Thursday, 28 July 2011

Wales v Africa

Clearly we would all rather be on Ynys Môn: the Indian Ocean paradise
of the Seychelles islands has an economy the same size as ours.

Last February Peter Hain made waves and was accused of considerable complacency when he stated that Wales was wealthier than Rwanda. Seeing as we are in the dog days of the summer and there isn't much else happening on Ynys Môn (today's Daily Post top Anglesey story: "Amlwch hotel boss told to travel 25 miles to pay off 1p bill"), I thought I would take a look to see how the Welsh economy does compare to those in Africa. As it turns out Peter Hain is right: Wales is wealthier than Rwanda: some 8x more wealthy. With a GVA of approx. £45,514m Wales's economy is actually somewhere between that of Ethiopia (£39,517m) and Tunisia (£49,332m).

The size of Ynys Môn's economy (£780m) compares almost exactly to that of the Republic of Seychelles (£770m), the Island paradise in the Indian Ocean. Gwynedd (£1,620m) is the equivalent of Eritrea (£1,668m) and Conwy and Denbighshire (£2,543) on a parr with Sierra Leone (£2,566m). Wales's largest regional economy, that of Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan (£10,108), is somewhere in-between Equatorial Guinea (£10,007m) and Chad (£10,200m).

For benchmarking purposes, you may be interested to learn that Scotland's economy (£103,532m) is more than double the size of Wales's, and is somewhere between Morocco (£81,471m) and Algeria (£172,500m). Northern Ireland's (£28,827m) is just slightly larger than Cameroon's (£25,275m).

England's economy is off the scale (£1,083,289m) and in fact the entire economy of the UK (£1,295,663) is only slightly smaller than the GDP of all of Africa combined (£1,411,370).

The full figures are below.

For stats bods, I used the 2009 PPP-basis GDP figures for African countries (and converted to £ using the average USDGBP conversion rate for the same year). For UK and Wales regional economies, I have used the 2008 Headline GVA figures which are a useful comparator to GDP.


kp said...

But are we happier?

RIchard Sletzer said...

The parallels between Anglesey and the Seychelles are even closer than appear at first glance - and certainly provide some useful pointers for our own island.

Indeed it seems only natural that, after living on Anglesey, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge should choose the look-alike islands of the Seychelles for their honeymoon.

Apart from tourism, one of the major industries of the Seychelles (on which it's - understandably - difficult to get statistics) is piracy. Given the enormous - but heavily-disguised - contribution the Seychelles pirates make to their economy it's surely time to revive this once thriving activity in Anglesey. The traditional base for piracy in Anglesey was always Llanddona - which provided useful employment not only for the local men but also for the local womenfolk - the so-called "Witches of Llanddona". As most work was carried out at night, it dovetailed nicely with daytime occupations. The nature of the work still makes it the ideal choice for an unskilled workforce. And of course piracy is very environmentally friendly as it sinks or sequestrates or otherwise disposes of large numbers of polluting, diesel-burning ships which would otherwise contribute so much to global warming.

Surprisingly , the Seychelles can also show Anglesey a thing or two with regard to government. The islands are the second best-governed territory in the entire African continent. I know it's not saying much - but the quality of governance in the capital, Victoria, is probably far better than that emanating from Llangefni.

Perhaps Anglesey councillors are even now packing their bags and booking their free-flights for a fact-finding mission to the Seychelles to find out what maked the Seychelles successful. ....With any luck perhaps the pirates will take care of them.

Anonymous said...

We have pirates on Anglesey already, they patrol the shores of the island intercepting grant money, which they spend on their central island lair. Any money left over is laundered through loss-making businesses set up for the purpose.

Anonymous said...

The Black Pearl of Anglesey crewed by corrupt official's has ran aground on off Holyhead.

The falsifying of documents is the reason behind their navigational blunder and they will shortly be boarded by the authorities who will reclaim their ill-gotten gains through the Proceeds of Crime and this will include their family homes, cars and bank accounts.

Unfortunately, they no longer hang criminals in Beaumaris so we will have to cart them off to Mold or Caernarfon where justice will be served.


Robert said...

Five years ago because I had been very ill I was late looking for a holiday in Wales of course, I could not find a place empty they had all been booked, same thing this year treatment for my spinal injury my wheelchair wheel coming off waiting for repair, I was late looking for a one week holiday, I found places all over the place and they were doing deals and cut prices.


RIchard Sletzer said...


Cefni Councillor Fflur Hughes - no stranger to this blog - has put us ordinary islanders straight about noxious smells emanating from the Cymru Country Chickens abattoir in Llangefni

Wales On Line quotes her as saying “This has certainly been an issue and affected those living and working close to the site which was why a liaison group was set up to arrange meetings between the council, the company and town council.

“But" - she goes on "I cannot recall a single complaint in the last 12 months so the group has not been called to meet. Hopefully this means the company has responded to the concerns.” that's alright then.

I just wonder if this self-evidently useless liaison group ever will actually meet? ...Let's not hold our breath - but perhaps we should - on the other hand - hold our noses.

The Red Flag said...

On other matters I'm sure most people have been to Manchester and marvelled at the Metro tram system that provides cheap reliable and frequent transport across Manchester and is currently being expanded to Rochdale, Oldham and Manchester Airport.

I believe that an announcement will be made this week that the operators - Stagecoach, no longer view the system as viable even with a 4M operating profit along with grants and backdoor subsidies, and have reached an agreement to sell it to a French company at a giveawy knock-down price. The government apparently reluctantly accepts that there is no other alternative.

Anonymous said...

"an agreement to sell it to a French company at a giveawy knock-down price. "

Why wait for revenue and profit next financial year when someone can put a whacking big wodge in their bank account right now? (Hello Cadbury, and many many others).

Of course when its gone its gone, there will be no more revenue from the Metro for Stagecoach, but the Mergers and Acquisitions specialists in the City would have to find real productive work if businesses didn't change hands, so change hands they must.

The French company is the same company that runs the Paris Metro (RATP). State owned company, in fact. So much for the success of privatisation. How much taxpayer subsidy do the UK bus and train operators pass directly on to their managers and shareholders?

Anonymous said...

it really makes sense to compare apples and oranges or maybe in this case apples and coconuts -
but to clarify the humour is not lost on me -
Pirates on the island - Privateers as they were one known made me laugh
A more sensible comparison might be comparing the Isle of Man to Anglesey which raises an old chestnut of mine, independence.
Put border control on the Bridges at Holyhead and Valley and declare a Republic - or if you want a more traditional solution we even have a ready made airforce complete with affiliated but ineffectual royalty figure head
Maybe Anglesey is looking the wrong way for its authority and should turn its eyes to the North instead

Anonymous said...

Privateers are working in IoACC for themselves and not surprisingly have escaped detection for the past decade at least due to very poor audit coverage.

Unfortunately, they wont be walking the plank but will be doing the walk of shame up the ramp into Caernarfon Crown Court.

Evidence is overwhelming and it's going to smash their criminal ring to bits.

Three long years of investigating and probing and financial documents are still emerging to this day or shall I say KNOWN falsified documents are emerging.


Ps. Competent Public Sector Auditor's are now on the case and I have every faith they will expose the depth of corruption within IoACC once and for all.

In the Know. said...


I'm, sure you know what you talk about with your issue, but in reality, its only the tip of the iceberg, what is actual about to happen will wipe Anglesey County Council off the map altogether.

There will be prosecutions, and this time L-R, jail will be the order of the day.

Who said crime and corruption pays? Don't you believe it.

the outsider said...

Anon et al on 16th Aug. I have begun to wonder a bit about the idea of an IoA or Ynys Mon Republic. The idea of 'Transition Towns' is taking off in southern England and elsewhere abroad. Some TT's have their own currencies which you can only spend locally. They are legal tender but inside a defined area. This could be the first step toward a mutual island economy, and a timely one if the Euro, Pound & Dollar all tumble.
The second strand of TT's encourages local self-sufficiency in energy and food production. I would add water distribution to that list as those 3 commodities are the essential underpinning for any modern economy. Next up comes health care, communication, education and learning. The more I think about it the more interesting 'Anglesey Republic' becomes!

the outsider said...

take alook at the bbc's local news website today and the story about the threat to local democracy on Anglesey.

Gruntfuttocks said...

Paul, The Photon describes you as a defunct blogger on his blog. Care to comment?

Paul Williams said...

I would rather say I am on a sabbatical. I'll be back.

Richard Sletzer said...

THE OUTSIDER: Apart from the copper coinage issued to copper workers at Amwlech there was , of course, a serious attempt to introduce a distinctive Welsh currency by the Llandudno entrepreneur Richard Williams.
Back in 1969 he set up an institution called Prif Trysorfa Cymru (Chief Treasury of Wales) and issued Welsh banknotes.
All the notes bore the official imprimatur of the UK Board of Trade and were technically promissory notes - just as Bank of England notes are.

The notes were printed as being issued by "Cwmni y Ddafad Ddu" - harking back to the old Aberystwyth and Tregaron Bank which issued its own banknotes 200 years ago.

I recall the Welsh financial Sir Julian Hodge being worried about this venture as it threatened to displace his plans to set up a Bank of Wales (something which he eventually did).

However eventually Richard Williams was stopped by the Government. The Black Sheep notes are now collectors items. And - sadly - the Bank of Wales was taken over by the Bank of Scotland.

What a pity neither venture survived - as Wales might now be a nation free of the aftermath of the English and Scottish banking crisis.

the outsider said...

Is WAG considering what it should do to prepare Wales for a new round of QE?

In the event that the Bank of England does indeed print more money in November, as some suggest it might have to, then Wales should get its share of this. Andrew Posen (ex-member of BoE Monetary Policy Committee) is suggesting some interesting new ways to spend any new 'dose' of printed money.
Not that I agree with him entirely,
Wales should nevertheless be ready to grab it's share of this funny money if it is created, and whether or not it is used to purchase government gilts.
For example yesterday Nick Clegg talked up the idea of bringing forward spending on new infrastructure, eg rural broadband improvements, railways etc. WAG should already be lobbying for the BoE to buy Welsh 'Priority Infrastructure Bonds' with the next round of printed dosh!!!
Alternatively the Welsh government could set up it's own Infrastructure Loans Bank as long as it offered savers interest at 1%above RPI, and had a well considered list of Welsh infrastructure projects it wanted to invest in I'm sure it would attract savers and fund managers. This way at least the printed funny money would not be spent on imports nor find its way into the black hole known as 'the City'.
Additionally the inflating effect of all this printed money would at least be offset in Wales by the stimulus of it having been spent in the local economy.

Richard Sletzer said...

OUTSIDER: Yes I agree with what you say.
For me, it's always been blinding obvious that no one - not even the poor, beknighted, British taxpayer can afford to pay back the interest on the debts incurred by Labour, never mind about paying-off the borrowed capital.
The only option is inflation - and plenty of it - but it's an awfully crude weapon - and very difficult to control once it is out of the box.
Inflation in effect robs all the moneylenders - cos they don't get back anything like the real value of what they lent.
It's good for housebuyers with mortgages (sure- the mortgage payments and interest rates go up - but so do house prices).
It's good for retired public servants with inflation-proofed pensions (and most of them are).
It's bad for people with savings.
It's bad for the value of the £1 (forget about foreign holidays)
It's not so good for private industry and exports.
....But it may be the only option.

the outsider said...

I don't know why I thought Adam Posen was an ex-member of the BoE monetary policy cttee. He was at the 7th & 8th September meeting in more than just spirit as he voted for another £50b of QE. It is however pretty much a dead cert that we will get QE3 in October given the situation in euroland and the tenor of the discussion at the September meeting. And yes RS, inflation hurts all those responsible people who saved for a rainy day. But dear old 'spend now and pay back after I leave office' GB (our ex-PM) will be safe with his state pension!

between-the-lines said...

Ahem, *index-linked* pension, doubtless!

Richard Sletzer said...

Meanwhile I have to confess I'm puzzled by these proposals to build a third bridge across the Menai Straits.

The case made by the Horizon consortium is that the bridge will be needed to bring in materials for the new Wylfa B nuclear power station. ....Funny that. The CEGB managed to build the original Wylfa power station when there was only one road-bridge across the Straits.

...Maybe it's to facilitate a mass evacuation of Anglesey - should something go wrong?

the outsider said...

I would have thought it would make more sense to invest money in Holyhead port improvements to get building materials in to Wylfa B. And that might have a better long-term pay-off in other ways.

Anonymous said...

Well those roadworks from Llangefni Business Parc to Penmynydd (the one that IOACC Highways Dept dont know anything about) needs to connect to somewhere and a bridge would would be just the ticket.

I didn't know it existed till I saw it yesterday on Google maps while looking for the Coleg Menai Llangefni site.