Studies and Reports

THE EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY, WHY THIS TIME IS DIFFERENT

Ethan B. Kapstein

INSEAD and Center for Global Development May 2010

Abstract

The emergence of the “new” East African Community (EAC) since 1999 has been generally greeted by observ­ers with what might be described as “cautious optimism” (Goldstein and Ndung’u 2001; Streatfield 2003). On the one hand, optimism seems warranted because the EAC reflects a welcome consensus on the part of the region’s leaders that trade and private sector invest­ment are crucial inputs to sustained growth and development; but on the other, some caution regarding what to expect from the EAC is hardly surprising, as the collapse in 1977 of an earlier effort at regional integration suggests that the road ahead is anything but straight-forward, with numerous barriers remaining that must be overcome.

In this paper I argue that the region has changed along each of these three dimensions since the late 1970s, meaning that current efforts at regional integration are being carried out under a very different set of political and economic circumstances. In terms of the relative scale argument, the fast growth of Uganda and Tanzania in comparison to Kenya over the past ten or twenty years has not only narrowed the gap between them and their larger neighbor, but it has given these smaller nations confidence in their competitive abilities, again revealing that “small can be beautiful” when it comes to economic growth2. On the political front, all three countries are much closer politically than they were thirty years ago in important respects. Finally, changes in the economic structures of these countries, coupled with a growing middle class that has increasingly sophisticated product demands, suggest that the benefits from trade may be much greater than at earlier times when the commodity structures of all these countries was mainly agricul­tural.

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Banking on Africa Standard Chartered’s social and economic impact

A report by Dr René Kim and Professor Ethan B Kapstein

Abstract

All eyes are on Africa. Over the past decade, the continent has consistently grown faster than the world as a whole. And unlike previous resource-driven booms, this time Africa’s success is built on foundations that should be sustainable for the long term. A new and confident African middle class is emerging, and trade is expanding rapidly, notably with Asia. Meanwhile, Africa is leapfrogging old technologies and embracing the digital revolution, leading the world in innovations such as mobile payments. Across Africa, the opportunities are compelling. Yet, it would be wrong to deny the challenges – social, political and economic – that face the continent. Despite Africa’s strong performance, poverty and income inequality continue to be significant challenges. Job creation is not keeping pace with the continent’s rapidly growing population. Lack of investment in infrastructure has left much of Sub-Saharan Africa with an insufficient and unreliable power supply, hampering long-term growth.

Jobs are essential to eradicating poverty and fostering real development in economies. And banking plays an important role in job creation. Banks fuel employment by providing credit and other financial services that help businesses set up, trade and expand – and by working with governments to remove barriers to economic activity.

We commissioned this independent study to measure the role of Standard Chartered, and of banking more broadly, in generating trade, growth and jobs across Africa, and to find out what we can do better.

 

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Activities of  Africa 2016 forum

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Activities of Africa 2016 forum launched on  Saturday February 20, 2016, organized by Egypt in cooperation with COMESA in Sharm el Sheikh under the auspices  of the African Union Commission and in the presence of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

Sisi’s inauguration speech

President Sisi delivered  a speech at the inauguration of  the trade and investment forum in Africa where he stressed that the achievement of development is the main challenge that requires improving  mechanisms  of common African efforts and adopting regional integration, especially in the light of the close linkage between Africa’s economic development requirements and the need to implement giant regional projects in various domains, including infrastructure, as well as boosting the  competitive abilities of national markets in a way  to attract more investments and get access to  international markets taking into consideration the increasing challenges faced by world economy. Sisi urged African leaders and international business communities and partners to work for launching several development projects and initiatives within a framework that could strike a balance between the legitimate aspirations of the peoples for a better future and those of development partners for profits.

Sisi meets with COMESA chief

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met on Saturday with Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretary-General Sindiso Ngwenya on the sidelines of Africa 2016 Forum, now in session in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el Sheikh. Attending the meeting were the ministers of foreign affairs, investment, international cooperation and trade and industry. President Sisi praised efforts made by COMESA to achieve cooperation and regional integration in Africa, Presidential Spokesman Alaa Yousef said. The president pointed out to Egypt’s support for COMESA’s activities in the regional and international forums. He expressed his appreciation for COMESA’s participation in following up Egypt’s parliamentary elections. For his part, Ngwenya expressed his appreciation for president Sisi’s effort to back development efforts in Africa and promote trade and investment ties among its countries. He said that Egypt has become Africa’s political and economic capital in light of its hosting to a number of important African events.  He also praised president Sisi’s efforts for defending the interests of Africa especially regarding the climate change efforts. Talks also tackled means of boosting cooperation between Egypt and COMESA especially in light of the mega projects Egypt is currently implementing topped by developing the Suez Canal axis. The two sides also discussed cooperation projects in the field of infrastructure and food security, in addition to establishing a navigational route that connects Lake Victoria and the Mediterranean.

Sisi meets with Equatorial Guinea President

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi on Saturday 20/2/2016 met with Equatorial Guinea President Obiang Nguema Mbasogo on the sidelines of the African 2016 forum, currently in session in Sharm el Sheikh. Presidential Spokesman Ambassador Alaa Youssef said President Sisi welcomed friendly relations binding the two countries, highlighting the importance of pushing them ahead in all domains for the best interest of the two peoples. Sisi praised the economic development efforts in Equatorial Guinea, voicing Cairo’s readiness to present necessary support for such efforts through the programs of Egypt Agency of Partnership for Development as well as the Egyptian companies that could contribute to projects in Guinea. Nguema, for his part, voiced his appreciation for Egypt over organizing the forum, praising Egypt’s major role in Africa and its efforts to achieve development in the African continent. He also praised the positive contribution of Egyptian companies operating in Guinea, highlighting the need for further developing cooperation in all domains, especially trade exchange and implementation of joint projects in the coming phase.

Sisi meets with Nigerian President

President Abdel Fatah El Sisi on Saturday 20/2/2016 conferred with his Nigerian counterpart Muhammadu Buhari on current regional challenges in Africa, developments in Libya and spread of terrorist groups in the region. Presidential Spokesman Ambassador Alaa Youssef said Sisi welcomed the participation of the Nigerian president in the forum and praised the distinguished relations binding the two countries. Sisi also highlighted the importance of bolstering cooperation and activating trade exchange to achieve mutual interests. Buhari, for his part, asserted his country’s support for Egyptian efforts to push ahead the development march, trade and investment in Africa. He highly appreciated the support given by Egypt to his country, especially in the fields of culture and education.

Sisi meets with Chairman of Aga Khan Development Network

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met on Saturday 20/2/2016 with Aga Khan, the Chairman of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), on the sidelines of the Africa 2016 investment forum in Sharm el Sheikh, Presidential Spokesman Alaa Youssef said. Sisi hailed the positive role played the AKDN which – he considered – as an example of non-governmental organizations contributing to development in the society and creating jobs. The president hailed the AKDN foundation’s efforts in Egypt, especially in the childhood development projects. Aga Khan said he is looking forward to boosting the foundation’s activities in various Egyptian cities, referring to the foundation’s projects in Aswan. He added that the foundation plans to finance more projects for the needy segments, especially in the health and educational sectors.

Sisi meets with African Development Bank (AFDB) chief

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi met on Saturday 20/2/2016 with chief of the African Development Bank (AFDB) Akinwumi Adesina, on the sidelines of the Africa 2016 investment forum in Sharm el Sheikh. Sisi lauded cooperation between Egypt and the bank, Presidential Spokesman Alaa Yousef said. Sisi urged expanding cooperation to include the sectors of agriculture and food security as well as supporting small and medium sized enterprises.  The president also stressed the importance of following up an agreement reached during a visit by a bank delegation to Cairo last week to discuss financing joint projects carried out by Egypt and other African countries.
For his part, Adesina praised the progress achieved in Egypt at the level of economic performance, pointing out to the economic reform measures taken by the Egyptian government.

Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia tripartite committee

The leaders of Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia met on Saturday 20/2/2016 in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm el Sheikh where they discussed means of boosting cooperation that is based on trust and mutual respect. The meeting, held on the sidelines of the Africa 2016 investment forum, was chaired by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El Sisi and attended by Sudanese President Omar Bashir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn. Presidential Spokesman Alaa Yousef said the meeting reviewed ways of bolstering relations among the three countries. Yousef said it also tackled the latest developments in Africa and coordination of efforts to combat terrorism and extremism. The three leaders also agreed to establish a joint finance fund to carry out development projects in the three countries, according to a final statement issued at the end of the meeting.

Trade minister: Enhancing commercial ties with Africa

Trade and Industry Minister Tarek Qabil announced on Saturday that a comprehensive plan to promote commercial and economic relations with the African countries has been prepared. The African market is one of the priorities of the Egyptian external trade policy, he noted, adding that his ministry seeks establishing strong ties with different countries of the African continent which would have a positive impact on investments. In statements on the sidelines of the Africa investment forum, Qabil underlined that the Egyptian Cabinet is keen on promoting cooperation with other African nations via inking agreements to increase trade exchange. The minister reiterated that Egypt will participate in the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) negotiations that will kick off on Monday and will last for five days in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. It aims at establishing a free trade zone between COMESA-SADC-EAC.

Investment min: African economic indicators are positive

Investment Minister Ashraf Salman said Saturday that the economic indicators of the African states show strong opportunities for growth over the coming 30 years. He asserted the importance of economic integration and cooperation along with specifying aspects of strength and working together towards growth and seizing the available opportunities, especially in light of the slow economic growth in the world. The remarks were made during a session held under the rubric “Egypt: main partner in business and trade with African countries” in the presence of Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry on the sidelines of Africa investment forum in Sharm el Sheikh. The Egyptian government has taken several steps to improve the Egyptian business environment, boost economic opening and improve the infrastructure necessary for starting business, Salman said.

PM meets COMESA chief

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail met on Saturday 20/2/2016 with Sindiso Ngwenya, the chief of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) on the sidelines of Africa 2016 investment forum in Sharm el Sheikh. Ismail reiterated Egypt’s interest to establish a shipping route between Victoria Lake and the Mediterranean via the River Nile, Cabinet Spokesman Hossam el Qawish said. Cairo is ready to offer its expertise to implement the project, Ismail noted at the meeting. He voiced hope that COMESA would play a role in promoting the proposal, according to the spokesman.

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