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The South African government should consider other options to raise revenue instead of the proposed increase in VAT. shutterstock

OECD survey strengthens case against VAT increase in South Africa

South Africa’s left wing trade unions may have found an unlikely ally in their objection to the proposed VAT hike. The OECD says there are other options South Africa could consider to raise revenue.
An oil worker stands on the deck of a tanker at Bonga off-shore oil field outside Lagos. Africa’s extractive industries are committed to local content but universities aren’t producing the right kind of graduates. Reuters/Akintunde Akinleye

Why local content in Africa’s extractive sector won’t work without home grown human capital

Huge investments have been made to develop Africa’s extractive industry. The challenge now is to forge collaboration between the industry and institutions of higher education to build a skills base.
A South African farmer from Piketberg 100km outside Cape Town inspects the dry soil in his field of sewn wheat. It is cheaper to import the crop than to grow it commercially. Epa/Nic Bothma

South Africa’s struggling agricultural sector: what went wrong 20 years ago

South Africa’s agricultural industry has struggled over the past 20 years due to the country’s rush to liberalise the sector while other countries continued to support their farmers.
Nigeria’s plans for a new modern city need to be boosted so that they deliver a metropolis like the Al Maryah Island in Abu Dhabi. Shutterstock

Why Nigeria’s plans for a dream Eldorado city are not radical enough

Rather than just becoming a financial venture, the Eko Atlantic experiment can be carried further at no extra cost to become the hub to transform good governance in Nigeria and West Africa.
The rise of the BRICS countries is a case of political life imitating economic art. Reuters

BRICS herald new era in international political economy

The global recognition of BRICS – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – has not only led to their greater global political influence, but also reinforced their regional leadership.
Ben Affleck championed the piece of legislation requiring companies reporting to the US Securities and Exchange Commission to disclose their use of ‘conflict minerals’ originating in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Reuters/Yuri Gripas

What’s missing from celebrity activism in Africa? The people

Celebrities help make causes known to larger audiences and can be effective in obtaining pledges from policymakers. Yet their simplified advocacy messages can lead to ineffective or harmful policies.
South Africa, which has a shortage of energy, has three options for greater energy efficiency. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

How South Africa can transition to a less energy-intensive economy

Shifting South Africa’s economy from energy intensive sectors to those with lower energy consumption will take more time, and even more funding. But the impact will be more permanent and sustainable.
Trade among African countries is the lowest globally as barriers to the easy movement of goods across borders remain. Reuters/James Akena

What African countries must do to boost trade among themselves

Sub-Saharan African countries have the lowest trade among themselves compared with other regions. This is why there has been a major focus on reducing red tape and other non-tariff trade barriers
Asymmetries in the regulation of global trade in goods and services as well as finance have serious implications for Africa. Reuters/Toby Melville

How Africa can overcome being marginalised in the global economy

Efforts to address Africa’s developmental challenges are hampered by features of the global governance architecture that undermine national policy and international cooperation.
Leaders from the Group of Seven (G7) industrial nations in the Bavarian Alps for a summit in June. Time is ripe for a courageous shift in global leadership. Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko

Forget the G7, the world needs a new alliance to lead it in the 21st century

The world needs an alliance of leading well-being economies, a WE7, to lead it in the 21st century. It would be the first step towards a global network committed to a sustainable future for the planet.
Money is much more than just bank notes and coins issued by central banks. EPA/Aaron Ufumeli

Explainer: the real role of banks in money creation

The misguided belief that banks create money out of nothing has generated public anger with organisations and individuals calling for an overhaul of the system and an end to money creation by banks.
Mozambique has improved access to education, but it has to do more to meet the high expectations of its young and rapidly growing population. Reuters/Grant Lee Neuenbur

What Mozambique can do to achieve rapid economic and social progress

Agriculture, which employs about 80% of the working population, and political stability are key to Mozambique’s rapid economic and social progress.
The challenge for new African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina is to ensure that it develops its own Africa-relevant solutions to the continent’s problems. Reuters/Luc Gnago

African Development Bank must gear up for a more proactive role

As the African Development Bank Group changes leadership, Africa’s multilateral financier must chart a new course, including raising the contribution and voice of Africans in the institution.
The production of indicators, such as the World Economic Forum’s ranking of economies on competitiveness, is a political process. Reuters/Victor Ruiz Garcia

Explainer: how indicators have the power to shape our world

Governance indicators have become essential for policy formation and political decision-making, helping us make sense of the messy social world, manage and govern it.
Zambia’s success in building its food processing sector depends on tapping into procurement strategies of retail chains such as Shoprite. Reuters/Salim Henry

Can Zambia escape the clutches of the resource curse?

Zambia’s drive to build its industrial capabilities has made steady progress. But it runs up against the history of economies that are dominated by mineral resources and landlocked countries.
Since its launch in 2011, South Africa’s renewable energy programme has brought a diversity of new players and sources of investment to the country. Reuters

South Africa’s renewable energy plan needs a close eye

South Africa has won global recognition for its renewable energy programme, but will it succeed in balancing the demands of financial and commercial soundness, and the transformation agenda?
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Jay Gatsby in the The Great Gatsby. Jay’s story has been used by economists to explain the combination of unequal distribution of income and less economic mobility. Reuters/Andrew Kelly

Apartheid continues to cast shadow on equality of opportunity

Evidence on the ability, or lack thereof, of children to rise above the economic status of their parents shines light on the continued persistence of inequality, including in South Africa.
Remittance recipients whose priority is the socioeconomic improvements of their lives were found to be less engaged with democratic processes. Reuters/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah

Towards another resource curse? Remittances and support for democracy in Africa

Remittances may hinder the development of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa. A lot depends on whether recipients value rights and freedom much more than improving their standard of living.
New African economic history is challenging earlier wisdom by showing, for example, that railways have had profound effects, both positive and negative on African societies. Reuters/Thomas Mukoya

The renaissance in understanding Africa’s economic past

African economic history has had a renaissance and its most valuable contribution has been to show that Africans have not always been poor, nor are current poverty levels an inevitable destiny.