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30 May 2013
Frankfurt am Main, May 30, 2013 -- Many sub-Saharan African (SSA) sovereigns currently benefit from
stable rating outlooks, balancing the region's vulnerability
to commodity price fluctuations with a favourable economic outlook and
a credit-supportive gradual structural transformation, says
Moody's Investors Service in a new report on the region.
The report, entitled "Sub-Saharan Africa: Commodity
Price Vulnerability Balanced by Favorable Economic Outlook and Gradual
Structural Transformation", is available on www.moodys.com.
Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the
end of this press release.
According to Moody's, the creditworthiness of rated SSA sovereigns
will be supported by expectations of continued average growth of 5.2%
in 2013 and 5.3% in 2014. In contrast to previous
commodity cycles, SSA countries have been able to absorb a larger
share of resource wealth over the past decade and thereby improve their
living standards, albeit from a very low level. Moody's
expects this favourable trend to continue, driven by a set of structural
factors, including net foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows,
improved resource wealth management, favourable funding conditions
and a potentially large growth-supportive and long-term
However, these positive trends are offset by a lack of export product
diversification, a large trade exposure to China in some cases,
persistent infrastructure bottlenecks in the transport and energy sectors,
as well as governance challenges. While Moody's expects a
potential increase in bond issuance activity further to recent oversubscribed
regional issuances, the rating agency notes that most SSA countries
continue to have only a limited capital-absorption capacity,
and that the ability for servicing external debt remains largely untested
in a less supportive global liquidity environment.
In the absence of unexpected risks -- such as a re-intensification
of the euro area sovereign debt crisis, a hard landing in China,
or a collapse in commodity prices -- SSA's oil-exporting
countries benefit from a strong growth outlook supported by improved fiscal
management and moderate debt ratios in contrast to non-resource
countries. This group includes Angola (Ba3/positive), Cameroon,
Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Nigeria (Ba3/stable),
Republic of Congo. These factors are counterbalanced by a persistent
low level of export diversification, institutional limitations and
a lingering susceptibility to event risk in some regions, which
constrain these countries' creditworthiness.
The growth outlook for SSA's mineral-rich countries --
comprising Botswana (A2/stable), Ghana (B1/stable), Namibia
(Baa3/stable), South Africa (Baa1/negative), Zambia (B1/stable)
-- benefits from many new resource projects that will come on-stream
over the next few years. However, in contrast to oil-exporters,
most of these countries are still in the process of rebuilding their fiscal
and external reserve buffers. In terms of event risk, Moody's
points to the simmering armed conflicts in certain areas, the negative
impact of high food prices and the possibility of a series of mining code
renegotiations in some countries.
SSA non-resource economies, including Mauritius and Senegal
among others, face a more subdued growth outlook given their challenge
to balance investment needs with fiscal and external prudence as long
as oil import prices remain elevated and global demand is languishing.
Moreover, several SSA countries -- amongst them Angola (Ba3/positive),
Nigeria (Ba3/stable) and Ghana (B1/stable) -- have recently established
Sovereign Wealth Funds (SWFs) in order to accumulate savings in support
of human and physical capital investment. While the establishment
of SWFs supports sovereign creditworthiness, Moody's believes
that the governance of these institutions remains key to securing credit
Africa's large economic potential -- both in terms of potential
demand and supply -- is also supported by the continent's young
and growing labour force. The degree to which this growing population
is absorbed into the labour force and lifted out of poverty will be key
in determining the region's long-term growth potential.
At present, infrastructure bottlenecks in the energy and transportation
sectors are preventing a rapid structural transformation towards a higher-productivity
and labour-intensive growth model. In the longer term,
the secular shift towards aging populations in other parts of the world
will contribute to raising Africa's profile as a burgeoning source
Subscribers can access this report via this link: http://www.moodys.com/research/Sub-Saharan-Africa-Commodity-Price-Vulnerability-Balanced-by-Favorable-Economic--PBC_154523.
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JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
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Telephone: 00971 4237 9536
Moody's: Sub-Saharan Africa Outlook: Commodity Price Vulnerability Balanced by Favorable Economic Outlook and Gradual Structural Transformation
Moody's Deutschland GmbH
An der Welle 5
Frankfurt am Main 60322
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
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