Five years later

Ok, Im back to blogging after a five year hiatus! I paused blogging, but I didn’t pause investing and business in the Ivory Coast – more on that in upcoming posts!

The Ivory Coast has done pretty well the last five years which ever way one measures it, I think. The most obvious – but not unproblematic – indicator is GDP growth.

As I couldn’t find a list of top countries in the world by GDP growth for the last five years, I put together such a list myself using World Bank GDP figures for 2011 and 2016 (real GDP in year 2000 dollars):

Rank Country Compounded annual growth rate GDP 2011 (USD, bn) GDP 2016 (USD, bn)
1 Ethiopia 9.48% 33.28 52.35
2 Ivory Coast 9.26% 23.79 37.05
3 Turkmenistan 8.84% 25.90 39.56
4 Uzbekistan 7.96% 42.60 62.47
5 Laos 7.59% 7.70 11.10
6 Myanmar 7.51% 52.31 75.12
7 China 7.30% 6,682.00 9,505.00
8 Iraq 7.30% 149.00 211.90
9 Rwanda 7.18% 6.22 8.80
10 Cambodia 7.14% 12.04 17.00
11 Mongolia 6.93% 8.43 11.79
12 Tajikistan 6.90% 6.06 8.46
13 India 6.88% 1,767.00 2,465.00
14 DRC 6.83% 21.93 30.51
15 Tanzania 6.65% 33.89 46.77
16 Philippines 6.58% 206.90 284.50
17 Niger 6.51% 5.85 8.02
18 Panama 6.50% 32.33 44.30
19 Bangladesh 6.46% 122.70 167.80
20 Mozambique 6.43% 10.88 14.86
21 Vietnam 5.90% 123.20 164.10
22 Dominican Republic 5.75% 55.63 73.57
23 Kenya 5.47% 42.44 55.39
24 Turkey 5.46% 857.7 1119
25 Sri Lanka 5.33% 61.49 79.71
26 Indonesia 5.30% 801.70 1,038.00
27 Cameroon 5.28% 24.6 31.81
28 Nicaragua 5.15% 9.31 11.97
29 Bhutan 5.11% 1.71 2.20
30 Malaysia 5.07% 268.5 343.9

The 2011-2016 period includes the drop in oil prices, causing countries where GDP depends on oil exports to drop out of the toplist, showing a more fundamental and possibly more sustainable growth.

Choosing 2011 as start year pushes up the  Ivory Coast somewhat, but the growth is nevertheless impressive, and very visible on the ground in Abidjan.

As there are many issues with the GDP metric, especially in developing countries – difficult to measure, large informal sectors, possible to manipulate,  difficult to account for technological progress, etc – to get a fuller picture of how the economy is doing, and the wellbeing of the people, it is useful to look at other indicators as well.

For the Ivory Coast I’m thinking it would be interesting to look at more or less quirky indicators. Ideas:

  • Number of international flights and destinations from Abidjan. Can’t be manipulated, easy to measure, and should be a pretty clear relationship between an economy doing well and more demand to flying to a place.
  • Tax intake. Much easier to measure than GDP, an increase could theoretically be caused not by the economy doing better, but by increased taxes or increased efficiency in tax collection, but that would be interesting in itself.
  • Cost and time to traverse the country in a truck with goods. Both in terms of road quality and number of roadblocks and cost of bribes.
  • Demand for aspirational / middle class goods and services. How busy and profitable are shopping malls? Whats the demand, and increase in demand for broadband internet? Personal car sales/imports?
  • Stray dogs, frequency and how well fed they are. Should be less and better fed as wealth increases.

4 thoughts on “Five years later

  1. Anthony Hindmarsh

    Hi Martin. I have been following your posts since the beginning and glad to see you back to blogging. Looking forward to hearing about your current and future investments

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