An Investment Banker’s 54 Christmas Wishes For African Economies

By Kurt Davis Jr. AFKI Original Published: December 7, 2015, 8:00 am
Image: hamiltontimes.com.au

If I could be Santa and give gifts to each of my African friends, here’s what I’d wish for each African country in 2016:

1. Algeria – continued success in economic diversification.

2. Angola – a tremendous bump in the oil price.

3. Benin – an easy process to coalition-building before the presidential election in 2016.

4. Botswana – true recognition of the need to forge a plan that utilizes mining surpluses to diversify the economy and create employment opportunities.

5. Burkina Faso – a bump in gold and cotton prices.

6. Burundi – a calm in the aftermath of Pierre Nkurunziza’s July 2015 presidential election.

7. Cameroon – continued international support in fighting Boko Haram. Cameroon is sometimes forgotten in the Boko Haram terrorism discussion.

8. Cape Verde – a pat on the back for truly pushing to the finish line on hitting the Millennium Development Goals by end of 2015. The country has the highest life expectancy in sub-Saharan Africa.

9. Central African Republic – less violence. 2016 should be an opportunity to hit the restart button with a new president.

10. Chad – debt relief for Chad in 2015 and new economic beginnings in 2016.

11. Comoros – a boost in the supply of electricity. Right now the capital gets a few hours of electricity per day.

12. Congo Brazzaville – investment partners in the infrastructure space.

13. Congo (Kinshasa) – a successful and peaceful series of elections in 2016, including the presidential election.

14. Cote d’Ivoire – a successful Africa CEO Forum. Cote d’Ivoire is economically strong but the even greater economic upside is not always palpable until you are on the ground

15. Djibouti – continued stability for a country that hosts numerous military bases for different countries in a very volatile part of the world

16. Egypt – greater success in integrating the Sinai Peninsula into the larger economy. Creating jobs is part of the process in combating terrorism.

17. Equatorial Guinea – success in its spatial development program — a program that exploits the complementary economic strengths of different growth hubs throughout the country. Can it be a success story for other African countries?

18. Eritrea – better relations with the world and greater incorporation into the global economy.

19. Ethiopia – Happy 2009! Better luck for you than me in 2009. The Ethiopian New Year for 2009 comes in September 2016 on the Gregorian calendar. Ethiopian legal documents use the Ethiopian calendar and the dates associated with that calendar, which are seven-to-eight years behind the Western calendar. It gets confusing.

20. Gabon – economic diversification because $100 oil is not coming back in the near term.

21. Gambia – a bonding retreat with the IMF. Jokes aside, both sides hopefully will get on the same page.

22. Ghana – the completion of the Tweneboa-Enyenra-Ntomme (TEN) field by Tullow — Ghana’s second major oil development.

23. Guinea-Bissau – political agreement and forward movement. It is a time of opportunity for Guinea-Bissau.

24. Kenya – fewer traffic jams.

25. Lesotho – rain and more rain to end one of the worst droughts in 30 years.

26. Liberia – a short memory on the Ebola epidemic.

27. Libya – a transitional government that unites the differing factions in Tobruk, Tripoli, and Benghazi.

28. Madagascar – a bump in private investment, particularly with a new mining and petroleum code in 2016.

29. Malawi – a better balance of rain. A combination of droughts and floods have hurt agriculture in 2015.

30. Mali – the return of the Festival au Desert, currently in exile. Read more about this celebration, considered one of Africa’s premier festivals for music, dance and cultural exchange, at AFKInsider.

31. Mauritania – buoyancy with the iron price as economic diversification continues.

32. Mauritius – more tourism packages for those visiting from the U.S.

33. Morocco – greater support in its ambition to be a financial capital in Africa. There is a strong argument for it in terms of the country’s location, stability, and relationship with Europe.

34. Mozambique – a “go” on the liquefied natural gas facilities in northern Mozambique. Yes there is the concern of oversupply but I like the symbolism in a “go” for Mozambique.

35. Namibia – ongoing success in boosting education to support a strong mining economy.

36. Niger – a boom in infrastructure support to the uranium industry in Niger’s vast desert. Niger is home to the fifth largest recoverable uranium reserves.

37. Nigeria – a renewed Nigerian image on the international stage under the Buhari administration.

38. Rwanda – more success for the Tour of Rwanda as it tries to advance cycling popularity on the African continent.

39. Sao Tome and Principe – a smooth introduction into the oil-producing world.

40. Senegal – more infrastructure dollars from private investors.

41. Seychelles – more global weddings and consequently more honeymoon travelers to the country.

42. Sierra Leone – a headliner year in 2016 for entrepreneurship. The Global Entrepreneurship Index ranks Sierra Leone 128th out of 132 countries surveyed for entrepreneurship. The country is better than that.

43. Somalia – a change on the outlook of elections for the near term, maybe an end-of-year 2016 election.

44. South Africa – a GDP bump. The economy must take a turn for the positive.

45. South Sudan – peace and open, affordable oil pipelines.

46. Sudan – an international image beyond civil conflict. There is an opportunity for investment in the country.

47. Swaziland – a let-up in the tension between locals and foreign business owners.

48. Tanzania – John Magufuli delivers the goods in 2016.

49. Togo – ease and cooperation in the government decentralization process.

50. Tunisia – resilience in the fight for democracy and peace. Tunisia can still be a model for democracy in Northern Africa.

51. Uganda – renewed efforts and success in restoring primary school education. Recent numbers suggest that hidden costs in schooling are reversing the country’s high performance in ensuring all children complete primary school.

52. Western Sahara – some momentum in providing a solution to ongoing conflict over its self-governing and territorial independence.

53. Zambia – a reverse on the currency tide with a bonus — that copper prices rebound in 2016.

54. Zimbabwe – a recovery on the South African rand. Zimbabweans have benefited from a bump in the dollar but suffered on the rand. Both the dollar and rand operate as functional currencies in the country.

Kurt Davis Jr. is an investment banker focusing on the natural resources and energy sectors, with private equity experience in emerging economies. He earned a law degree in tax and commercial law at the University of Virginia’s School of Law and a master’s of business administration in finance, entrepreneurship and operations from the University of Chicago. He can be reached at kurt.davis.jr@gmail.com.

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