1Africa Needs a Confidence Boost to Attract Investment
Admassu Tadesse, President and CEO of the Trade and Development Bank (TDB) – shares his thoughts, at the Africa Investment Forum, on the bank’s growth strategy and the prospects for drawing more investment into Africa. Tadesse is believed by some to be one of the outstanding bankers of his generation. He has an enviable CV, having attended LSE, Wits and Harvard and having gained experience in banking in the US and South Africa. Since he joined the bank in 2012, its balance sheet has grown from $1bn to nearly $6bn.
SOURCES: African Business Magazine
2Chinese Deals are Adding to Kenya’s Woes
Government is struggling to respond to revelations that a multi-billion dollar contract with China may imperil its sovereignty, according to The Daily Nation newspaper. Details of the loan for the Standard Gauge Railway, Kenya’s largest infrastructure project since independence, emerged Sunday when The Nation published excerpts from a 2014 contract between the Export-Import Bank of China and the Republic of Kenya.
SOURCES: Daily Nation
3Zimbabwe has the Most Expensive Fuel in the World
Zimbabweans are forking $3.31 for petrol compared to drivers in China, who at second place, pay $2.06. The average price of fuel around the world is $1.09 per litre. A drastic 150 percent overnight rise in Zimbabwe’s fuel prices failed to ease a nationwide petrol and diesel shortage caused by a lack of hard currency.
4Fintech Startups Received the most Investment in Africa in 2018
WeeTracker’s report shows that across 93 deals, fintech accounted for 40% of total funding raised and also accounted for five of the top ten largest deals. WeeTracker’s analysis includes companies that received investment for expansion or deployment in Africa, regardless of where they are headquartered.
SOURCES: Quartz Africa
5How Climate Change Affects Africa’s Coffee Crop
Researchers found that conservation measures were “inadequate” for wild coffees, including those considered “critical” for long-term global coffee production. Global coffee trade relies on two species – Arabica (Coffea arabica) and Robusta (Coffea canephora) and Ethiopia is the home of Arabica coffee, where it grows naturally in upland rainforests. The vast majority of wild coffee grows in the remote forests of Africa and on the island of Madagascar.
6Red Tape and Overpriced Services Drive Business Away from one of Africa’s Largest Harbours
Landlocked Chad and the Central African Republic have dispatched senior customs officials to Cameroon to look into allegations of corruption in the Atlantic Coast port of Douala. Douala is the nearest ocean gateway for Chad and CAR, but importers and exporters say they are fed up and want to relocate to Cotonou in Benin.
7African Bankers Tackle Rising Inflation
Africa’s key central banks are expected to hold benchmark interest rates at their first meetings of the year. While the drop in oil prices could give South African and Kenyan policy makers room to hold off on further rate increases, currency pressures could keep the central bank in Ghana from considering further easing for now.
8Online Shopping Bug hasn’t Quite Bitten the Nigerian Market
Nigerian e-commerce companies have been faced with engineering a major cultural shift in customers’ behavior rather than taking advantage of one. Emeka Okoye, a Lagos-based tech veteran says “We don’t have the [market] numbers and we don’t have the social behavior so e-commerce is not sustainable yet. The issues they [e-commerce companies] have encountered didn’t just pop up, they have always been there.”
SOURCES: Quartz Africa
9Oil has been a Blessing and a Curse for Angola
President Joao Lourenco is trying to diversify the oil-dependent economy by announcing the nation’s first diamond auction due later this month. He’s fired several of the former president’s children from top positions, including his daughter, who was running the state oil company Sonangol. Lourenco also reformed Sonangol, streamlining operations and regulations to make it easier for foreign investors to work in the oil sector. Economists say these changes should improve Angola’s economy, and may even provide a model for other resource-rich African nations. But Lourenco’s critics say the reforms are cosmetic and haven’t brought benefits to ordinary Angolans.
10Zambia and Zimbabwe Offer Land to African Union for First SADC Multi-Billion Dollar Wakanda One Village Project
Zimbabwe and Zambia have offered 2,000 and 132 hectares of land respectively around the Victoria Falls area── which borders the two countries── for the construction of the Wakanda One Village. The project will serve as the first of the project in the Southern African region and will comprise a 100-bed teaching hospital, a university and technical college, primary and secondary schools, day-care centres, three five-star hotels, game lodge, pharmaceutical manufacturing plant, agricultural farms and parks.