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Liberia’s President Weah Makes Strategic Partnership with the World Bank To Support Pro-Poor Agenda

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Liberia President George Weah receiving a copy of Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development

President Weah receiving a copy of PAPD from the Finance minister for Finance and Development Planning

The government of Liberia has gained a strategic partner in its efforts to achieve pro-poor growth plans. The World Bank, Liberia Office, has introduced a five-year strategic plan for Liberia. Through the plan, there will be more emphasis on infrastructural development in the country. Good infrastructure will steer the country towards the right trajectory of development.

Liberia’s Pro-Poor Economic Growth

President George Weah introduced Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development (PAPD) in 2018 with the aim to stimulate economic growth in a way that will benefit the poor.

PAPD has a five-year agenda that covers 2018 to 2023. The Agenda seeks to strengthen people’s capacities to prosper. In addition, it seeks to bring together all Liberians, whether at home or abroad, to participate in the national development process.

PAPD has four important pillars that drive the development agenda. In addition, these pillars align with the country’s Vision 2030. The four PAPD pillars include:

  1. Power to the People – The first pillar aims to empower the citizens with tools to gain control of their lives.
  2. Economy and Jobs – The goal of the second pillar is to create a conducive environment for investment and economic growth.
  3. Sustaining the Peace – The third pillar seeks to maintain peace in the country.
  4. Governance and Transparency – The fourth pillar seeks to promote accountability in the public sector.

Country Partnership Framework

The support for pro-poor growth was affirmed by the signing of Country Partnership Framework—CPF. CPF is a six-year partnership plan with the World Bank that responds to Liberia’s strategic priority, the PAPD.

CPF focuses on intangible capital and human resource. In addition, the framework seeks to promote investments in infrastructure. Ultimately, the CPF aims to create an enabling environment for business, strengthen institutions, and boost private sector development.

Through the CPF and the Five-Year Strategic Plan, the World Bank has become an important partner to Liberia. Combined with the PAPD and the country’s Vision 2030, the planned policies and framework will boost the country’s economic growth.

Step in the Right Direction

President George Weah has prioritized the welfare of his people in his policies, as demonstrated in the pro-poor growth agenda. The strategic partnerships with organizations such as the World Bank will provide the much-needed aid to boost Liberia’s infrastructure and economy.

President George Weah took over from Ellen Johnson Sirleaf. Sirleaf is Africa’s first elected female head of state and a 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

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Mauritius and Kenya Sign New Deal. Ban Lifted on Kenya’s Produce

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Kenya’s president and Mauritius Prime Minister witness the signing of the deal

Kenya and Mauritius signed a new deal that saw Mauritius lifting a ban on Kenyan farm produce. The new agreement enhances trade between the two African countries. Mauritius had initially banned baby beans, baby carrots, broccoli, and avocados from Kenya. Bilateral talks between Mauritius Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth and Kenya President Uhuru Kenya culminated in the lifting of the ban on these products.

Agreements

The bilateral talks also saw the signing of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement—DTAA. In addition, the two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation for the development of an Export Processing Zone in Kenya.

Kenya and Mauritius also signed an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement. Other agreements signed include MOU in the field of arts and culture, an MOU in the field of higher education and scientific research, and an MOU on tourism.

Impact of the Deal

The signed agreements will boost Kenya’s ambitions to reach its development goals. According to President Kenyatta, the agreements will particularly boost Kenya’s manufacturing sector and create employment opportunities.

The new deal will further foster cooperation between Mauritius and Kenya. This means that the cordial relationship between the two countries is enhanced. This relationship will boost trade and investment opportunities in both countries.

Both Kenya and Mauritius have long coastlines, and more benefits can be derived in their blue economies through cooperation. President Kenyatta stated that there is a need for the two countries to look for ways of enhancing maritime transport by linking the Port of Mombasa to Port Louis. An established link is considered a catalyst for growing trade and businesses in the two countries.

The key benefit to Kenya from the deal is the promotion of its agricultural produce. Mauritius lifted a three-year ban on Kenyan avocado. Kenya lost the avocado market in Mauritius in 2015. The ban was due to the Mauritian National Plant Protection Office citing low hygiene standards of the Kenyan avocados. Lifting of the ban will now see more exports of avocados to Mauritius, along with other farm produce such as baby carrots and broccoli.

Kenya’s deal with Mauritius follows an initial pact with China. In 2018, Kenya signed deals with China and the Republic of Korea that opened opportunities for farmers to export more agriculture products to the two countries. The Kenya-China agreement opened opportunities for Kenya to export meat, flowers, and a selection of fruits and vegetables to China.

Kenyatta’s visit to Mauritius for the deal makes him the first Kenyan president to visit Mauritius.

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10 Easiest Countries to Do Business in Africa 2019

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Do you want to do business in Africa? As you may well be aware, Africa is a continent that is buzzing with potential. One of the primary reasons it makes the best place to invest is its untapped opportunities. There is so much that you could do here. On top of there being a ready market and raw materials, the continent is also not short of skilled labor. Now, Africa has many countries; you cannot probably invest or do business in all of them.

The small economies in Africa are the best performing in terms of policy and business reforms. For this reason, the best three countries to do business in Africa today are not necessarily the economic giants of South Africa (position 82 globally), Egypt (position 120 globally), Nigeria (position 146 globally) or even Kenya.

The World Bank report uses very specific parameters in measuring the ease of doing business in a country and determining its position worldwide. These parameters include ease of starting a business, taxes, contracts, access to credit, training, dissemination, registering property,  and cross-border trade. The World Bank looks at a total of 190 economies in the world. And at this time, despite minor improvements, our own Eritrea (189 positions) and conflict-ravaged Somalia (position 190) managed the last two slots. The list below gives you the ten easiest countries to do business in Africa.

Top 10 Easiest Countries To Do Business in Africa

Do Business in Africa

#1 – Mauritius

Mauritius is one of the easiest countries to do business in Africa. The incredible part is that it ranks first in Africa! World Bank report has also positioned it 20th on a global scale. This should not be in vain. What makes Mauritius the best country to do business in Africa? There are several factors. The ones highlighted by World Bank being a notable improvement in areas of business creation, obtaining building permits, cross-border trade, enforcement of contracts and infrastructure. The predominant language for business is English.

#2 – Rwanda

Rwanda is an East African country with a lot of economic potentials. It is ranked the best in East Africa (pdf) by reports in ease of doing business in the region. The country is also rich in natural resources like minerals and agriculture. The country has so much going on, even in foreign trade. We are talking about tea, minerals, coffee, and tourism and so on. Is the legislative environment conducive? Well, as a matter of fact, it ranks 33 in property rights and 47 in innovation.

There are 4 official languages in the country. Kinyarwanda is the language spoken by most of the population. English, French and Swahili are the other 3 official languages. In 2008, English became the language of instruction in schools – this was a switch from the Frech language. The predominant languages for business are English and Swahili.

#3 – Morocco

Morocco is an African country that is located in the northern part of Africa; it is actually the most northerly country in the continent. Morocco ranks third when it comes to Africa’s best countries to do business in. What are the perks of doing business in this country? Truth be told, you will be overwhelmed.

It all starts with the mere fact that the country has proximity to Europe. What does that mean? The proximity makes foreign trade relations easy. Also, it makes the country a hotbed of investors. The business climate is also diverse and very proactive.

Since the government has geared its efforts towards the education sector of the country, educated workforce keeps increasing. The Moroccan government is also very stable and in support of economic development. There are so many opportunities to harness in this country. The country also has exceptional performance when it comes to Monetary Freedom.

Morocco is multilingual with different flavors of Arabic and French commonly used for communication. However, the predominant language for business is French.

#4 – Kenya

Kenya has the most powerful economy in East Africa. Just to show you why Kenya makes a good pick, you need to note that the state has risen the ranks in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business from position 136 globally to 61. The most incredible part is that this happened in less than five years. That is not all. The country has also exhibited exceptional economic and infrastructural development which makes it even easier to run business in the state. When it comes to innovation, the country ranks third in the Sub-Sahara. As you have seen, it offers a very conducive environment for business.

Kenya has two official languages, English and Swahili. However, English is predominantly used in business.

#5 – Tunisia

What makes Tunisia one of the best countries to do business in Africa? Well, there are several reasons why you should invest here. For one, it is one of the African countries that have the most diversified market-based economy. Also, just like Ghana (position 114 globally), you will even get to enjoy personal freedom as an entrepreneur. The country ranks fifth best country to do business in Africa.

Tunisia has two main ‘official’ languages. Modern Standard Arabic and French. Both languages are used to conduct business.

#6 – South Africa

Despite being an Africa economic giant, South Africa has not made as many significant reforms as needed to rank better as a country of destination for doing business in Africa. However, it is worth noting that South Africa ranks as the sixth best country to do business in Africa. Also, it has an overall rank of 82 in the world. South Africa’s economy can be described as a middle-income emerging market. The country also has abundance in natural resources and a well-developed transport and communication sector. That is not all. The country is also doing very well in the financial and legal sector.

The South African stock exchange is also impressive, ranking 20th in the world. All that combined with Investor Protection and Property Rights makes the country one of the best to invest in Africa.

South Africa has 11 official languages. However, business is mostly conducted in English.

#7 – Botswana

Botswana ranks seventh in Africa, and 86 in the World among the best countries to do business in. This is by reports released by the World Bank. What makes Botswana a catch? For one, the mining sector is attracting an outstanding number of investors. Also, it is good to note that Botswana’s banking and insurance sector is a force to reckon with. Cross-border trade and access to credit in the country is pretty impressive.

Botswana has two official languages, English and Tswana. However, English is the language predominantly used to conduct business.

#8 – Zambia

There are excellent potential and opportunity for growth here. It would be satisfying if you set up a business in the country and watch it grow as the nation grows. Despite the country relying heavily on copper trade, it has one of the fastest growing economies in the continent.

Zambia recognizes 7 languages as regional official languages. However, English is predominantly used in business dealings.

#9 – Seychelles

Seychelles is yet another country that ranks top 10 in the list of best states to do business in Africa. This has been attributed to the diverse economy. We are talking about tourism, agriculture, energy, and telecommunications. More so, the country has been ranked 96 globally by the World Bank.

Seychelles has 3 national languages – Seychellois Creole, English and French. However, English is the language predominantly used in business dealings.

#10 – Djibouti

Djibouti is among the top ten countries that improved quite significantly across three or more doing business areas as measured by the World Bank. The country did reforms in the areas of accessing credit, starting a business, protecting minority investors, enforcing contracts, registering property and resolving issues of insolvency. Most significantly, the country ranks among the top ten in Africa because of creating a one-stop shop for business startup.

According to Atou Seck, World Bank Resident Representative in Djibouti, “The reforms undertaken by the Government of Djibouti to improve the business environment can be a catalyst for change in the country’s economic landscape

Djibouti has 3 official languages – Somali, Arabic and French. However, French is the language predominantly used for business dealings.

Most Improved Countries

On the list of the 10 most improved economies in the world are 5 African countries. The countries are Djibouti, Togo, Kenya, Côte d’Ivoire, and Rwanda. Of the 5 countries, only Djibouti has been on the most improved list for 2 consecutive years.

Source: Doing Business database. Note: Economies are selected on the basis of the number of reforms and ranked on how much their ease of doing business score improved. First, Doing Business selects the economies that implemented reforms making it easier to do business in three or more of the 10 areas included in this year’s aggregate ease of doing business score. Regulatory changes making it more difficult to do business are subtracted from the number of those making it easier. Second, Doing Business ranks these economies on the increase in their ease of doing business score from the previous year. The improvement in their score is calculated not by using the data published in 2017 but by using comparable data that capture data revisions. The choice of the most improved economies is determined by the largest improvements in the ease of doing business score among those with at least three reforms.

Where will you invest?

Africa is a growing and diverse continent that is ripe with opportunities for investments and business. You cannot afford to miss out on the share of the economic pie. As you look for countries to do business in Africa, the list here should provide you with the best in the continent. The countries are packed with talent, innovation and also rich in natural resources. Invest and be a part of the business revolution happening in Africa!

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Zimbabwe Offers Land for Wakanda One Village

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Fictional Wakanda from Black Panther Movie

The fictional ‘Black Panther’ country, Wakanda, may just be on its way to becoming a reality. The government of Zambia and Zimbabwe are setting aside 132, and 2,000 hectares of land respectively for the construction of Wakanda One Village. The land is located around Victoria Falls along the border of the two countries.

The concept of Wakanda One Village is to let Africans in Diaspora spearhead development at specified sites on the continent. The idea is timely as Zimbabwe government is seeking the help of Zimbabweans in the diaspora to rebuild the economy. Consequently, Zimbabwe’s President, Emmerson Mnangagwa is looking forward to transforming the country by 2030 to an upper-middle-class economy. President Mnangagwa hopes to achieve this through tourism, mining, and agriculture.

The land pledge by President Mnangagwa was confirmed in December 2018 by Dr. Arikana Chihombori-Quao, the Permanent Representative to the US and the African Union Ambassador. In an interview following the conclusion of the inaugural Intra African Trade Fair, Dr. Arikana said,

“I met His Excellency President Mnangagwa recently and he offered 2000ha for the regional Wakanda One in Victoria Falls. The offer also comes in when the Zambian Government has also offered some land across the river in Livingstone. So we are looking at building the village [Wakanda One Village] straggling the border between the countries.”

The Composition of Wakanda One Village

The Wakanda One Village proposed between Zimbabwe and Zambia will only be the first of similar projects in the Southern African region. It will comprise a university and technical college, a 100-bed teaching hospital, day-care centers, primary and secondary schools, game lodge, three five-star hotels, parks, agricultural farms, and a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant.

On completion, the proposed Wakanda One Village will also have commercial office buildings, a shopping center, a monorail around the complex, renewable power plants, and a road network that will support electric cars that are self-driven.

Dr. Arikana also mentioned that Tanzania and Kenya have also pledged land for the building of Wakanda One Village in East Africa. With the groundbreaking set for the end of 2020, Dr. Arikana is looking to raise 2 billion USD before the due date. Consequently, the idea is to give Africans in Diaspora a reason to come home.

“We are looking at raising at least US$2 billion…with the first groundbreaking set for the end of the year 2020. We are going to build the Africa that we want so those diasporas… will [therefore] make it what they want.”

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