VoxEU:非洲经济前景广阔
2014-09-18 15:57:57
VoxEU:非洲经济前景广阔(2014.09.18)

  提要:撒哈拉以南非洲地区凭借出色的经济增长赢得了世界的关注。该地区2001年以来经济年增速比全球平均水平高2个百分点,全球金融危机以来经济增速跃居全球各地区的第二位,接近亚洲新兴市场。非洲经济高涨的动力不仅来自初级产品部门,也得益于提升治理、制度和经济决策水平的明显提升。然而,非洲经济倒退的风险依然存在,因而该地区还需大力加强政治和社会制度,推进市场导向的经济改革,向初级产品部门以外拓展经济增长基础,发展制造业。非洲正处于十字路口。机遇巨大,但道路漫长,而且需要政府和企业付出恒心、耐心和努力。

  (外脑精华·北京)关于非洲经济前景的主流观点已由极度悲观转变为极度乐观。2014年8月的美非峰会就凸显了后一种情绪。本文力图超越当前的狂热情绪与在非洲经商必然出现的苦恼心态,对非洲经济的进展与前景进行清醒的评估。

  出色经济增长和巨大人口潜力令非洲备受关注

  无疑,撒哈拉以南非洲地区已凭借出色的经济增长赢得了关注。经历了经济增速低于全球平均水平的20年后,2001年以来撒哈拉以南非洲地区的经济年增速比全球平均水平高2个百分点;自全球金融危机以来,该地区经济增速跃居全球各地区的第二位,年均增速达5%,接近亚洲新兴市场的水平。该地区已被视为又一个经济增长前途最出色的地区。

  除了近期的出色经济走势,非洲还拥有庞大、年轻、持续增长的人口。据联合国预测,非洲目前的11亿人口到2020年将再增长2亿,到2050年比现在翻一番,到2100年比现在翻两番。届时,非洲人口将与亚洲大体持平,各占世界总人口的40%左右。如果这项人口增长预测成为现实,而非洲经济又保持强劲增长,那么该地区将出现一个非常庞大的中产阶级人群。由此可以理解,全球性企业和金融投资者何以怀着如此浓厚的兴趣关注一个目前还只占全球经济总量2%的地区。

  经济增长动力不仅来自初级产品部门

  然而,非洲近期的经济增势能否持续下去?初级产品是近年来非洲经济高涨的重要动力,撒哈拉以南非洲经济走势开始好转就发生在90年代末初级产品周期启动之时。

  初级产品行业投资加速增长的动力来自新兴经济体的迅速发展、尤其是中国经济的崛起。撒哈拉以南非洲对亚洲贸易的增长速度远超过对其他地区的贸易增速。到2013年,亚洲已超过欧盟,成为撒哈拉以南非洲的最大贸易伙伴,占其贸易总量的三分之一以上,其中中国又占了一半左右。

  然而,非洲经济高涨的动力不仅来自初级产品。很多非洲国家都致力于大力提升治理、制度和经济决策水平。这是一种渐进的方法,力求实现“恰好够用”的次优治理,即不是一次性地全面提升决策水平,而是着力消除最严重的缺陷。目前,非洲商业环境有所改善,大多数国家在世行“经商便利性”(Ease of Doing Business)排行榜上的排名都在提升。博茨瓦纳、加纳、卢旺达、南非和赞比亚的排名都高于全部金砖四国。

  “恰好够用”策略是否优于“大爆炸”,现在还存在争论。在非洲,实用主义和渐进主义的策略在经济方面迅速取得了一些成果,但还有很多工作有待完成。非洲经商难度仍然很大,各国基础设施依然薄弱。撒哈拉以南非洲几乎在基础设施的所有方面都落后于其他发展中地区,供电、供水、公路交通领域的差距尤为突出。基础设施的严重不足阻碍了非洲制造业的发展,即使是那些未遭遇荷兰病的国家也是如此。南非是唯一的例外。

  就宏观经济稳定性而言,非洲在各方面表现不一。非洲的国债水平仍然较低,所有主要国家的国债-GDP比率都低于60%。宏观决策水平的提升降低了非洲各国的通胀率。但另一方面,很多国家都存在巨额经常账户赤字。尽管直接投资在资本流入中占比较高,巨大国际收支赤字仍令人担忧,尤其是因为,美国货币政策的逐渐调整很可能会导致国际资本流动的波动再次加剧。由于货币暴跌,最近加纳已向IMF求援;赞比亚和南非的问题也很突出。

  然而,总体而言非洲还是取得了巨大进步。1995年以来,撒哈拉以南非洲约有三分之二的国家实现了至少连续10年的经济正增长,约有四分之一的国家实现了不少于20年的经济正增长。在此期间,它们经历了全球金融危机和过去两年间初级产品周期的下行。这证明了,非洲的经济成就不仅限于初级产品繁荣。随着经济的发展,非洲吸引了来自中国、印度和许多跨国公司的战略性投资。

  非洲还需付出更大努力

  然而,非洲经济倒退的风险依然存在。经济增长尚未转化为足够广泛的生活水平上升,令许多非洲人对政府不满、对严重的低效率和腐败感到失望。除非改变这种情况,否则就无法忽略社会和政治动荡的风险。非洲还需大力加强政治和社会制度,推进市场导向的经济改革。这有助于向初级产品部门以外拓展经济增长基础,发展制造业,从而大规模增加就业和收入,这是催生庞大中产阶级的重要条件。

  非洲需在以下四个关键领域付出更大努力:

  基础设施。密集、高效的交通网络能够推动贸易和交流,促进经济发展向农村地区扩展。更可靠的供电有助于制造业发展。医疗水平的提升能够提高生活水平和健康标准,令国民有条件更多地参与政治进程,支持国家治理的进一步改善。

  从区域到全球层面的贸易一体化。在共同的基础设施战略基础上建立的非洲共同市场有助于非洲企业实现规模效应并增强在全球市场上的竞争力,还能够提升经济增长、就业和生产率。

  人力资本。如果非洲的强劲经济增长持续下去,并向更多经济部门扩散,那么合格劳动力的不足就会成为经济发展的严重制约。企业推动的培训机会将为填补这一缺口发挥重大作用,提供高速发展行业所需的合格劳动力。政府和企业应合作推动职业学校的发展,以提供工业所需的劳动力。

  创新。我们的GE全球创新指标(GE Global Innovation Barometer)显示,肯尼亚、尼日利亚和南非三国约有80%的企业高管认为,创新是一种积极因素,已经提高了本国生活水平。在肯尼亚,移动银行系统M-Pesa的爆发式成功迅速规避了较为落后的传统银行业,表明非洲有能力率先应用能够规避基础设施弱点的新技术。

  非洲正处于十字路口。机遇巨大,但道路漫长,而且需要政府和企业付出恒心、耐心和努力。我们看好非洲。

  英文原文:African growth looking forward

Chief Economist and Executive Director of Global Market Insight, General Electric Co.

Africa has generated a lot of enthusiasm lately. The cynical view of the continent as a hopeless basket case has been replaced by the lofty narrative of Africa Rising. This column argues that Africa's progress is impressive, and there is more to the story than a commodity boom. But Africa is at a crossroads. The opportunities are huge, but the road ahead is long, and will require persistent and patient effort from policymakers as well as business.

Views on Africa's growth prospects have jumped from utter pessimism to extreme enthusiasm. The latter has been centre-stage with the US-Africa Summit hosted in Washington DC from 4-6 August 2014, with the participation of top political and business leaders. My coauthors Todd Johnson and Shlomi Kramer and I have tried to take a sober assessment of Africa’s progress and prospects, looking beyond the current hype and the inevitable frustration that doing business in the region still generates (Annunziata et al. 2014).

There is no doubt that Sub-Saharan Africa has earned attention through an impressive growth spurt. After two decades of underperformance, starting in 2001 Sub-Saharan Africa has exceeded global growth by two percentage points per year; since the Global Crisis it has emerged as the second fastest-growing region, with an average annual growth of 5%, closing in on emerging Asia. It is now seen as the new most promising growth market.

Add to this a sizeable, young, and growing population. According to UN projections, Africa's population will rise rapidly from today's 1.1 billion, adding another 200 million people by 2020; it will double by 2050 and quadruple by 2100. At that point, it will be on a par with Asia's, each at 40% of the world total. If these demographic projections hold, and economic growth remains robust, Africa will become home to a very large middle class. You can see why global corporations as well as financial investors are looking with such interest at a region that today still accounts for only 2% of the global economy.

But will this growth performance be sustained? Commodities have played a big role - Sub-Saharan Africa's fortunes began turning when the commodity cycle picked up steam in the late 1990s.

Investment in commodities was accelerated by the rapid development of other emerging markets, and in particular by the rise of China. Sub-Saharan Africa's trade with Asia has grown much faster than with any other region, overtaking trade with Europe and reaching over a third of the region’s total trade in 2013 (China accounts for roughly half).

There is more to the story than commodities, however. A number of African countries have put in place meaningful improvements in governance and institutions as well as economic policymaking. The approach has been gradual, in line with the 'just enough governance’, second best approach recommended by Fukuyama and Levy (2010) and Rodrik (2004, 2008) – instead of trying to improve all aspects of policymaking at once, focus on addressing the biggest distortions and the most binding capacity and institutional constraints. The business environment has improved, with most African countries getting closer to the best practice frontier in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business rankings. Botswana, Ghana, Rwanda, South Africa, and Zambia now rank ahead of all the BRICs.

There is open debate on whether the 'just enough' approach is preferable to a 'big bang' effort. In Africa, this gradual and pragmatic strategy has helped score some quick wins on the economic front, but a lot remains to be done. Doing business in Africa is still very challenging, and the overall state of infrastructure remains poor across the continent - Sub-Saharan Africa lags behind other developing regions in almost all measures of infrastructure coverage, with particularly large gaps for electricity supply, access to water, and road transport. This has so far impeded the development of a stronger and more broad-based manufacturing sector – even in countries not facing the Dutch-disease challenge of commodities (with South Africa being the only exception).

Macroeconomic vulnerability indicators reveal a mixed picture. Government debt levels are fairly low, with all major countries below the benchmark 60% threshold. Improved policymaking has helped reduce inflation rates across the region. A number of countries, however, run large current-account deficits. Even with a high coverage in foreign direct investment, these are a source of concern, particularly as the gradual correction in US monetary policy is likely to trigger renewed volatility in international capital flows. Ghana has recently turned to the IMF for help, following a very sharp exchange-rate depreciation; Zambia and South Africa also stand out as vulnerable.

Overall, though, Africa has made huge progress, and it shows. Since 1995, about two-thirds of the countries in the region have recorded positive economic growth for at least 10 consecutive years, and about one-quarter have enjoyed 20 years of uninterrupted economic expansion. In the process, they have weathered the Global Crisis and the slowdown in the commodity cycle of the last two years. This is tangible evidence that there is more to the story than a commodity boom. In the process, the region has attracted strategic investments from China, India, and a number of multinational corporations.

The risk of backsliding, however, is still present. Economic growth has not yet translated into a sufficiently broad-based increase in living standards, leaving many of the region's citizens dissatisfied with their governments and frustrated with still-high levels of inefficiency and corruption. Unless this changes, the risk of social and political instability cannot be ignored. A lot more progress is needed in strengthening political and social institutions and in pushing market-oriented economic reforms. This would help to broaden the base of growth beyond commodities and to develop a stronger manufacturing sector, which in turn would provide jobs and incomes on the scale needed to bolster the size of the middle class. In short, more progress is needed before reforms become self-sustaining.

Further efforts will need to focus in four key areas:

(1) Infrastructure.

Dense and efficient transportation networks would facilitate trade and communications, allowing economic development to spread into rural areas. More reliable and distributed power would facilitate manufacturing activities. Better access to power, together with portable cost-effective healthcare, would ensure better living conditions and health standards - making it easier for citizens to be more engaged in the political process and supporting a further improvement in governance.

(2) Trade integration, within the region and globally.

The creation of a common African market underpinned by a joint infrastructure strategy would make it easier for African companies to achieve scale and gain competitiveness on the global scene, boosting growth, employment, and productivity.

(3) Human capital.

If strong growth continues and spreads to a wider range of sectors, the limited availability of a qualified local workforce will become a serious constraint. Company-sponsored training programs could play an important role in filling the gap, creating the skills needed by fast-developing industries. Governments and companies should cooperate in the development of professional schools closely aligned to industry, to match the supply of skills with demand.

(4) Innovation

In our latest GE Global Innovation Barometer (GE 2014), about 80% of business executives in Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa see innovation as a positive force that has already helped raise living standards in their countries. The viral success of M-Pesa, the mobile-banking and micro-financing system that quickly bypassed the relative under-development of traditional banking, shows that Africa is ready to be an early adopter of new technologies that can help by-pass structural weaknesses.

Africa is at a crossroads. The opportunities are huge, but the road ahead is long, and will require persistent and patient effort from policymakers as well as business. We are optimistic.

References

Annunziata, Marco, Todd Johnson, and Shlomi Kramer (2014), “Growth and Governance in Africa: Towards a Sustainable Success Story”, GE Ideas Lab.

Francis Fukuyama and Brian Levy (2010), “Development Strategies: Integrating Governance and Growth”, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper.

GE (2014), “GE Global Innovation Barometer 2014 – Insight on Disruption, Collaboration and the Future of Work”.

Rodrik, Dani (2004), “Getting Institutions Right”, Harvard University Weatherford Center for International Affairs.

Rodrik, Dani (2008), “Second best institutions”, Harvard University Kennedy School of Government.

来源:VoxEU.org,2014.8.16,作者:Marco Annunziata
作者:Marco

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