Browsing: World Bank

Kenya is one of 23 African nations at risk of debt distress. The major causes of debt distress include poor fiscal management and macroeconomic frameworks to sustain growth, a shift in debt structure toward more costly financing sources, and excessive government expenditure levels.

Kenya’s debt was at about 70 per cent of GDP in 2021, up from 50 per cent in 2015. China is Kenya’s biggest bilateral creditor. It accounts for 67 per cent of the bilateral debt (primarily for infrastructure projects), an increase from 13 per cent in 2011.

One of the features of many countries that are endowed with abundant natural resources is that they save less than what is expected, considering the rents obtained from extracting and selling natural resources.

If the countries saved more, they would grow at a sustainable and faster rate. To gain a better understanding of sustainable development, it is useful to examine the concept of genuine saving.

Genuine saving is defined as public and private saving at home and abroad, net of depreciation, plus current spending on education to capture changes in intangible human capital, minus depletion of natural exhaustible and renewable resources, minus damage of stock pollutants (CO2 and particulate matter).

South Korean industry began with the production of textiles and footwear and then moved into heavy industries like steel, heavy equipment, ships, petrochemicals, electronics, and automobiles by the 1980s.

Africa needs to follow the economic lead of countries like South Korea that developed into advanced states through export-led economic growth and the development of strong domestic economies. South Korea committed to rapid industrialization. This is what caused the economy to take off. However, it is important to note that economic development was also set in motion by leaders who implemented land reform and educational development.

Oxford Research notes, “Industrialization was characterized by a close pattern of cooperation between the state and large family-owned conglomerates known as chaebǒls. This close relationship continued after the transition to democracy in the late 1980s and 1990s but after 1987, labour emerged as a major political force, and rising wages gave further impetus to the development of the more capital-intensive industry.”

According to the World Bank, skilled workers enhance the quality and efficiency of product development, production, and maintenance and supervise and train workers with lesser skills. As a matter of fact, countries with well-established TVET systems tend to enjoy lower youth unemployment.

This is because the orientation of TVET coupled with the acquisition of employability skills allows it to address issues such as skills mismatch that has impeded smooth school-to-work transitions for many young people. Lower youth unemployment is key to improving lives and building stronger communities necessary for growth.

There is no doubt that Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda are leading their East African counterparts in promoting technical skills training in their respective countries.

The continent in the near future will have the largest population in the world. The population of Africa is urbanizing as citizens of the nations of the continent migrate from rural to urban areas.

This addition to its vast natural resources is a potent combination for its rapid economic expansion. The world witnessed first-hand the economic miracle where China transformed itself from a rural backwater in 1949 when the modern Chinese state was founded to an economic and military superpower by 2019. The year 2019 is significant to China because the country celebrated 70 years of its founding as a communist state, and the Asian country gained worldwide recognition as a military superpower.

China put on a military parade that displayed a weapons arsenal that made the United States sit up and take notice. How was this possible? China’s economic transformation was because of several factors. One of the most important factors was and remains the rapid urbanization of its population, driven by the migration of millions of Chinese citizens from the rural areas to the booming metropolises. This urbanization increased the demand for natural resources and commodities needed to construct cities, roads, and infrastructure needed to support a rapidly expanding economy.

Due to globalization, countries worldwide are increasingly interdependent. This is why a conflict between two countries in Europe will cause ripple effects that the rest of the world feels. On this basis, the World Bank projects that economic growth in 2022 will slump. Not slow down but slump. The choice of words is intentional.

Malpass now believes that the world is in for several years of above-average inflation and below-average growth. This projection will most likely lead to destabilizing consequences for low- and middle-income economies. These low- and middle-income countries are largely on the African continent. Stagflation which the world last saw in the 1970s, will have a devastating effect on countries in Africa. Most countries in the continent do not have the resources like Germany to muster multibillion Euro or multi-billion United States dollar packages to subsidize the economic plight of their citizens.

World Bank forecasts a sharp downgrade of its global economic outlook and anticipates a sharp contraction in the economy. The global economy is expected to slow down from the GDP growth rate achieved in 2021 of 5.7% to 2.9% in 2022. The downgrade from the multilateral institution is because of the war in Ukraine, which has triggered food and energy increases as well as supply and trade disruptions.