International Players Are Interested In African Economies – Razia Khan, Standard Chartered.

Razia Khan, Standard Chartered Bank Chief Economist and Head of Research for Africa and The Middle East today spoke to Trevor Ncube on his YouTube Channel.

Below are the key points from the discussion.

Key Points

  • A lot of international players have an interest in African economies.
  • Her father’s family was in Botswana, before she moved to the UK.
  • She attended school at Maru-a-Pula High School in Botswana before moving to the UK.
  • She did he Degrees in MSc in Economics with a focus in Development studies at the London School of Economics.
  • After that she went back to Botswana to work for Standard Chartered Bank.
  • The big risk in Africa is the inability to procure vaccines. Less that 1% of vaccines have been administered in Sub Saharan Africa. Africa will have to find ways to live with Covid.
  • Africa will be the center of international consumption in the future.
  • We are living in an interdependent world and new variants in Africa will affect the whole globe.
  • Will future production in Africa be offshore while Africa is only a consumer?
  • The ability to preserve existing manufacturing capacity is important.
  • Development should not only be measured by GDP numbers, but also through quality of education, health care etc.
  • African economies should work hard to attract back the talent that has moved to work in other economies.
  • Countries such as Nigeria has a lot of re-pats.
  • The last decade has seen a lot of stop-Go false starts and it was not consistent development. Economies should be managed in a way that will give confidence to the returning expats.
  • There needs to be a look at the values for raising intra-regional trade. Does one country produce what other regional countries needs.
  • If many of the countries are commodity producers, they will not be able to produce for other countries.
  • currently, the major rail and sea infrastructure is about taking what is produced and selling it to the rest of the world.
  • Tariff and non-tariff barriers are preventing true opening up.
  • In 2020, it was cheap for African countries to borrow from international markets. These loans still need to be re-financed. The G20 has proposed a finance repayment suspension for 3 years. However, this does not do much to reduce the debt load of those African countries. Chad, Ethiopia and Zambia have requested common treatment framework for their debt.
  • In 2021, there will be less hard lockdowns that we saw in 2020.
  • Commodity prices have bounced back due to high growth in China.
  • There should never be a temptation to overborrow.
  • Building Back Better builds on the demographics in Africa.
  • There will be a coming back in a big way as people look for opportunities.
  • The opportunities in Africa lies in its starting point, going into greener products and renewables.
  • Africa’s real strength lies in its ability to adapt.
  • Covid has taught us that its less important where you are located, as long as you can get a good internet connection.
  • Long term is what matters. In markets where there was a long build up of policy credibility, they could move faster.
  • There has been a significant monetary easing as compared to fiscal easing.
  • Unless countries have established a reputation for low inflation, rapid expansion is not appropriate.
  • In Ghana there was a wider fiscal deficit. It was transparent and the limit that was set was not exceeded.
  • In Sub Saharan Africa, there is a rush to get better quality data. The measure of GDP does not change much in the real world.
  • The focus should be on what revenue is being collected from that estimate of GDP.
  • The focus should be on how to formalize what is in the informal sector.