© 2004 Africonomie.com
Internet will support the social and economic life Africans - le 20-08-2004 par
Africa must be necessarily connected to information highways, called Internet commonly, not to be completely disconnected from new the world economy which is building itself.It is in substance, which is arisen from the Forum Youth and highways at the University of Moncton (Canada), April 4-11, 1997, where around fifty of young people come from the four corners of the sphere was joined together.
The reasons of such a diagnosis were simple. They were given in particular by the workshop "an estimate for the future" which we worked out.
However, the best to realize the possibilities which opened in the African continent info highways, illustrations will be needed.
Let us take for example this pharmacist in Central Africa, if she has been connected via access provider, instead of moving to make its reservation of plane or anything else, will be able via the web of the Air-Africa company to do it at lower cost (price of the local call) and quickly. It will be the same for its orders for medecine as it will be able to pay via Internet by credit card. She will have only to send or receive its goods and could be devoted to other things
The Internet will also be able to allow these co-operatives coffees, cocoas, cottons in Ghana, in Coast-in Ivoire and in addition, to propose their prices as well as the quality of their goods, for the prospects, or to obtain information on the technical culture or competitor production. In the same way, it opens already the enormous ones and new possibilities trainings at the African universities, and more training structures are organized, are equipped, are connected to the world of the knowledge, connects on virtual courses given by other universities of the world.
With the example of the virtual Man, this condemned to American death which offered his body to science, so that it is cut out in fine plate, so that is reconstituted for the world medical and of research, the human body in its infinitely small components.
Many students in medicine knows this virtual Man, y to have to work. In the same way, of qualified and professional secretaries will be able with very little capital to assemble their company of télésecrétariat. The latter receives requests small (or large) adherent companies having a data-processing minimum of equipment (computer having a modem fax and a telephone line), will be able to discharge usual task of a secretary for a moderate sum. The secretaries will be their clean owners, will move little from on their premises (since they can use a room of their house with Ca matter), and the company applicant will not have to discharge usual hired labour charges. In the same way this company of remote secretarial services could diversify its activities while being occupied of university work...
Information technologies offer many possibilities of development of this type of mini-structure for an altogether reasonable starting investment for poor countries (with approximately of 8 000 FF, F CFA is 800 000), in the translators, the draughtsmen of buildings or geometricians, the accountants... These activities usually with the direct load of the companies, can from now on be carried out elsewhere.
These technologies can also be used by the administration to reduce its costs of secretariat, to optimize the storage of its masses of information. Indeed, the paper files which fill the corridors of the administrations will disappear after their storage on less bulky supports, and their management will be simpler and more optimal.
All things considered, the info highways constitute for Africa in particular and the South in particular, a cultural development tool (if one can choose his information), scientist and economic, at low cost. All these performances requiring of the rather heavy programs a few years ago and of the high costs, are today technically simple and economically extremely interesting, even for average incomes.
However this new method of communication is not improvised and requires the intervention of professionals who propose rather interesting prices in Africa, such as Refined Technology Computer in Cameroun whose strategy is to cover all central Africa. Moreover, several problems explain the weak development of this tool on the black continent. The resistance and fear of the authorities with the catches with daily management, a concession with the private operators. It is the case of Central Africa which holds one of the most powerful telephone communication networks in Africa, after South Africa. At worst, in certain countries of Africa, the project manager of Internet is a satellite of the capacity in place Benin, Burkina, Central Africa, Mali...). There already had been precedents as regards the mobile phone, whose installation was accepted that as from the moment when the authorities in place have an access on the HLR (local home registrery) allowing to physically locate in less than one minute any telephone emission. More precisely, Alcatel built exchange allowing the traceability of the phone-tappings of mobile; switch which is interdict of sale in Europe. In addition, decision makers political seem not yet to become aware of stakes économico-cultural of info highways, its revolution on life (even of those which will remain there with the margin), the nation (which is already bad, in particular in central Africa) and its dictatorship of the speech dominating. In addition, several surveys and statistics show that the electronic networks are the fact of the elites, this trend is all the more strong as the economic forces develop more and more obstacles to keep control of it. However so that the info highways constitute a development tool in Africa, , would be needed that they is democratized, liberalized, more private than public, at least to benefit the greatest number.

The Ministers for the CEEAC adopt the principle of a tax to the imports
AFP, Libreville, 16th February 2001 – 6.12 pm)
The Ministers for Finance of CEEAC (economic member Community of the of the States of Africa Centra) adopted Thursday evening in Libreville the creation tax on the imports coming from third countries,learned it Friday at the CEEAC. This mechanism of autonomous financing of the CEEAC will take the form of a "Community contribution of flexible integration of 0,7% of the customs value of the imports of the products originating in third countries",according to the final official statement of the meeting.
To become effective, it will have however to receive the guarantee of the next conference of the Heads State of the CEEAC, whose date was not specified.
The creation of this new tax aims at curing the problems of financing of the under-section institution, whose secretary general was already paralysed during six years following the non financial participation of the Member States.
The 15th ordinary session of the Council of Ministers of the CEEAC also decided that for one two years limited period, the outstanding contributions of the Member States will be paid quarterly by automatic flow.
It recommended for the future "a security of payment of the contributions to the CEEAC including by automatic flow of the accounts of the Member States domiciled near their central banks".
Created in 1983, the CEEAC gathers 11 countries: Gabon, Sao Tome and Principe, Congo-Brazzaville, Rwanda, Chad, Guinea Equatorial, Cameroun, Central African Republic, Burundi, democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Angola.
Only Rwanda was not represented with the conference of Libreville.

The foreign direct investment, reply to globalization : BAD
To take up the challenge of globalization and to avoid the traps of them, the developing countries of the Asia-Pacific area must open more widely with the foreign direct investments (IDE), The foreign direct investment, reply to globalization: BAD : including in the financial sector, the Asian Bank of Development (BAD) affirms. This call, wrote black and white in the survey "the challenge of the globalization for Asia “annexed with the Prospects for the Asian development 2001 published this week by the bank, contradicts the nationalist behaviors of the governments (Malaysia, and more recently Thailand) or of the public opinions and of paid (South Korea, Thailand, Indonesia) with regard to what is sometimes described as "recolonization" in Asia Orientale.
For the BAD, the challenge presented at Asia is simple: "whereas the Member States under development continue to reduce the gap separating them from the technological leaders, they will have to rise of a model of growth based on accumulation with a model resting on the innovation.
They will have to adapt their institutions, in coherence with the opportunities and the constraints of the globalization ".
However, according to the BAD, IDE'S is not only the best means of approaching "the technological border", it offers also best protection against volatility, risks major associated with globalization as the financial crisis of 1997-98 made the brutal demonstration of it.
Compared with the imports of equipment and the purchase of licences, methods privileged in the past to reach the leading-edge technology, "the IDE has the advantage of being a channel of transfers of technical expertise and management, who comes with the factory and the foreign equipment at the same time as marketing and the distribution ", estimates the BAD. In any case, the BAD adds, who comes with the factory and the foreign equipment at the same time as the developing country will hardly have the choice face to the multinationals which hold advanced technologies and privilege the direct investment.
"Whereas more and more of markets open to the IDE, it becomes more difficult for each government to assert the licence like an alternative", notices the report.
In addition, contrary to the bank credits in the short run and the investments of wallet, the IDE showed a remarkable stability. The BAD recalls that during the 18 months preceding the beginning by the Asian crisis in July 1997, flows of capital towards the most touched countries (Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines and Thailand) had reached 86,8 billion dollars. During 18 months following, the exits represented 77,9 mds dollars.
On the other hand, the flow of the direct investments towards Asia (including China which absorbs a good half of it) followed a regular progression, passing from 71,1 mds in 1996 to 86,9 in 1999.
The BAD explains why the IDE contributes to reduce poverty but has also traumatizing effects for the sectors of the national economy confronted brutally with foreign competition and that the governments must help to adapt.
"Undoubtedly, there are resistances in certain countries, because of the absence of a system protection social or rigidity of the labour market", recognizes Shin Myong Sho, the vice-president of the BAD which presented the report in Tokyo. According to him, "the IDE is the preferable form of capital contributions but the countries must be prepared as regards the social aspects to treat its side effects".
Evoking the mistakes made in the past in Korea or aiming the policy of the Mahathir government implicitly in Malaysia, the BAD informs that the opening will not be able not remained blocked with the door of the financial system.
"With the advance of the globalisation, the restrictions on the transactions in capital will become increasingly difficult to manage without disturbing the other forms of economic activity", estimates the bank.
It would be preferable for the developing countries to quickly proceed "but prudence" to the reform of their financial system, there too by opening the door with the IDE to introduce the technological expertise and managerial foreign financial institutions.
"That suggests the liberalization of the access of the foreign investment at first stage of the opening of the financial sector", estimates the BAD, which adds: "This recommendation appears obvious except for the many governments which missed to follow it".
( AFP,TOKYO, Sunday 22 th April 2001)

The Democratic Republic of Congo ambitionne to supply Africa in electricity the democratic

Republic of Congo (DRC) worked out an ambitious modernization plan of the hydro-electric stopping of Inga, on the Congo river, to export energy as far as West Africa and to do of this sector one of the principal national resources, in front of diamond or copper.
The Congolese government and the experts of the national company of electricity (SNEL) of DRC presented this project at the time of the annual meeting of the Ministers for the Energy of the Community of development of Southern Africa (SADC) which was completed Saturday with Kinshasa.
The DRC exports already electricity produced in Inga (300 km in the west of Kinshasa) towards two countries of the SADC, Angola and Zimbabwe, like in its neighbor, Congo-Brazzaville.
The programme of valorization of Inga, the vastest hydroelectric complex of sub-Saharan Africa, envisages two phases: the rehabilitation of the two existing power stations and the construction of a third site of production, Inga 3, more powerful than the two first, as well as high-tension lines towards West Africa and southern. According to Congolese experts, such a program, which counts on a fast development of the energy needs for the continent, requires ten years of work and the investments higher than 10 billion USD.
The launching of work has been also conditioned with the return to peace in a country torn by a regional war for three years.
In May, the German group Siemens had been declared laid out to invest nearly a billion USD in the repairing the power stations and the construction of new lines towards the capital and the mining zones of Katanga (south-eastern).
Currently only 5% of the population of DRC have access to electricity. The power station of Inga 1 (351 MW), service entrance in 1972 and Inga 2, of a capacity installed of 1.424 MW since 1982, do not function any more but to 20% their capacities: two thirds of the turbines are with the stop, for lack of spare parts. The project of valorization envisages the construction of two new power stations on the site, which, as of their service entrance, would quadruple the power of the complex. According to forecasts' of the SNEL, the export sales of electricity should then be at a level of a billion USD per annum, higher than cobalt or copper, diamond exports.
The sales of current also imply the reinforcement of the capacities of the high-tension lines of the continent and the construction of new lines. The first of these axes of export relates to southern line DRC-afrique. The two existing power stations of Inga, are already connected to the networks of Zambia, of Zimbabwe, of Botswana and South Africa. The second axis relates to line DRC-afrique power station and of the West. With the request of Congo-Brazzaville from Angola, of Nigeria, of Gabon and Cameroun, the SNEL developed a project of construction of a new line at the beginning of Inga, to feed the seaport of Point-Black (Congo-Brazzaville) and the Angolan city of Cabinda. This project is considered by the SNEL the link of the future interconnection to the network of Nigeria, via Gabon and Cameroum. The last line, long, should 5.300 km serve Central Africa, Sudan and Chad. Several feasibility studies of such a line were undertaken last years by European groups of the sector. (AFP, Kinshasa, June 10, 2001)

Under-dévéloppement and less State: privatizations in Africa

In Africa Subsaharienne the movements of denationalization were not felt yet like a means to achieve a aim. They were regarded as a disturbing solution of balance socio-policy of the area (already precarious) imposed outside (among other by the F.M.I. and the World Bank) to leave the underdevelopment. This report is consolidated in particular by the reserve of the local political decision makers to get rid of companies which are still able to make benefit. Without asking the question compared to the relevance of such a standpoint; taking into consideration financial and technological needs for the area and recent economic and political evolutions.
It is important to raise simple questions to clarify the future decisions relating to privatizations in the area: why privatize ? Which was the impact of privatizations on the economy of the area after more than ten years of an intense movement of "denationalization"? This movement of privatizations doesn't it require improvements and complements in term of deep reforms in particular of the State?

I. Two principal justifications of privatization...

The advantages which justify usually the need for a privatization are mainly of two types: macro-economic and micro-economic. On the macro-economic, privatization contributes to restore great balances, particularly on the level of the budget of the State. At the micro-economic level, privatization is supposed to bring on the technical level a great effectiveness compared to public management. The private company of the managerial type puts in place several parapets and of mechanisms of control and better circulation of information at lower cost. The public company as for it, create an unfavourable environment with the economic effectiveness on at least four aspects: by its situation of monopoly which makes him acquire behaviors of on holiday reprocessed, opposite with competition; by its small degree of constraints compared to the bankruptcy and cashflow problems; by its anaemia towards the concept of risk and the absence of clear distribution of responsibility in its centre, like by its exorbitant production costs. In the case of Sub-Saharan Africa, it seems that some reserves, marginal according to some, can be issued, against these two types of justifications.
... which remains discussed with regard to Africa Subsaharienne

On the one hand at the macro-economic, some questions stayed without answers, since they seem not to be on the agenda in these States. What does it occur of the vital sectors for the population, scorned by the private investors? Is it causality between the public company and macro-economic imbalances systematic? It would seem that not, the specificity of the system and the politico-economic structures in Africa Subsaharienne were too quickly neglected, in particular income saving and the behavior of the managers of public companies, etc. In addition, micro-economic bases of privatization relating to the comparison between private company and public company, they are adapted to countries where the industrial fabric is some times quasi non-existent or often embryonic? In addition, the reasoning centered exclusively on the economic effectiveness, it does not deny not a redistribution of incomes necessary to a social balance (essential with the success of privatization)? With this last question the facts make it possible to answer positively in the short run, but privatization remains long-term a factor of balance and optimal regulation. However, beyond the need for privatization in Africa, strategies adopted up to now, are most efficient and judicious?

II Altogether disappointing results in the short run...

We can say confidently the 80s were of privatization in Africa Subsaharienne: more than one quarter of privatizations in the countries in the process of development were carried out there, corresponding on average to 17 % of the GDP of the area. However, the value of privatizations in million dollars is negligible, less than 1% of the value of the companies privatized in the countries in the process of development. This percentage which relativizes the range of privatizations in the area, can be explained on the one hand by the weak participation of these companies in the manufacture of products in high added value; fact in particular of regional specialization in the production of raw material. In addition privatization was often a kind of bankruptcy for companies in situation of "advanced coma". Lastly, modes of transfers - often partial - of these companies, were most of the time realized from the point of view of deregulation that of privatization. The nuance is serious: the deregulation supposes a reinforcement of the mechanisms of competition within a framework where the State remains very present, whereas privatization supposes a transfer of the State to private to the amount of at least 50% of its participations. Taking into consideration this result, one can remain perplexed concerning the double aim of privatization in the area: on the one hand, the restoration of public finances by the reassignment of the receipts of privatization and the deceleration of the growth of the national debt, like its damping; in addition to reach a kind of optimality parétienne(egalitarian ?) in the allocation of resources by the privatized companies. This last assumption seems indeed weak-willed, taking into consideration two process timidly used: the development of the particular shareholding - in spite of the notorious insufficiency of the formal local saving - and the possibility granted to the employees to take part in the capital of the company. The inequalities could have been attenuated, if these privatizations will have taken place in a context where the legal apparatuses functioned in an optimal way. If privatizations, or the devaluation of frank CFA, are necessary, their influence financial and organisational (within the meaning of reorganization of the space of production and the commercial sphere) in Africa Subsaharienne remains marginal; fact in particular of the size of the privatized companies, their state at the time of the sale, the methods and the context of their transfer. This assessment more than decennial, altogether disappointing can however be improved. ...

which must, for more effectiveness, being improved and supplemented

Undoubtedly these privatizations had a double contribution. On the one hand, they improve the performance of the companies concerned and the macro-economic situation of these States, was only by the damming up of national debts who could have been worsened by the maintenance of certain companies under perfusion. In addition, they take part in an increase in the economic effectiveness by setting up a Market which sanctions the bad choice of investment. However, to reach their plenitude in term of effectiveness, the strategies of privatizations adopted until now in the area, must be reformed in an internal way: the modalités... but also external (environment in which privatization takes place). Thus the call with investors external and varied to avoid situations of oligopoly and patronage is necessary for two reasons. Indeed, it will allow on the one hand an optimal allowance of resources; in addition in the current state of manoeuvres limited of the African States on the financial markets, these companies can allow transfers of experiment (technical...), know-how (qualification...), of knowledge, but also of currencies (necessary to an economic revival in the area). These factors of endogenous development (undoubtedly sometimes generating of externalities) were neglected up to now in the strategies of disengagement of the State in Africa, in particular in French-speaking Africa. The argument according to which, it is necessary to maintain the companies known as "strategic" in the bosom of public management can leave perplexed: in particular in French-speaking Africa. The argument according to which, it is necessary to maintain the companies on the one hand when one knows the current reality and the significance of the word "independence" in the under-Area; in addition, nothing prohibits in the State in question of keeping the eye on these companies by limiting its participation in a minority of blocking or control. Moreover, if the methods of privatizations can be improved, in an economic context where in particular the foreign trade - nerve of the war on the matter - does not rest exclusively any more on the comparative advantage. It would be suicidal for the African States to be satisfied to deliver the apparatus of production to the private one. It would be to simplify reality economic systematically to bind the economic effectiveness and competition to the structure of the capital, as for the post-colonial period of the anthem to the nationalization. Competition and L ' effectiveness economic depend in fact on freedom on price and the structure of the market. In addition to the necessary reforms of the State, at least of the institutions (in particular legal: guarantor of the compliance with the rules of competition), the State must accompany and support with its limited resources the development of the private sector, the heavy investments, technical progress, the formation. The failure of Great Britain and the United States in these fields must make reflect, compared to Japan and Germany. It returns to the State to effectively organize spaces of sociability, responsibility and effort, to relay it in the fields where its weaknesses were obvious these thirty last years. The private company could not be the only one to occupy these spaces; it must have like supplements of the structures co-operative, associative... It should be remembered that the orthodoxy of the not-State or the minimal State is only one sight of the spirit which the developed economies did not even condescend car-to apply.


Franc CFA and Euro: monetary confederation with the political federation?

The logic and the theoretical limits of the project of the European single currency constitute elements of comprehension for possible autonomisation "of the zone frank or detutelisation of frank CFA; because the single currency and the possibility of an economic union whose currency would remain a taken down frank CFA of the French frank put the implicit question of the tax federalism, very short political federalism and thus of regional integration in Africa Subsaharienne. Consequently, an evaluation can be made on the one hand starting from the costs of monetary plurality , i.e. what melts the possible advantages of these two projects which seem similar, in addition through the costs of the monetary unit of the Union and the autonomisation of the zone frank, and finally starting from the confrontation of these two types of costs to try to outline an assessment, if as well is as it is possible. Holding of the single currency presents it like the result of a process engaged for a long time. Conference of 1957 on the project of a Latin currency, with the regulation in 1970 of a report by Luxembourg the Prime Minister - who was quickly forgotten because of the disturbances of the international monetary system -, one leads to the creation of the European Monetary System (EMS) in 1978 - starting indeed in 1979. This project could not deal with three principal problems of traditional costs calling upon the functions of the currency: problems of costs of transactions related to the currency, those of costs of coordinations related to the rates of exchange, and those of the cost of competition related to the currency-reserve of value. Indeed, the currency makes it possible to reduce the costs of transaction- commission and risk of variation of the rate of exchange... - between the economic agents, provided that it has a territorial unit. The existence of a common currency with which all the agents will be able to operate a transaction, would be consequently beneficial for the companies, the engine of the growth. In addition, a monetary system aims at the co-operation between the currencies of the zone, to avoid aggressive behaviors of stowaway type the ""which consists in devaluating to exploit competitiveness. The EMS managed these costs, but was not able to eliminate them, in comparison with the passage of the monetary "snake" so that no one call the "whale" - margin of rate of busy exchange of +/- 2,5% à +/- 15%-. Lastly, in the current configuration, as soon as there is a disturbance, one sees precipitations towards the hard currency. What involves a competition with the principal international currencies, in particular the American dollar. These three reports made with regard to the EMS let think that a zone frank autonomous or taken down French frank, will not be able to make the saving in these problems of costs and will not be able to regulate them by simple incantations. In addition, if the zone frank taken down manages to meet these conditions, in addition to its structural economic problems which are to be regulated, it must hold account of the political costs which one can find predict them in the criteria of convergence of the EMS. Several difficulties consequently appear: those related to the optimal monetary areas, that that suppose the problems of transfers, and finally that which raises the arbitration between rate of exchange and transfers. Robert A. Mundell and Ronald McKinnon teach us that two economic areas have interest has to have an economic zone, if the exchanges of capital, people and goods, that they have between them, are more important. Three variables of adjustment are on this subject important to consider: the rate of exchange, mobility of the individuals and Capitaux, as well as the unit wage cost (CSU); these elements give the triangular following: These three elements will be adjusted. Indeed, once that there is a monetary area, the adjustment will be done by mobility, the rate of exchange and/or the unit wage cost, with the frank example of the zone from Corsica and other areas in France or of reunified Germany. Thus, this triangle becomes a rectangle: The case of the unification of Germany, shows us what could be the European monetary unification or of central Africa (CEMAC) or western African (UMOA): an arbitration between these three variable-keys and/or of the transfers to compensate for imbalances structural of a State to another will be obliged passages. For example, it will be necessary to accept is: - a stronger mobility of the workers of the other States - more underprivileged -, which is incredible at least in central Africa, have regard with the legislation more than repressive as regards immigration, in particular in Gabon; - public capital to maintain these workers on the spot, or an unequal distribution of productivity (CSU) - thus of the lower wages; all things considered, difficulties appear which concern solidarity: the rich must pay for stripped; the difficulties of the CEMAC are very comprehensible starting from this grid of reading. The prospects for the constitution of a monetary union on a possible frank stripping of the zone compared to the French frank evolving to the Euro, can consequently be defined on the one hand compared to the number of countries of or the community monetarist and their economic potentiality, on the other hand with the external problems of coordinations external and finally with the problems of competition compared to the external choices. The economic analysis shows us that only the rich countries can start to constitute a monetary community. Moreover a difficulty of coordination with the close countries arises, which have an important economic capacity. If the latter remain outside and exploit their rate of exchange change by devaluations, which could be regarded as an advantage, will be a cost, with the example of the impact of the economy Nigerian on the zone frank. Consequently, a coordination with the other African economies, to evolve to a kind of African Exchange Standard, with the Nigerian federation, the zone Rand dominated by South Africa and with the zone which is constituted around the tandem Kenya-Ouganda.
Will remain then the following question: what one will make taken down frank CFA, compared to the Euro and the American dollar. The answer to this question would suppose choices in term of budget deficit. If the taken down frank wants to become an international currency its budget policy will be restricting since each State should be ensured of the financing of its deficit by the international money market. We will rock consequently of a national logic to a federal logic.
All things considered, the project of a autonomisation of the zone frank, supposes effort of a political and economic adjustment which will result mainly in unit wage costs (productivity). However other elements can play a part is on the level of the transfers, from this point of view a federal logic is essential and thus a regional integration who supposes also transfers of sovereignty of the majority of the African microphone-States whose current situation shows that they are not viable.
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