Analyst Kingdom

Data-driven notes on African economies, societies, cultures, and overall outlook of the continent

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

Free trade areas have always been the one of the paths that countries take to develop faster. The European Union, for example, has made it easier for many European countries trading among each other. This has in turn contributed to a higher growth rate in the past 4 decades, resulting in a more developed and integrated Europe. The talk of a similar framework in Africa has always dominated the mainstream media and geopolitics of the continent. Such a framework appeared under the form of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA).

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The Erosion Of African Social and Cultural Values

The erosion of African Social and Cultural values started with the arrival of Europeans to Africa. As Europe’s missionaries, merchants and mercenaries crept into Africa, the contact impact of Western culture with African civilizations has to the erosion of culture and distortion of previous social ways of life on the continent. Over the past two decades (1998-2019), Western culture has thrived and had more influence over Africa’s cultural and social heritage. The adoption of Western culture has mostly involved the youths, who associate it with high living standards. With each new generation being born, more Africans are becoming westernized and abandoning their culture.

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Regional Economic Communities In Africa

The integration of regional economic communities in Africa was at the very core of forming the Organization of African Unity in 1963. The organization, after its formation, looked at ways in which they can help Africa become more economically integrated. A lot of African countries were still fighting for independence, while only a few had achieved it. This made it close to impossible to realize their goal.

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Eco: Single Currency for West African Economic Bloc

In June 2019, the 15 member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) indicated they will move forward with the single currency plan across the Western African region. This idea, born more than 30 years ago, is now on the fast-track to implementation. ECOWAS member states intend to put the currency in use as early as 2020.

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Youth Empowerment: Leaders Create Leaders

Young Africans are increasingly motivated as many innovations are taking place on the continent. Today, the world is so competitive that young Africans must be able to live up to expectations. The most important reform needed on the continent is the creation of an environment that fosters the development of the skills young people need to have a significant competitive edge on the job market. In this respect, mentor-ship is a fundamental component of youth empowerment in Africa.

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Youth Unemployment in Africa

In most African countries, young people continue to be the bulk of the population. Incidentally, many African countries are the most affected by youth unemployment. Africa has the youngest population in the world and these young adults are among the most vulnerable. Each African country follows different trajectories. Economic structures, level of institutional and political stability, and youth development policies affect social and economic growth.

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Top Five Economic Powerhouses in Africa

The 5 largest powerhouses in the African Economy are Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco. These economies feature various levels of diversification and growth. In 2016, they contributed well over 60% (62.24%) to the continent’s overall Gross Domestic Product.

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Intra-African Trade and Obstacles to Regional Integration

ECOWAS is a regional economic group binding together 15 West African countries. One of its main goals is to ensure the smooth and free movement of goods, services and member States citizens within the bloc and to improve economic integration. As such, one would expect a significantly higher intra-regional trade volume compared to trade with rest of the world. This is however not the case. Even though it is on the increase direction-ally, it is still significantly lower than merchandise trade with high income economies. In fact, Intra-African trade is the lowest compared to intra-regional trade in other continents.

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ECOWAS Members Feature Varying Levels of Economic Diversification

In the world of Finance and business, investment diversification is a way to ensure long term growth with minimal risks. This is because gains from profitable products offsets losses incurred by non-profitable ones. Even though the same concept applies to a country’s economy, governments find it difficult to follow this well-known rule of the Finance world. This is the case for some of the member States in ECOWAS, which tend to rely mostly on the sale of one particular product when it comes to merchandise export.

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Nigeria: The Elephant in ECOWAS

Nigeria has long been one of the largest economies in Africa. As of 2016, it was well ahead of Egypt and South Africa. Nigeria’s GDP in the ECOWAS regional group is significantly larger than that of all the other member States combined. With its substantial weight, the country is in a unique position to set the course of ECOWAS in particular, and Africa in general for years to come.

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