High value skills development and talent repatriation
The Nigerian government cut its education budget by 54%, joining other African countries cutting their education budgets in response to the pandemic. Africa’s education systems are already playing catchup, as 87% of children in SSA are considered ‘learning poor’ (i.e. unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10), and most African countries have no distant learning plan in place. This is perhaps bad timing, not just for Africa’s long term prosperity, but also its more immediate COVID response and recovery - as research argues that education has an immediate role to play in feeding the most vulnerable children, spreading health messages, preventing civil unrest, and in providing an economic boost (as salaries of education staff amount to 3% of Africa’s GDP - more than 3x the average financial package announced by African governments to fight the pandemic).
Ghana has banned the import of cars over 10 years old, and will provide import-duty rebates for companies that manufacture or assemble cars locally. Ghana is betting that the relocation of local assembly plans by international companies (such as Nissan and VW) and the knock-on effect on local industrial jobs (not to mention the improvements to public health and the environment) will outweigh the loss of $143 mn in customs revenue in the first 3 years. This should also be good news for African owned brands, which are often undercut by the availability of cheap, used imports.
OPEC member Algeria, plans to build a $3.6bn solar project. With 20% of GDP and 85% of total exports in Algeria coming from oil and gas, and the country halving its budget due to the oil price crash, Algeria hopes to diversify into renewable energy to meet both export and domestic power demand. West Africa also has a significant opportunity to expand its renewable energy output through regional collaboration. New research suggests that a ‘West African Power Pool’, that allows countries in the region to share their complementary renewable sources (with hydropower compensating for shortfalls in solar and wind power), would allow for 60% of West Africa’s current electricity demand to be met.
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