The Bottom Line and The Bottom Billion: Rosa Whitaker gives her view on Africa’s way out of poverty

Original Article

On December 9 Rosa Whitaker visited Stockholm. Ms Whitaker’s motto is that poverty in Africa can only be fought effectively with new jobs, enterprise and investment, and through collaboration with business, empowered citizens and civil societies.

Rosa Whitaker has been adviser to President Clinton as well as President George W. Bush. In the US, she developed and implemented the African Growth and Opportunity Act and successfully took the Africa Trade and Investment Caucas to resolution in the US Congress. Rosa Whitaker then became the US ambassador of trade for Africa. Before this assignment she was engaged in Africa’s energy and food supply programme and was adviser to Robert B. Zoellick, who is now head of the World Bank.

Today, Rosa Whitaker is President and CEO of the Whitaker Group, a company which, with assignments from several African Governments, seeks to increase trade and investment in Africa. She is a well-known and honoured adviser to politicians and business executives who want to build an economically sustainable Africa. Since 2006, Rosa Whitaker has worked to improve health and medical services in Africa. She lives in Washington D.C. and Accra, Ghana.

TWG Fast Facts: September 19 – 23, 2011

IMF estimates GDP growth forecast for Sub-Saharan Africa for this year at 5.2%
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Africa’s GDP advanced at a rate of 5.5% annually between 2000 and 2010, compared to a global average of 4.4%.
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Africa loses 2% of its GDP every year due to the effects of malaria.
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Since 2008, 11 malaria-endemic countries in Africa have been able to slash malaria cases by 50%.
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Malaria deaths in Rwanda dropped by 60% between 2005 and 2010.
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Communications is the fastest-growing sector in Tanzania, accounting for 20% of GDP in the country.
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South Africa’s economy created 7,000 jobs in the second quarter.
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The textile sub-sector is the 4th largest in Kenya, accounting for 11% of the manufacturing sector. It employs over 60% of workers within the export processing zones.
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Norwegian company, EMGS wins US$5.5million contract to find oil offshore Ghana
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TWG Fast Facts: September 12 – 16, 2011

China is the largest funding nation for Africa’s hydropower sector, with US$9.3 billion to date.
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Africa accounts for 38% of the world cashew nut production; only 10% is processed on the continent.
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Rwanda provides HIV antiretroviral therapy to 93% of all people in need.
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Ghana imports approximately 200,000 tonnes of chicken per year, or approximately 2.7 million chickens per week.
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Kenyans living abroad sent home US$79.6 million in August; that’s 53% jump from the same period a year.
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Citadel Capital has mobilized US$70 million for railways rehabilitation in East Africa.
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According to the UN, agriculture accounts for 14% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than transportation’s 13% and close to industry’s 19%.
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The Central Bank of Kenya recorded a 70% increase in issuance of debit cards in June 2011.
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Event Invitation: RHB Africa Innovators, Visionaries and Policymakers Gather, September 21

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 20, 2011 – A distinguished array of actors at the forefront of Africa’s economic rise will gather on Wednesday, September 21, 2011, at the Constituency for Africa’s inaugural African Leadership Gala Awards Reception and Dinner. The dinner honors six exceptional leaders in the Africa arena – among them The Whitaker Group’s Rosa Whitaker, who will receive the “Outstanding Constituent for Africa Award.”

The event is a critical primer for the International Monetary Fund Fall Meetings (September 23 – 25) in Washington, where finance ministers and development experts tackle pressing global economic challenges. Under the theme of “Excellence in Leadership for a 21st Century Africa,” the gala will give stakeholders a unique opportunity to interact with the key officials, visionaries and innovators fueling African progress.

The event’s keynote speaker is Her Excellency Joyce Banda, Vice President of Malawi. The audience will also hear from the World Bank’s Vice President of the Africa Region, Obiageli K. Ezekwesili. A former Nigerian cabinet minister and co-founder of Transparency International, Ms. Ezekwesili has played a transformative role in fostering sustainable development in Africa. She will receive the “African Pioneer Award” for outstanding achievement in support of the advancement of strategic linkages with the African Diaspora.

Other honorees include:

  • Vincent O. Ebuh, Chairman of Petrolog International, who will be recognized for his outstanding private-sector leadership in Africa;
  • The Hon. Denis Sassou-Nguesso, Minister of Petroleum, Republic of Congo, who is being honored for leadership in advancing linkages with the African Diaspora;
  • Rosa Whitaker, President and CEO of The Whitaker Group, who will receive the “Outstanding Constituent for Africa Award” in recognition of her steadfast advocacy efforts on behalf of Africa;
  • Chief Michael Adenuga, who will be presented the “Lion of Africa” award; and,
  • The Chevron Corporation, which will honored for its leadership and commitment to meaningful corporate social responsibility in Africa.

The awards reception and dinner, to be held from 6:30 pm to 10:00 pm at the Westin Hotel (1400 M St, NW, Washington, DC), is the highlight of the 2011 Ronald H. Brown African Affairs Series, held annually in conjunction with the Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference. Among those attending are high-level African government officials, members of the African diplomatic corps, members of the U.S. Congress, U.S. government officials, Congressional staffers, African entrepreneurs, and representatives from multilateral institutions, NGOs, civil society and the private sector.

For more information, or to RSVP, please contact David J. Saunders at 202.371.0588 or email at intern_cfa@yahoo.com.

TWG Fast Facts: September 5 – September 9, 2011

Namibia is home to one of Africa’s largest hybrid solar systems.
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Coca-Cola, Diageo and WaterHealth International launch innovative water partnership in Ghana.
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IBM sees promising investment opportunities in Ugandan economy.
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Anadarko Petroleum to begin oil exploration in the waters of the Ivory Coast later this year.
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Ghana: new petroleum exploration and production bill may require oil companies to obtain state’s approval for loans.
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World Bank in talks with China to promote the transfer of low-value manufacturing jobs Africa.
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Nigeria Central Bank chief sees China Yuan becoming reserve currency.
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Current demand for hotel rooms in and around Lagos, Nigeria, is expected to grow at an average of 15% per annum.
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Tourism revenues in Rwanda increased by 14% between 2009 and 2010.
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China invested US$26.7 million in Kenya’s economy in the first half of 2011, becoming the first source of foreign direct investment in the country.
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Imports to African countries surged by 53% to during the first half of 2011 over the same period last year.
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World Bank: agricultural productivity is one of the causes of the rebound in economic growth in Africa.
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World Economic Forum reveals Africa’s ten most competitive countries.
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TWG Fast Facts: August 29 – September 2, 2011

Samsung aims US$10 billion in revenue in Sub-Saharan Africa by 2015.
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IKEA’s US$62 million donation to the Horn of Africa through the UN is the largest private donation it has received since it was established in 1950.
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SADC, COMESA and EAC have 578 million consumers spanning 26 African countries and a combined GDP of US$853 billion.
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Thermal power accounts for 85% of Uganda’s power generation costs.
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Only 9% of Rwanda is electrified.
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Rwanda is the East African country that has improved its business regulatory environment the most over the past five years.
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Poor sanitation is the cause of death for 1.5 million under-five children globally each year.
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FDI in Ghana rose to about 50% in 2009, while they dropped by 29% in Nigeria.
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China’s trade with Africa is expected to hit the US$100 billion mark by 2015.
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TWG Fast Facts: August 22 – 26, 2011

IFC: only 5% of sub-Saharan Africa’s power production is generated by the private sector compared with 50% in Latin America.
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Around 60% of all African private equity funds are funded by development financial institutions.
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Africa accounts for less than 1% of the global manufacturing.
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INED: Africa to account for one quarter of humanity by 2050.
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Remittances from Ethiopian diaspora hit a record US$ 1.5 billion, that’s an 88% growth from the previous fiscal year.
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Burundi’s tax revenue rose 29% year-on-year thanks to an improving economy and efforts to fight tax evasion.
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Kenya: tourism revenues for the first six months up 32% more than the same period last year.
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Prior to the 2008 global recession, the non-oil exports to the US had grown by nearly 240% since AGOA’s passage.
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Nigeria’s domestic and foreign debts amount to $39.7 billion which is about 20% of country’s GDP.
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South Sudan’s GDP per capita in 2010 was estimated at US$1,546 million, twice that of Kenya.
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The volume of trade between China and Tanzania in 2010 was US$1.65 billion which increased by 40% compared with 2009.
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TWG Fast Facts: August 15 – 19, 2011

Intra-COMESA trade increased more than five times from US$3.1 billion in 2001 to US$17 billion in 2010.
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Tanzania’s proven gas reserves are 7.5 trillion cubic feet.
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Nigeria has proven natural gas reserves of 187 trillion cubic feet.
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Nigeria currently generates about 4,000 MW of power. That’s only 2% of the electricity needed for the entire population.
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Bank of Uganda estimates the country will save US$600 million per year in oil imports when it begins oil production next year.
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Kosmos Energy makes US$124 million in revenue from sale of Ghana crude.
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About 40% of the average income for most people in East Africa is spent on kerosene as a source of lighting.
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South Africa generates the equivalent of 95% of the continent’s electricity and hosts about 60% of its rail network.
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Less than 0.1% of Nigerian women are screened for cervical cancer in their lifetime.
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Cervical cancer accounts for 15% female cancers in developing countries against about 3.6 % in developed countries.
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The UN reports that 29,000 children under five have died in Somalia over the last 3 months.
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TWG Fast Facts: August 8 – 12, 2011

KosmosEnergy has so far invested about US$1.5billion in the development of the Jubilee Field off the coast of Ghana.
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Since the beginning of 2011, the United States has so far provided $565 million in humanitarian assistance to the Horn of Africa.
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Africa-China trade grew from $5 billion to $56 billion between 2000 and 2008, before reaching $115 billion in 2010. Crude oil constitutes 70% of African exports to China, and raw materials 15%.
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Only 23% of arable land in Tanzania is currently being farmed.
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Sending a daily SMS to health workers in rural Africa has improved the deliverance of malaria treatment by 25%.
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The Economist reports that about 40% of Africa’s farm produce is lost on the way to the market.
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Maize (corn) yields per hectare in Rwanda have increased from 68% in 2007 to 212% today.
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Juniper Research projects the African mobile banking market to grow to $22 billion by 2015. About 37% of South Africans use mobile banking; that’s three times more than the top user in Europe (France).
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Annual trade between India & Africa increased 15-fold within a decade to US$46 billion in 2010 from US$3 billion in 2000. India determined to increase trade with Africa from current $46 billion to $70 billion before 2014.
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World Tourism Organisation reports that six out of the nine major African destinations are from Southern Africa.
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Rwanda’s GDP growth stood at 7.5% in 2010, the highest in the region.
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Gold production in Ghana, Africa’s 2nd-largest gold producer after South Africa, rose 14% for the first quarter 2011.
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Trade between China and Africa expected to triple to US$300 billion a year by 2015.
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TWG Fast Facts: Aug 01 – 05, 2011

Capital invested in Africa will continue to rise in coming years to US$150 billion per year in 2015.
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Between 2003 and 2010, intra-continental investment in Africa grew by a 21%.
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UN: damages caused by oil pollution in Niger Delta estimated at US$1 billion.
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Nigeria spent US$1.34 billion importing refined petroleum between January and March 2011.
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FAO: between 30% and 60% of agricultural production is lost between the farms and the markets in Africa.
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Experts estimate that up to US$30 billion need to be invested between 2005 and 2016 to meet Africa healthcare needs.
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East Africa: annual growth in demand for electricity is estimated at 5.3% per year.
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UNESCO: in sub-Saharan Africa nearly 92% of the rural population and 48% of the urban population does not have modern energy services.
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South Africa spends US$3.1 billion annually on research and development in aeronautics, nuclear engineering, chemistry, metallurgy, agriculture and medicine.
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Kenya has approximately 25 million mobile subscribers and 10.2 million regular Internet users.
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An estimated 14.5 million people in Kenya have access to mobile-based financial services.
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African forest cover declined at an average rate of 1.7% annually between 1990 and 2005, or approximately 70,000 hectares each year.
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The number of people living in Africa’s cities expected to double by 2030.
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Tanzania: 87% of businesses are directly affected by shortage in electricity.
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Approximately 70% of new investment projects are concentrated in only 10 African countries including South Africa, Algeria, Angola, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, the Congo Brazzaville, Morocco, Nigeria and Tunisia.
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TWG Fast Facts: July 25 – 29, 2011

In the first quarter of 2011, US total trade (both exports and imports) with sub-Saharan Africa rose by 20% to nearly US$23 billion as compared to the same period the previous year.
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The top five African destinations for US products are South Africa, Nigeria, Angola, Ghana and Ethiopia.
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With US$9.9 billion, Angola stands as the largest earner of foreign investment inflows in Africa in 2010.
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Close to 20% of global electricity supply in 2010 came from renewable energy sources.
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Only 2% of Africa’s rural people are connected to national power grids
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According to the United Nations, the hydro-electric potential of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) alone is estimated to be enough to provide three times as much power as Africa currently consumes.
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About 80% of power generation in South Africa is coal fired.
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South Africa, Namibia and Niger collectively have over 20% of the world’s accessible uranium reserves.
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The Kenyan hospitality industry will need to add at least 2,500 new beds in the next year to meet growing tourism demands.
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The majority of the annual 300,000 victims of malaria in Nigeria are children under the age of five.
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Malnutrition directly and indirectly contributes up to 60% of child mortality in Uganda.
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According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 7 million Africans suffer from diabetes.
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Development Groups Not Pushing Duty-Free Quota-Free Package

Originally Published 07/15/2011 by Inside U.S. Trade

Amid contentious discussions in Geneva aimed at forging a Doha round package by December that would include duty-free quota-free (DFQF) trade for the world’s least developed countries (LDC), U.S. development groups are not actively lobbying Congress to agree to such concessions from the United States, according to informed sources.

This is partially due to the fact that Republicans in the House Committee on Ways and Means have signaled they are not ready to engage on the controversial DFQF issue as they focus on the passage of three pending free trade agreements and renewing two expired preference programs.

A two-year renewal of the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) and the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act (ATPDEA) is likely to be included in the final implementing bill for the U.S.-Colombia FTA.

But gridlock in Geneva has also led development groups to shift their efforts away from the issue because the U.S. is setting conditions for implementing DFQF that are unlikely to be met, according to Stephanie Burgos, senior policy adviser at Oxfam America.

“What we have heard consistently from U.S. negotiators is that the problem with moving Doha forward is that there’s not enough on the table for the U.S., and so it’s not appropriate to move forward with [DFQF] at this time,” Burgos said.

“Of course, we disagree with that,” she added, “but that combination of circumstances has led us to believe that it’s unlikely that duty-free quota-free is going to get moved this year.” Continue reading

TWG Fast Facts: July 18 – 22, 2011

About 40% of Google searches in Africa come from internet users on mobile devices.
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has projected the Tanzania’s economy to grow by 6.9% this year and 7.3% in 2012.
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The African Development Bank (AfDB) has projected the Kenyan economy to grow by 5.3% this year and accelerate to 5.5% next year.
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From 2009 to 2010, U.S. imports from Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) increased by 39% to reach $65 billion.
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In 2010, AGOA imports were US$44 billion, 31% more than in 2009.
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Nigeria accounts for over 50% of U.S. oil import from Africa.
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The oil production in the Gulf of Guinea is projected to grow from 3 million barrels of oil a day to 7 million in three years.
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Sub-Saharan Africa’s share of private equity and venture capital funds, stood at US$ 1.5 billion or 6% of the total funds raised in 2010.
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Institutional donor aid in 2010 was at its highest-ever level – US$16.7 billion.
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According to the WTO, disbursements in purpose of aid for trade have been increasing at a constant growth rate of above 10% each year since 2006.
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Tullow Oil has sold more than 3.5 million ordinary shares for US$72.3 million on the Ghana Stock Exchange.
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Kenya is the world’s biggest tea exporter accounting for 26% of total produced volume.
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The Kenyan hospitality industry will need to create at least 2,500 new bed capacity in the next year.
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Malnutrition directly and indirectly contributes up to 60% of child mortality in Uganda.
>>Read More

Close to 20% of global electricity supply in 2010 came from renewable energy sources.
>>Read More

According to the World Health Organisation, an estimated 7 million Africans suffer from diabetes.
>>Read More

Thousands of Jobs Hang On African Textile Trade Deal

Originally written by Daniel Fisher in Forbes, July 20, 2011

One of the great things about Internet journalism is the dialogue it fosters among writers, readers and sources. At its best, the readers become sources and inform the writer with details he didn’t know when he set fingers to keyboard.

After publishing our list of the World’s Worst Economies — a feature that predictably generates nastygrams from officials of the named countries — I got this email from a Washington consultant who knows all about the trade woes afflicting bottom-of-the-list Madagascar. Some of them stem from the country’s ejection from the African Growth and Opportunity Act, which devastated that island nation’s once-growing clothing industry. AGOA is a free-trade deal that gives Americans access to cheaper clothes, but more importantly generates jobs in African countries. It’s up for renewal, but as Nathaniel Adams notes below, so far it’s suffered from “benign neglect.” That’s bad news for the tens of thousands of African clothing workers, most of them women, who depend on exports to the U.S. to eat. Full disclosure: Adams works for the Whitaker Group, whose founder, Rosa Whitaker, helped design AGOA while she was at the State Dept. Whitaker represents Lesotho in the U.S. but no clothing importers.

Nathaniel Adams reports:

Third-Country Fabric, AGOA, and the Risks of Inaction

Ten years ago, with the passage of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), America shifted its Africa policy and embarked on an historic new trade- and investment-centered policy approach towards Africa. Enacted into law in 2000 and expanded three times since then, AGOA has consistently maintained strong bipartisan Congressional and public support because it is cost-effective and makes good policy sense.

AGOA removed all US tariffs and quotas from nearly all products made in Sub-Saharan Africa. Viewed through the lens of job creation, export growth and income generation — all critical pillars for Africa’s exit from abject poverty — AGOA has delivered impressive results, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in Africa and nearly tripling African exports to the US over the past decade. At the same time, US exports to Africa have risen threefold, from $5.9 billion in 2000 to over $15 billion in 2009.

While US development aid to Africa has exceeded $3 billion over the past decade with dubious results, the relatively miniscule cost of foregone tariff revenues under AGOA, coupled with the undeniably dynamic effect on Africa’s economies, begs the question: Why isn’t renewing AGOA a higher priority for US lawmakers?

The African Garment Sector and the 3rd Country Fabric Provision

Africa’s garment sector over the past decade provides an overwhelming example of how trade policy can spur development. The garment sector is a particularly good sector to focus on, too – as we’ve seen before in Asia, garment production typically serves a bridge into more broad-based manufacturing and industrialization.

During the first five years of AGOA from 2000-2005, Africa’s garment exports to the US grew 102%, and in the process generated meaningful employment for 300,000 largely unskilled workers. When the WTO Multi-Fiber Arrangement was allowed to expire in 2005, lifting quotas on hyper-competitive Asian economies, the effect on African garment producers was severe. Practically overnight, Africa’s garment factories lost 42% of orders to lower-cost imports from Asia. The sector has been slow to regain ground ever since.

The bottleneck for Africa’s garment sector is the fabric itself. African countries lack the ability to produce the requisite commercial quantities of yarns and fabrics needed for garment production, so AGOA’s 3rd Country Fabric provision allows them to import fabrics and yarns from countries outside Africa to then assemble and export to the US with AGOA benefits. To date, the gains from this particular provision have been tremendous, and 95% of US garment imports from Africa fall under this provision’s purview.

For many countries in Africa, the stakes are now incredibly high. Lesotho, for example, relies almost exclusively on garment manufacturing for mass employment and income generation. As of 2009, the garment industry in Lesotho provides roughly 40,000 jobs. Moreover, 85% of these workers are women, and each is the sole breadwinner for her household, supporting between 4 and 8 family members. The timely renewal of the 3rd Country Fabric provision is understandably a matter of grave concern for a heavy percentage of Lesotho’s 2 million inhabitants.

And yet, given the clear and observable impact of AGOA, its renewal on the Hill suffers from benign neglect. This is ironic, given that the “Trade not Aid” mantra should have real resonance in today’s policy dialogue on US foreign assistance to the developing world.

Thankfully, last week Congressman Jim McDermott (D-WA) submitted a bill to renew 3rd Country Fabric to 2015. This is a step in the right direction, but it remains crucial for Congress to keep their attention on passing the bill on time and intact. Failure to do so would be catastrophic for Africa’s continuing battle against poverty, and Madagascar’s own economic tailspin could be mirrored around the continent.

Africa’s New Business Climate: An Interview with Rosa Whitaker

Rosa_GV Africa Article

As South Africa becomes the first African BRIC and CEOs plot new emerging market strategies for Sub-Saharan Africa, there is one business actor who already holds the credential of facilitating several billion dollars of trade and investment on the continent. That person is Rosa Whitaker, founder and CEO of The Whitaker Group. Rosa’s commitment to Africa began long before the recent spike of business interest…Global Vision had the opportunity to speak with Ms. Whitaker, tapping her unique perspective on African business issues.

Full article, as well as a profile of Africa.com CEO Teresa Clark, by Jake R. Bright can be found in the June-August 2011 edition of Global Vision.

Continue reading

TWG Fast Facts: May 23 – May 27, 2011

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Sub- Saharan Africa’s GDP to grow by 5.5% in 2011 and 5.8% in 2012.
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UNCTAD expects the dollar value of remittances into Africa to grow by 4.5 and 6.7% in 2011 and 2012, respectively, which would further support the strengthening of household consumption.
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Ghana’s total maritime trade increased 16% in 2010 from 2009. Total imports increased 19%.
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Angola’s budget revenue was 939.6 billion kwanza ($10 billion) in the first quarter, of which 71% from generated from oil.
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Manufactured goods currently constitute only 14% of Africa’s exports.
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In 2010, the US exported goods and services worth $17.1 billion to Africa, while its imports from the region were $64.3 billion.
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Ex-Im expects Africa-linked distributions to US exporters to increase to between $1 billion and $1.5 billion in 2011.
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Capital flows to Sub-Saharan Africa rose from US$35.8 billion in 2009 to an estimated US$41.1 billion in 2010 – and are expected to reach US$48.5 billion this year.
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Out of the US$660 million Indian investments in Ethiopia, almost 65% is involved agriculture-based.
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Afren estimates that only 480 wells have been drilled in East Africa, compared with 14,500 in the west of the continent and 19,000 wells in Central and North Africa.
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From the Africa Progress Panel’s 2011 Progress Report

  • By 2032 Africa will have a larger working population than China and larger than India by 2036.
  • From 2011-2015, 7 of the 10 fastest growing economies will be in Africa.
  • McKinsey estimates that the commodity boom is responsible for 36% of Africa’s economic growth.
  • The poverty rate in Africa is only declining by 1% a year.

Rosa Whitaker Comments on the World Bank’s New Africa Strategy

“The World Bank’s Africa Strategy is focused on key obstacles that have been inhibiting trade.”

“With the Bank’s focus on human productivity, that is investments in people and also training and the transfer of knowledge, you will have an Africa that is producing at the scale that world and the region is demanding.”

Click link to watch the full video: Africa’s Future and the World Bank’s Support to it

Accessing Africa’s Landlocked Consumers

Landlocked countries

Statistics presented by Boeing last February at the first-ever Air Cargo Africa conference provide further evidence of Africa’s growing integration into global markets. The aircraft company reported that Africa’s air freight industry is growing at a robust average annual rate of 20%, indicative of the increasing demand for consumer goods by the continent’s burgeoning middle class (by 2020, the number of middle class Africans will almost double, with combined consumer spending of USD $1.4 trillion), as well as a commitment on the part of Africa’s growing economies to become more globally competitive.

 While developing an air transport industry is important to the continent as a whole, it is perhaps most critical for Africa’s 15 landlocked nations (South Sudan will join these ranks once it declares independence next month). Being landlocked can stunt economic development and isolate a country from international markets. Such countries are usually heavily dependent on their neighbors for trade facilitation- in 2009, Ethiopia relied on Djibouti’s port for 90% of its export and imports. As Paul Collier stated, “If you are landlocked, you serve your neighbors; if you are coastal you serve the world.” High transportation costs also inhibit external trade by accounting for significantly more – in some cases as much as 77% – of the value of exports, thereby diminishing trade competitiveness. Agriculture- which accounts for an average of 30% of GDP for Africa’s landlocked nations and 60% of employment in the region as a whole- is particularly affected by inefficient transportation as the products can easily spoil. Several countries are taking steps to overcome these geopolitical trade barriers, in part by prioritizing the development of their aviation sectors: building airports and air cargo storage facilities, upgrading their planes and increasing routes to facilitate the flow of people and goods to and from their countries.

The Landlocked Market

Not only is developing air freight capacity relevant to the landlocked nations themselves, but it should also be of interest to those companies looking to access untapped consumer-goods markets. Sub-Saharan Africa’s landlocked countries are home to almost one-quarter of the region’s population (243 million people). According to the World Bank, 10/15 of these countries are projected to achieve at least 5% economic growth in 2011 and 9/15 are ranked in the top 20 population growth rates in the world. These countries present tremendous potential that can be effectively ‘unlocked’ and accessed through improved air transportation.

Creating Partnerships to Address NCDs

This post was written by Jeffrey L. Sturchio, president and CEO of the Global Health Council.

Recently I had the opportunity to spend time with senior health officials from several African countries as part of the annual African Health Delegation visit organized by Global Health Progress.  The theme of the week—“Accelerating Progress Through Strengthened Partnerships”—points to the growing attention to collaboration at all levels as an effective approach to solving critical global health challenges.    The Brazzaville Declaration adopted earlier this month by the first Africa Regional Ministerial Consultation on non-communicable diseases (NCDs) also acknowledges the importance of partnerships, alliances and networks that join academic and research institutions, public and private sectors, and civil society as vital tools in the prevention and control of cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and respiratory illness.

But the notion of partnership also raises important questions about what we mean by the term:  Who makes the decisions?  Who controls the money?  How do partnerships fit with country ownership of health strategies and action plans?    African health ministries must grapple with the pragmatic issues of addressing a broad spectrum of public health challenges with scarce financial and human resources, often while juggling myriad inquiries and disparate reporting requirements from many well-intentioned development partners.   The members of the African Health Delegation had a range of questions and discerning observations for us about how to put real country ownership into practice, while their comments about practices in their countries (ranging from the complex federal system in Nigeria to the smaller, yet still complicated situations in countries like Botswana, Lesotho and Swaziland) clarified the issues of partnership for the mix of academic, NGO and private sector leaders in their audiences in both Washington, DC, and New York.     The perspectives that delegation members offered on the questions we discussed were illuminating and informative.  The lively exchanges at the events I attended reinforced a basic insight:  global health policy can’t be designed in a vacuum, and there’s no substitute for local knowledge of what works and what doesn’t. Continue reading

Africans Leading the Charge on Global Health Progress

April 20, 2011 – Francis Ansong

This week, I represent Ghana in the ongoing battle against Africa’s outsized disease burden.

The author, Francis Ansong, a Research Associate in The Whitaker Group’s Accra office, is pictured with Dr. Frank Nyonator, Ghana’s Director of the Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation - Ministry of Health.

The author, Francis Ansong, a Research Assistant in The Whitaker Group’s Accra office, is pictured with Dr. Frank Nyonator, Ghana’s Director of Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation - Ministry of Health.

On April 10th, I traveled from my home in Accra, Ghana to Washington D.C. to join a group of senior African health officials – leaders from Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, Swaziland and Uganda – and take part in Global Health Progress’ (GHP’s) 4th Annual Health Delegation.

Through GHP, African health officials meet with U.S. government representatives, members of the donor community, the private sector, NGOs and universities, to talk with global health stakeholders and work to align their priorities in the fight to overcome Africa’s health challenges.

Although the meetings are critical for partners to connect – some who have talked only at a distance before this opportunity allowed them to meet face-to-face – it is the chance to speak directly and openly about Africa’s health needs that draws delegates to Washington D.C. and New York City each year. And, for me, it was inspiring to hear these leaders speak first-hand about their experiences at the front lines and how they’ve overcome hurdles to achieve success.

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