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.
Education is the central piece that propels economic growth. A country can be rich in natural resources, but if its population lacks education, it will continue to be poor and dependent on foreign help. Singapore is probably the best example of this statement: a city-state, with no natural resources, but ranking 3rd as the largest GDP per capita in the world, according to the IMF. This achievement would never have been reached if education had not spread throughout all the socio-economic layers of its population since the country’s independence in 1965.
Moving from Singapore to the countries in Africa, the gap in education is staggering. This article will present a picture of the state of education in the continent of Africa and how it is placed in a global context.
“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.
With more than 60% of its 1.166 billion people living in rural areas, Africa’s economy is inherently dependent on agriculture. More than 32% of the continent’s gross domestic product comes from the sector. However, agricultural productivity still remains far from developed world standards. Over 90% of agriculture depends on rainfall, with no artificial irrigation aid. The techniques used to cultivate the soil are still far behind from what has been adopted in Asia and Americas, lacking not only irrigation, but also fertilizers, pesticides and access to high yield seeds. Agriculture in Africa also experiences basic infrastructural problems such as access to markets and financing.
Singapore is proving to be an engaged ally in the process of changing this reality. Some big players in the agricultural sector with their headquarters in Singapore are investing heavily in Africa. Technology and skills are being transferred to smallholder farmers and the large scale producers are cooperating, playing a fair game that will help develop the sector and make it more sustainable. Singapore is also investing through private equity in local farmland and through investment in portfolio companies based in Africa with focus on agriculture.
With more than 60% of its 1.166 billion people, living in rural areas, Africa’s economy is inherently dependent on agriculture. More than 32% of the continent’s gross domestic product comes from the sector. However, agricultural productivity still remains far from developed world standards. Over 90% of agriculture depends on rainfall, with no artificial irrigation aid. The techniques used to cultivate the soil are still far behind from what has been adopted in Asia and Americas, lacking not only irrigation, but also fertilizers, pesticides and access to high yield seeds. Agriculture in Africa also experiences basic infrastructural problems such as access to markets and financing.
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.
The growing importance of adopting cleaner ways to generate electricity worldwide has brought LNG into the spotlight as one of the most affordable and less environmentally damaging fuels. Singapore, with its strategic location, has daring plans to grow into the preferred trading hub for LNG in Asia.
After many years of chaos, Mozambique finally experienced a period of blossoming economic growth following 2001. Several major foreign investment projects, continued economic reform, and the revival of the agriculture, transportation, and tourism sectors were key factors propelling the country towards a sustained annual GDP growth greater than 5.8% since 2005, and over 7.0% from 2011 onwards. According to the World Bank, the forecast of the annual GDP growth until 2017 in the country is greater than 7.4%.
Adding to this economic boom, the discovery of immense natural gas reserves came as a sign from above that prosperity in Mozambique would be unstoppable.