After the shock post November 8th with the result of the US presidential election, the world started studying what a Trump presidency in the USA would mean to the international markets and geopolitical environment. The vast majority of the polls and political analysts were wrong in their predictions on the outcome of this election. Hillary Clinton was the favourite, praised by the media and anticipated to defend Obama’s legacy in most policy aspects. The international markets would continue operating business as usual, and Brexit would have been the only bump in the road in 2016.
Angola has experienced rapid growth in the last decade, mostly propelled by the exploitation of its vast natural resources. Today, the country ranks as the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its history, like that of many African nations, is characterised by struggle and battle. After its independence from Portugal in 1975, Angola entered into a 27-year long civil war, where two major opposition parties, MPLA and Unita, fought for supremacy. In 2002, the two parties finally agreed on a cease-fire and started to focus on rebuilding the country. The rebirth of Angola started in 2002.
Cassava is a starchy tuber mainly produced in the tropical and subtropical regions, both north and south of the Equatorial line. The root was first introduced to the African continent between the 16th and 17th centuries by the Portuguese, who brought the stems from Brazil. From the delta of the Congo River, where it was initially planted in Africa, cassava spread throughout the continent and, today, the tuber is cultivated in more than 35 countries in Africa.
In many African countries it became the main source of carbohydrates and has replaced some traditional staples such as millet and yam. Cassava has been successfully incorporated into many farming systems across the continent.
Following 2008, Africa embarked upon a borrowing spree fuelled by cheap and accessible foreign capital. Developed markets that were thought to be risk-free and attractive had the seal of safe investment shredded into pieces as a result of the financial crisis. Policy-makers sought to rectify the damage done to financial systems and economies by enacting a large set of financial reforms, both at the international and domestic level.
The restructuring of the developed economies involved, among other measures, lowering interest rates. This measure, together with an increasing awareness that investment diversification was necessary, made investors with an appetite for higher yields look elsewhere. Africa appeared to be the most promising place. With increasing infrastructure projects and large revenues from the commodities market, the continent enticed many investors looking for the next pot of gold.
Zimbabwe has recently and unilaterally banned importation of South African products with the aim of promoting its national industry. The law was passed in a moment when the country is again on the brink of economic collapse. Ruled by President Robert, the country reached the bottom and seems to not have found a way out of it.
“The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.”
This quote from Aristotle could not be more true in our modern society. A society with a strong middle class and a small gap between rich and poor is more likely to experience economic growth. Inequality negatively affects societies because the poor are less able to invest in their education, are more likely to suffer poor health and, as a result, will have lower productivity.
On the other hand, according to controversial former American Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, the very rich do not spend or generate jobs proportionally to their wealth. The wheel of economy does not spin because of the poor or the rich, it turns on the strength of the middle class.
This Wednesday, May 18th, Singapore was host for a very special guest: a delegation from Madagascar, the 4th largest island in the world, located in East Africa, Indian Ocean. The entourage was headed by His Excellency, Mr. Hery Rajaonarimampianina, President of Madagascar, and included other members of the government, and business and political leaders.