Monday, September 04, 2006

非洲新星與天敵之爭

看國際經濟報告及分析,對於禤中怡來說,是實際但沉悶的日常工作,但早前國際貨幣基金會(IMF)發表了一份研究報告,卻令我提起興趣,在網上尋找更多資料,這份報告名稱為《博茨瓦納(Botswana)遠離資源之害?》通常一提到非洲國家,大多一面倒地講及一些落後地區、經濟發展不全面及貧窮等等的社會面貌,但博茨瓦納過去雖然亦是窮國,近年這個非洲南部內陸國家的變化,卻有著180度轉向,更晉身成為全球經濟快速增長的國家之一。IMF在報告中,高度評價這個非洲小國在反貪污、法治及政府具效率管治等範疇的表現。

其實除了IMF盛讚博茨瓦納外,2004年,Moody’s Investors Service(穆迪投資)及Standard & Poor’s (標準普爾)都把這個國家的評估信用列為A級,令博茨瓦納在芸芸非洲國家中,成為投資風險最小的國家。

另一方面,博茨瓦納在今年的《世界人權報告》中,也是48個非洲國家裡,其中11個獲得被稱為自由國家的地方之一。而在世界經濟論壇(WEF)的評分中,博茨瓦納也被評定為非洲地區中,最具競爭力的國家。老實的向讀者申明,禤中怡並無去過博茨瓦納,但從手上的資料粗略分析,該國的成功因素可從兩方面分析,首先,天然資源豐富,博茨瓦納擁有豐富的鑽石礦產,佔出口收益達到80%。更重要的,是該國並沒有出現貪污壟斷、致使國有資產非法流失的情況,反而政府以開明手法處理天然資源問題。

如今年初,國際生存組織(SI)便指控博茨瓦納政府,為了讓Debeers到國內卡拉哈里沙漠地帶開採鑽石礦產,而向世居當地的布希曼人下逐客令。國際生存組織帶著世界各地傳媒作實地採訪。若是一些未發展國家,對於這些被視為世界性的抹黑手法,大多會以強硬回應處之,但博茨瓦納卻採取較接近西方的手法,外交部發言人只是反駁國際生存組織把布希曼人的生活「浪漫化」,及從中煽動布希曼人反對政府政策。

要知道鑽石是該國的命脈,這種回應做法,明顯是較為理性及符合世界民情的。而從經濟數據上,博茨瓦納在2003年的統計中,52%人口從事服務業,48.7%從事工業,而人均收入約9,000美元(約7萬港元)。顯示該國的商業發展已具有一定規模。擁有上述種種有利因素,這個國家的前景理應可以樂觀睇好,可惜,相對於利好的營商環境,博茨瓦納亦有一大隱患。博茨瓦納雖然在上述範疇上取得一定發展,但亦要面對天敵威脅—愛滋病,在聯合國及該國政府合作發表的統計預測,由於愛滋病蔓延,在10年內人口平均壽命將會不斷下降,男性將只會活到31歲,女性更只有30歲。

而未來國內的半數家庭裏,將會出現每個家庭至少有一名愛滋病毒帶菌者,而經濟增長也會被拖累,估計下跌24%至38%。在經濟表現上,博茨瓦納無疑已成為非洲區內新興力量,而且其特點(如反貪意識、講求公共行政效率等)也會對有興趣投資新興市場的投資人士感覺十分吸引,但面對着無人能夠預知及治療的天敵;就是巴菲特,相信也會感到無奈,何況只是如禤中怡般的小角色呢!但從博茨瓦納的情況中,更令如我般的中環一族了解到,反貪、廉潔政府、開明法規這些經濟發展的基礎,已非已發展地區專利,我們昔日賴以自豪的生存之道,更非永久保值的,我們還是努力發掘新賣點,方為上策!

(9月4日刊於《am730》)

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