Economy

African Institutional Investors Release Groundbreaking COVID-19 Response And Agenda 2063 Investment Report

Cornwall, Addis Ababa, Johannesburg, Cairo, Paris, Washington
Africa investor (Ai) today announced and presented The Investable Africa We Want Report, in support of Agenda 2063 and Africa’s response to COVID-19, during The G7-Africa investor Summit, held in association with the G7’s institutional Investor Leaders Network (ILN). African sovereign wealth and pension funds have been crucial to forming new and innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships; addressing climate change; the economic recovery of COVID-19; increase investment in African infrastructure; and realizing the aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The Investable Africa We Want and Agenda 2063 Report resulted from the African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum (ASWPFF) COVID-19 Consultative Roundtables on the role and response of African institutional Investors against the COVID-19 pandemic, held in collaboration with the African Union’s Continental Business Network (CBN). The ASWPFF Consultative Roundtables recognized that in combating the economic impacts of COVID-19, efforts must be informed by two urgent and mutually reinforcing components: (i) Immediate priority responses to protect African capital markets, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), supply chains and the AfCFTA from the economic fallout of COVID-19; and (ii) Multi-stakeholder partnerships across government and industry to foster industry shifts and a regulatory requirement. The ASWPFF consultative process and its outcome recommendations were captured in a call-to-action statement (ASWPFLF policy statement), that was issued to policy makers and the investment community: The statement highlighted six key response areas, namely to:
  1. Pursue ESG-aligned and green infrastructure co-investment partnerships;
  2. Create the infrastructure necessary for African MSMEs, youth and women entrepreneurs to thrive in the new digital economy;
  3. Engage in policy partnerships with policy makers on framing the new regulatory environment and investment needs of the post-COVID-19 economy;
  4. Leverage the expertise and insight of African institutional investors;
  5. Consider directing funding for the economic recovery toward SWFs to invest in their local and regional economies, and;
  6. Coordinate and corelate responses with global peer institutional investors and private sector industry bodies.
At the request of policymakers and stakeholders, the statement was expanded into this comprehensive and actionable investment partnerships recommendations report in the form of The Investable Africa We Want and Agenda 2063 Roadmap Report. This report was compiled with technical support from Africa investor (Ai) Capital and RisCura, and it is Africa’s asset owner industry’s roadmap on economically futureproofing Africa, through asset owner investment partnerships, to invest forward better and greener, and build resilience for achieving Agenda 2063 against the backdrop of COVID-19. This report is a testament of the African investment community’s strong commitment and support for Agenda 2063; the African Union’s 5% Institutional Infrastructure Investment Agenda; the African Green Infrastructure Investment Bank (AfGIIB) initiative, and the AfCFTA. As the ultimate African asset owners’ statement of inter-dependence, the report is a rich feast of action-oriented and immediately-implementable proposals, with over 200 asset owner investment partnership recommendations, 100 futureproofing initiatives and 500+ investment products for asset owners and investment decisionmakers, including trustees and board members, and African governments, Ministers of Finance, central banks and development finance partners that can be pursued today. The Report sets out the required ingredients and recommendations, to assist clearing Africa’s infrastructure deficit of $100bn per annum for the next 10 years, , through expanded trade, the 5% and the 1% domestic and global infrastructure capital mobilization Agenda, re-orienting development partners programs and technical assistance, and increasing Africa’s infrastructure budgets to 5% of GDP. The Report was presented to Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO, African Union Development Agency (AUDA), by Hubert Danso, Chairman, the African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leader’s Forum, the AU Continental Business Network (CBN), CFA New York Society Global Asset Owners Council, during high-level opening ceremony of the G7-Africa investor Summit, held in association with ILN. Participating leaders in the opening ceremony included; Dr Ibrahim Mayaki, CEO, African Union Development Agency (AUDA), Raila Odinga, AU High Representative for Infrastructure Development. Former Prime Minister, Kenya, and Amy Hepburn, CEO, ILN, amongst several African and global pension and sovereign wealth fund leaders and members of the African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leaders Forum.
“African institutional investors have important perspectives on how to build back better in the wake of this health and economic tragedy. We are experts at long-term investing and planning, and in the service of our continent and today’s interdependent and inter-connected world, we see this as a watershed moment to generate and document us invest forward better and greener insights, that could support public and private sector policy breakthroughs.
This and past pandemics have taught us that no geography, form of capital, sector, or social class is immune, and if a pandemic is not defeated everywhere, it’s not defeated anywhere.
I believe that investor leadership initiatives taken during this COVID-19 crisis, must be deliberate and lead to a burst of innovation and productivity, more resilient industries, institutional investor public partnerships (IIPP) at all levels, and the emergence of a digitally integrated African trade system and reconnected world.”
- Hubert Danso, Chairman, Ai, the African Sovereign Wealth and Pension Fund Leader’s Forum, the AU Continental Business Network (CBN) and the CFA New York Society’s Global Asset Owners Council
Mr Danso went on to say, “We look forward to engaging all stakeholders and interested parties on the proposals and recommendations in this report, and to collaboratively achieve Agenda 2063 and the ‘Investable Africa We Want’.”
The African Green Infrastructure Investment Bank initiative, also announced its newly established Advisory Board during the G7 – Africa investor Summit held in association with ILN. Read “The Investable Africa We Want and Agenda 2063 Roadmap Report” here or on www.africaplc.com.
AFRICAPLC.COM
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Ai AfricaPLC Releases AfCFTA E-Trade Digitalization Report

Ai AfricaPLC announced and presented today, its Roadmap Report on globalizing Africa eTrade in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), during the Ai African Electronic Trade Leaders Roundtable on Improving African Buyer Information and eTrade Documentation, in support of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This was hosted by Africa investor (Ai) in collaboration with the AfCFTA Secretariat. The AfCFTA and digitalization is an economic gamechanger for Africa. Digital technology can translate into tangible socio-economic change, inclusive economic growth, and job creation on the continent, as it promotes financial inclusion, facilitates trade, and solves sustainable development issues. The AfricaPLC eTrade Roadmap Report is a call to action for the digitalization of the AfCFTA; for Africa to develop and innovate African-centric digital technology solutions that factor in socio-economic realities of the continent, including gender inequality, connectivity challenges, and access to reliable trade data. The Report’s recommendations have been developed to exemplify how they might be implemented, with examples of digital solutions already being explored on the continent and around the world. The recommendations are set out in five parts, with the following key points: Part 1 provides a perspective on the future of digital trade, and how trade data can be used to inform policymaking and develop financial products and services to promote financial inclusion, as well as how the digitalization and automation of trade regulation and compliance can create trust in the market, and provide robust financial crime controls. Part 2 canvasses the implementation of digital technology solutions in logistics and customs automation. Part 3 suggests ways in which digitalization can safeguard the increasingly complex and regulated world of trade finance, and how innovative solutions like regulatory and supervisory technology (RegTech and SupTech) can promote trade facilitation across the AfCFTA, assisting both regulators and the regulated. Part 4 provides a perspective on eCommerce and recommendations on boosting MSME digital trade. Part 5 highlights investment opportunities for digital infrastructure in Africa, and how the public and private sectors can collaborate to scale digital technology solutions in finance, healthcare, and agriculture. The AfricaPLC eTrade Roadmap Report’s call to action, follows a series of multi-stakeholder and multi-sector consultations, with a wide array of public and private sector organisations each offering rich and diverse perspectives and recommendations for a sustainable digital transformation in the implementation of the AfCFTA. There was a unanimous agreement that the AfCFTA, as a trade and development instrument, has the potential to be Africa’s Covid economic recovery stimulus, and the most competitive free trade area in the world, alleviating millions from poverty, by enfranchising SMEs – especially women and youth – by exploiting modern secure eTrade technology, and pursuing smart partnerships with the private sector during its rollout and beyond are pivotal to accelerating its success. Some of the key discussions within the Report unpack the following:
  • Digitalization for futureproofing
  • Legal reform and the right policy levers
  • Overcoming the challenges of interoperability of digital platforms
  • Digitalizing and harmonizing customs procedures
  • Regulatory transformation to attract more FDI into Africa
  • Digital infrastructure development
  • Trade data as infrastructure
  • RegTech & Regulation as a Stimulus (RaaS)
The Report was presented to H.E. Wamkele Mene, Secretary General, African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, by Hubert Danso, CEO and Chairman Africa investor (Ai) AfricaPLC, during the Ai African Electronic Trade Leaders Roundtable. Participating Secretary Generals at the Roundtable included, John Denton, Secretary General, ICC; Vinco David, Secretary General, Berne Union; Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization (WCO); and Peter Mulroy, Secretary General, FCI Association. During the high-level roundtable, AiAfricaPLC also launched AiAfricaPLC TradeDocs,  its electronic certificates of origin platform for Chambers of Commerce, Regional Organisations, Customs Authorities, Authorizing Bodies, Exporters and Freight Forwarders, and AiAfricaPLC Insights, which assists traders, banks and export credit agencies and insurers, conduct due diligence, evaluate supply chain governance and analyze commercial data from its database of 10 million African SMEs.
Africa’s digital trade facilitation and digital transformation are quintessential to the continent’s participation, and success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
AfricaPLC, as an innovative, fully integrated, and secure B2B and B2G multi-sector, industrial eTrade marketplace and FinTech platform, have important perspectives on how the AfCFTA can assist African economies leapfrog decades of development, in the wake of this health and economic tragedy. We therefore see this as a watershed moment, to innovate new products and generate and document our eTrade digitalization insights, that could support public and private sector policy breakthroughs. – Hubert Danso, Chairman, Ai AfricaPLC
Mr Danso went on to say, “We look forward to working with public and private stakeholders, to increase the AfCFTA’s global competitiveness, through the creation of modern digital trade corridors, powered by ‘supply chains of the future’, driven by forward-looking regulation and eTrade marketplaces that enfranchise African SMEs.”
Read the full Report here or on www.africaplc.com. For more information contact : Wendy Edwards – Email: wedwards@africainvestor.com   About Ai AfricaPLC – Globalizing Africa eTrade AfricaPLC, the eTrade platform of Africa investor (Ai), is an innovative, B2B and B2G multi-sector, industrial eTrade Marketplace and FinTech platform, focused on improving intra-African trade flows, cross border payments, supply chain transparency, logistics and access to trade intelligence and global markets. AfricaPLC provides, secure and easy to use transaction platforms and is continuously innovating blockchain and RegTech trade enabling solutions, to assist facilitate our clients and partners digitally originate, transact, track and settle B2B and B2G transactions across the African continent and worldwide. AfricaPLC is committed to connecting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with global markets, by simplifying cross-border trade and procurement transactions for SMEs, large businesses, financial institutions and African governments.
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DHL’s Saloodo! partners AfricaPLC to grow intra-African and global trade

Saloodo! will be the first logistics partner to provide digital road freight solutions on the AfricaPLC e-trade marketplace

  • AfricaPLC assists to digitize African SMEs, so they can participate in and support the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)
  • The partnership expects to expand across the continent by early 2021

Johannesburg, South Africa – Digital road freight platform Saloodo!, a subsidiary of DHL Global Forwarding, has signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to be the first logistics provider to offer digital road freight solutions on AfricaPLC, an innovative industrial eCommerce Marketplace and FinTech platform, managed by the Africa Investor (Ai). Ai is an institutional investment holding platform that vets and promotes infrastructure, private equity and technology investment opportunities in Africa.

The partnership will address some of the biggest obstacles facing businesses seeking to expand across Africa and global markets, such as access to trade opportunities, sourcing of credible partners, trade finance and reliable logistics solutions. Saloodo!, backed by DHL, the world’s leading logistics player, will inject greater transparency and efficiency by enabling shippers – from small enterprises and start-ups to large multinational groups – to find trusted and reliable freight carriers across Africa.

Tobias Maier, CEO of Saloodo! Middle East and Africa said, “Our partnership with AfricaPLC is an exciting opportunity for Saloodo! to showcase our intuitive digital platform that will offer shippers and transport providers a single, simple, reliable interface to optimise costs, routes, cargo and transit times. Road freight continues to form the backbone of Africa’s logistics industry and I’m convinced that our digital solution will further its progress as the economy recovers.”

According to the World Bank, intra-African trade is one of the best solutions Africa has to eradicating challenges such as poverty and hunger. Intra-African trade not only provides for solutions and opportunities for businesses to grow, but also expands the African economy through diversification and inclusion. Initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) will speed up economic growth and digitalization can be the impetus to accelerate this development.

“AfricaPLC is committed to supporting the growth of any organisation, particularly SME’s, through the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and globalising African e-trade ecosystems,” said Hubert Danso, Chairman, AfricaPLC. “By partnering with Saloodo!, our SME, Corporate, Public Sector and Trade Finance customers can be assured that fulfilment is carried out by a reliable and compliant provider, who can provide full visibility and transparency throughout the shipping process.

This allows our partners to channel resources on further growing their business intra-Africa and to global markets and efficiently managing their budgets and supply chain networks.” In the current Covid-19 pandemic for example, AfricaPLC has been supporting its public and private sector partners to facilitate the trade and transport of critical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) across the African continent.

“Since our entry into South Africa last year, Saloodo! has successfully expanded to the rest of the continent and is perfectly positioned to further push the envelope of digitalisation to improve the state of logistics services in Africa,” added Maier. “The demand for digital transformation will be driven by emerging markets globally and this crucial partnership with AfricaPLC will allow us to explore solutions that will help boost economic activity on the continent through logistics services and encourage intra-Africa trade.”

Media Contact: MSL GROUP Account Director Lydia Luvhengo TEL: +2787 255 1396 MOB: +2773 526 1163 Email: Lydia.luvhengo@mslgroup.com

DHL Asia Pacific & EEMEA Corporate Communications, Sustainability and Brand Jenny Yeo / Fiona Teo Tel: +65 6879 8332 / +65 6879 8333 E-mail: apeemeamediarelations@dhl.com

AfricaPLC Press contact Wendy Edwards Tel: +27 11 7832431 E-mail: wedwards@africainvestor.com

About Saloodo! Saloodo! combines the best of two worlds: The digital freight platform, founded by Deutsche Post DHL Group in 2016, combines the logistics expertise and infrastructure of a global player with the flexibility and digital skills of a start-up. Saloodo! simplifies the day to-day processes of shippers and hauliers with a powerful end-to-end, digital solution for commissioning and handling shipments. This maximizes the transparency and efficiency of the entire transport process.

By offering the free choice of a neutral online marketplace and the security and convenience of a digital freight forwarder, Saloodo! is the answer to the progressive digitization in the highly fragmented transport market.

DHL – The logistics company for the world

DHL is the leading global brand in the logistics industry. Our DHL divisions offer an unrivalled portfolio of logistics services ranging from national and international parcel delivery, e-commerce shipping and fulfilment solutions, international express, road, air and ocean transport to industrial supply chain management. With about 380,000 employees in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, DHL connects people and businesses securely and reliably, enabling global sustainable trade flows. With specialized solutions for growth markets and industries including technology, life sciences and healthcare, engineering, manufacturing & energy, auto-mobility and retail, DHL is decisively positioned as “The logistics company for the world”.

DHL is part of Deutsche Post DHL Group. The Group generated revenues of more than 63 billion euros in 2019. With sustainable business practices and a commitment to society and the environment, the Group makes a positive contribution to the world. Deutsche Post DHL Group aims to achieve zero-emissions logistics by 2050.

About Africa PLC – Globalizing Africa eTrade AfricaPLC is an innovative, B2B and B2G multi-sector, industrial eCommerce Marketplace and FinTech platform, focused on improving intra-African trade flows, cross border payments, supply chain transparency, logistics and access to trade intelligence and global markets.

AfricaPLC provides, secure and easy to use transaction platforms and is continuously innovating blockchain and RegTech trade enabling solutions, to assist facilitate our clients and partners digitally originate, transact, track and settle B2B and B2G transactions across the African continent and worldwide.

AfricaPLC is committed to connecting the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) with global markets, by simplifying cross-border trade and procurement transactions for SMEs, large businesses, financial institutions and African governments. www.africaplc.com

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African Asset Owners Co-investment Partnerships 27 August, 2020

Africa investor (Ai) partners Bloomberg African Asset Owner Series

Africa investor (Ai) partners Bloomberg and The Continental Business Network (CBN) on first ever African Asset Owner Series on Co-investment Partnerships.

This inaugural event in the series, will feature two panels focused on the African Union's 5% Infrastructure Investment Agenda and global co-investment partnerships in support of the African Union's Agenda 2063.

The African Asset Owners Series is designed to connect senior leaders and analysts from across the globe to explore the changing dynamic of asset owner investment on the African continent. This is the first of three virtual events taking place throughout 2020.

To register for the event go to: CLICK HERE >>
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Ai Supports African Infrastructure Investment Trusts Initiative

A defined solution to the infrastructure financing gap – Infrastructure Investment Trusts (IIT)

Africa investor (Ai) partners African Capital Market leaders and the Global Listed Infrastructure Organisation (GLIO) on Africa's first Infrastructure Investment Trusts (IIT) initiative - as recommended in the recent G20-OECD Infrastructure Working Group Report.

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China’s Infrastructure-Heavy Model for African Growth Is Failing

In Ethiopia and Kenya, the attractive illusion of the “China model” has had grave financial consequences.

The strategy of “infrastructure-led growth” (growth, not economic and social development) seems to be showing its limits in Africa, where China has largely been instrumental in promoting it.

This strategy is based on the Keynesian multiplier theory whereby any increase in aggregate demand would result in a more than proportional increase in GDP. In other words, any investment in infrastructure would induce growth, regardless of its true economic and social profitability. The implementation of this theory greatly explains why China has been able to maintain very high growth figures over the last 15 years. Whether or not infrastructure investment is redundant, whether it takes place in China or abroad, the result for China is the same. Thus, by financing African infrastructure investment, China is causing an increase in demand for the goods and services it produces and thus an increase in its own GDP. This is the virtue to systematically tying the granting of a loan with an almost exclusive sourcing of goods and services produced in China. It should be remembered that this tying practice is normally banned for OECD/DAC members (which do not include China) and that only France and the United Kingdom would actually comply with this rule.

This infrastructure-led strategy has been prescribed in Africa by the World Bank and supported since 2008 by its former chief economist, Lin Yifu (Justin Lin, who since the end of his mandate has become a very active lobbyist for Chinese companies in Africa through his own think tank). However, the least favored African countries — Ethiopia will serve as an example here — do not enjoy an economic environment as favorable as that of China. Admittedly, over the last 10 years (2000-2019), as a result of the Keynesian multiplier, the average annual growth rate of Ethiopian GDP has been around 6 percent. This remarkable growth was coupled with an equally striking increase in imports, largely to support infrastructure investment. However, over the same period, neither the growth of exports (17 percent growth in 2019), nor that of personal remittances, foreign exchange reserves, or even foreign investment can fill a growing financing gap. At the same time, the external debt service (almost half of which will be for China alone in 2019) is soaring in the country’s finances. Ethiopia was forced to devalue its currency, the birr by 15 percent in 2017.

Both the first Growth and Transformation Plan (2009/10-2014/15) and the second (2015/16-2019/20) were based on the idea that investment in infrastructure (in particular the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway line and electrification) would attract foreign investors to special economic zones where production would be generated for export, which should have made the infrastructure profitable. However, apart from aberrant timing (a Chinese loan initially for 15 years, then rescheduled over 30 years, for railway infrastructure that needs 50 to 75 years to be amortized), this strategy has shown its limits, which are highlighted by the rather pathetic performance of the footwear sector, despite its promotion to the status of a herald of Ethiopian industrialization and Sino-Ethiopian cooperation.

Lin Yifu’s first trip when he was appointed chief economist of the World Bank was to Ethiopia the very day after his appointment in June 2008. In March 2011, again in his capacity as World Bank representative, he reportedly recommended to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi the setting up a special economic zone and making specific use of Chinese companies. Lin also suggested that Meles develop the footwear industry with the skins produced in abundance by Ethiopian cattle, sheep, goat and camelid farms, and he encouraged the prime minister to visit manufacturers in this sector in China. In August 2011, taking part in the opening ceremony of the Summer Universiade held that year in Shenzhen, Meles met Zhang Huarong, a shoe manufacturer, whom he invited to Ethiopia. The following month Zhang flew to Ethiopia for a week, where he found that the wages were only a tenth of those paid in China and that the skins available are of good quality. In November, the Huajian International Shoe City (Ethiopia) was born, with the first pair of Guess shoes coming off the lines the following May.

Today, for Huajian and the other shoemakers, hopes seem to have been partly dashed. Demand has increased, the quality of the hides has been affected, strikes have broken out, some of Huajian’s renowned customers have decided to change suppliers, and the railway line between Addis Ababa and the port of Djibouti — through which exports must pass — is barely operational because of a lack of electricity. In spite of these pitfalls, exports tripled since the arrival of Huajian, but in 2018 they accounted for just over 1 percent of total Ethiopian exports; their economic impact is therefore minimal and they cannot be relied on to amortize infrastructure investments.

Much more impressive, in contrast, is the simultaneous soaring of footwear imports, almost 90 percent of which are Chinese: four times the amount of exports in 2018! While Chinese shoe manufacturers have set up shop in Ethiopia, where they are having difficulty exporting their production, none of them seem to be thinking of manufacturing shoes for the local market. Neither did the Ethiopian government, which should have seen this as an opportunity to implement an import substitution strategy. This classic approach, once adopted by the small Asian dragons to develop, has one advantage: it limits investments in infrastructure, or at least develops them not in anticipation of possible demand, which is all the more uncertain because it is external, but after domestic demand has actually emerged. This brings us back to the question of the railway line.

The IMF, in a report on Ethiopia issued in early 2020, now acknowledges the limits of this “public investment-driven growth model.” Perhaps it would have been better to question the relevance of the choices from the outset. No doubt it would have been wise for the Chinese advisers and the Exim Bank of China to have initially checked the profitability of a railway project (or even its actual feasibility) before financing it. Yet the parties involved powerfully encouraged Ethiopia (and also Djibouti) to choose a solution that was certainly splendid – and a perfect showcase for Chinese technologies — but absurdly expensive for very poor countries in view of its very limited profitability. Ethiopia is now classified as a country at high risk of financial distress.

But then again, how could Lin Yifu, the World Bank, and the Exim Bank have conceived, supported, and financed such a railway project without considering that Ethiopia would eventually reconnect with neighboring states and thus be able to challenge the de facto monopoly that the port of Djibouti enjoys over Ethiopian exports? In March 2019, Ethiopia announced that it would build a new road to Berbera with the support of the Abu Dhabi Development Fund and DP World, which is developing the Berbera Port. However, as early as 2015, the African Development Bank was concerned about the consequences of this competition and construction for Djibouti’s future. In June 2019, Ethiopia also announced that it was building a railway line between Addis Ababa and Port Sudan with the support of the African Development Bank and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD). Also in 2019, it was reported that a new railway between Addis Ababa and the port of Massawa in Eritrea (as long as the railway line between Addis Ababa and Djibouti) was planned, the study of which is being financed by Italy. Finally, while Ethiopia and Djibouti have gone into financial distress over the Chinese railway line, Addis Ababa has secured an African Development Bank injection of $98 million for the development of the Ethiopia-Djibouti road corridor, through which 90 percent of Ethiopia’s imports and exports still pass today. In short, not only does Ethiopia produce neither enough electricity nor enough goods to power its magnificent but ruinous railway line, but it also plans to finance three routes to competing destinations at the expense of Djibouti’s ports and terminals. It is clear that neither Lin Yifu, the World Bank, nor the Exim Bank were able to effectively advise Ethiopia, as the initial project failed both to take into account the likely evolution of Ethiopia’s geopolitical situation and to accurately assess the country’s economic potential.

Although the details are different, the story of the construction of the railway line between Mombasa and Nairobi (entrusted to a Chinese company and financed by Exim Bank) is similar. When the Kenyan government came up with the idea of upgrading this line, building a brand new standard gauge railway was not considered an economically sound strategy. In August 2013, a cost-benefit analysis described four alternatives. The first was a plan to rehabilitate the existing metric gauge network; the second was to upgrade the existing network to a higher standard using the same gauge; the third considered upgrading the existing network to a standard gauge system on the same network; and the fourth proposed building a standard gauge railway on a new line (the option ultimately chosen by Kenya).

The comparative analysis of investment costs and expected benefits then concluded that a new standard gauge railway would require three times as much growth to be financially viable. Although a renovated metric gauge network would have been the most appropriate option in economic and financial terms, the government justified its final decision by saying it was confident that GDP growth would be high.

Debt distressed African countries certainly bear responsibility for their own debt, but China and the World Bank, which have lulled and fed their illusions with the success of the “Chinese model” without putting its implications and transferability into perspective, also bear a very large part of it, if not perhaps the main part. The strategy of infrastructure-led and Chinese-financed growth has clearly shown its limits, as it has too often failed to assess the relevance and profitability of the projects it promoted.

This article is presented by Diplomat Risk IntelligenceThe Diplomat’s consulting and analysis division. Learn more here
By Thierry Pairault
July 30, 2020
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