If you’re looking for clues over whether Goodluck Jonathan is going to break party policy by running again for the Nigerian presidency, then his decision to suspend the highly-respected governor of the country’s central bank is a good place to start.
Booting out Lamido Sanusi is the latest in a string of attempts by Jonathan to assert power ahead of a vote in early 2015, which together suggest that the much-criticised leader will run again for the presidency. In doing so he would break an unwritten rule.
After a decade-long resource push into Africa, the Chinese government is still struggling with an image problem.
The accusations come thick and fast: Chinese foremen overwork or abuse their labourers, immigrants are guilty of poaching and illegal mining, and merchants are undercutting local traders as they flood markets with cheap goods. As economic and diplomatic ties between China and Africa go from strength to strength, something’s still missing in the realm of cross-cultural relations.
Last week it was a Moroccan bank issuing international bonds, and now it’s the government that has global investors in its sights. The North African country plans to launch a €1bn ($1.36bn) eurobond over the next few weeks, sealing a crown as the the continent’s second-largest sovereign eurobond issuer. No prizes for guessing number one (South Africa).
With the prospect of Fed tapering looming increasingly large on the horizon, emerging market entities have been scrabbling to issue debt while the price is still right. On Thursday, Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur (BMCE Bank) joined party when it launched a $300m five-year eurobond at a yield of 6.5 per cent – the largest international note ever to come from a Moroccan financial institution.
Investors in Nigeria’s oil sector have been having a tough time of it as commercial-scale theft and sabotage have hurt operations and the country sits in regulatory limbo. Now there’s some bad news on taxation.
International oil companies have been lobbying hard to have the fiscal terms proposed in the now-famous draft Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) diluted, but it doesn’t look like those efforts have paid off. The government hasn’t got any intention of compromising on its proposed tax regime, the minister of petroleum resources said, despite complaints that production could slump by 25 per cent if the legislation is passed in its current form.
That's the easy part
Africa’s mobile revolution has become synonymous with its improving economic performance, but the sector is hitting some serious road bumps along the way.
After five years posting the highest growth rates in the world, the uptake of new mobile subscriptions across the sub-Saharan region is set to slow, by the reckoning of a report from GSMA, an association of mobile operators.
A year after it lifted a moratorium on fracking, South Africa’s government is poised to issue exploration licenses for shale gas. The move is heating up the debate on the impcat of the process.
South Africa is believed to have some of the world’s biggest reserves of shale gas, providing an important potential source of energy for the coal-dependent nation. Unfortunately, they are found in the vast Karoo region – a sparsely-populated semi-desert stretching across the heart of the country, which is staunchly defended by environmentalists.
It’s already been a record year for African bonds, despite the emerging market sell-off, and the list of 2013 issuers has just got longer. Nigeria’s largest lender, Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB), is the latest entity to tap yield-hungry international investors, launching a 5-year $400m eurobond at a yield of 6.13 per cent.
GTB is taking advantage of a bright period for emerging market debt. Borrowing costs soared and issues plummeted after the US Federal Reserve hinted in May that it would begin cutting back its bond buying programme, which has stimulated the purchase of EM assets. But since then it has delayed “tapering”, causing a slew of issuers to come to market while prices are still decent.
If the Westgate crisis wasn’t enough to show that security is still a major issue for even Africa’s most advanced economies, there are some new numbers to prove it.
While things are looking up for economic and human development, Africa has actually backtracked on issues of safety and rule of law since 2000, according to this year’s Ibrahim Index of African Governance. In that time, less than half of the 52 measured economies have shown any safety improvements at all.
Less than three years since civil war erupted in Ivory Coast it’s back to business as usual. Growth rates are now among the highest in Africa and the west African nation is set to return to international capital markets as it looks to finance infrastructure projects and pay off debt.
It’s well known that Nigeria’s oil industry is going through a rough patch – and one that’s likely to get rougher as a US shale boom revolutionises the global energy market. The government has noticed too and is setting its sights on other sectors as future sources of economic growth. Mining is high on the list.
William Ruto in the ICC courtroom
It’s clear that the four-day Westgate terror crisis has left Kenya’s leadership with huge security issues to contend with, but there’s another looming problem: the country’s two highest ranking politicians have dates somewhere else. Specifically, The Hague.
As Kenya enters crisis-response mode, the fact that its prime minister and his deputy are both indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity looks more problematic than ever. The country can ill afford an absent leadership. Here are the five key questions.
Sometimes you get lucky – the International Finance Corporation certainly did when it picked Thursday to launch its first local currency bond in Zambia.
As the US Federal Reserve confounded analysts by announcing that it will keep its quantitative easing programme steady at $85bn a month, prompting a rally in emerging market assets, the private sector arm of the World Bank issued a $150m ($28.5m) kwacha-denominated note at 15 per cent. The four-year “Zambezi” bond is the first issued by a foreign organisation in Zambia’s domestic market, and will raise money for IFC’s local operations, officials told beyondbrics.
Financial transparency has been top of the global policy agenda this year as developed nations make plans to clamp down on tax havens. But as those efforts gather momentum, Kenya and The Gambia are making ill-timed attempts to establish their own offshore financial centres.
Where’s the easiest place in the world to set up an untraceable shell company? Cayman? Singapore? Jersey? Not according to research by a group of academics. Actually, the answer is Kenya.