How to build a proper African free trade area

As the rest of the world turns away from big multinational trade deals, Africa is finally embracing them. This ambitious agenda to integrate its economies cannot come a moment too soon: with internal trade the lowest of any region in the world, at 10 per cent, and a heavy reliance on import duties, the continent urgently needs to get its economic act together if it is not to fall further behind.

Could 2017 be the year of the super-hack? 

The hacking attacks that affected millions of Twitter and Tumblr users last year could have merely been the appetiser. Experts are suggesting that this year could see cyber-vandalism that disrupts far more of the internet, potentially knocking much of it offline. In a connected world, everything from computers to toasters and lightbulbs can become subverted - and become a means of attack.

Here's the real truth about inequality

It's become an orthodoxy that British society is increasingly unequal. But there's a statistical sleight of hand at work here. When we measure income inequality, we take account of taxes and benefits. But when we measure wealth inequality, we strip out all the goodies the state provides - free schools, free hospitals, pensions, etc. Once those are taken into account, the playing field looks far more even.

Can India withstand the turbulent year ahead?

Towards the end of 2016, the world’s fastest growing major economy decided to withdraw every single 500 and 1,000 rupee note - 86 per cent of all currency in circulation. It remains to be seen what the economic fallout will be. The political repercussions, however, will be felt at the polls early in the year. Meanwhile, with Pakistan and China bristling, India is seeking to align itself with new friends on the world stage.

Are Chinese enterprises being taxed to death?

Has the tax burden on Chinese business reached economically lethal levels? One Chinese tycoon thinks so and has blamed heavy taxation for his decision to establish a manufacturing branch of his business in America. While it is impossible to measure the precise tax burden on any given enterprise, the opacity of the Chinese system is certain to drive producers away at a time when their investment is needed more than ever.

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