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Starting the Year with the Wrong Sort of Crash – Some Good News, and the Forecasts of the AfDB for 2024

Dear Readers, we hope the new year started well for you and will continue to bring you success. Unfortunately, 2024 at the EFSA/EFA offices started with the crash of my PC and with that went all last year’s documents, sent emails and draft emails (including the draft of January’s Newsletter). Fortunately, we managed to save the incoming emails. I have been struggling to recover at least some of EFSA/EFA’s activities of last year. We also had a bizarre experience with Capitec which we have now abandoned as a sensible banking partner. All this resulted in no January Newsletter – for which many apologies.

In other ways the EFSA and EFA have had some notable successes which promise to bring us to greater heights as this year progresses. Business Unity SA (BUSA) has invited me to join their Transport, Logistics and Trade Committee, which feeds business’s views into Nedlac’s Teselico Sub-Committee. I attended Teselico in February when the AfCFTA Digital Trade Protocol was being discussed. This also resulted in an invitation to represent SA in 2 OECD committees.

Meanwhile, the African Development Bank (AfDB) forecasts in its latest Macroeconomic Performance and Outlook (MEO) that Africa will account for 11 of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies in 2024. The continent is set to remain the second-fastest-growing region after Asia. But the Bank warns that the rising cost of energy, food and other commodities in several African countries, including Angola, Ethiopia and Kenya, could trigger social unrest. Already Nigeria has experienced marches to protest the high cost of living, prompting the government to release grain from the national reserves. This warning appears in the AfDB’s biannual Africa Macroeconomic Performance outlook publication. The Bank said in its 2024 forecast that energy and food price increases — along with a currency depreciation in Angola, Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria — could spark internal conflict, despite the continent overall showing overall economic growth. The bank also said conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East could trigger further supply chain disruptions, exacerbate inflation across the world, and make Africa’s situation more precarious.

Finally, 2024 will be the year of elections. There will be elections in 64 countries during the year – an unprecedented number. SA will hold its election on 29 May.; The USA will hold its elections in November; Russia in March; India in April or May; Madagascar in May; Mexico and the European Parliament in June; Rwanda in July; Botswana, Mozambique and Chad in Oct; Ghana and Algeria in Dec. Others have yet to fix their election date, like The UK, Senegal and Namibia. And Pakistan, Taiwan, Bangladesh and Indonesia have already held elections this year. By 2025 much may have changed in the global political space, although we can also be sure that no changes can be expected in some elections.


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Alastair Tempest

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