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Investment and Development Finance (324)

The rapid expansion of Africa’s cities over the past decades has meant an increasing demand for infrastructure, service delivery and jobs. At the same time African policymakers, urban planners and researchers are clamouring to find innovative solutions to meet these demands. The onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution – which will see a fusion of technologies that blur the lines between the physical, digital and biological spheres – will compound these challenges and experts need to plan adequately for the disruptions.
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), in partnership with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), cordially invites you to a public address on 'The 2017 OECD Economic Survey of South Africa and Key Challenges for South Africa and the Region' with an address by Mr Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General.
As part of the G20 initiatives last week, the World Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative, or We-Fi, was launched. This was an idea initiated by Ivanka Trump at the April 'Women 20' meeting in Germany. We-Fi seeks to avail over US$1 million to empower women entrepreneurs in developing countries through access to finance, mentorships and technical training, as well as public policy advocacy and reforms on gender equality.
G20 leaders will launch a Compact with Africa as the major new initiative of their 7/8 July summit in Hamburg, Germany.
The Kingdom of Lesotho is a country of extremes: breath-taking beauty and widespread poverty. It’s classified by the UN as one of the least developed countries in the world.
Earlier this year, president Xi Jinping strode the world stage at Davos with his statement that 'We should commit ourselves to growing an open global economy… Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room.'
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA), United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Global Economic Governance Africa (GEGA) Programme invite you to a conference on Finance and Development: Experiences in south-south collaboration from Africa, Asia and Latin America
On 29 April, President Donald J Trump reached 100 days in office as president of the United States. A controversial head of state, whose election campaign and subsequent ascension to power was met with widespread criticism and resistance, particularly from large US cities, the dust certainly has not settled by now for his administration. Instead of assuaging fears and infusing greater certainty into global affairs, the announcement that his budget intends to cut $1 billion dollars in foreign aid and diplomacy to fund various ‘America First’ projects has the rest of the world concerned about the fate of peace, security…
When it comes to the economic reputation of a country are credit rating agencies (CRAs) part of the problem or part of the solution? This question has received increasing focus since the 2008 financial crisis, particularly in light of the impact these agencies’ ratings can have on already vulnerable countries by affecting their ability to access capital markets and, importantly, foreign direct investment.
On 3 April the sword that had been dangling over our heads for the last two years finally came down – South Africa was downgraded by S&P Global to sub-investment grade with a negative outlook. But we may be in ‘good’ company. We have joined both Brazil and Russia in the junk status club. However, our rand-denominated debt is still two notches above sub-investment level, albeit with a negative outlook. As most of our debt is rand-rather than dollar-denominated this is a silver lining.
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 252, March 2017
Today, potential urban investors and entrepreneurs look at Africa and see crowded, disconnected and costly cities. Such cities create low expectations for the scale of urban production and for returns on invested capital.
On December 15 2015, President Jacob Zuma assented to the controversial Protection of Investment Act when much of the South African public was on a festive holiday break. This piece of legislation is meant to replace the bilateral investment treaties that SA terminated in 2012, resulting in consternation and outcry from the international investment community based in the country.
The UN Conference on Trade and Development estimates that between USD$ 1.6 trillion and USD$ 2.5 trillion is required annually for the period 2015–2030 to bridge the infrastructure-financing gap in developing countries. Some estimates indicate that sub-Saharan Africa alone requires up to USD$ 93 billion annually until 2020 to finance its infrastructure deficit. Multilateral development banks (MDBs) such as the World Bank and the African Development Bank go a long way towards addressing these challenges.
Lesotho is facing challenges in financing its Queen Mamohato Hospital which costs USD$67 million a year and represents half of the country’s meagre health budget.
Ratings agencies will again this week consider South Africa’s sovereign credit rating. Ratings agencies have indicated that South Africa’s economic growth needs to be at least 1%, up from the current rate of between 0.5 – 0.9%, in order to off a downgrade to ‘junk’ status. Last month, Minister Pravin Gordhan made some bold claims about infrastructure spending in his mid-term budget speech.
SAIIA and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS) hosted a Policy Dialogue, to revisit the investment climate in Southern Africa, with a particular focus on Tanzania.
As Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan presents the mid-term budget this week, one notable absence from his usual team will be second-in-command at the South African Revenue Service, Mr Jonas Makwakwa. His recent suspension has highlighted the importance of amending the Financial Intelligence Centre Act (FICA) of 2001. Mr Makwakwa was suspended after an extensive investigation by the Centre revealed a series of transactions which are inconsistent with a permanently-employed person.
The Global Economic Governance (GEG) Africa programme is a policy research and stakeholder engagement programme to strengthen the influence of African coalitions at global economic governance fora such as the G20, BRICS, WTO and World Bank, in order to bring about pro-poor policy outcomes.
The integration of transport networks within Africa has long been a priority for the continent, for reasons of trade and political development. Last week, the dream to connect all major African cities through a high-speed railway network took a critical step forward with the signing of a five-year action plan between the African Union and China.
This week the United States (US) hosted African nations for the annual African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) forum under the theme: ‘Maximising AGOA now while preparing for the future beyond AGOA'. AGOA, a unilateral development programme offering African countries duty free access for select exports to the US, is set to expire in 2025.
The international investment landscape has been shifting over the past two decades. Governments are increasingly realising the potential for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) to achieve not only economic growth, but developmental objectives as well.
As the full extent of the potential for the world to enter into a Great Depression became clearer in 2008, the G20 Finance meeting was elevated to a Leaders 20, a point that had for some years been advocated by former Canadian prime minister, Paul Martin, among others. Its convening confirmed what many had known for some time – that the G7 was no longer able to manage global crises on its own. The G20 represented most of the systemically important economies whose cooperation and coordination were essential to avert a Great Depression.
The South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) and the University of Pretoria (UP) held a Speaker’s Meeting to be addressed by Dr Andreas Dombret, Member of the Executive Board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, on 'From Dream to Reality – How Finances Serves the Economy, and How Not.'
SAIIA Occasional Paper No 237, October 2016
A meeting on the SADC Regional Investment Framework is taking place in Johannesburg this week, to look at, amongst other priorities, investment in regional and global value chains. These discussions will take place against the background of slowing global economic growth and a decline in commodity earnings for African countries.
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