Editor's Note: Kusi Hornberger is an Investment Policy & Promotion Specialist with the Investment Climate Advisory Services of the World Bank Group.
Could a good business environment help countries cope with the crisis? Razia Khan, Regional Head of Research for Africa at Standard Chartered Bank, seems to think so:
Does too much aid lead countries to become aid dependent? Clearly this is a possibility, and one that some aid critics believe is an inevitability. But I wouldn't say that aid is necessarily habit forming. The key issue is whether the aid is sustainable—in other words, whether the recipient country is taking the necessary steps to wean itself off aid over the longer term.
There is a place where the Nile is born, and the locals can show you exactly where it is. It is quite a privilege to see it in person—a place that was searched for by generations of explorers in Africa. I am talking about that spot on the northern bank of Lake Victoria where the White Nile first enters the world. Another important birth is taking place nearby in a ritzy neighborhood of Kampala called Munyonyo.
In previous posts, I discussed the crime and security situation for firms in Latin America and the Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ECA) region. I have begun rolling data from the Enterprise Surveys for 21 countries in Africa, and the initial results suggest that crime imposes as heavy a burden on firms in Africa as in Latin America. On average, losses due to crime and security expenses average about 2.7% of the annual sales of a firm in Africa.
For quite some time, I’ve suspected that Nigeria would become the leader in Africa for PPPs. Several projects have been announced, and serious government interest has been demonstrated by discussion on policy, legislation and deal flow. The Global Legal Group has provided excellent insight into this in their 2007 Guide to PPP/PFI Projects.
Not another reference to recession-hit corporate behemoths, but more on how to jump start even small businesses in the toughest environments. Somalia and Zimbabwe top the list in the latest Failed States Index from the Fund for Peace and Foreign Policy magazine. The problems facing those attempting to do business there are well documented.
The Economist has an interesting prediction for east Africa: "In a couple of years even fairly poor east Africans may be getting knowledge, news and entertainment on robust versions of existing Apple iPhone and Palm Pre models." This prediction comes just after Kenya's president connected the first of three planned fiber-optic submarine cables.