Africa Country Analysis


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These countries are evidence of different ways of thinking about it. Depending on what industry you are in, what your tolerance of risk is and what you are looking to get, you could go to other countries. We wanted to highlight some of those countries in order to show some examples of countries that are, in their class, best prospects. Identifying these classes, however, was challenging, as Africa is not only huge but has very diverse nationstates.

Morocco

Morocco is the westernmost country in the Maghreb region of Africa. It has all of the basic fundamentals of a well-developing country: good governance, political stability, financial infrastructure, and a good economy. A constitutional monarchy, Morocco is the only African country that is not currently a member of the African Union. However, it is a member of the Arab League, Arab Maghreb Union, Organization of the Islamic Conference, Mediterranean Dialogue group, and Group of 77, and is a major non-NATO ally.

According to the African Development Bank, Morocco's GDP of $147 billion accounts for 6% of the African continent. This makes Morocco the fifth largest economy in Africa, after South Africa, Egypt, Algeria and Nigeria. The economy is characterized by exchange with countries outside of Africa, with France as its largest trade partner, creditor and foreign investor.

Morocco's largest source of income comes from the mining of phosphates. Its second largest source of income is from nationals living abroad who transfer money to relatives living in Morocco. The country's third largest source of revenue is tourism. The Moroccan workforce is largely agricultural, and Morocco has an unemployment rate of 7.7% with 19% of the Moroccan population living below the poverty line.

Since the early 1980's, the Moroccan government has pursued economic reforms with the support of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Paris Club of creditors. The country's currency, the Dirham, is now fully convertible for current account transactions, reforms of the financial sector have been implemented, and state enterprises are being privatized.

The current government has also introduced a series of structural political and corporate governance reforms in recent years. The most promising reforms have been in the liberalization of the telecommunications sector. Morocco also has liberalized rules for oil and gas exploration and has granted concessions for many public services in major cities.

Ghana

Well endowed with natural resources, Ghana has roughly twice the per capita output of the poorest countries in West Africa.

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Ghana's GDP is estimated at $59.15 billion for 2006, but its purchasing power parity is one of the worst in the world. Ghana remains heavily dependent on international financial and technical assistance for its population of 22,409,572. The economic growth rate is expected to remain robust, especially with the focus on the economy in the run-up to the 2008 democratic elections.

The domestic economy continues to revolve around subsistence agriculture, which accounts for 40% of GDP and employs 60%-70% of the work force, mainly small landholders. By West African standards, Ghana has a diverse and rich resource base. Cash crops consist primarily of cocoa and cocoa products (which typically provide about two-thirds of export revenues), timber products, palm oil, coconuts and other palm products, shea nuts, and coffee.

Ghana's industrial base is relatively advanced compared to many other African countries. Import-substitution industries include textiles, steel, tires, oil refining, flour milling, beverages, tobacco, simple consumer goods, and car, truck and bus assembly. The tourism industry has also become one of Ghana's largest foreign income earners, and the government has placed great emphasis on further tourism support and development.

It was the first African country to obtain independence from colonial rule. Ghana has a relatively stable democracy, however, and is scheduled to hold its next democratic election in December of 2008.

Nigeria

Probably the most important development for the progress of democracy in Africa in recent years has taken place in Nigeria, Africa's second most populous country. After almost a decade of promises, the military finally yielded power to a civilian administration following elections in 1999.

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit and the World Bank, Nigerian GDP at purchasing power parity was only at $170.7 billion as of FY 2005. The GDP per head is at $692. Nigeria was the number 2 importer and exporter in Africa in the year 2006, with 24.2% of the total exports and 13.5% of the total imports. Most of the exporting comes from oil, which accounts for 40% of the GDP in the country, classifying it as a Rentier Economy. It is the 12th largest producer of petroleum in the world, the 8th largest exporter and has the 10th largest proven reserves. Even though oil production slowed down in 2006 due to problems in the Niger Delta, it is expected to pick back up in 2007 and 2008, and Nigeria is forecasted to largely drive the economic growth in the Central and West Africa sub-region. The Economist Intelligence Unit estimates that the GDP weighting as a percent of total USD for Nigeria in 2008 will be above 20

Nigeria still has a very low business environment ranking. However, despite the problems of operating there, for those companies that can master the complicated political environment and the adverse business, legal and regulatory climate, the rates of return are potentially very high, especially given the fact that it is an oil producer. In industries besides oil, Nigeria also has significant production and manufacturing facilities such as factories for Peugeot the French car marker, Bedford the English truck manufacturer, now a subsidiary of General Motors, and also manufactures t-shirts and processed food. The Nigerial film industry has established international competitiveness, following suit in naming the industry "Nollywood."

Mauritius

Though the country is small with only 1,240,000 people, Mauritius has the 2nd largest GDP per capita in Africa, estimated at $16.72 billion for 2006. Mauritius is expected to record average growth rates of over 5% over the next 2 years.

Mauritius is a small island with big banking prospects whose economy is directed outside of the country. It aims to become the business hub of the Indian Ocean, and new business opportunities in banking and the technology sector are being actively sought.

Mauritius ranks first in respect of FDI inflows to India amongst all the countries with cumulative inflows amounting to US $10.98 billion. Top sectors attracting FDI inflows from Mauritius are electrical equipment, telecommunications, fuels, cement & gypsum products and the services sector, both financial and non-financial.

Mauritius provides an environment for banks, insurance and reinsurance companies, captive insurance managers, trading companies, ship owners or managers, fund managers and professionals to conduct their international business. The economic success achieved in the 1980s engendered the rapid growth of the financial services sector in Mauritius.

Besides its economic success, Mauritius enjoys relative political success as well. Mauritius is the only African state currently qualifying as a "full democracy," which reflects the country's strong institutions. Free and fair elections have taken place ever since the country achieved independence in 1968, and the government has been formed by a series of changing political coalitions. Mauritius was the only African country to be listed in the Economic Intelligence Unit's democracy index, and its highest score was for civil liberties: it has a well-functioning legal system based on English common law and French civil law. The constitution guarantees the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary, free media, and a fairly strong political participation.


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