Monday Headlines

Oil And Gas Are Key To Africa’s Growth
While a majority of the developing nations are eschewing oil and gas production as part of their embrace of climate change, for some African nations, it is their key to growth.

Natural gas has recently been discovered in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, and both Kenya and Uganda soon should begin the process of oil commercialization in 2017.

 Why does that matter?

“These discoveries are vital to the region and could see these countries earn billion of dollars useful in paying our foreign debts, earn foreign exchange and help in balancing current account deficits. Further, the discovery has the potential of speeding up economic growth and development by attracting investments in roads, rails and other infrastructure projects,” write Stephen Kuria and Bernard Ayieko in an op-ed in AllAfrica.

Furthermore, Bjorn Lomborg argues that burning more fossil fuels in Africa is not only necessary for economic growth, but as a means to provide reliable energy sources.

“In wealthy countries, campaigners emphasize that a ton of CO2 could cost some $50 and should be taxed to reduce emissions. But for Africa, the economic, social, and environmental benefits of more energy and higher CO2 run to more than $2,000 per ton. Focusing on the $50 in cost and ignoring the $2,000 in benefits is willful blindness.

“One day, innovation could drive down the price of future green energy to the point that it lifts people out of poverty more effectively than fossil fuels do. Globally, we should invest much more in such innovation. But global warming will not be fixed by hypocritically closing a path out of poverty to the world’s poor,” he concludes.

China, European Nations Iran Seek To Cement Closer Ties
During a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iran’s Ayatollah Khamenei said that his nation has always “welcomed extensive relations with independent and reliable countries as China” and that “the Islamic Republic of Iran will never forget Chinese support during when sanctions hit Iran’s economy.”

Meanwhile,  Airbus confirmed on Monday that it was poised to begin negotiations with Iran for the sale of dozens of new commercial aircraft and is likely to be the first of several new business deals established during Iran President Hassan Rouhani’s four-day trip to Italy and France.

China’s Economy Is Worse (Or Better) Than It Appears
The consequences of China’s attempts to manipulate its currency and failed economic policies were witnessed last week when their stock market plunged into bear market territory – marking a 40 percent decline in 2015 — and dragged much of Europe and Japan with it.

As bad as it was, some believe the weakness of the Chinese economy is even worse than their GDP indicates.

“China grew at a rate of 6.9 percent in 2015, its slowest pace in 25 years—only adding to mounting global concerns about China’s economy. My view is that this published rate likely overstates China’s actual current growth rate,” argues Richard Vague in Democracy Journal.

Vague maintains that China’s economy may continue to deteriorate because it has allowed private debt to explode and that China’s businesses persist on overbuilding and overproducing. But others disagree, saying the view from the ground in China is less dire than they appear.

Melissa Ma, the founder of the $6.8 billion private equity firm Asia Alternatives, tells The New York Times that there is “gap” between perception and reality.

“If you’re on the ground in China, you’re not worried,” she says.

The Beijing-based Asia Alternatives has about half of its portfolio in China.

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