President Nana Akufo-Addo
Ghana emerged as the leading economy with positive developments for West Africa, recording the strongest improvement in the latest risk-reward score in Africa, after Zimbabwe and Egypt, the 2018 Africa Risk-Reward Index from Control Risks (www.ControlRisks.com) and Oxford Economics reports.
Tom Griffin, Senior Partner for West Africa at Control Risks, commented: “Since coming to power in January 2017, Ghana’s government has continued to undertake a programme of macroeconomic reforms, which have focused on reducing the deficit and external debt. In the last year, this had a particularly positive impact on issues such as credit and exchange risk. At the same time, Ghana has attempted to improve the business environment for investors by reducing the bureaucratic and taxation burden, as well as laying out plans for further investment activity in the oil and gas and manufacturing sectors.”
Mr Griffin also commended other West African governments for embarking on an impressive journey last year to implement the right reforms for economic growth and improvement of investors’ confidence, adding that both Nigeria and Senegal benefitted from a greatly improved risk score.
“In Nigeria, the recently initiated Economic Recovery and Growth Plan, has begun to tackle some of the economy’s challenges, including corruption and an infrastructure deficit. The plan has also sought to remove bottlenecks to improve the ease of doing business which in turn boosts investors’ confidence.
“In the last three years, Senegal’s Emerging Senegal Plan has already led to steady growth, reaching close to 6.4% in 2017. The reduction in its risk score is one of the most positive changes in the 2018 Africa Risk-Reward Index and can be explained by structural reforms to improve the business environment, strengthened macro-economic fundamentals and a controlled debt management policy.”
In the case of Angola, it said its new president, João Lourenço, has acted with remarkable speed and decisiveness to consolidate his authority.
“Efforts to dismantle his predecessor’s networks have provided new opportunities for foreign investment in sectors previously dominated by companies linked to the former president and his family. Combined with an improved regulatory environment, investors can seek opportunities predominantly in the oil and gas, diamond and telecommunications sectors. With a reward score of 3.65, it recorded a risk score of 6.55.
“Investor confidence has increased since Cyril Ramaphosa assumed the presidency in February 2018. The implementation of policies – intended to consolidate fiscal expenditure and tackle corruption in public institutions and state-owned enterprises – increases opportunities for doing business in South Africa. But deeply entrenched patronage networks and electoral pressure ahead of the 2019 general elections will contribute to a slow recovery of South Africa.” It registered a reward score of 4.78 and a risk score of 4.74.
“This country’s reward score remains one of the highest in sub-Saharan Africa, but the government’s external debt burden raises concerns.
“Winning the election in 2017, Kenya’s leading Jubilee Party of Kenya continues its pro-business policies. However, concerns arise over the government’s external debt burden, with a new USD 2bn Eurobond issued in February even as the proceeds of a previous issue have yet-to-be fully accounted for. Furthermore, improving relations between the government and the opposition will be instrumental in ensuring that political tensions do not undermine economic growth, and more prudent fiscal and macroeconomic policies are needed to maintain positive economic prospects.” It had a reward score of 6.36 and a risk score of 5.51.
With a projected real GDP growth rate of 7% in 2018, the report said it continues its impressive economic recovery, but great challenges remain.
“With reforms to the business environment and efforts to bring foreign investors back after the 2010-2011 crisis, Côte d’Ivoire has achieved amongst the highest growth rates in the world in recent years, and sectors such as construction, telecommunications, banking and retail have seen considerable growth.
“However, severe obstacles to a full recovery persist, including political interference and corruption, socioeconomic discontent, shortcomings in security-sector reform, and growing competition ahead of the potentially volatile 2020 presidential poll.” It registered a reward score of 6.51 and a risk score of 6.24.
By Samuel Boadi