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Financial Afrik is a pan-African newspaper specialized in financial information: banking, insurance, private equity, stock exchanges, sectors, published in French and founded in 2013.
Photograph of a Tunisian woman carrying a bag on her shoulders at the weekly market of Douz
Timothy Kaldas and Ayoub Menzli

Tunisia Needs Real Reform To Break A Ruinous Economic Cycle

The European Commission has committed €100 million to support Tunisia in the effort against migration, with an affectional €900 million in funding for the country. But how does the agreement expect to find success with a formula that has long held a reputation of failure?

TUNIS — As pressure rises to break the deadlock over a possible IMF program for Tunisia, international players are rushing to find ways to get an agreement signed.

At the Italian government's request, the European Commission has committed what is likely to be an unconditional €100 million to support the fight against migration. The Commission has also announced €900 million in additional funding for Tunisia, if an agreement with the IMF is approved.

But as it stands, the IMF deal looks like a non-starter for Tunisian President Kaïs Saïed.

The current agreement between Tunisia and the IMF seems to rely on a time-tested and unsuccessful formula of drastic cuts and consumption taxes that could fuel inflation, increase poverty and hamper economic growth. It was wise to reject a repetition of regressive anti-growth prescriptions.

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People walk past a street market selling accessories and produce
Sophonie KOBOUDE

Africa's Demographic Boom Is The Continent's Greatest Resource

The projections from the United Nations Population Division for African demographics reveal some striking figures. And it's up to leaders to turn it into economic growth and social vitality.


DAKAR — The African population is set to double in the next 30 years, and by 2050, about 100 cities on the continent will have more than a million inhabitants. In 2100, the number of inhabitants on the African continent is estimated to reach 4.2 billion people.

Consider other measures of the growth: A child born today in Burundi (which currently has about 12 million inhabitants) will witness their grandchild being born in a country that will have quadrupled its population. Nigeria, with a current population of 206 million people, is projected to reach 400 million inhabitants by 2050, while Niger will nearly triple its population in just 30 years, going from 24 million inhabitants in 2020 to 66 million by 2050. The Democratic Republic of Congo, with a current population of 89 million, is expected to have around 362 million people by 2100.

These demographic projections have revived the theory of "Malthusianism," through various apocalyptic speeches and theories.

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Image of freedom graffiti street art in Algiers
Ilyes Zouari*

Why Oil-Rich Algeria Can't Extract Itself From Dire Poverty

Algeria faces a real risk or going bankrupt by 2029. How did it come to this, in one of the world's leading hydrocarbon producers?


ALGIERS — Algeria's enormous natural-resource wealth is no longer enough to mask the economic reality of the country, which lags far behind its French-speaking Maghreb neighbors, and is likely to experience serious difficulties around 2028.

For the first time since its independence in 1962, Algeria posted the lowest GDP per capita of the three Maghreb countries in 2021, before it was inflated by an exceptional — and brief — rise in hydrocarbon prices the following year.

According to World Bank data, Algeria's GDP per capita stood at $3,691 in 2021, the latest year for which statistics are available, compared with $3,807 for Tunisia and $3,795 for Morocco, which had always occupied last place among the three Maghreb countries since their independence.

By overtaking Algeria, neighboring countries Morocco and Tunisia have achieved a remarkable feat, given their limited natural resources compared with Algeria — one of the world's leading hydrocarbon producers.

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An image of a person with a machete in Congo Basin's tropical forest.
Financial Afrik

Gabon Says It's Time For Rich Polluters To Pay Up

The country's "Green Gabon" sustainable development policy has proven a success. The question now is: How can Gabon reap the financial rewards of its preservation efforts?

I'm in the Gabonese rainforest, just a few meters away from one of the last representatives of the great apes of Africa: the western mountain gorilla.

There are 35,000 of them living in Gabon. They dwell secluded in the depths of the forest, continuously retreating as humans advance, and as the climate changes. But here, in the vast, 155,000-hectare Loango Park, human activity remains minimal. It's as if time stands still.

Gabon has maintained the thick forests that cover 88% of the country through strict monitoring and logging restrictions. Deforestation avoided through the country's biodiversity management policy has already helped to sequester 90 million tons of carbon.

The country's new challenge: turning that environmental success into a financial one, as well.

Green Gabon

Since 2010, Gabon has implemented a sustainable development policy, called "Green Gabon," which aims to combine responsible timber exploitation and protection of the fauna and flora.

Just over 2 million people live in this small country, which is almost entirely covered by forests. Loango Park is just 300 kilometers from the capital, Libreville, but getting there isn't easy. The bravest take the road and face two to three days of rough terrain until they reach Port Gentil, the center of the oil industry.

From there, it takes four hours of driving through forest roads and tracks, passing along the Ozouri Bridge. Financed almost entirely by a Chinese bank, it's the longest bridge in Central Africa and at 4,700 meters, the third longest on the continent.

The road continues, plunging deep into the forest and becoming a steep trail. Forest extends as far as the eye can see.

The animals in this area live in almost complete freedom, protected by a natural barrier of rivers, lagoons, oceans, forests, and mangroves. Padouk trees with red sap and resin-scented Okoumé trees grow in the lush Mount Cristal Reserve, and the breathtaking Pongara reserve is home to some of the world's tallest mangrove trees, which grow up to 60 meters tall. Mangroves are essential for keeping rising sea levels at bay, but they are threatened by illegal logging and human activity.

Image of \u200bthree elephants walking on a beach in Gabon.

Elephants walking on a beach in Gabon.

Via Facebook - See Wild Travels Ltd

Strict standards and monitoring help to maintain forests

To fully understand Gabon's strategy for protecting biodiversity, one must visit the Nkok Special Economic Zone. The 1,200-hectare timber-processing area was set up after Gabon banned the export of unprocessed logs in 2010, in an effort to cut down on illegal logging and encourage local industry. The zone operates as a one-stop-shop, housing administrative services including immigration and labor inspection, as well as a residential area and training center with a capacity of 1,000 students. To encourage local development, logging companies are required to contribute 800 CFA francs per cubic meter to community projects.

Gabon's forests are now harvested to national standards, with a rotation system in place to allow for regrowth. Only 1-3 trees per hectare are allowed, and forests are rented to logging companies for a fixed term based on a management plan. About 90% of the exported timber is Okoumé, which is particularly prized in boatbuilding.

Loggers are closely monitored by satellite and a tracking system that allows the origin of each log to be traced. The Gabonese government said in 2018 that companies would have to comply with international Forest Stewardship Council standards for logging by 2022. That date has been pushed back to 2025, and the battle is not yet won: of 65 wood-processing companies, only 15 have been certified.

\u200bImage of an aerial view of a tropical forest in Gabon.

Aerial view of a tropical forest in Gabon.

Flo Lorenz

Will rich polluters pay up? 

Gabon's decision in 2010 to ban the export of uncertified wood — since adopted by Congo as well — encouraged the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.

After the UN recognized Gabon's forest preservation efforts last year, the country announced the world's largest-ever offering of carbon credits: 90 million tons, worth an estimated $2.25 billion on the market. Honduras and Guyana have since followed suit.

The REDD+ mechanism, created under the COP Paris Agreement to encourage sustainable forestry and cut emissions, should help countries like Gabon to profit from their environmental efforts by selling carbon credits to polluting countries. But the money is dependent on the will of major polluters to fulfill their commitments, and Gabon has struggled to find buyers. If sales don't pick up, the country says it may have to relax logging restrictions.

This was one of the objectives of the One Forest Forum held in Libreville in March, which saw the launch of a €100 million fund to reward countries' efforts in preserving tropical forests.

But the Congo Basin, and Gabon in particular, need much more than promises. And time is running out.

Image of pedestrians walking past the busy traffic at Tom Mboya Street on February 13, 2023 in Nairobi, Kenya.
Financial Afrik

Foreign Cash, Women Founders: How African Tech Is Bouncing Back, Post-COVID

The African tech ecosystem is bouncing back after a slowdown during the pandemic, with local innovation fueled by increasing investment from foreign tech giants.

DAKAR — Despite a tense macroeconomic context, the growth of the African tech ecosystem shows no sign of slowing down.

In 2022, African startups recorded an 8% increase in investor funding compared to the previous year, according to a 2022 report from PartechAfrica Tech Venture Capital. The context remains favorable to the continent, which is attracting many foreign investment funds.

"The current period is one of a flight to quality," says Melvyn Lubega, an investor at French fund Breega, which has recently boosted its investments in Africa.

This resilience has surprised many observers. After the COVID-19 health crisis, the strength of African economies and continued high growth rates surprised some economists, who had expected a catastrophe.

But digital technology is not immune to good news. Despite an international context of investor withdrawal, liquidity scarcity and never-ending inflation, African tech remains in the green and has managed to attract 1,149 unique investors in 2022, an increase of 29% compared to 2021.

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Demonstrators in Tunis holding a banner saying "I'm an African, arrest me !" in a fight against racism in the country and against President Kais Saied
Adama Wade

The African Union Must Take A Stand On Tunisian President's Racist Tactics

Tunisia's president has risen to power on the back of populism that suggests black people are trying to replace Arabs. The African Union has not intervened, begging the question of what is its purpose.


DAKAR — Habib Bourguiba led Tunisia to independence from France and led the country for over 30 years. The continent remembers Bourguiba the African, and the title of Supreme Fighter was awarded to him posthumously by the Mandela Institute in 2017.

The father of independence had time to embrace the African and Mediterranean dimension of his country and assimilate the three isms (pan-Africanism, pan-Arabism, and pan-Islamism) that constitute the Tunisian identity.

But the difference between Habib Bourguiba and the country's current President Kaci Saïed could not be more stark.

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