Tag Archives: Africa

Transformational Leadership Wanted

For the second year in a row, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation has come up empty-handed in finding eligible candidates for its Ibrahim Prize, a prize worth quite a notable chunk of change – $5M for the first 10 years, and then another $200K every year thereafter. Yet the award has actually only been given out twice – first in its inaugural year in 2007 and then again in 2008. What gives? The Ibrahim Prize, which celebrates excellence in African leadership looks for a couple key ingredients for its recipient: a democratically elected former African Executive Head of State or Government, who has served his/her term in office within the limits set by the country’s constitution and has left office in the last three years.

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Africa: The Next BRIC? Or Not Yet?

Senegal Street Market

A market in Senegal. Can this street become the next hotbed of global economic growth? (Photo: CIPE)

Much has been said about the BRIC economies – Brazil, Russia, India, and China – the group that is slowly but surely assuming a prominent position in global markets, making the old debate about the first and third world obsolete.  But is there a new BRIC on the horizon?

According to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Managing Director of the World Bank – its Africa.  In  her his recent speech at Harvard’s Kennedy School, she argues that Africa is set to join BRICs as the dominant force in the global economy.  For that to happen, according to Okonjo-Iweala three things are necessary:

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Merging the Public-Private Gap

Later this week, together with the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA-Ghana) we are holding a West  Africa regional forum on the impact of the financial crisis on countries in the region and policy responses.  In anticipation of the main conference, which will bring together as many as 100 public and private participants from Ghana, Togo, Mali, Senegal, and Nigeria we are holding a small public-private advocacy session to establish a common understanding of advocacy and discuss concrete reform priorities.

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50 Things You Don’t Know About Africa

Some things I didn’t know about Africa:
  • South Africa has 924 mobile phones per 1000 people; Eritrea has 22 per 1000 people.
  • The highest connection charge for a business phone is $366.6 in Benin; the lowest is in Ghana at $0.7.
  • In Sierra Leone 3 persons per 1,000 are Internet users
  • For the period 2007, Zimbabwe has the highest adult literacy rate (91.2 percent); Mali and Burkina Faso have the lowest (28.7 percent)
  • Cape Verde receives the highest net ODA per capita ($438.2); Nigeria receives the lowest ($9.5).

See all 50 things you don’t know about Africa on the World Bank website.

Quiet Corruption

“Quiet corruption” – the failure of public servants to deliver goods or services paid for by governments – is pervasive and widespread across Africa and is having a disproportionate effect on the poor, with long-term consequences for development, according to a new report from the World Bank.

This is according to the World Bank’s newly released Africa Development Indicators. Read more in the press release on the World Bank website or check out the report itself.

Overall, the report is interesting in that it shows that corruption is not just about bribery (exchange of money in brown envelopes), its much more complex than that. Report visual – “quiet corruption” as the bottom [larger] part of the iceberg hidden below the water level.

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Resource Curse in Action

There are many ways of making money. One of them is rigging the system in your own favor. The son of Equatorial Guinea’s ruler has perfected the approach in his own back yard.

…the president’s son and agriculture minister has transferred at least $73m (£44m)into America to pay for a $35m Malibu mansion and private jet. Teodoro Obiang Nguema junior is said to have imposed a tax on timber payable not to the national treasury but directly to him.

Oil has certainly fueled economic growth in the country and in GDP per capita terms the country is one of the richest in the world (more than $30,000 according to the World Bank which is higher than Spain, Italy, Greece, South Korea and others.)

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Tea time in Kenya

When it comes to global agriculture, you can taste a hint of the African continent’s powerhouse potential in every sip of tea. Kenya is the world’s largest producer of black tea; through its port city of Mombasa flow Kenya’s and almost all the rest of East Africa’s tea. Mombasa’s vast dominance of worldwide tea exports puts it on par with the New York City Mercantile Exchange, Chicago’s Board of Trade, or London’s Metal Exchange. It’s a place where global benchmark prices are set. Kenya’s resilience as a global market for tea is reflected in the fact that even in today’s global recession Kenya’s tea growers were able to capture record revenue for their crops.

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