Snapshot on African Economy as @ 190221


Friday, February 19, 2021/ 04:00PM / United Capital Research / Header Image Credit: World Bank Group

Anglophone West Africa


  • 2020 data reports show that Ghana's trade surplus fell sharply as exports declined by 7.8% due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Ghana's main export commodity, Gold (47% of total exports), increased by 9.1% due to a significant rally in prices. Meanwhile, oil exports and imports declined substantially.


  • The Gambian Ministry of Agriculture and the United Nations World Food Program has launched an emergency Covid-19 relief package to provide food assistance for 42,750 households across the region. The relief package will last from February 2021- May 2021.


  • Headline inflation rate climbed to 5-Year high of 16.5%, with the main driver being food inflation which hit a 12 year high of 20.6%.
  • Despite the reopening of the borders in December 2020, supply shortage persists amid incessant clashes between herders and farmers.
  • The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation announced that petrol prices will be hiked this month, despite the recent rally in crude oil prices amid concerns of a potential increase in pump prices.
  • The Debt Management Office (DMO), auctioned bonds worth N150bn during the week with marginal rates spiking across maturities.
  • Interestingly, the DMO allotted only N80.55bn out of the N150.0bn initially offered with the 2027, 2035 and 2045 instruments closing at 10.25% (from 7.98% previously), 11.25% (from 8.74% previously) and 11.80% (from 8.95% previously) respectively.
  • GDP reports published during the week indicated that Nigeria's GDP rebounded from the recession, as Q4-2020 GDP growth came in at 0.11% y/y. However, 2020 full year GDP declined by 1.9%.


Francophone West Africa (WAEMU)


  • According to the Finance Ministry, Senegal received 200,000 doses of China's COVID-19 vaccine by Sinopharm during the week.
  • 1.4 million more vaccine doses are expected to arrive via the WHO's COVAX initiative (AstraZeneca and Sinopharm) by the end of the month.
  • The total amount of vaccine remains grossly inadequate to ensure herd immunity for a population of 16.7 million
  • In the same week which witnessed Nigeria the appointment of Nigeria's Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as the Head of WTO, Senegal's ex-finance minister, Makhtar Diop, has been appointed to head IFC's Private Sector Finance unit, bolstering Africa's international diplomacy.

Ivory Coast

  • According to farmers in the region, dry heat, and shortage of rainfall in Ivory coast central region will lead to a drop in quality and quantity in Cocoa this year. Data collected by Reuters showed rainfall in Daloa (central, Ivory coast) was 4.0 millimetres last week, 3.6 millimetres below the five-year average.
  • According to the Ivorian government, the country lost about 47,000 hectares of land in 2020, and about 85% of its forest cover since the 1960s due to deforestation from the Cocoa industry.
  • On the bright side, Ivory Coast has secured a $300 loan from the World Bank to shore up its response to the Coronavirus pandemic, The World Bank is backing reforms taken by the Ivorian government to support
  • households and businesses hit by the pandemic.

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East Africa


  • This week, the President of Zanzibar (a self-governing state in Tanzania) announced the death of its first Vice President, Seif Sharif Hamad. He died weeks after he was hospitalized with Covid-19.
  • According to media reports, the Tanzania government continues to claim that the country is Covid-19 free, thus, avoiding lockdowns and other safety measures.
  • While the government has gone ahead to reject free vaccines offered to them, with the recent death of a prominent citizen, authorities are struggling to defend this claim



  • During the week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Kenya reached an agreement to support the country's economic recovery and fiscal consolidation efforts with a $2.4bn financing program.
  • President Uhuru Kenyatta announced some sweeping changes to his cabinet, with many opposition party members benefitting from the reshuffling. The reshuffles, according to him, are aimed at improving efficiency within his government.


  • Following the outcome of the last elections in Uganda, several members of the international community are threatening to sanction the country following alleged anti-democratic practices during the election.
  • This is coming after the government restored social media and internet services across the country.
  • The last election in Uganda has negatively impacted economic activities in January as the recent PMI data showed that new orders and employment level declined within the month.


  • According to the Minister of Water, Irrigation & Energy, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has reached a 78.3% completion level and is expected to reach 82.0% before the upcoming rainy season. He further stated that the country is very keen to complete the project by 2023.
  • According to observers in Ethiopia, general elections is expected to hold in June 2021 after a protracted period of postponement due to Covid19.

Southern Africa


  • Following weeks of protest from conservative activists against anticipated government legislature, the Angolan government has passed legislation allowing oil & gas and mining licenses in 14 national conservation areas. Angola, the second-largest oil producer in Africa, has been lauded in the past for its biodiversity.
  • In the last week on the visit to areas along the Lobito Corridor, the acting Dutch ambassador to Angola stated that the Netherlands plans to import avocados and lemons from Angola and export to the other European countries.



  • According to Stats SA, Headline Inflation quickened marginally to 3.2% in Jan-2021 from 3.1% in Dec-2020. Consumer Inflation accelerated in January amid higher food prices and service costs.
  • Data from Stats SA also revealed that retail sales contracted by -6.9% in 2020. Notably, this is the worst y/y decline on record and the first decline since the global financial crisis, which saw sales contract by -3.2%.
  • However, employment numbers bounced-back in Q4-2020 with 2.1million people getting jobs after the 2.8million job losses recorded in July, according to a Nids-Cram survey.



  •  Zambia's Monetary Policy Committee hiked the benchmark interest rate by 50bps to 8.5% from 8.0% in the face of increasing inflationary pressures.
  • The Bank of Zambia Governor (BOZ), Christopher Mvunga, said that the Central Bank would continue to purchase more gold deposits to boost its reserves.
  • The Governor also reported that Zambia had scaled down, deferred, and scrapped several projects to minimize the country's debt exposure in the light of debt relief negotiations with the International Monetary Fund.


  • Zimbabwe's Monetary Policy Committee hiked the benchmark policy rate to 40.0%, to reduce excess liquidity and control FX market speculation.
  • The Central Bank reiterated its aim of keeping inflation below 10% in 2021 and its GDP growth forecast of 7.4% for the year.
  • Zimbabwe received the 200,000 doses of the SinoPharm vaccine from China as promised. The country also commenced its citizens' inoculation this week and it expects a further 600,000 doses of the SinoPharm vaccine in March.

Central Africa (CEMAC & Congo DRC)


  • Rating agency Fitch has affirmed Gabon as a CCC rating. In a report published earlier in the week, Fitch states that the country faces challenges securing sufficient funding to meet its needs in the medium term.
  • The report also states that the prolonged absence of a new IMF programme and the shallow nature of the regional bond market would increase risks to Gabon's ability to service its debt in a timely manner.
  • Gabon and the EU have agreed on a new protocol which allows boats from the EU to access Gabonese waters. The deal comes as the Gabonese government has looked to open its fisheries industry to more competition and boost value-addition.



  • Atlantic Cement will launch a 1 million Mta cement plant in the deep seaport's industrial zone of Kribi. The move will deepen competition in Cameroon cement industry, where other foreign players, namely Dangote Cement (1.5mta) and Cimencam (the local subsidiary of Lafarge-Holcim (2.2mta), control more extensive portions of market share.
  • According to Hootsuite and We are Social, two companies monitoring internet usage in Cameroon, Cameroonian internet penetration grew to 9.2mn users in 2021 from 7.8mn in 2020. This represents 34% penetration in 2020, a considerable improvement considering internet penetration was only at 2% a decade.


Congo DRC

  • Following reports of an outbreak of Ebola in the DRC in the past week, the United Nations allocated $15mn in funding to the DRC, Guinea, to combat the disease.
  • After weeks of a reported struggle between former president Joseph Kabila and Current President Felix Tshisekedi, the president has appointed the head of state mining company, Gecamines, Sama Lukonde Kyenge, as Prime Minister. He replaced former PM Ilunga, who suffered a vote of no-confidence in parliament last month.
  • DRC's central bank held its benchmark rate at 18.5%, the highest level in more than two years. However, the apex bank guided that policy rate may be eased in coming months, following a projected drop in inflation to 5.5%.
  • Inflation rose to 15.7% in the earlier months of the pandemic in 2020, following a decline in reserves after commodities prices tanked.


Looking Forward

  • Jan 2021 Nigeria Manufacturing PMI-19 Feb
  •  Jan-2021 Nigeria Gross Reserves-26 Feb 

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