Monday, 26 October 2020

The outlook of the global economy is not as grim as expected. According to the research data analyzed and gathered by StockApps.com, there will be a 4.5% drop in global GDP in 2020 as opposed to the 6% global decline experts estimated in June 2020.

On the bright side, an OECD Economic Outlook report for September 2020 forecasts a remarkable recovery by 2021, marked by a 5.0% GDP growth.

In 2020, the Euro area will be one of the most adversely affected as its GDP will plummet by 7.9%. On the other hand, the G20 will suffer a 4.1% decline, nearly half of the Euro area’s drop. Comparatively, in 2019, the Euro area had reported a 1.3% growth while the G20 countries had grown by 2.9%.

Just like the global economy, Euro’s GDP will bounce back in 2021, with a 5.1% increase, while that of G20 countries will shoot up by 5.7%.

In the June report, the OECD had predicted that the UK would have the worst contraction compared to the major G20 economies. South Africa, which is set to sink by 11.5% took the UK’s place in the new report.

Argentina followed closely behind with an estimated 11.2% drop. Italy will be the third worst hit with a projected 10.5% drop while India and Mexico will tie with a 10.2% decline. The UK will still be among the hardest hit economies, sinking by 10.1%.

Though the outcome is not as bad as anticipated, the report points out that the global economy is still facing unprecedented damage based on recent history. According to WeForum, the economic shock experienced in 2020 is three times worse than the 2008 financial crisis in terms of annual GDP decline. The OECD report points out that the hit would have been far worse if it not for policymakers’ rapid reaction.

The global GDP could rebound to pre-pandemic levels by 2021. However, that will depend on health measures, business confidence and the likelihood of future waves of the pandemic.

China’s Economy Could be worth $14.6 Trillion in 2020, 17.5% of Global GDP

The aforementioned OECD report highlights the fact that all G20 economies with the exception of China will suffer an economic recession in 2020. It projects a 1.8% GDP growth for China in 2020.

In 2019, China’s economy had grown by 6.1%. According to the forecast, it could soar 8.0% in 2021.

Summer projections from the World Bank paint a similar picture, projecting a 1.6% GDP growth for China in 2020, against a 5.2% global contraction.

According to CNN Business, by the end of 2020, China’s economy could be worth $14.6 trillion. This will give it a 17.5% share of the global GDP.

In the first week of October 2020, China celebrated the Golden Week, ending on October 8. Marking the Moon Festival and the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the period was the busiest travel season in 2020.

Over 630 million people traveled around the country, 80% higher than those who traveled in 2019. Tourist spending shot up by 70% compared to 2019 to reach $70 billion while movie ticket sales hit $580 million, only 12% less than the number in 2019.

Overall, the July to September quarter of 2020 saw China’s economy surge by 4.9% year-over-year (YoY). During the previous quarter, Q2 2020, it had reported a 3.2% growth. The robust growth in Q3 has brought its economy close to its pre-pandemic growth rate of 6%.

US GDP to Sink by 3.8% in 2020 as Four Powerhouse States Lag Behind

The US is set to suffer a 3.8% GDP decline in 2020. In comparison, it had grown 2.2% in 2019 and the report projects that it will grow by 4.0% in 2021.

Morgan Stanley projects that the US economy could recover to pre-pandemic levels two quarters earlier than the previously anticipated Q4 2021. However, the report points out that much of the recovery is fuelled by debt-based government spending. As such, the private sector will likely need more time.

 

Unfortunately, the recovery is hampered by underperformance in four key states: California, New York, Texas and Florida. These four states account for 35% of the country’s economic output and around 30% of the US population.

According to an Oxford index that tracks economic recovery, the four are collectively lagging over 10 percentage points behind the rest of the country.

Published in World

Incumbent Alpha Conde has won Guinea’s disputed presidential election with 59.5 percent of the vote to secure a controversial third term, according to a full preliminary tally from the election commission.

The announcement on Saturday came after days of deadly violence in the wake of the October 18 vote. The opposition says 27 people have been killed, while officials have put the death toll at about 10.

The victory, which requires confirmation by the Constitutional Court, gives a third term in office to the 82-year-old after a bitterly fought election in which the opposition said he had no right to participate.

Conde says a constitutional referendum in March reset his two-term limit, but opponents say he is breaking the law by holding on to power.

Results were announced in batches in recent days and already showed Conde with an unassailable lead, sparking street protests in opposition strongholds. On Friday, the internet and international calling were cut off across Guinea.

Opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo, Conde’s nearest rival with 33.5 percent of the vote, said he has evidence of fraud and plans to file a complaint with the Constitutional Court.

Under the law, complaints must be filed within eight days of the preliminary results.

Doubting the independence of the electoral authority, 68-year-old Diallo had on Monday declared himself the winner of the first round of voting before the results were announced, which triggered confrontations between his supporters and security forces.

Protesters took to the streets of the capital, Conakry, again on Saturday, and residents of some suburbs said police officers were firing tear gas canisters to clear them off.

“We’re on the street until Cellou Dalein asks us to come home,” a protester, who declined to be named, told the AFP news agency, referring to the opposition leader.

In 2010, Conde became Guinea’s first democratically elected leader after decades of military rule. He was re-elected in 2015.

Before assuming office, Conde had been a long-standing opposition figure who was jailed and exiled for his views against Guinea’s military government.

Diallo is a former prime minister who also finished runner-up to Conde in the 2010 and 2015 elections.

‘Savage repression’

Speaking from his home in Conakry – where police have barricaded him inside – Diallo told AFP on Saturday that international statements amounted to “rather timid communiques”.

“I am shocked to see also that this savage repression is not denounced and condemned by the international community,” he said.

In a statement, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Conde and the opposition “to prevail on their supporters to immediately end the violence and engage in meaningful dialogue to find a peaceful solution”.

“The United Nations stands ready to support a dialogue process towards a rapid and peaceful resolution of the crisis,” Guterres said in a statement.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) called on security forces to “exercise restraint” in responding to protests.

“Continued repression risks inflaming an already tense situation and could have disastrous repercussions,” said Ida Sawyer, HRW’s deputy Africa director. “Those responsible for excessive force during protests this week should be held to account.”

Akwasi Osei, a professor of history and political science at Delaware State University, said there was still a lot of uncertainty even after the commission’s announcement.

“Nobody really seems to know exactly what’s going on; they cut off the internet, no telephone communication,” he told Al Jazeera, but said it was “good news” that representatives from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regional bloc and the UN were “on the ground”.

Looking ahead, Osei said he suspected Conde “is going to stay for a bit, and there will be some agreements”.

He added: “There have to be some agreements because the alternative, which is the violence that is going on, cannot be sustained.”

Monitors from the African Union and the 15-nation ECOWAS, of which Guinea is a membee, said earlier this week election was mostly fair.

Conde’s decision to run for a third term sparked repeated protests over the past year which were met with a harsh crackdown by security forces, leaving dozens of people dead.

The government has denied using heavy-handed tactics against the protesters and accused the opposition of causing chaos.

 

SOURCE : AL JAZEERA

Published in Economy

Protests in Nigeria against police brutality and specifically the Special Anti Robbery Squad, a police unit accused of human rights abuses, have mostly been by young Nigerians, aged 30 and below.

This age group, which forms close to 70 percent of the country’s population, have bore the most impact of bad governance. For instance, unemployment figures stood at 21.7 million in the second quarter of 2020. The youth account for 13.9 million of this. So, beyond the campaign to end police brutality, current protests have other underlining factors. To better understand these factors and what Nigeria can do to fully benefit from the strength of its young population, Adejuwon Soyinka asked Uche Isiugo-Abanihe, Professor of Demography and Dr. Funke Fayehun, senior lecturer and population scientist, both at the University of Ibadan, to unpack the issues.


How would you characterise the demographic profile of Nigeria?

Nigeria, with an estimated population of about 206 million, is the seventh most populous country in the world. The high growth rate of Nigeria’s population, about 2.6 percent, is a product of persistent high fertility over time and consistently declining mortality. Nigeria’s total fertility rate is 5.3 with crude birth rate of 38 per 1000 population. With the high growth and fertility rates, the population is projected to increase to 263 million in 2030 and 401 million in 2050 when Nigeria would become the third most populous country in the world. That would be a jump of about 49% in 20 years

According to population projections by the United Nations for 2020, about 43 percent of the Nigerian population comprised children 0-14 years, 19 percent age 15-24 years and about 62 percent are below age 25 years. By contrast, less than 5 percent is aged 60 years and above. This makes Nigeria a youthful population with a median age of about 18 years, which is lower than African and world estimates of 20 and 29 respectively. Children and adolescents make up a large segment of the population, a product of many couples having too many children.

What role would you say the fact that 70% per cent of Nigeria’s population is under age 30, played in the ongoing #EndSARS protests?

The protests that are being held in major cities in Nigeria are led by youths. Young Nigerians between the ages of 18 and 30 years are the major victims of extortion and police brutality in the country. They are often framed as lazy and fraudulent and are constantly harassed by the police. This, coupled with the fact that 34.9 percent of Nigerian youths are unemployed, has led to outcries about the disbandment of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). Unemployment stood at 21.7 million in the second quarter of 2020. The youth account for 13.9 million of this.

The alleged brutality of the SARS unit of the Nigeria Police Force include ill-treatment of young Nigerians, torture and extra-judicial execution and have made earning a living difficult for young entrepreneurs. The protests have, to a large extent, influenced government to dissolve SARS, replacing it with the Special Weapons and Tactics unit almost immediately.

Why do you think the ongoing protest has been largely driven by young Nigerians?

Nigeria has been unable to maintain a trajectory of improving economic development (currently about 2 percent to match its population growth of close to 3 percent). Hence, the country’s inability to provide the education needs, create more jobs for the expanding workforce, and provide basic infrastructure and services such as roads, electricity, and stable food supplies.

A possible result of remaining trapped in this state is that the government may reach a state of “demographic fatigue”. This is a condition where the state lacks the financial resources to stabilise its population growth and the capacity to manage available resources. It becomes unable to deal effectively with threats from diseases and population-induced crises such as communal clashes, banditry, insurgency and insecurity. The recent protests suggest that Nigeria may have reached this state because there is a huge backlog of youths whose capacity was not developed over the years and high rates of unemployment. These are compounded by lack of political will by the government to address the needs of the youth. This has led to discontent and frustration which are expressed through this protest.

How do you think Nigeria should handle its youthful population?

Large numbers of young people in Nigeria can represent great economic potential, known as demographic dividends. However, this can happen if families and governments can adequately invest in their health and education, and stimulate new economic opportunities for them.

The government should, as a matter of urgency, prioritise pro-poor policies. It should invest massively in education and youth empowerment, as well as health programmes for children and women that include an efficient family planning initiative. And it should implement sound economic and governance policies to create new business and economic opportunities. It goes without saying that carrying out these policies can be challenging for Nigeria’s social and government structures, making it difficult for Nigeria to take advantage of a demographic dividend in the next few decades.

In fact, simulation models constructed by Scott R. Moreland suggest that Nigeria can enter the ranks of lower middle income economies and obtain a demographic dividend only by 2050, if it adopts appropriate family planning, education and economic strategies. Meanwhile, the total population would have almost doubled to 401 million on the same total land mass of 910,770 sq. km (or 351,650 sq. miles). Only decades of purposeful, proactive and well-informed statesmanship can avert the impending catastrophe that will befall Nigeria.The Conversation

 

Funke Fayehun, Senior lecturer, University of Ibadan and Uche Isiugo-Abanihe, Professor of Demography, University of Ibadan

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Opinion & Analysis
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