Browsing: SSA

The continent in the near future will have the largest population in the world. The population of Africa is urbanizing as citizens of the nations of the continent migrate from rural to urban areas.

This addition to its vast natural resources is a potent combination for its rapid economic expansion. The world witnessed first-hand the economic miracle where China transformed itself from a rural backwater in 1949 when the modern Chinese state was founded to an economic and military superpower by 2019. The year 2019 is significant to China because the country celebrated 70 years of its founding as a communist state, and the Asian country gained worldwide recognition as a military superpower.

China put on a military parade that displayed a weapons arsenal that made the United States sit up and take notice. How was this possible? China’s economic transformation was because of several factors. One of the most important factors was and remains the rapid urbanization of its population, driven by the migration of millions of Chinese citizens from the rural areas to the booming metropolises. This urbanization increased the demand for natural resources and commodities needed to construct cities, roads, and infrastructure needed to support a rapidly expanding economy.

More than half of Sub-Saharan Africa’s population still does not have access to electricity according to a March 2020 report by the IMF. This means that the potential of the energy sector in Africa is immense since industry, education, healthcare and many other aspects of the economy cannot be fully exploited without power. 

In addition to inadequate power, those in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) have to pay on average nearly twice as much for electricity in comparison to consumers elsewhere in the world.  Even with power for the 50 per cent of the population, power shortages cost the continent an estimated 2 to 4 per cent of GDP a year.  

A report launched in April 2021 on the US-Kenya trade negotiations analysing the implications for the future of the US-Africa trade relationship shows that if successful, the FTA would represent the most significant innovation in US-African trade relations since the enactment of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) trade preference programme in 2000.

With a new administration taking over in the US following an election where Trump lost to President Joe Biden, an agreement has yet to be reached. This presents the Biden administration with a decision on whether to continue negotiations with Kenya.

A survey revealed that 77 per cent of temporary workers would be willing to receive their wages digitally if this gave them access to health insurance.

Combining digital payments with health insurance benefits offers an excellent opportunity for social inclusion, formalization, and financial innovation.
Data shows that if 50 per cent of temporary workers in Senegal received payments digitally, 45 billion CFA francs would be added to GDP per year (around US$80 million). Paying workers digitally, speeds up the financial inclusion for the population, boosts business competitiveness and increases financial system liquidity.

The lockdown measures no doubt worked in saving lives but brought a recession to the region due to the dramatic impact on local economies. The SSA which was experiencing the first recession in 25 years has been hit hard and the journey ahead remains difficult because of the lack of vaccines and fiscal stimulus which are a threat to Africa’s economic rebound.

In 2020, Sub-Saharan Africa’s economy shrunk by an extraordinary –1.9 per cent which was the worst outcome on record.

The annual value of this trade was reported in 2019 to be on average Ksh 18 billion (US$180 million) which is less than 1 per cent of the total country’s imports. The total imports of textiles in Kenya were valued at around Ksh 131 billion (US$1.3 billion) depicting that the second-hand clothes represented 12.5 per cent of the country’s total imports.