Sub-Saharan Africa, Best-Performing Bond Market Region For Emerging Economies

Written by Dana Sanchez

From Institute For Security Studies. Story by Peter Fabricius, ISS Consultant.

Bloomberg Africa held a Business Media Innovators conference this week in Johannesburg, part the company’s wider initiative to boost the quality of business reporting in sub-Saharan Africa.

Bloomberg editor Matt Winkler said the growth of the sub-Saharan African economy as a whole over the past decade has been “an almost staggering” 50 percent, versus just 23 percent for the world at large, and only 13 percent in the U.S.

After peaking in 2008, average inflation across sub-Saharan Africa declined and continues to decline or stabilize at around 7.8  percent. “Rising GDP and declining inflation are a good convergence of statistics in sub-Saharan Africa,” Winkler said.

Sub-Saharan Africa – especially Kenya and Nigeria – is the best performing bond market region among emerging economies. Bond investors in Nigeria registered returns of 40 percent and those in Kenya 56 percent since 2014, despite the plunge in the oil price.

Colin Coleman, Africa CEO of Goldman Sachs, said his company just helped Angola successfully issue a US$1.5 billion sovereign bond, which had been hugely oversubscribed, attracting US$7 billion in investment. This was in spite of the government halving its budget over the past year, also because of the plunge in the oil price.

He attributes these good figures largely to investors betting on the demographics of sub-Saharan Africa, with the fastest growing youth population in the world, providing many consumers for the future.

However, Jay Ireland, CEO of GE Africa, cautioned that Winkler’s macro data about Africa might be too optimistic. African equity markets are thinly traded and bond transactions are small, he said. Africa needs to spend US$90 billion a year on infrastructure for the next 10 to 15 years if it really wants to sustain the Africa Rising narrative and go beyond just financial investments.

Read more at Institute For Security Studies.

About Dana Sanchez

Dana Sanchez was born in South Africa and is a U.S. citizen. After working in advertising, she went back to school and earned a master's degree in journalism from the University of South Florida. As a business writer, she won regional and national writing awards. As editor of a daily newspaper, she coordinated staff writers, freelancers and photographers in the fast-paced environment of daily news. Dana was an editor at Moguldom Media Group for four years, helping to build and manage a team of staff and freelance writers. She works now on for Nubai Ventures. A long-distance hiker and cyclist, she writes about the business of technology.