ECOWAS and the free movement of goods, persons and establishment

The article examines the challenges facing the non-implementation of the ‘ECOWAS’ Protocol on the Free Movement of goods, services, persons and capital. In its finding, several problems including the lack of Political commitments, administrative restrictions, civil conflicts, wars and terrorism are major obstacles to the implementation of the Protocol on free movement of goods, services, persons and capital in West Africa. Thus the Paper recommends that ECOWAS’ leaders should seriously address those obstacles in the implementation of the Protocol.

Introduction
Indeed, the 15 nation ECOWAS came into force on 28th May 1975, when the Treaty was signed in Lagos, Nigeria, by a group of countries comprising Dahomey (now Benin), The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra-Leone, Togo, and Burkina Faso (former Upper Volta). Cape Verde acceded to ECOWAS in 1977. Hence, establishing a market of 280 million consumers and a geographical area of 6.2 million square kilometres. However, the Treaty from inception has been faced with a series of challenges, including security, underdevelopment and the implementation of the Protocol on Free Movement of Goods, Persons and the Right to Establishment in the member States. The ECOWAS Constitution is the Lagos Treaty of May, 1975 and its objectives include: Economic stability among the member States, improve the standard of living of their people, customs union, freedom of movement of persons, capital, services, agriculture, transportation, telecommunication, energy and development, industrial master plan.

Several reasons will push states to create/form economic integration among them. Indeed, reasons like economic weakness, dependence status, economies of scale and scope, political influence, security and stability may lead to it. For instance, in the West African Sub-region the principal reasons that pushed for economic integration include to encourage intra West African trade which was less than 4%, to strengthen their weak economies, improve the living standard of their people and be independent of extra African powers in the realpolitik game as a consequence of the Cold War.[1] Since the Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Establishment was put in place in 1979.

Globalization, foreign direct investment and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

Globalization, foreign direct investment and economic growth in Sub-Saharan Africa

By Saibu M. O and T. O Akinbobola

This paper examines contributions of foreign direct investment and globalization to real economic growth fluctuation in selected sub-Saharan Africa countries. Adopting the conventional vector autoregressive mechanism and the time series data from the selected countries, the result showed that out of the eleven countries studied, foreign direct investment explained the highest proportion in just three countries, Morocco, Ethiopia, and Zimbabwe. Except in Tunisia, Tanzania and Kenya, where the degree of economic openness explained substantial proportion of the output fluctuations, the variations in most of the countries were explained by factors beyond foreign direct investment and economic openness.

The result supports the existing finding on African economies that trade liberalization had not substantially impaired the economic growth process of the sub African economies as alluded to by previous studies. The upsurge in the capital flows to African economies was also insufficient to insulate the economy from the global meltdown and furthermore kick start post crisis economy recovery in Southern African countries. Therefore, the paper concludes that fluctuations in real economic growth in these countries might be beyond the external shocks from the capital inflows and trade flows.

Debt And Economic Growth

This paper aims to study the effect of debt on economic growth of 19 developing countries over the period 1990-2011, through the use of a dynamic panel data model. The second part of this paper involves an empirical study of the effect that debt have on the contribution of investment to economic growth. The main statements issued from these two empirical tests stipulate a negative effect of the total external debt to GDP and external debt as a percentage of GNI ratio on economic growth and a negative interaction between these two debt’ measures and investment.

The external debt was an important stimulator of economic growth and a way to balance the budget. Moreover, public debt, especially foreign debt, has an independent existence outside the budget and public finances. So the debt is a universal phenomenon found in all countries. As a result, the inevitability of public debt is recognized accordingly. The loan is one of the main components of modern public finance. It is considered a temporary but complex resource. Indeed, this variable is closely related to the budget deficit. Economies that are at the initial stage of their development have a limited stock of capital and often offer more profitable investment opportunities than mature economies. What threatens by debt these countries? However, the accumulation of debt helped to finance many unprofitable, unrealistic and low efficiency projects that induced negative impact on growth. Indeed, the deterioration in the international economic environment of the eighty centuries (80) characterized by fluctuating exchange rates , the decline in commodity prices and rising interest rates, the debt of Africa become an obstacle to its development and full refund almost hypothetical.
It in this context that our research works whose main objective is to study the impact of external debt on economic growth in some developing countries. Thus, our problem looks as follows: What is the effect of the financing by external debt on economic growth? The methodology to answer this problem has led us to develop our work in two sections. The first is devoted to the empirical literature on the relationship between external debt and economic growth, while the second will focus on definitions’ variables, their sources and the interpretations of the results of the econometric study.The econometric investigation conducted as part of this research provides a dynamic range of 19 developing countries over the period 1999-2011.

Empirical studies show a correlation between external debt and economic growth are abundant. We will discuss in what follows some of them. Krugman (1988), Sachs (1989), Froot (1989) showed that the accumulation of debt and debt servicing are a tax on future production and discourages investment by crowding. In their work, Eichengreen and Portes (1986) were interested in identifying the determinants of the stock of debt of thirty countries at a given time (1955). Indeed, excessive debt and defaults tend to reduce the real rate of growth and the credibility of the state. Also, Claessens (1990), Warner (1992) and especially Borensztein (1990) identified the debt service as a determinant which influences negatively the external debt through econometric models on debt data of the Philippines, the outstanding and the ratio of debt service on exports have generally an inverse effect on private capital formation and encourage the country into debt.

Carlos Lopes: New brand of Africa emerging

Carlos Lopes at the Yale African Development Colloquium on Monday, said a new brand of Africa is emerging; “one that exudes confidence, attractiveness for investments and that has considerably lowered risk, with investment reaching US$50 billion in 2012.”

New Haven, USA, 14 April 2014 (ECA) – A decade after former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s made his landmark ‘fork in the road’ speech to the General Assembly calling for the reform of the global body, the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Carlos Lopes told the Yale African Development Colloquium, Monday that “the fork in the road for Africa, now points to one direction and one choice, which is the path to industrialization.”

He highlighted numerous developments in Africa that constitute a radical departure from what he described as “deep divisions and underperforming collective institutions that marked the UN member States in 2003.”

“The world is very different today than it was in 2003 and while Africa is now at a fork in the road, this metaphor needs to be contextualized to reflect the developments taking place on the continent today,” said Lopes, adding, “I do not see indecisiveness on the part of continent; on the contrary, there is heightened assertiveness.”

He said a new brand of Africa is emerging; “one that exudes confidence, attractiveness for investments and that has considerably lowered risk, with investment reaching US$50 billion in 2012.”

Yet, cautioned Lopes, Africa still needs to move from 5 to 6 % average growth to the magic 7% – the minimum required to double average incomes in a decade.

“There is still a long way to go as poverty remains high, access to social services weak and pervasive conflict undermines gains,” he said.

He told the gathering that if Africa’s aim is to become “a prosperous and integrated continent in peace with itself”, its negotiating stance has to be consistent with – and supportive of its transformative agenda, as envisioned for 2063.

He stressed that the Continent must innovate in the business of transformation and called for policy tools and economic enablers.

“The commonality between the investments in Prato, Guanajuato and Itú-São Paulo is that they have attracted the attention of Africa’s number one trading partner: China,” he said, adding: The lesson for Africa is that industrialization is a competitive business.

“The continent needs to find its own recipe, its own miracle recipe, if it wants to become one the factory floors of the world,” he stressed.

The Yale statement comes in the heels of the 2014 Economic Report on Africa, launched in New York over the weekend and in Abuja on 30th March. The Report urges Africa to build credible institutions to boost industrialization. As noted by Carlos Lopes during the launch, to succeed, “industrial policy has to be organic, it has to be contextualized, it has to be specifically African.”

Present at the Colloquium were: Mr. Ernesto Zedillo, Former President of Mexico, Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, Ernest Aryeetey, Vice Chancellor, University of Ghana and Shanta Devarajan, Chief Economist of the Middle East and North Africa Region, The World Bank.

Why every organization should invest in Thought Leadership

Why every organization should invest in Thought Leadership

By Daniel W Rasmus

Thought leadership is not a science. It is difficult to measure its effects on sales, but large organizations continue to develop it because it creates a context beyond products and sales. It helps organizations connect with customers and community, citizens and investors. Thought leadership contributes to good will and helps establish credibility and trust — but perhaps most importantly, thought leadership pushes an organization to look beyond itself internally and become better.

Just what is Thought Leadership?
At the basic level, thought leadership represents the highest form of marketing content. Thought leadership offers insights, guidance, advice, observations and inspiration. As much as those attributes define thought leadership, it is perhaps through negative examples, that it often proves difficult for sales minded organizations to connect it with a revenue outcome. Thought leadership, for the most part, does not promote a product or even a company. It is an idea, more than anything else that define, thought leadership. Thought leadership usually derives from internal values, beliefs or passions, even when it is executed through partnerships with academic institutions or other researchers. Thought leadership begins with good questions, interesting perspectives that can be researched and proven. The best thought leadership goes on to challenge its own assumptions and transparently share the results with the world.

Thought leadership as a marketing tool
An organization can choose to market itself in a number of ways. Most young companies, and many with single products, concentrate on product-focused marketing, choosing to share unique features and offering a value proposition for the product intended to entice potential customers. As a company matures, expands its product lines and market presence, it moves from simply positioning and selling products, to establishing a brand, and eventually the company. Upscaling marketing beyond product creates entity with which consumer or citizen can have a relationship. A brand or company it stands for a promise, represents a legal entity and acts as a proxy for a collection of people who work and manage the organization […]

Has recent Sub-Saharan African growth translated into improved living conditions for ordinary Africans?

Has recent Sub-Saharan African growth translated into improved living conditions for ordinary Africans?

By Andy McKay

High rates of African growth reported in many Sub-Saharan African countries raises concerns about living standards for ordinary African people, with many reporting shortages of food and healthcare.  This article assesses changes in living conditions associated with these high levels of growth.

The African growth recovery
The world has woken up to what has been apparent to many of those who live or have been in Sub-Saharan Africa in the past 6-8 years or more: the very impressive recovery of economic growth over recent years.  An estimate of the pattern of evolution of aggregate Sub-Saharan African GDP in constant dollar values since 1960 is summarised in Figure 1.  This shows the well-known period of significant decline from the mid-1970s to the early to mid-1990s; but now the period of subsequent recovery of growth has almost lasted as long, and has taken Sub-Saharan Africa’s per capita aggregate GDP higher than it has ever been since Independence.

Because of the long timescale the chart may appear to suggest that the recovery since the mid-1990s has been modest.  But the whole continent’s per capita GDP grew by more than 30% over the 15 year period since 1995, and this includes some large (and small) countries that have had negative growth over the period.  Growth between 1995 and 2005 was still slower than in the first 15 years since 1960.  But the rate of growth has been particularly fast since 2005, certainly exceeding that of the early post-independence period, even despite the world financial crisis in 2007-08.

But what is much less well known is how much this African growth has translated into better living conditions for ordinary African people.  The comment is frequently made that Africans do not feel the benefits of improved economic performance “in their pocket”.  If there is a concern that commodities have played an important role in this growth this may bring less benefit to ordinary people […]

Africa – The next investment frontier

There is an increasing international perception that Africa is standing now at a turning point. It has become one of the world’s top growth areas (5.6% per annum) thanks to the structural reforms being put in place and its demographic dividend for the next 40 years. After being seen as the lost continent for decades, the urbanization of Africa and the emergence of a huge urban consumer market will generate sustainable growth. For the first time, the highest returns are in the sectors delivering goods and services to Africans themselves. Although, Africa is still perceived as a high-risk destination for investors, experience and facts show positive returns and lower risks than those captured by the financial markets. Thus actors investing professionally in the continent see higher returns thanks to the misperception of risk which leads to above-average risk/return ratios. As a consequence, the emergence of the continent reflects in the over performance of all African asset classes for the last decade.

Nigeria, a closer look at its economic performance

There is an increasing international perception that Africa is standing now at a turning point. It has become one of the world’s top growth areas (5.6% per annum) thanks to the structural reforms being put in place and its demographic dividend for the next 40 years. After being seen as the lost continent for decades, the urbanization of Africa and the emergence of a huge urban consumer market will generate sustainable growth. For the first time, the highest returns are in the sectors delivering goods and services to Africans themselves. Although, Africa is still perceived as a high-risk destination for investors, experience and facts show positive returns and lower risks than those captured by the financial markets. Thus actors investing professionally in the continent see higher returns thanks to the misperception of risk which leads to above-average risk/return ratios. As a consequence, the emergence of the continent reflects in the over performance of all African asset classes for the last decade.

Africa Broadband -‘YahClick’ expands its presence in Angola

Yahsat Expands Presence of its Satellite Broadband Internet Service “Yahclick” in Angola
LUANDA, Angola, August 14, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Al Yah Satellite Communications Company, Yahsat (http://www.yahsat.ae), the Abu Dhabi based satellite operator, has further strengthened the availability of its flagship service YahClick, an affordable, high-speed satellite broadband Internet service, in the Republic of Angola through a new partnership with Global Telesat, the country’s established satellite telecoms provider.
Experts in satellite communications within the Republic and the wider African market, Global Telesat will distribute YahClick across the country via two main distribution channels, namely Electrix to target home users and Multitel to targeting businesses.
Global Telesat will offer cost effective YahClick service plans to suit both home and business users in urban, rural and remote locations to boost their access to a high speed and reliable Internet connection.
Commenting on the appointment of Global Telesat, Shawkat Ahmed, Chief Commercial Officer, Yahsat stated: “We are happy to strengthen our presence in Angola through our partnership with Global Telesat. As one of our local partners for YahClick in Angola, Global Telesat will provide set-up and maintenance services for home users and businesses. Africa is a key market for us and with the help of experts in the market like Global Telesat, Yahsat is pleased to be making cost effective and reliable Internet connectivity even more accessible to users across Angola.”
“YahClick is a powerful tool, one which will improve the life of business and home users requiring high speed and reliable internet access. While satellite services have existed in Angola for many years, YahClick makes satellite internet affordable for the very first time, for a much wider segment of businesses and home users who previously couldn’t consider satellite due to its prohibitive costs,” added Ivan Pizarro, Chief Executive Officer of Global Telesat.
YahClick is designed to provide satellite broadband Internet to everyone and is set to open new business opportunities and connectivity to a wide range of industries, NGOs, government, educational organisations and home users throughout its coverage area by providing reliable, high-bandwidth Internet connectivity to urban, rural and even remote communities.
Global Telesat says it will offer the YahClick service and local support services to address the specific needs of business, government organisations and home subscribers. Users, including those in underserved and un-served areas, will now be able to instantly connect to the satellite broadband Internet via a small satellite dish and modem that can be pre-ordered through Global Telesat. The service is available in Angola with no further infrastructure requirements.
YahClick is beamed through Yahsat’s second satellite Y1B satellite, the first satellite in the region to offer Internet connectivity through Ka-band multi-spot beams, providing a greater level of overall efficiency and cost-effective broadband solutions.

Mali gives .ml domain free

Mali became the first African nation to will give its domains for free. Dot ML – the Mali domain name – will be operated by the Agence des Technologies de lâ Information et de la Communication (AGETIC) as a generic, unrestricted, clean and global TLD focusing on individuals and businesses in- and outside Mali.

Free domain names will be offered to all internet users in both Mali and other countries from July 15th onwards. This General Availability will be preceded by a Sunrise and Landrush period, to protect trademark holders worldwide. There will be no restrictions to registrations of free domains and anyone can claim its own.ML domain. Free.ML domains work exactly like any other extension and can be renewed each registration period at no charge.

“We are proud to be the first African nation to give domain names for free,” says Moussa Dolo, general manager of Mali’s Agence des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (AGETIC). “By providing free domain names to internet users worldwide, we will put Mali back on the map. We wish to show the rest of the world the fantastic opportunities our country has to offer.”

The.ML launch schedule was released during the ICANN meeting in Beijing, China. The launch schedule includes a Sunrise, Landrush and General Availability phase. Sunrise starts on the 1st of May 2013 and will last for one month until May 31st. Landrush will begin the following day and will end on July 14th 2013. General Availability starts on July 15th at the ICANN meeting in Durban, South Africa.

During Sunrise and Landrush, hundreds of generic and premium domain names will be released. People interested in developing and utilizing.ML domains are invited to contact the Registry to discuss strategic partnership opportunities.

General Availability will start on July 15th, at which point domain names will be available on a “first-come, first-served” basis. Resellers are not required to perform any technical integration for Sunrise and Landrush and can simply connect to the Registry via API or EPP in time for the General Availability. All phases of the ML launch are open to hosting providers, registrars and trademark protection agencies.