1Ethio Telecom is the First of Four State-owned Firms to be Denationalized
Founded in 2010, the company is the sole voice and data provider and caters to over 41 million customers. Government plans to sell a 30 to 40% stake to top-rated industry firms and will split the state-run company into two competing businesses to spur competition. The pronouncement has sparked interest globally from companies including from France’s Orange, along with Kenya’s Safaricom and the South Africa-based MTN. Last year, the government announced plans to gradually privatize state-owned enterprises in a bid to expand the role of the private sector, increase foreign direct investment, revitalize the economy, and reduce unemployment and poverty rates. A 21-member advisory council was appointed to steer the process, and to help loosen state monopoly, both partially and fully, on enterprises including aviation, shipping and logistics, energy, and telecommunications.
SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA
2Rwanda is Set to Open its First Smartphone Factory
In a bid to solve the massive ICT and technology issues that the country is facing while also creating more jobs in the fast pace growing IT world. It is the first in Africa to locally manufacture phones that will meet the demand of the African market. The deal is in partnership with Ugandan investor Ashish Thakkar who is already in talks with Rwanda’s authorities to set up his Pan-African technology company, MaraPhones under Mara Company and start production by April 2019 which will provide close to 20,000 jobs. The phones will be among the first devices to run Android Oreo, an OS optimized for apps like YouTube Go, Facebook Lite and Twitter Lite that are made for the African market. In 2018, the government of Rwanda officially launched the Made in Rwanda policy a product of the 2015 domestic market recapture strategy.
3Al-Shabaab’s Economic Victims in Nairobi
Whenever the terror group strikes it will be felt not only in human cost but in the economic losses that the country will likely face. This, experts say, may have been the intention of Al-Shabaab, the Al-Qaeda-backed Somali terror group that took credit for the insurgency. Small business owners will feel the biting losses the most. Notwithstanding, the cost of doing business in Nairobi will also rise. Insurance premiums after the mall shootings went up by about 40% which translated to about 3% of annual revenues. At the time of going to print, estimates on the costs of terrorism and political violence cover for local businesses were yet to be established but were expected to follow a similar trend.
SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA
4[WATCH] How Africa’s Booming E-commerce Sector Supports Business Growth
Africa’s booming e-commerce sector can not only jump-start small businesses but also help large companies enter a market full of energized consumers. Africa has one of the most digitally connected populations on the planet, with 400 million internet users. Sacha Poignonnec, cofounder and co-CEO of Jumia, Africa’s largest internet group, discusses why the e-commerce opportunity in Africa is so great for companies large and small in this interview with McKinsey’s Georges Desvaux.
5Will it Be Business as Usual for DRC Mining Sector?
President Felix Tshisekedi is a relatively unknown quantity for investors. On the campaign trail, Tshisekedi argued that the resource nationalism associated with the new mining code had gone too far, calling it “anti-investment”. This was music to the ears of the mining executives who had been vehemently opposing former President Joseph Kabila’s hikes for much of 2018. However, the chances of the code being repealed or amended under the new administration are very limited. Many have argued that the miners were riding on a golden ticket since the original 2002 mining code – introduced in the wake of the Second Congo War – which offered low taxation levels in exchange for investment in the sector.
SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE
6Uganda Piles Pressure on MTN to List on the Local Bourse
The CEO of South African multinational telecommunications company MTN in Uganda, Wim Vanhelleput, was deported on Thursday evening. He becomes the fourth employee of the company to be deported in the last month as the government piles pressure on MTN to list on the local bourse and renegotiates its operating licence after 20 years. In a letter on the incident, MTN wrote: “We are yet to determine the extent of interruption to our network activities and the financial impact. It is also possible that some data have been tempered with or illegally accessed and taken from the premise (sic). The intrusion into the data was properly captured by our closed-circuit television (CCTV cameras).”
SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA
7A Dream to Build one of North Africa’s Biggest Ports
Libya is now in final talks to award a U.S. firm a $1.5 billion deal to set up a “mega port” intended to transform the picturesque coast where families go for picnics into a vast container hub. Ravaged by fighting between rival groups and split into different administrations, Libya urgently needs jobs for youths who otherwise look to a bloated public sector or take up guns to earn their daily bread. Beyond oil, Libya has little successful economic activity, even importing milk. The port could provide 2,500 jobs. Guidry wants to win local and foreign investment to help with financing and would like to start construction in October.
SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA
8Bulawayo was once Zimbabwe’s Answer to Chicago
In its heyday it was an industrial, farming and railway hub. Today its decline, tracking that of the southern African nation, is measured in dormant factories and mothballed cold-storage facilities that shipped meat to Europe. Some of the city’s poorest residents try to eke out a living selling mouldering fruit or dealing black market U.S. dollar by the side of the road. The country’s second-largest city exploded with unusual fury during nationwide protests in January following decades of economic despair. Frustrated citizens were called onto the streets by trade unions after President Emmerson Mnangagwa announced that petrol and diesel prices would be doubled overnight. This had come in response to a crippling shortage of U.S. dollars that had led to empty fuel stations.
9Uganda Expects to Begin Producing Oil in 2022
Uganda discovered crude reserves more than 10 years ago but production has been repeatedly delayed by disagreements with field operators over taxes and development strategy. A lack of infrastructure including a transportation pipeline and a refining facility have also held up output. In April 2018 Uganda signed a deal with a consortium, including a subsidiary of General Electric, to build and operate a 60,000 barrel per day (bpd) refinery that will cost $3bn-$4bn. The refinery is expected to be operational by 2023.
SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE
10A Thorny Issue in Kenya’s Flower Industry
Because of its favourable weather all year round, Kenya is Africa’s top flower exporter with an average of 360 tonnes exported daily. It is the world’s fourth largest producer of cut flowers after the Netherlands, Colombia and Ecuador. In 2017, according to Horticultural Crop Directorate the floral industry earned Kenya $823m, with Europe a major market. With demand for flowers skyrocketing on occasions such as Valentine’s Day, the sector is a top foreign-exchange earner. The minimum wage for an unskilled agricultural employee is about $65 a month. This low minimum salary entices large cut-flower companies to Kenya and civil society has called out the Kenyan government for poor policing.
SOURCES: AL JAZEERA