet today, Rwanda under the dynamic leadership of President Kagame, has risen beyond all expectation, to an economic leader in its region and indeed Africa. Its lauded progress in modernisation of its cities, infrastructure and no doubt promotion of human rights and equity amongst woman, is progressive. This no doubt has shown the world what goodwill and effort can do and no doubt showcases Rwanda as “ The African Miracle `”

 

 

South Sudan – The African Tears of Wealth

The minister of petroleum, on Wednesday the 7th of August 2019, confirmed that South Sudan had increased its Oil production by 6,000 Barrels, bringing the total oil output to over 180,000 barrels per day. This was achieved through the reopening of Block 1&2 in Manga oilfield, which was dormant for six years due to insecurity in the northern parts of the country. This development brings about more insights into some of the problems African states are facing with regards to Economic Development Regression as conflict limit growth in the various regions. Oil-rich South Sudan has been struggling to increase oil production, months after the signing of the revitalized peace accord in September 2018 which shows us that even if peace is now prevailing, it will take time to restore confidence after decades of unrest.

The name “Sudan” derives from Arabic, “bilad-as-sudan”, meaning “Land of the black people”. The country South Sudan was officially established on July 9, 2011, when it ceded from the country of Sudan after decades of conflict. South Sudan, the youngest country in the World is located in the central region of East Africa, where it covers a total area of 619 745 km2 with a population size of 13.3 million (UN 2019).

South Sudan is well known for its resources especially Oil, which was discovered in 1977. The Civil war in the country has prevented much exploration of oil deposits to the extent that up to now the potential oil reserves of the country is unclear. Currently about 90% of the government’s revenue comes from oil resources, while the rest is collected in the form of taxes.

The country had a GDP averaging $12.63 USD Billion from 2008 until 2016, reaching an all-time high of $17.83 USD Billion in 2011, hit a record low of $3.07 USD Billion in 2016.  A combination of internal conflict, weak global oil prices, closure of oil fields and poor rains resulted in economic activity contracting year on year in 2016/2017. Up to 95% of the population depends on self-sustainable agriculture to meet their food and income needs. Farm crops from low-input, low-output subsistence operations include sorghum, maize, millet and rice production. However, only 4% of South Sudan is currently under cultivation, its largest export being Sesame Seeds contributing at most 0.6% to total exports. Food security is a problem as close to 7 Million people are food insecure (USAID 2019), due to conflict and additionally, below-average rainfall delayed the start of the 2019 planting season limiting pasture regeneration, keeping livestock body conditions poor.

On the Neil economic scale, a can of coke cost 113.33 SSP (R13.38) and the price of a liter or petrol is 230 SSP (R27.19). South Sudan’s Vision 2040 encompasses medium- and long-term objectives that the country wants to achieve by the year 2040. The objective is to ensure that the country is a united and peaceful nation, building strong foundations for good governance, economic prosperity and enhanced quality of life for all.

As being one of the individuals whom physically was in Juba, South Sudan, at the birth of this new Republic and then seeing this newborn child of Africa, decent into war and strife, the true wealth of this nation, seems to be the exact reason there is no peace. A country that has oil, gas, gold and diamonds, with another piece of resource namely the Nile river, there can be no reason why the newborn nation, cannot be stable. It will take a world of reason and humanity to ensure that this nation does not remain shedding sad tears of civil war and thus the cliché being the African Tears of Wealth

 

Angola – Gateway of wealth

After surviving more than a dozen assassination attempts, and having been reported dead at least 15 times, Jonas Malheiro Savimbi was killed on 22 February 2002, in a battle with Angolan government troops along riverbanks in the province of Moxico, his birthplace. Savimbi was an anti-communist and anti-colonialist Angolan political and military leader who founded and led the National Union for the Total Independence of Angola (UNITA). Today, just the thought of Savimbi brings chills to all Africans, as UNITA first waged a guerrilla war against Portuguese colonial rule, 1966–1974, then confronted the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), a civil war which lasted almost three decades, which ended in 2002.

The Republic of Angola, a former Portuguese Colony, got its independence in 1975 with a current estimated population of 31 Million (2018) and a GDP of approximately $106 Billion. The capital, Luanda, is one of the most expensive cities in the world, known as the “Paris of Africa,” a title it gets from the city’s sophisticated cultur.

Angola has been characherised by years of civil war, draught from erratic rainfall and inadequate infrastructure to support economic growth thus the reliance on Oil which contributes about 47% of total GDP and 90% of exports. The decline of oil prices in 2014 destroyed the Angolan economy due to its dependency on oil exports. Its revenues declined by 50% from 2014 to 2017. The shortage of foreign currency reduced growth in non-oil sectors. The recession led to the foreign exchange depreciation of more than 40%, inflation increased to 31.7% in 2017.Despite significant progress on macroeconomic stability and structural reforms, Angola is still suffering the effects of lower oil prices and production levels, with an estimated GDP contraction around 1.5% in 2018. Economic growth is expected to remain subdued in 2019 because of a lower oil price forecast and  production limitations set by OPEC.

The country is fighting poverty which can be seen in the declining poverty incidence, from 68% in 2000 to 37% in 2018 (AFDB). The President Mr João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, who came into office in 2017 has embraced reforms on several fronts to achieve macroeconomic stability and create a favorable environment for economic growth. Two new laws that are essential to enhance private sector-led growth and competitiveness have been approved: the private investment law and the antitrust law, followed by the creation of a competition authority. This has been welcomed by foreign Investors allowing them repatriation of capital.

Like many African countries, Angola could benefit from more inclusive development policies which can assist in reducing its dependency on oil and diversifying the economy; rebuilding its infrastructure; and improving institutional capacity, governance, public financial management systems, human development indicators, and the living conditions of the population.

On the Neil economic scale, a can of coke cost 600 kwanza (R25.38) and the price of a litre or petrol is 162 Kwanza (R6.38) , so in essence petrol is cheaper than a can of coke, acceptable to a country that produces nearly 1.8 million barrels of oil a day, only second to Nigeria on the African continent.

In conclusion Angola with it’s unkind history of war and strife, has now released itself from a past ruling legacy of the Da Santos era. A new leadership with new ideals of democracy and development is hoped for. This nation of oil, gold, diamonds and agriculture wealth must settle and be what it’s potential dictates and then maybe it will be Africa’s “ Gateway of Wealth “

 

Botswana – The Dubai of Africa

“Democracy, like a little plant, does not grow or develop on its own. If must be nursed and nurtured if it is to grow and flourish. It must be believed in and practised if it is to be appreciated. And it must be fought for and defended if it is to survive”. – Seretse Khama, first president of Botswana.

Botswana is an inland country bordered by South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe mostly dominated by the rigid Kalahari Desert, covering 70% of the country’s total land area. Water is so valued in Botswana that their currency is called the ‘pula’, which means ‘rain’ or ‘blessing’ in Setswana. The country is approximately the size of France, but has an estimated population of 2.3 million according to UN (2018), compared to France’s 66.9 million.  Botswana is amongst some of the least densely populated countries in the world, but the country has managed to grow its economy at an average 5% per annum putting the country amongst some of the fastest growing economies in the world. GDP growth accelerated to 4.4% in 2018 and the country had an estimated GDP of $17.41 Billion in the same year as a result of inclusive innovation and operational efficiency within key sectors like mining resulting in the small country managing to stand out as a Model of a successful African tales.

Botswana is dependent on diamond exports and was the world’s third-largest diamond producer in 2016. However, its reliance on commodities renders it vulnerable to international market fluctuations and hence erratic economic growth. Botswana’s political and corporate governance culture has made the country become the investors destination of choice which can be seen in the country’s Stable and Upper Medium Grade credit rating according to Moody’s. The countries leadership from Father to Son Ian Khama the former president of the country, had the same values as the current President Mokgweetsi Masisi in promoting democracy and justice throughout the country at the same time promoting fast sustainable economic growth.

Botswana has the same potential that Dubai had back in time to become the utopia of the region and continent, the energy revolution can start there and spread in areas that have not been imagined by taking advantage of the ability of put resources to good use. The leadership is constantly trying to better the lifestyle of its citizens and have grown their GDP per capita from $83,73 in 1966 (their year of Independence) to $7595.6 in 2018. The country has achieved this through fiscal discipline and sound governance which has seen the transformation of the country from one of the poorest low-income country to a middle-income country. However, poverty and high levels of income inequality still persist. Although poverty has come down to approximately 16%, but some 30% of the population remains just above the poverty line and are vulnerable to a range of shocks. Botswana’s level of income inequality remains one of the world’s highest with a Gini coefficient of 0.52

On the Neil economic scale, a can of coke cost 10.67 Pula (R14,07) and a litre of petrol 9.06 Pula (R11,95). The cost of living in Botswana is 9.96% lower than in South Africa. Petrol is relatively cheaper than in their neighbouring country S.A , so don’t drink coke rather go for a drive through the Caprivi Strip the only place in the world where four countries meet namely Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia .

In conclusion, this land locked country definitely knows no boundaries and with new leadership and a truly stable economy, this country of diamonds, coal and great wildlife security can rise above all nations to be our AFRICAN DUBAI