1East Africa Among Most Attractive Investment Destinations in Africa
The report Where to Invest in Africa 2019 by South Africa’s Rand Merchant Bank (RMB), looks at countries’ economic and operating environments to assess their potential to attract investment. East African countries are among Africa’s most attractive investment destinations in 2019. The report ranks Kenya as the most attractive, attributed to the political reconciliation after the disputed 2017 presidential election and the country’s sustained consumer demand. Second placed Rwanda, rated one of Africa’s fastest growing economies, has more than doubled the efficiency of its business environment in less than a decade with the government investing heavily in domestic industries. In ranking Tanzania third in the region, the report cites government tax breaks, development of special economic zones, investment in public infrastructure and growth in the services sector as incentives for foreign investors. Continent-wide, Egypt has retained the top spot as the most attractive investment destination for the second year in a row, helped by its expanding consumer market.
2How Africa’s Entrepreneurs are Changing the Direction of Globalisation
Africa is in a position to solve its challenges using exponential technologies, and in doing so, it can leapfrog what exists in countries with higher gross national income (GNI). And because today’s solutions will use exponential technologies, African entrepreneurs can take those innovations to places around the world where the problem may be relatively smaller, but where valuable efficiencies could still be generated, using their ready-built and ready-to-scale solution. African entrepreneurs can use their heightened imagination and “experiential wisdom” to create solutions for problems that are not, at least initially, as noticed or as high priority in higher GNI countries. This “noticeability” keeps African entrepreneurs ahead of the curve putting Africa in a more progressive position in the global economy, and will be key in driving a bi-directional, mutually beneficial approach to globalisation on the continent.
SOURCES: HOW WE MADE IT IN AFRICA
3The Power of Media Platforms Across Africa
Media platforms importance on the political landscape can’t be over-emphasised. This is because they have allowed people excluded from public communication to articulate their fears and desires in a way that wasn’t previously possible. The widespread use of applications such as Twitter, Facebook and WhatsApp has been particularly instrumental in including a broad range of users in public discussions. Rather than rely on the mainstream press to cover important political stories, citizens are able to discuss issues in the digital space. The emergence of this relatively new structure of communication which is largely unaffected by state control, has meant there are new ways of holding governments to account. It’s safe to say that these media platforms are now firmly part of Africa’s public culture and any attempt to stop, frustrate or undermine their significance in public life is bound to fail. In countries where collective political organisation and expression is increasingly being undermined by the state, instances of self-expression through new media form important pockets of resistance that can help focus attention on state repression and excesses.
SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA
4AfDB Report: Africa’s 2019 Economic Outlook
Africa’s economic growth continues to strengthen, reaching an estimated 3.5 percent in 2018, about the same as in 2017 and up 1.4 percentage points from the 2.1 percent in 2016. East Africa led with GDP growth estimated at 5.7 percent in 2018, followed by North Africa at 4.9 percent, West Africa at 3.3 percent, Central Africa at 2.2 percent, and Southern Africa at 1.2 percent. Of Africa’s projected 4 percent growth in 2019, North Africa is expected to account for 1.6 percentage points, or 40 percent. But average GDP growth in North Africa is erratic because of Libya’s rapidly changing economic circumstances. AFDB experts say that regional integration is now more pertinent than ever in continuing the continent’s economic growth.
5African Coffee Producers Pivoting to Avocados
The taste for avocado has globalized. Avocados may have originated in South America, but it is Africa that is cashing in on the world’s love of avocados. In 2017, Kenya overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest avocado exporter. Before the leap, South Africa was fourth after Peru, Chile and California as the world’s exporters of the popular Hass avocados. Kenya’s coffee farmers caught on, and switched to avocados, making 10 times as much as they did from coffee. Avocados now make up 17% of Kenya’s horticultural exports, according to the International Trade Center. This week, one of Tanzania’s largest avocado growers, Africado, announced that it had secured 2.5 million euros ($2.8 million) to scale up its business.
6The $400 Million Deal that Rwanda just Signed
Rwanda said on Tuesday it had signed a $400 million deal to produce bottled gas from Lake Kivu, which emits such dense clouds of methane it is known as one of Africa’s “Killer Lakes”. Clare Akamanzi, chief executive of the Rwanda Development Board, said bottled methane would help cut local reliance on wood and charcoal, the fuels most households and tea factories use in the East African nation of 12 million people. “We expect to have affordable gas which is environmentally friendly,” she said. Gasmeth Energy said it would finance, build and maintain the gas extraction, processing and compression plant to sell methane domestically and abroad. The bottled gas should be on sale within two years, Akamanzi said, adding that prices had yet to be determined.
SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA
7Oil and Gas Discovery Made Offshore of South Africa
Oil major Total discovers gas-condensate field in deep waters. The field of primarily gas-condensate — a light liquid hydrocarbon — was discovered about 175 kilometers (109 miles) off the country’s southern coast in the Outeniqua Basin. The discovery may prompt a rush of activity offshore by competitors as the country works to cut its reliance on imported fuels. “It is really transformational,’’ Andrew Latham, vice president of global exploration at consultant Wood MacKenzie Ltd., said. “This could be a discovery that kickstarts a bit of a gas strategy for South Africa.’’ The find “is potentially a major boost for the economy,” Minerals Minister Gwede Mantashe said. “We welcome it as we continue to seek investment.”
8For Small Businesses in Africa, Climate Resilience Is an Economic Opportunity
Africa is home to a growing number of entrepreneurs who see business opportunities in sustainable agriculture and forestry. This is an opportune time to invest in nature-based ventures, partly because African governments have committed to begin restoring 100 million hectares (247 million acres) of degraded land by 2030 as part of the AFR100 initiative. Many people in Africa depend on small businesses for their livelihoods and food security. By supporting these resilient entrepreneurs, governments, NGOs and larger agribusinesses can help rural African communities thrive well into the future.
SOURCES: WORLD RESOURCES INSTITUTE
9Africa Embraces an $8 Billion Solar Market for Going Off-Grid
The World Bank says annual outages in sub-Saharan Africa can range from 50 hours to 4,600 hours — at the latter end, that’s more than half a year. So an off-the-grid solution is proving valuable in the region and throughout Africa. From Kenya to Tanzania, Uganda to Rwanda, Nigeria to Ivory Coast and even war-torn Somalia, Africans are embracing solar energy solutions that help them power their homes even without being connected to the grid, on an unparalleled scale. “There’s this incredible market opportunity that’s not being met by the relatively small handful of companies that are operating on the continent,” says Jem Porcaro, senior director for energy access at the United Nations Foundation. The World Bank estimates that the sector will see sales worth $8 billion by 2022.
10The 2019 List of Africa’s Billionaires
Buffeted by plunging stock prices and weaker currencies, the number of African billionaires has shrunk to just 20, down from 23 a year ago. Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote has retained his spot as Africa’s richest person, for the eighth year in a row according to the Forbes Africa Top Billionaires 2019 list. His estimated $10.3 billion net worth, however, is nearly $2 billion less than a year ago, primarily due to a roughly 20% drop in the stock price of Dangote Cement, his most valuable asset. South Africa’s Nicky Oppenheimer (73) of diamond company DeBeers is in at number three at a reported net worth of $7.3 billion, while the controversial Johann Rupert (68) is the second listed South African at number five, with a net worth of $5.3 billion, thanks to his chairmanship of companies such as Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financière Richemont. Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club owner and mining magnate Patrice Motsepe falls just short of the top 10, in at number 12, at a net worth of $2.3 billion. Only two women are featured in the top 20, Angola’s Isabel dos Santos and Nigeria’s Folorunsho Alakija at number nine and 19 respectively.