Libmonster ID: U.S.-1215
Author(s) of the publication: G. E. ROSHCHIN

THE SUCCESSFUL INTEGRATION OF THE CONTINENT'S ECONOMIES INTO THE GLOBAL ECONOMIC SYSTEM DEPENDS ON IT.

G. E. ROSHCHIN, Doctor of Economics

In most African countries, capital accumulation and economic growth are severely limited by the current state of their productive forces. Attracting foreign currency, technological and intellectual resources and managerial experience on a significant scale from abroad helps them to some extent reduce the chronic shortage of investment, mitigate the imbalance in production and consumption, smooth out the severity of social imbalances, and improve the situation in providing the population with food and jobs.

Foreign entrepreneurial capital is one of the most important factors in connecting the traditional economy of the continent to global processes, dynamic modernization of the economy and society. Therefore, African Countries actively compete with countries from other regions of the world in the fight for foreign investment, and strive to create a favorable investment climate that would help expand incentives for productive investment by both national and foreign investors.

According to experts of the World Bank (WB), in developing countries, where the population growth rate is high, 1.2 billion people live in the same country. With people earning less than $ 1 a day and youth unemployment twice the global average, improving the investment climate is a top priority for Governments. Increasing the number of jobs and other opportunities for young people is vital for the successful existence and development of many African States.1

In Africa, of course, there are no illusions that the existing problems will be solved in the context of the global financial crisis and the downturn in the global economy. One of the most serious consequences of the current crisis for many countries on the continent may be a decline in global demand for raw materials and a significant reduction in their export revenues. This will lead to a decrease in national incomes, a reduction in the inflow of foreign investment, increase debt obligations and, consequently, negatively affect employment and living standards of the population.

Attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) in order to obtain additional financial resources, advanced technologies, and managerial experience can open the way for the continent's countries to more quickly implement structural changes in the economy and create competitive industries. Imported capital helps to realize investment opportunities, as well as creates additional demand for skilled workers, employees and managers, since it is not uncommon for a foreign investor to undertake training and retraining of local personnel.

Thus, by involving additional material and labor resources in economic turnover, transnational corporations (TNCs) and foreign companies contribute to increasing the economic potential of host countries. At the same time, in contrast to national capital investments, foreign investments, as a rule, are fully secured from the currency, material, technical and organizational points of view2.

BENEFITS OF FDI

The foreign sector is able to saturate the host economy with new products that are in high demand, stimulate the creation of high-tech industries (for example, computers, electronic components, communications equipment, etc.), encourage competition, introduce and improve market-based management methods. Attracting FDI to export-oriented industries increases the export income of recipient countries. At the same time, a foreign exporting company often cooperates with local producers, opening them up to the world market. As for the TNCs themselves, it is certainly profitable for them to produce many types of finished products in developing countries with qualified personnel and a developed physical and financial infrastructure, due to the presence of relatively cheap labor. Objectively, this leads to the inclusion of these states in the transnational pipeline of production and sale of goods and services, as well as to the strengthening of the position of TNCs in them.

At the same time, we note that TNCs are not altruists at all. In order to compensate for the resources spent, they may require a significant share of income and a certain part of the profit received. It follows that the positive financial effect of FDI is to some extent offset by direct withdrawals from the national income of host countries, since a significant part of the entrepreneurial income of foreign investors is repatriated from these countries abroad.

To finance their investments, foreign companies often turn to the loan capital market of host countries. By increasing the demand for loans, they are making them more expensive. This, in turn, reduces the financing opportunities of potential national investors. Subsidiaries of US corporations, for example, provide about a third of their new capex in Africa from local loans, and a fifth of this capex comes from reinvesting retained earnings.3 Thus, only about half of the funds of the parent companies are financed from the funds of the parent companies.-

page 37

There are a lot of new investments, which is their net inflow.

Most African Governments welcome foreign investors, provide them with significant benefits and guarantees of market rights. This indicates that partnership relations with TNCs are beneficial for the countries of the region, despite the fact that, in accordance with the laws of capitalist economic practice, they export part of their entrepreneurial income abroad.

There are many factors that affect the level of costs, risks, and barriers to promoting foreign investment in Africa. Including a number of objective ones that do not depend on government structures. These are the geographical location of a particular country, the size of its domestic market, climatic conditions, and the risk of dangerous diseases. At the same time, Governments have the opportunity to influence a number of aspects of the investment climate, such as property rights guarantees, legal regulations and taxation. The level of political stability, the availability of economic infrastructure, the functioning of financial and labor markets, and, of course, the prevalence of corruption and crime also play an important role. WB experts emphasize the key role of the state in developing a legal regime and creating a favorable investment climate, and in influencing the most important factors that have a negative impact on the investment climate. These include: political uncertainty (28%), macroeconomic instability (23%), taxes (19%), legal regulation (10%) and corruption (10%) 4.

"INVESTMENT IMAGE" OF THE CONTINENT

The" investment image " of Africa has certainly been changing in a positive direction recently, which is primarily supported by measures to liberalize the legal regime for regulating FDI. Over the past decade, many countries on the continent have lifted most restrictions on foreign investment and revised their legislation to fully integrate FDI into their economic development strategies. According to surveys conducted by UNCTAD, 74 policy changes were recorded in 2007, which made the climate in 58 developed and developing countries of the world more favorable for FDI (see table 1). Most of them (74%) were made by developing countries, including African ones. In particular, measures were taken to reduce taxes on corporate income (Ghana, Tanzania, Egypt, Algeria, Lesotho, Uganda), further liberalized regulation of FDI in telecommunications (Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, Ghana, Burundi), banking (Mali, Egypt and Nigeria), insurance (Swaziland). However, in some cases, new restrictions have been imposed on foreign ownership or measures have been taken to fix a higher share of income owed to the State. This trend was observed, in particular, in a number of extractive industries, for example, in Algeria.

The legislation of most African Countries provides for a single legal regime for domestic and foreign investors. Investments in priority sectors of national economies enjoy a privileged legal regime. In most countries of the region, export sector enterprises and agribusiness fall into the priority category. An important aspect of stimulating FDI in priority industries is tax relief: changes in tax rates on corporate activities and on dividends transferred abroad, the provision of tax discounts, and tax exemption for a number of years (tax holidays). The right to receive tax benefits is usually the subject of special negotiations with foreign investors.

For example, Egypt provides investors with tax breaks for up to 15 years when implementing socially significant projects, such as the construction of cheap housing. Senegal and Côte d'Ivoire pay special attention to small and medium-sized enterprises, while Guinea and Kenya offer special tax discounts when investing in less developed areas of the country. In Guinea, Ghana, and Mali, benefits are granted to foreign companies that develop the extraction of local mineral resources. For example, in Ghana, the tax on mining companies ' income was reduced from 55% to 35%. In Mali, mining companies are exempt from property and investment income taxes, registration fees, and value-added and service-related taxes for the first three accounting periods of their operations.5 In Lesotho, foreign companies operating in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors are subject to a 15% income tax and are exempt from the dividend tax. While in other sectors

Table 1

Changes in national FDI regulatory regimes (2000-2007)

 

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

Number of countries that made changes

70

71

72

82

103

92

91

58

Number of changes

150

207

246

242

270

203

177

98

including:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

creating a more favorable environment for FDI

147

193

234

218

234

162

142

74

creating a less favorable environment for FDI

3

14

12

24

36

41

35

24



Source. UNCTAD. World Investment Report 2008: Transnational Corporations and the Infrastructure Challenge. Table 1.7. N. Y., 2008.

page 38

for the economy, these taxes are 35% and 25%, respectively.6

A general trend is the liberalization of currency regulation, although a number of countries in the region reserve the right to introduce temporary currency restrictions in the event of an unfavorable balance of payments. However, these restrictions now generally do not affect transfers of income from foreign investments. Many African Governments legally guarantee foreign investors the right to repatriate their capital and profits. In some countries (Ghana, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania), the foreign exchange market has become free, and any currency transactions are removed from the control of central banks.

THE MAIN THING IS COMPETITIVENESS

Despite positive changes in the regulation of FDI, attracting investment in knowledge-based industries, which can significantly increase employment, skills and competitiveness of local enterprises, remains a challenge for many countries on the continent. First of all, this applies to the least developed countries of Sub-Saharan Africa due to their lack of the necessary innovative potential, qualified personnel, and modern infrastructure.

With a fairly high degree of confidence, it can be assumed that the inflow of FDI to the region will gradually grow with the advanced development of knowledge-intensive industries and new technologies, and the transition of relatively more developed countries to a resource-saving model of reproduction. There is a good chance that over the next 8 to 10 years, the Governments of most African countries will adopt laws aimed at encouraging FDI, removing restrictions on investment activities, and promoting the creation of enterprises that are fully owned by foreign companies. These businesses tend to be better equipped and able to operate more efficiently than local firms. They should also encourage the formation of joint ownership companies (JVs) with foreign and domestic capital, especially in the field of natural resource development.

In the context of the currency deficit typical for most African countries, the latter should strive to avoid any real investment of funds in the formation of joint ventures. The share of local companies in the capital of a joint venture may consist of infrastructure facilities provided, support services, a "fee for access to resources" charged to a foreign partner, etc. At the same time, host countries should insist that foreign participants undertake to transfer technologies and experience in the field of product management and marketing.

For many Western companies, international economic cooperation has become one of the leading strategies for developing and solving problems of entering new markets, overcoming protectionist barriers, accelerating scientific and technological progress,and facilitating access to sources of raw materials. Joint ventures are also attractive to these companies because they receive certain guarantees from nationalization, enjoy economic benefits like national participants, gain wider access to raw materials and the market, and establish relations with the local management apparatus.

The practice of contractual, non-institutional forms of investment cooperation between African countries and foreign firms is very diverse. The growing financial capacity of the most developed of these countries allows them today, instead of granting concessions, to conclude contract agreements with TNCs for the exploration and production of minerals, contracts for the construction of industrial facilities, and in some cases for the subsequent management of production and marketing of products. Importing licenses and know-how also provides significant time gains and significant savings in research and development (R & D) costs.

For their part, the managers of international corporations consider the business based on the sale of technology and "know-how" to be no less profitable and safer (especially in developing countries) than the exploitation of local resources based on property ownership. Contractual relationships provide TNCs with unconventional methods of participating in management and profits, which can be even more effective than owning a majority stake. These are, for example, "production sharing" contractual agreements that have become widespread in the oil-producing industry of African countries, "management" contracts that operate in the gold, diamond, bauxite and uranium mining industries, engineering agreements for the performance of various works and services related to the design, construction and commissioning of social and industrial facilities. for industrial purposes.

FOUR FEATURES OF THE AFRICAN ECONOMY

African countries differ significantly in terms of the size of their internal market and the rate of economic growth, the availability of natural resources, the development of entrepreneurship, the efficiency of social and economic infrastructures, and the level of political stability. These objective factors determine the investment opportunities of certain countries. At the same time, in some of them, the prospects for FDI inflows in the 2000s expanded due to the development of important economic processes. We can distinguish the following, the most significant of them::

1. Increasing the economic growth rate. The World Economic Forum (WEF) conference for Africa, held in Cape Town, South Africa, in June 2007, noted that since the beginning of the twenty-first century, the economies of 53 countries on the continent have grown at an average rate of 4.9% per year, in 2006 this growth was 6%, and in 2007 it increased to 6.2%. and it declined in 2008, according to the World Bank forecast, to 5.8%. The growth of the economy is spurred by external factors - an increase in world prices for raw materials, debt cancellation, and a favorable global economic environment. However, to meet the UN's "Millennium Development Goals" - to halve poverty in Africa by 2015 - its economy must grow at 7% a year. However, even now in a number of oil-producing states of the continent

page 39

the growth rate was significantly higher. In Angola, for example, they reached 17%, which experts attribute not only to the high level of oil prices on world markets and an increase in its production, but also to successful cooperation with such non-traditional partners of African countries as China, India and Latin America.7

It should be noted, however, that the current financial crisis and the downturn in the global economy, as well as a significant decline in market activity in developed countries of North America and Europe, have led to a drop in demand and prices for traditional African exports and a reduction in income from them, to a decrease in investment flows to the region, which will obviously negatively affect economic growth in Africa in the coming years.

Given the potential for FDI from developing countries and countries with economies in transition, many African Governments are developing specific strategies to attract such investment. In a 2006 survey of investment promotion agencies conducted by UNCTAD, more than 90% of all African respondents indicated that they were currently targeting FDI from other developing countries and countries with economies in transition. The list of most interesting investor countries is headed by South Africa 8.

2. Regional integration. Market reforms have improved the prospects for regional cooperation among African countries. Governments are trying to harmonize their investment codes, currency and customs legislation, which contributes to the conclusion of agreements on regional cooperation and the flow of investment from abroad to relatively more capacious regional markets.

3. Privatization. African States use privatization policies to improve the efficiency of enterprises and generate additional funding from local and foreign private sources. According to official reports, they manage to sell mostly stakes in small and medium-sized state-owned enterprises. The main objects of state property - mines, airlines, railways, etc. - are difficult to privatize, because many of them are unprofitable and are a heavy burden on the budget. States are trying to encourage buyers with various benefits, for example, providing them with preferential loans and customs exemptions, exempting them from taxes, which, unfortunately, is associated with losses for the budget.

Privatization of state-owned enterprises, although it does not directly aim to stimulate the development of local stock markets, in itself leads to their significant revival. Most of the 22 stock exchanges operating on the continent are national in terms of the number of participants and the scale of operations; regional markets are served by the exchanges of South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Nigeria,Ghana, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe; international exchanges are Johannesburg and Cairo. A targeted policy of stimulating the growth of the securities market (reduction of the tax on operations with securities, elimination of the tax on their value growth and on dividends) causes an influx of foreign portfolio investments, which can become an important source of financing for the share capital of local companies.

4. Restructuring and conversion of external debt. The attraction of foreign investors is facilitated by measures taken by African Governments to restructure and convert external debt, which expand the potential of the secondary loan capital market, where government debt obligations in the form of promissory notes and bonds are represented. Selling debt obligations at a discount of 80-90% of the face value is becoming one of the ways for multinational banks to get rid of problematic debts.

According to UNCTAD experts, the potential for increased FDI inflows to Africa, which reached record levels of $ 29.5, $ 45.8 and $ 53 billion for the region in 2005-2007, is primarily due to the expansion of exploration and exploitation of mineral deposits (primarily oil and gas) and the improved prospects for corporate profits and a more favorable business climate. However, Africa's share of global FDI flows remains low, at 3% (see Table 2).

With a certain degree of probability, we can assume,

Table 2

FDI inflows to Africa, 2000-2007 (USD billion) US$)

 

2000

2003

2005

2006

2007

Africa

8,69

18,51

29,46

45,75

52,98

including

 

 

 

 

 

North Africa

2,90

5,38

12,24

23,16

22,42

including:

 

 

 

 

 

Algeria

0,44

0,63

1,08

1,80

1,67

Egypt

1,24

0,24

5,38

10,04

11,58

Libyan Arab Jamahiriya

-0,14

0,14

1,04

2,01

2,54

Morocco

0,20

2,43

1.65

2,45

2,58

Sudan

0,39

1,35

2,31

3,54

2,44

Tunisia

0,78

0,58

0,78

3,31

1,62

Sub-Saharan Africa

5,79

13,14

17,22

22,60

30,57

including:

 

 

 

 

 

Nigeria

0,93

2,17

4,98

13,96

12,45

Chad

0,02

0,71

0,61

0,70

0,60

Equatorial Guinea

0,12

1,43

1,87

1,66

1,73

United Republic of Tanzania

0,19

0,53

0,57

0,52

0,60

Namibia

0,15

0,15

0,35

0,39

0,70

SOUTH AFRICA

0,89

0,73

6,64

-0,53

5,69

Zambia

0,12

0,17

0,36

0,62

0,98



Source: UNCTAD. World Investment Report 2002. Transnational Corporations and Export Competitiveness N. Y., 2002. P. 303 - 304; 2006. FDI from Developing and Transition Economies: Implications for Development. P. 299 - 300; 2008. Transnational Corporations and the Infrastructure Challenge. N. Y., 2008. P. 253 - 254.

page 40

It is expected that FDI inflows to African countries will decrease in 2008 - 2009. The main reasons for this may be the economic downturn caused by the global financial crisis and the cooling of the economic situation in the capital exporting countries, the reduction of resources and the tightening of conditions for obtaining them on the global capital markets, and the increase in risks when making capital investments.

In addition to developing the richest natural resources, telecommunications, light and food industries, and tourism remain the most attractive areas for foreign investors.9

WHAT IS AFRICA RICH IN?

Africa's resource potential is one of the largest on the planet.

According to the World Bank's estimates, about 70% of the world's bioresources are concentrated here. Africa holds 90% of the world's reserves of platinoids, chromites (80%), phosphates (76%), manganese and cobalt (60%), diamonds (40%), and gold (37%). The continent is already a de facto raw material base for the world economy, providing 92% of its needs in platinum, 70% in diamonds, 35% in manganese, 34% in cobalt, and 15.5% in bauxite.

At the beginning of 2006, hydrocarbon reserves on the African continent and on the explored areas of its shelf accounted for about 8% of the world's reserves, and the territory of most states has not yet been fully explored 10.

The strategic importance of the region's unique natural resources is rapidly increasing due to the depletion of the planet's non-renewable mineral resources. It is quite clear that long-term investments of TNCs in the extraction of certain types of mineral raw materials and energy carriers here, in particular on the World Ocean floor, will continue to grow, despite significant economic and political risk.11

FDI can play an important role in the development of export-oriented manufacturing industries in African countries, as the experience of Egypt and Morocco clearly demonstrates. These countries, taking advantage of their achievements in economic reform and specific advantages such as the availability of a relatively well-trained and inexpensive labor force and geographical proximity to Europe, attract significant capital investments in the electronic, automobile assembly, textile and woodworking industries, in the production of rubber products and construction materials. In particular, Egypt invested $ 8 billion in various promising industries and tourism in 2006, accounting for 80% of the country's FDI inflection12.

"PARADISE" FOR TRAVELERS, "TREASURE" FOR AFRICANS

Tourism deserves special attention of foreign investors. The African continent offers a rich selection of tourist attractions, and some types of tourism (for example, safari tourism) exist only in Africa. Ecotourism can also become one of the leading destinations in the travel industry here. This is due to the greening of the public consciousness of the inhabitants of developed countries, their growing concern about the destruction of the natural environment in Africa, on the one hand, and on the other - the craving for nature, especially exotic, of the population of Western industrial megacities, their interest in the traditional way of life. So far, Africa accounts for only 2% of international tourists and 1% of global tourism revenues. But the development of this service sector is already among the strategic priorities of a number of countries. Its contribution to the GDP of Botswana, Lesotho, Ghana, and Zimbabwe is estimated at 4-5%, and Zambia at 10%. The experience of Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Seychelles, Mauritius, Tanzania, Senegal, Uganda, and Kenya is instructive, where the tourism industry is also developing at a faster pace.

Of course, the development of the tourism industry and its transformation into an economically significant and stable source of foreign currency requires huge investments. In most African countries, only a fraction of tourism-related demand for goods and services (housing, food, car rental) can be met by local firms. The remaining part of the unmet demand is waiting for an influx of foreign investment. At the same time, the dynamic development of international tourism sets African governments the task of preventing the ecological and cultural degradation of their countries, actively involving the local population in the process of preserving the local unique flora and fauna.

* * *

We Europeans still deeply underestimate the place and role of the African continent in the global economic system. It is possible that in a few decades the development of industry and agriculture in Africa will be crucial for the well-being and prosperity of the rest of the world. From this perspective, there are no more promising locations for foreign investment than various sectors of the African economy. This should be understood and understood by leading corporations in Europe, Asia and America, as well as by TNCs, as well as by the business community and the power structures of African countries themselves.


1 The World Bank. World Development Report 2005. Better Investment Climate for Everyone. Wash., 2005. P. 1.

Mishra D., Mody A., Murshid A. 2 Private Capital Flows and Growth. Finance and Development. Wash., 2001. Vol. 38. N 2. P. 2 - 5.

3 Calculated by: Survey of Current Business. Wash., 1990 - 2007.

4 The World Bank... P. 22.

5 Economic Development in Africa. Rethinking the Role of Foreign Direct Investment. UNCTAD. N. Y., 2005. P. 42 - 43.

6 UNCTAD. Lesotho. Investment Policy Review. N. Y., 2003. P. 27.

7 African Economic Outlook 2006/2007. P., OECD, 2007. P. 576; Kompas. M., 2007. N 26. P. 54-55.

8 The World Bank. Global Economic Prospects: Technology Diffusion in the Developing World. Wash., 2008, Table 1.2. P.

9 UNCTAD. World Investment Report 2006: FDI from developing countries and countries with economies in transition: development implications. Review. New York, 2006. p. 55.

10 UNCTAD. World Investment Report 2003. FDI Policies for Development: National and International Perspectives. N. Y., 2003. P. 36 - 37; 2007. Transnational Corporations, Extractive Industries and Development. N. Y., 2007. P. 34 - 40; 2008. Transnational Corpora-tions,and the Infrastructure Challenge. N. Y., 2008. P. 38 - 41, 253.

11 BIKI, Moscow, November 23, 2006, p. 1.

12 UNCTAD. World Investment Report 2007. Transnational Corporations, Extractive Industries and Development. N. Y., 2007. P. 251 - 252.


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