Julians Amboko

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    Sluggish recovery by low-income countries could be Africa’s next big challenge

Sluggish recovery by low-income countries could be Africa’s next big challenge

In April 2017, the World Bank tabled a fairly optimistic forecast for commodity prices for 2017 and 2018 anticipating: crude oil to average $55 per barrel in 2017 before nudging further north to $60 in 2018; a 26 per cent rise in the price of energy commodities (including natural gas and coal) in 2017 and a more moderate 8 […]

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    Why the pressure for higher minimum wages is gaining traction in Africa

Why the pressure for higher minimum wages is gaining traction in Africa

On 1 May this year, while observing Labour Day celebrations, Kenya’s President, Uhuru Kenyatta, announced an 18 per cent hike in the minimum wage, the country’s most ambitious raise in just about a decade and one that scaled up the minimum wage to Kes 20,296 – about US$ 196.8. (Computation based on the gazetted minimum wage for Nairobi, Mombasa […]

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    The Southern African wild card: High foreign debt, weak currencies and default risk

The Southern African wild card: High foreign debt, weak currencies and default risk

The dawn of 2017 seems to have pried open a can of worms in Southern Africa. In just about four months, Mozambique, not too long ago displaying strong economic growth and bullish investor sentiment, has defaulted in servicing a $60 million coupon payment for its ‘Tuna Bond’. The plunge in oil prices has sent banks in Angola clutching at the […]

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    What the South African anti-foreign riots say about the country’s economy

What the South African anti-foreign riots say about the country’s economy

As anti-immigration protesters take the streets of South Africa’s capital, Pretoria, it is instructive to look at the nation’s economy.

South Africa’s economic performance since the 2008/09 global recession is disturbing. The economy’s growth seems stunted, posting 1.3 per cent year-on-year change in 2015[1] and a more measly average of 0.8 per cent in the first three quarters of 2016[2]. Per capita income […]

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    Ghana won’t be able to fix its economy if it uses last decade’s rule book

Ghana won’t be able to fix its economy if it uses last decade’s rule book

Ghana’s 2008 general election remains one for the history books. The electorate voted out a government (the New Patriotic Party) that had presided over:

a decline in the number of the unemployed masses (averaging a 7.9 per cent year-on-year fall in the number of unemployed between 2001 and 2008);
a more stable monetary environment with a decline in annual […]

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    Nigeria in recession: the devaluation came a day late, a dollar short

Nigeria in recession: the devaluation came a day late, a dollar short

Nigeria – Five Naira (₦5), (cropped), by Shardayyy, under a CC-BY-2.0 licence
In January 2016, I tabled a prognosis for Nigeria anchored on the premise of an economy set to tread a tight rope between soaring inflation and deceleration of its growth momentum. Seven months later, inflation had inched to a high of 17.1 per cent and the economy had […]

The commodity price rout and Africa’s unusual electoral cycle

The ongoing electoral cycle in Sub-Saharan Africa is turning out to be somewhat unusual. In the Nigeria March 2015 poll, the People’s Democratic Party suffered its first loss since the end of military rule in 1999, whilst in South Africa’s August 2016 municipal election the ruling Africa National Congress (ANC) registered its worst performance since the end of apartheid […]

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    Egypt as No. 2: What’s next for Africa’s (new) second largest economy?

Egypt as No. 2: What’s next for Africa’s (new) second largest economy?

Perhaps the best thing about Egypt’s emergence as Africa’s second largest economy, overtaking South Africa, is that it had nothing to do with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) rebasing exercise ─ the periodic revision of GDP estimates, as done by Nigeria and Kenya in 2014, with a view to obtaining an up-to-date reflection of the economy and changing dynamics […]

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    Ghana races to the ballot with increased concern over the economy

Ghana races to the ballot with increased concern over the economy

On 21 January 2016, the International Monetary Fund approved disbursement of a USD 114 Million loan to Ghana. It was the third such effort in the recent past to align the economy’s sails towards greater stability. Even though this played a pivotal role in defusing a pervasive sense of crisis, investors have grown wary of the woes bedevilling what was, […]

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    Domestic savings may be the answer to Africa’s fiscal woes

Domestic savings may be the answer to Africa’s fiscal woes

In the run up to the 2008/09 Great Recession, belief in monetary policy as a countervailing force against potential hard-landings evolved to a near article of faith. During the reconstruction from the ensuing wreckage, central banks across the globe engaged in liquidity expansion exercises in a scale that defied precedents. About seven years later, there seems to be a growing […]

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    The deceleration of emerging markets needs to be taken seriously

The deceleration of emerging markets needs to be taken seriously

The helm of global economic and finance punditocracy converged in Davos between 20 and 23 January 2016 for the annual World Economic Forum under the theme ‘Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution’. The theme would be eclipsed by talk on the volatility roller coaster that had rocked the markets at the start of the year with ‘China’ being the near […]

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    Nigeria in 2016: walking a tightrope between slowdown and inflation

Nigeria in 2016: walking a tightrope between slowdown and inflation

Every so often we have an event that steals the headlines for what it was not about and such was the case for Christine Lagarde’s four-day visit to Nigeria in January 2016. The IMF Managing Director sought to disabuse widespread speculation that Africa’s largest economy  ($ 500.0 billion in GDP size) was out to secure bailout in view of […]

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    Currency depreciation and diverging inflation rates block the road to monetary union in Africa

Currency depreciation and diverging inflation rates block the road to monetary union in Africa

The chase for regional monetary unions seems to be part of Africa’s 21st century holy grail:

In November 2013, Heads of State of the East African Community (EAC) signed the region’s monetary union protocol in accordance with Article 5 of the EAC Treaty of Establishment.
The Southern African Development Community Protocol on Trade (1996) envisions a Monetary Union as one of […]

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    As the world economy slumps, African countries embrace intra-regional trade

As the world economy slumps, African countries embrace intra-regional trade

By and large, the world is caught in a phase of global economic transition: the possibility of the US and Europe exiting the zero-interest-rate terrain lurks in the horizon, despite seeming remote in the recent past; in China, the government is attempting to rebalance growth from over-reliance on exports as aggregate growth moderates toward the 6-to-7 percent band in […]