Fundamental shifts in the world of work are eroding traditional social safety nets. Could a universal basic income be the solution?
Please see below selected pre-2016 intelligence about Africa. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
- The “Africa Rising” narrative gained momentum around 2010. As is the way with these things, it arrived about a decade late - and just as things were about to go pear-shaped. Investors, hungry for yield, alighted on the only continent where living standards had not yet visibly begun to converge on those in the west. Their bet was that Africa had turned a corner. Were they wrong? These days, the mood has darkened. Nigeria and South Africa, which account for half of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product, are at or close to recession. Nigeria has squandered its oil boom. Long-sluggish South Africa has failed to meet the pent-up expectations of its black majority. The hopes of other resource-rich countries — including Angola, Mozambique and Zambia — have faded along with commodity prices. A flawed election in Uganda, plus a cavalcade of leaders clinging grimly on to power, from Zimbabwe to Burundi, undermine the idea that governance is on the mend. Those who helped change the Africa narrative, however, are sticking to the script. Among the true believers is the consultancy McKinsey, whose 2010 “Lions on the Move” report did much to feed the original story. This week it published a follow-up . Call it “Africa Rising: The Sequel”.
- South Africa’s economy grew by an annualised 3.3% in the second quarter, the fastest pace since late 2014. In the first three months of the year GDP contracted by 1.2%, leading to fears of recession, but mining, the mainstay of the economy, has since rebounded. #SouthAfrica: Consumer inflation slowed to 5.9% year on year in August, from the 6% reported for July.
- India’s vice president vies for influence in West Africa. Hamid Ansari is finishing a trip to Nigeria before embarking on the first high-level Indian visit to Mali in history. India has been touting itself as a preferable alternative to China for foreign investment in Africa, promoting its long history in the region and the potential for mutual benefits.
- The sixth Forum on China–Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), held on 4–5 December 2015, set in motion a deeper pattern of exchanges with its partners that could drive economic transformation across the continent. In ‘scaling-up’ measures to ease African bottlenecks in infrastructure, skills and finance. China is already a leader in investing and financing infrastructure in developing countries, with an estimate that China financed US$13.4 billion of African infrastructure in 2013. This sum surpassed the total financing provided by European and North American countries combined, as well as that of all multilateral and regional development banks.
- As access to the internet is growing, so are cyber ]crime rates in Africa where businesses and governments are starting to face a new type of threat for which few are currently prepared. Statistics show that 298 million people in Africa are active internet users, nearly 30% of the total population, a number expected to grow as internet penetration continues to improve in towns and rural areas. The financial sector is by far the most vulnerable sector. For example, every year Kenya's Commercial Bank loses $9.4 million to cyber perpetrated fraud. Resulting not only in economic loss but also affecting brand image and market reputation, there is a significant need for corporate entities to recognise these cyber threats and develop incident response strategies.
Please see below selected recent intelligence about China. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
Q3 (July-August-September) 2016
- The former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund warned that a slowdown in China is the greatest threat to the global economy, claiming that a "hard landing" for one of the main engines of global growth could not be ruled out.
- However, China’s industrial profits jumped the most in three years. They rose 19.5% from a year ago to 534.8 billion yuan ($80.2 billion), according to the National Bureau of Statistics. The data suggests further stabilisation in manufacturing and a greater ability of companies to pay off debts.
- Indeed, China’s economy grew by 6.7% in the second quarter, the same as in the previous three months and a healthier pace than many had expected given the country’s stock market crash and depreciation of the yuan. Investment in infrastructure has surged and personal consumption has been strong.
- Although there is some suggestion that Chinese private sector is losing confidence in economic prospects, China’s producer price index was its least bad in four years. Government data tracking the cost of manufactured goods out the factory gate showed prices declined just 0.8% through the month of August, indicating that the flagging economy might be stabilizing. Consumer price inflation climbed 1.3%, slightly below July’s increase.
- Yet China’s July economic data provided more evidence of a slowdown. Investment grew at its slowest pace in more than 16 years in the January-July period. Retail sales in July increased 10.2%, versus a forecast 10.5% and down from 10.6% in June. Industrial output for the month rose 6% from a year earlier, slowing from 6.2% in June and missing the forecast of 6.1%.
- China’s “One Belt, One Road” project aims to make central Asia more connected to the world, yet even before the initiative was formally announced China had helped to redraw the energy map of the region. However, China is not the only investor in central Asian connectivity. Multilateral financial institutions, such as the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World Bank have long been investing in the region’s infrastructure. The Kazakh government has its own $9bn stimulus plan, directing money from its sovereign wealth fund to infrastructure investment. Other countries, including Turkey, the US, and the EU have also made improving Eurasian connectivity a part of their foreign policy.
- China wants a role at the global economic governance table, commensurate with its size and trajectory. Existing bodies have been slow to reform. In a new paper, the Royal Institute for International Relations, argued that “In areas where the overhaul of existing bodies proves difficult, China has begun to back the creation of parallel nstitutions tailored to the needs of emerging powers.”
Please see below selected pre-2016 intelligence about China. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
- In 2016 China will once again be hugely important in determining the path of the world economy and the direction of capital flows. But this time the story will not be about a slowing economy. As recent industrial production numbers indicate, measures to stimulate the economy are having an impact. Investment is picking up in response to stronger infrastructure investment, especially from local governments, reflecting the easing of financing constraints on them. State-owned enterprises have also been investing more heavily.
- Equities across the globe were undermined by losses in mainland China after a near 3 per cent drop on the Shanghai exchange triggered fresh commodity losses. As many markets reopened following the Christmas weekend break, China’s Shanghai Composite fell 2.6 per cent after weak industrial profit data for November dashed hopes of an end-of-year rally. The data, released on Sunday, showed profits earned by Chinese industrial companies fell 1.4 per cent last month - a sixth-consecutive month of year-on-year declines.
- China’s activity data was stronger than expected in November, with factory output growth picking up to a five-month high, signalling that a flurry of stimulus measures from Beijing may have put a floor under a fragile economy. Still, analysts believe more policy steps are needed to weather nagging headwinds from a cooling property market, risks from high domestic debt levels, and weak global demand as financial markets brace for interest rate rises by the US Federal Reserve.
- Meanwhile, foreign direct investment (FDI) into the Chinese mainland rose 1.9 percent year on year to 64.9 billion yuan ($10.4 billion) in November, the Ministry of Commerce said. The growth slowed from a 4.2 percent rise in October. or the first 11 months, FDI, which excludes investment in the financial sector, stood at 704.3 billion yuan, up 7.9 percent from the same period last year.
- Activity in China's services sector expanded at a slower pace in November as new orders weakened. The Caixin/Markit Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 51.2 in November from a three-month high in October of 52.0. A reading above 50 points signifies growth on a monthly basis, while one below that points to a contraction.New business rose at a slower pace of 51.1 - down from 52.9 in October - showing weaker domestic and external demand while employment in services rose only marginally, with the smallest increase in three months.
- China's foreign trade dropped 4.5%year on year to 2.16 trillion yuan (337 billion U.S. dollars) in November, the ninth-consecutive monthly decline. China’s foreign-exchange hoard meanwhile fell in November to its lowest level in more than two years, reigniting concerns about Beijing’s ability to stem the outflow of capital from the world’s second-largest economy.
- A report by Standard & Poor’s warned that creditworthiness at China’s big state firms has worsened in recent years. The ratio of gross debt to earnings has increased to more than five on average.
- The latest snapshot of manufacturing activity by the Chinese Federation for Logistics and Purchasing showed activity slipping for the fourth month in a row, falling further below the 50 no-change mark to 49.6 in November from 49.8 the previous month. Economists at ANZ Bank said the data could prompt yet another rate cut from China's policymakers.
Please see below selected recent intelligence about India. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
- Real GDP growth in India accelerated to 7.9% year on year in January-March, the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2015-16, according to data released by the Central Statistical Office. In 2015-16 GDP grew by 7.6% on an expenditure basis, up from 7.2% in the previous year. Although the latest statistics show robust growth momentum, scepticism over underlying growth components - particularly manufacturing - continues. Still, the Economist Intelligence Unit expects the rate of economic expansion to accelerate in India in 2016-17, thanks to rising private consumption.
Please see below selected pre-2016 intelligence about India. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
- Buoyed by rising manufacturing output, India’s economy grew by 7.4% in the third quarter compared with the same three months last year. Buffered by financial gales two years ago, India is now the best performer among the BRICS economies, outpacing China’s growth rate of 6.9% in the third quarter. Inflationary pressures have receded, but reforms intended to streamline taxes, such as introducing a national sales tax, have stalled in parliament.
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The 2010 Ten-Year Forecast Map of the Decade benchmarked the big forces that will shape the decade: The Carbon Economy; The Water Ecology; Adaptive Power; Cities in Transition and Molecular Identity.
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Please see below selected recent intelligence about Europe. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at competitors, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.
- Eurozone GDP is now predicted to expand 1.6% this year, less than the 1.7% growth of 2015, while consumer prices are seen up 0.2%, below the 0.5% increase projected in February.
- The European Central Bank warned that the rise of populist parties in Europe could slow the pace of economic reforms. Populists on the left and right ends of the political spectrum have made gains in elections by running against spending cuts. Another big concern of the ECB is the potential risk posed by the vote in Britain on whether to leave the European Union, which will be held on June 23rd.
- Yet many eurozone capitals firmly believe that a return to a 2010-style debt crisis, where developments in Greece resulted in “contagion” to other Euro area members, is no longer possible, or indeed likely. Eurasia Group disagrees. If anything, it thinks the euro area is more politically vulnerable today to a change in investor sentiment than at any time since its creation. This is due to three factors. First, multiple negative political developments in Southern Europe; second, deteriorating relations between the ECB and Berlin; and third, a whole host of potential events, not least BREXIT or an inability to agree to a deal over Greece, that could serve as potential triggers for a change in market sentiment.
- Greece badly needs the next tranche of the €86 billion bail-out creditors promised it last summer, in exchange for promises of austerity and reform, warned The Economist. But it will not get the money until the creditors complete a review of its progress, which has been dragging on since October. The government has scraped together enough cash (by raiding independent public agencies) to pay salaries and pensions in May, perhaps even in June. But by July 20th, when a bond worth over €2 billion matures, the country once again faces default and perhaps a forced exit from the eurozone.