An arrest warrant has been issued against the Chief Executive Officer of the largest mobile telecom network in Ghana MTN, Michael Ikpoki, together with two of his subordinates, Jemima Kotei, Customer Relations Executive, and John Hoffman, Chief Technical Officer, by an Accra Fast Track High Court.
The warrant was issued against the MTN boss based on the fact that he failed to appear in person in court in a case between MTN Ghana and Dr. Raymond Atuguba.
Ikpoki was expected to appear in court on Thursday to answer questions as to why MTN has not complied with the directives of the court to fix communication services for Dr Atuguba.
There are two standard methods of measuring the wealth of countries and how rich or poor its inhabitants are. The measure most often used is Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which represents the size of a country’s economy. The rankings below were published in Wikipedia from International Monetary Fund’s 2011 gross domestic product per capita (GDP per capita) report and reflecting the countries with the lowest purchasing power parity (PPP). Since 1970, there has been encouraging news emerging from developing countries.
According to the UN’s 2010 Human Development Report, life expectancy in developing countries has increased from 59 years in 1970 to 70 years in 2010. School enrollment climbed from 55% to 70% of all primary and secondary school-age children. Also, in the last forty years, per capita GDP doubled to more than ten thousand U.S. dollars. Poor countries are catching up with the wealthier countries, but not all countries are making fast progress.
For example, some countries in Sub-Sahara Africa have little or no progress, largely due to the HIV epidemic and civil wars.
The 10 Poorest African Countries:
#1. Congo, Democratic Republic of the
GDP Per Capita: $348 (As of 2011)
Not to be mixed with the neighboring Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has become the poorest country in the world as of 2010. Democratic Republic of the Congo was known as Zaire until 1997. Congo is the largest country in the world that has French as an official language – the population of D.R Congo is about six million larger than the population of France (71 million people in D.R Congo vs 65 million in France). The Second Congo War beginning in 1998 has devastated the country. The war that involves at least 7 foreign armies is the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II – by 2008 the Second Congo War and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people.
GDP Per Capita: $456 (As of 2011)
Liberia is one of the few countries in Africa that have not been colonized by Europe. Instead, Liberia was founded and colonized by freed slaves from America. These slaves made up the elite of the country and they established a government that closely resembled that of the United States of America. In 1980 the president of Liberia was overthrown and a period of instability and civil war followed. After the killings of hundreds of thousands, a 2003 peace deal was led to democratic elections in 2005. Today, Liberia is recovering from the lingering effects of the civil war and related economic dislocation, with about 85% of the population lives below $1 a day.
GDP Per Capita: $487 (As of 2011)
The government of Zimbabwe released its largest bank note 100 trillion dollar bill issued on January 2009. In addition to the economic problems the life expectancy of Zimbabwe is the lowest in the world – 37 years for men and just 34 for women. One of the problems for the early deaths are the 20.1% of the population with HIV and AIDS. The health issues aren’t seeing any improvement.
GDP Per Capita: $615 (As of 2011)
Burundi is known for its tribal and civil wars. Burundi have never really had any peaceful time between the everlasting civil wars as a result its the fourth poorest country. Owing in part to its landlocked geography, poor legal system, lack of economic freedom, lack of access to education, and the proliferation of HIV and AIDS. Approximately 80% of Burundians live in poverty and according to the World Food Programme 57% of children under 5 years suffer from chronic malnutrition; 93% of Burundi’s exports revenues come from selling coffee.
GDP Per Capita: $735 (As of 2011)
Affected by the Italian colonizers of the 19th century. Eritrea’s advantage of controlling the sea route through the Suez Canal made the italians to colonized it just a year after the opening of the canal in 1869 and same reason the British conquered it in 1941. The present Eritrea’s economic conditions have not improved and real gross domestic product growth averaged 1.2 percent between 2005 and 2008; in 2009 GDP growth was estimated at 2.0 percent.
#6. Central African Republic
GDP Per Capita: $768 (As of 2011)
Despite its significant mineral resources; uranium reserves in Bakouma, crude oil, gold, diamonds, lumber, hydropower and its arable land, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Diamonds constitute the most important export of the Central Africans Republic, accounting for 40–55% of export revenues. The 2010 UNDP Human Development Report ranks CAR near the bottom of its Human Development Index (159th out of 162 countries) and unlikely to meet its MDG goals. The proportion of Central Africans living on $1 a day has decreased slightly to 62% but it needs to be half of that in order to reach the 2015 goal.
GDP Per Capita: $771 (As of 2011)
With over 80% of its land is covered by the giant desert of Sahara, Niger has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Parity Purchasing Power (PPP) terms of US$771 as of 2011, one of the lowest in Africa. Niger’s poverty is exacerbated by political instability, extreme vulnerability to exogenous shocks and inequality which affects girls, women and children disproportionately. In January 2000, Niger’s newly elected government inherited serious financial and economic problems including a virtually empty treasury and was qualified for enhanced debt relief under the International Monetary Fund program for Highly Indebted Poor Countries.
#8. Sierra Leone
GDP Per Capita: $849 (As of 2011)
A West African country with English as its official language, Sierra Leone has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base and home to the third largest natural harbour in the world where shipping from all over the globe berth at Freetown’s famous Queen Elizabeth II Quay. It is among the top diamond producing nations in the world, and mineral exports remain the main foreign currency earner and also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, and a major producer of gold. Despite this natural wealth, 70% of its people live in poverty. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond you should know that it is based on Sierra Leone.
GDP Per Capita: $860 (As of 2011)
Malawi has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world, with 53% (2004) living under the poverty line. In December 2000, the IMF stopped aid disbursements due to corruption concerns, and many individual donors followed suit, resulting in an almost 80% drop in Malawi’s development budget. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. In December 2007, the US granted Malawi eligibility status to receive financial support within the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative. Agriculture accounts for 35% of GDP, industry for 19% and services for the remaining 46%. In addition, some setbacks have been experienced, and Malawi has lost some of its ability to pay for imports due to a general shortage of foreign exchange, as investment fell 23% in 2009.
GDP Per Capita: $899 (As of 2011)
This small, sub-Saharan economy suffers from anemic economic growth and depends heavily on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, which provides employment for a significant share of the labor force. Cocoa, coffee, and cotton generate about 40% of export earnings with cotton being the most important cash crop. Togo is among the world’s largest producers of phosphate. Approximately one half of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
GDP (gross domestic product) is the sum of the gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources.
GDP PPP (purchasing power parity) is gross domestic product converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GDP as a U.S. dollar has in the United States. Purchasing power parities (PPPs) are the rates of currency conversion that eliminate the differences in price levels between countries.
GDP (PPP) per capita is GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population. Please note: Whereas PPP estimates for OECD countries are quite reliable, PPP estimates for developing countries are often rough approximations..
Switzerland, for the fourth consecutive year, tops the overall rankings in The Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013, released today by the World Economic Forum. Singapore remains in second position and Finland, in third position, overtaking Sweden (4th).
The report confirms that Africa’s competitiveness has been improving in recent years, although the region continues to be characterized by wide regional disparities. South Africa (52nd) and Mauritius (54th) continue to lead the rankings, followed by Rwanda (63rd), Seychelles (76th) and Botswana (79th).
Top 10 African Competitive Economies on
Tunisia (44 on World map)
South Africa (54)
Kenya is ranked number 11 in Africa and 106 worldwide. Here is the full list
However, 14 of the 20 overall lowest-ranked economies are from Africa. The region has been improving in recent years in specific areas, such as educational attainment and goods market efficiency, but a persistent infrastructure deficit and health concerns continue to be significant bottlenecks.
This year’s Global Competitiveness Report introduces five additional sub-Saharan African economies: Gabon (99th), Guinea (141th), Liberia (111th), Seychelles (76th) and Sierra Leone (143rd). Looking forward, countries in Africa continue to require comprehensive efforts across the board to improve their competitiveness.
Despite growing its overall competitiveness score, the United States continues its decline for the fourth year in a row, falling two more places to seventh position. In addition to the burgeoning macroeconomic vulnerabilities, some aspects of the country’s institutional environment continue to raise concern among business leaders, particularly the low public trust in politicians and a perceived lack of government efficiency.
On a more positive note, the country still remains a global innovation powerhouse and its markets work efficiently.The report suggests that Switzerland and countries in Northern Europe have been consolidating their strong competitiveness positions since the financial and economic downturn in 2008. On the other hand, countries in Southern Europe, i.e. Portugal (49th), Spain (36th), Italy (42nd) and particularly Greece (96th) continue to suffer from competitiveness weaknesses in terms of macroeconomic imbalances, poor access to financing, rigid labour markets and an innovation deficit.
The large emerging market economies (BRICS) display different performances. Despite a slight decline in the rankings of three places, the People’s Republic of China (29th) continues to lead the group. Of the others, only Brazil (48th) moves up this year, with South Africa (52nd), India (59th) and Russia (67th) experiencing small declines in rankings.
Download the full Global Competitiveness rankings
Behind Singapore, several Asian economies are performing strongly, with Hong Kong SAR (9th), Japan (10th),Taiwan, China (13th) and the Republic of Korea (19th) all in the top 20.
In the Middle East and North Africa, Qatar (11th) leads the region while Saudi Arabia remains among the top 20 (18th). The United Arab Emirates (24th) improves its performance while Kuwait (37th) declines slightly. Morocco (70th) and Jordan (63rd) improve slightly.
In Latin America, Chile (33rd) retains the lead and a number of countries have improved their competitiveness, such as Panama (40th), Brazil (48th), Mexico (53rd) and Peru (61st). Read more highlights of the report.
“Persisting divides in competitiveness within regions, between regions and among emerging markets are harming productivity, and this is jeopardizing our future prosperity,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum. “We urge governments to act decisively by adopting long-term measures to enhance competitiveness and return the world to a sustainable growth path.”
Xavier Sala-i-Martin, Professor of Economics, Columbia University, USA, said: “The Global Competitiveness Index provides a window on the long-term trends that are shaping the competitiveness of the world’s economies. In this light, we hope it offers insight into the key areas where countries must act if they are to optimize their economic development.”
JOHANNESBURG/LAGOS - Beer sales in Africa are surging because of economic and population growth, a trend rubbing against the grain of another demographic factor defining the region: intense religiosity.
By almost any measure, Africa is an exceptionally devout place and the major growth area for Christianity and Islam.
This should have implications for investors, especially in the fast-growing retail and beer sectors: they must navigate sacred sensitivities in areas such as marketing and factor the faithful into forecasts and demographic profiles for the continent's population of just over a billion.
Brewing executives have said they tone down their advertising campaigns in Africa, and these do tend to be conservative.
In Nigeria for example, scantily-clad women tend not to feature on billboards promoting beer brands. Instead, a man in a suit is portrayed sipping a refreshing cold lager, or more often than not the ad shows just a giant bottle and glass.
According to a 2010 report by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life, the number of Muslims living in Sub-Saharan Africa rose 20-fold from 1900 to 234 million.
Christianity has grown at an even more blistering pace, with numbers soaring almost 70-fold over the same period of time to 470 million from just 7 million.
And in the case of Christianity, much of this growth has been concentrated in Pentecostal churches and other evangelical denominations which, like Islam, tend to frown on alcohol.
The Pew survey also questioned people in 19 African countries about their views on alcohol consumption and found that majorities in all but 3 countries - Cameroon, Chad and Democratic Republic of Congo - found it morally objectionable.
"Views on this issue are related to how religious a person is," said Neha Sahgal, a Pew research associate.
"What we found is that in most of the countries those who pray several times a day are more likely to find drinking alcohol morally objectionable than those who pray less," she told Reuters in a phone interview.
RELIGIOUS AND THIRSTY
Against this backdrop of piety, the conservative approach to advertising seems to be working.
Home to some of the world's fastest growing economies, Africa's thirst for beer and spirits is surging: analysts estimate beer volumes rose around 7 percent last year. Excluding the mature South African market, growth reached more than 10 percent.
Drinks companies want to maintain the momentum.
SABMiller is investing up to $2.5 billion over the next five years to build and renovate breweries on the continent. African sales of rival Diageo, the maker of Guinness, have risen by an average 15 percent in each of the last five years, accounting for 14 percent of the group's total.
Nigeria's 160 million people are now the world's second biggest consumer of Guinness, after Britain, and analysts expect it to take the number one slot within a couple of years. Cameroon, with a much smaller population of around 20 million, is the fifth biggest.
In Nigeria, Africa's most populous country, which is evenly divided between Islam and Christianity, church and mosque numbers are exploding alongside beer consumption.
Beer turnover in Nigeria is growing faster than its economy.
"At the moment, beer consumption is about 19.5 million hectoliters in 2012 and growing at about 8-9 percent per annum," said Esili Eigbe, an analyst at Stanbic IBTC, who covers the brewery sector.
A number of factors could explain this.
Africa's population is young and many of the region's converts find their religious zeal only as they grow a little older. In any case, most people's drinking peaks in their 20s.
And a lot of Africans, like a lot of people on other continents, are both religious and thirsty.
"People's sense of morality sometimes doesn't correspond with their behaviour. This is not unique to Africa," said Sahgal, an expert on polling on religious issues.
Some Africans are perfectly comfortable with this fact.
"Islam advises against alcohol but does not force you. I drink to help me relax after a hard day's work," said Wasiu Abudu, a 42-year-old auto mechanic who lives in Lagos.
The vice president of Forbes media says the launch of the Forbes Afrique magazine is a sign of better business possibilities in Africa. Christopher Forbes said his organization is celebrating free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit following the official launch of the Forbes Afrique magazine.
“We are at a unique moment in time [and] there [are] a lot of exciting things happening in Africa. And also things aren’t going so well in the rest of the world that we can’t keep pointing fingers saying we know best,” Forbes said in Brazzaville.
“The moment is right for a magazine like Forbes to be launched here, where we celebrate free enterprise and the entrepreneur spirit because we are seeing that emerge in francophone Africa and in fact throughout Africa.”
He said some African countries are becoming less volatile, which he said is a better environment for business development.
“There is greater stability here, the rest of the world have realized that we didn’t always get it right doing some of the other things that we’ve done. There are natural resources here, but there is also a change in mindset here,” said Forbes.
Some analysts say Forbes Afrique could face stiff competition from other French language magazines with deeper roots in the francophone countries of Africa.
Forbes magazine has an African English version published in South Africa. But, Mr. Forbes said it was appropriate that French-speaking African countries to have a magazine that addresses business aspects in francophone Africa.
“French speaking Africa needs the capitalist tool as well,” Forbes said.
Officials of the magazine say Forbes Afrique’s readership will include policy makers and business people and everyone whose ambition drives them to reach positions of responsibility in the business world.
But Forbes also warned potential investors to make sure they work with reputable businesses in Africa.
“Choose your partners carefully,” he said. “We are very lucky in our partner Mr. [Lucien] Ebata. I think that’s a key thing. Get the best advice and get to know people on the ground.”
“It isn’t [only] that these resources can be useful for the rest of the world, they’ve got to be useful for the people living here [in Africa] as well and being enjoyed by a much broader spectrum of the population.”
He said Forbes Afrique magazine is in Africa to stay.
“When my grandfather started the [Forbes] magazine in 1917, his very first editorial was that business isn’t about pilling up millions, it’s about creating happiness,” said Forbes.
“As long as this generation of entrepreneurs will increasingly … realize that it’s not just about realizing their visions, but their visions enriching the lives of others; that is a very important part of real capitalism.”
Forbes said the business climate is getting better in African countries, which he said is encouraging to local and international partners looking to invest on the continent.