Africa Top10 Business News

CEO Forum Endorses Ethiopian Airlines as Top Carrier

Tewolde GebreMariam

Despite facing its biggest crisis in years, Ethiopian Airlines’ chief executive says the company remains committed to its pan-African expansion plans including striking more partnerships across the continent. Tewolde GebreMariam said the airline remained bullish about forging into new markets and opening up to private investment. He said the carrier is in the process of acquiring airlines in Togo, Ghana, and Guinea, alongside already existing partner airlines in Chad, Malawi, and Mozambique. He spoke about the plans for privatization on a panel at the Africa CEO Forum in the Rwandan capital, Kigali. Ethiopian Airlines is being supported strongly by other African countries and businesses. The airline was given the “African Champion of the Year” award at the CEO Forum, which is attended by captains of African industry as well as political leaders and government officials. The judges gave the award based on Ethiopian’s vision of better linking the continent, often seen as a challenging issue for trade and business by many African policymakers. “We promise to keep up the good work for the good of the African continent,” Tewolde said in his acceptance speech.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

Closing Africa’s Infrastructure Gap

Africa’s Infrastructure Gap

The African Development Bank, heads of 34 leading financial institutions covering Africa and other partners of the Africa Investment Forum reaffirmed their commitment to “scale up, speed up, and synergize” efforts to deliver transformative projects across the continent. Chief Executive Officer, Development Bank of Southern Africa, Patrick Dlamini, said: “The time has come for us to demonstrate leadership to the rest of the world that a lot is possible in Africa. The Africa Investment Forum provides the right platform to achieve this. To see that the inaugural Forum last year was able to raise the kind deals it did is mind-blowing. ” Ahead of the November 2019 event, the Bank announced two innovative products – an open digital marketplace known as ‘The Platform,’ to connect funders to projects and investment opportunities across Africa, and an Investment Tracker to ensure that investment commitments made on the Africa Investment Forum platform are closely monitored

SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA

Getting Ghana’s Railway back on Track

Ghana’s Railway

After decades of neglect, much of Ghana’s railway network has fallen into disuse or is in need of repair. A $21bn plan promises to expand and modernise the network. Linking the coastal town of Sekondi with the gold-rich enclaves of Obuasi and Tarkwa, the railway, established in 1898, was crucial to colonial ambitions for exporting natural resources. Around 80% of cocoa exports were rail transported during the period as Ghana became the world’s largest exporter of the crop, and by the 1960s it is estimated the railways transported 2m tonnes of freight and 8m passengers a year.  Today, the sector is on its knees. Neglected by post-independence governments in favour of road travel and other facilities as the West African country developed to become a regional success story, it is estimated that less than 13% of Ghana’s original networks are operational. A Master Plan aims to expand and modernise the country’s rail network, with the financing needed for its six phases estimated to top $21bn. The 330km Eastern Rail Project is a cornerstone of the plan. Costs are estimated at $1.3bn for the construction of the main line alone, and in late January the GRDA said six bids – believed to be from companies in China, Germany, the US and France – were being considered.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

How to Develop a Skilled and Entrepreneurial Workforce in Africa

Workforce in Africa

Africa’s schools are still prioritizing rote learning, theory over practice, and outdated curricula that do not respond to the changing needs of the job market, and few to no schools teach entrepreneurship to young people. Across Africa, as the economies fail to create enough jobs for the over 10 million young people entering the workforce each year, enterprise development remains the best pathway to creating employment and ensuring sustainable livelihoods, yet few governments have mainstreamed entrepreneurship education into their curricula. Across Africa, there is a growing trend of programs promoting entrepreneurship as the silver bullet to many of the continent’s challenges. Pitch competitions are many and varied, each one targeting a different demographic or segment of industry: youth, women, creatives, inventors, agro-processors and so on. The expectation and intention is to identify, breed and groom young people who have developed ideas that can have a catalytic impact on the continent, and to nurture their dreams and businesses to scale.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

Africa’s Most Valuable Company makes Savvy International Bets

Naspers

A long-held ambition of Naspers has been to narrow the margin between its market value and the value of its wildly successful $32 million investment for a 46.5% stake in Tencent, the Chinese internet company, back in 2011. With that stake now worth $134 billion—about 30% more valuable than Naspers itself—CEO Bob van Dijk has been increasingly vocal about exploring ways to close that gap, including courting a wider pool of investors beyond South Africa’s capital markets where Naspers is currently listed. Naspers’ latest move is to form a NewCo, a new group comprising of its international internet assets, which will be listed on Euronext, the European stock exchange based in Amsterdam. Naspers will own approximately 75% of NewCo and will retain its primary listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange after the proposed listing scheduled for the second half of 2019.

SOURCES: DAILY MAVERICK

Burundi’s Coffee Boost doesn’t Meet Expectations

Burundi's Coffee

Bumper coffee harvests were supposed to fuel Burundi’s recovery from three years of political upheaval. The tiny East African nation, which counts Starbucks Corp. among its customers and gets at least 80 percent of its foreign exchange from coffee, wants to double output by 2023. But delays in local payments are squeezing its 60,000 small-scale producers, complicating plans to revive the economy as Burundi tries to recover from an economic and political crisis that’s claimed at least a thousand lives.

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG

Demographic Trends across Africa are Ripe for e-Commerce

Rania Belkahia

When Rania Belkahia wanted to launch an e-commerce business in West Africa while still at business school in Paris, more experienced entrepreneurs warned the 23-year-old against the idea. But Belkahia and her business partner, Jeremy Stoss, ignored it, packed their bags and headed to Ivory Coast. They set about persuading retailers in the city of Abidjan to distribute their products on the fledgling online platform, Afrimarket. They tried to register the company in France only for Belkahia to find that because she was a Moroccan student, she could not be appointed as its chairman. Since then, Afrimarket has added two more lines. One is helping international brands market, sell and distribute products — it recently won exclusive on­line distribution for three of L’Oréal’s brands in French-speaking Africa. It has also launched a transport and logistics service that conducts “last-mile” delivery for third parties. Afrimarket now has half a million clients who have made at least one transaction, with an average basket size of between 70 and 90 euros. It processes an average of 250,000 orders a month. The company had 30 million euros of revenues in 2018 and plans to double that this year.

SOURCES: OZY

Rebuilding Nigeria

Rebuilding Nigeria

Nigeria plans to spend $20bn on infrastructure over the next 10 years and will introduce an infrastructure bond in 2019 as Africa’s biggest oil producer seeks to address challenges in revenue generation. The government will partner with other stakeholders to raise funding. A committee comprised of the ministers of finance, budget, trade and investment, and works, housing and power, as well as other government agencies, was immediately set up to work out modalities. While the West African nation has mostly used the Eurobond market for its external funding in recent years, it will prioritise borrowing from concessional lenders such as the World Bank and African Development Bank as it looks to rein in rising interest payments.

SOURCES: BUSINESS DAY LIVE

[WATCH] How Mesh Networks can Provide Internet Access in Africa

Internet Access in Africa

With data costs in South Africa amongst the highest on the continent, how can poor rural communities prepare to get online and join the fourth industrial revolution? Well, the village of Mankosi has been at the forefront of an experiment to bridge the internet gap and make cheap wi-fi a reality. And it’s a project that could have major implications for similar communities around the world.

SOURCES: BBC

Chioma Onwutalobi on Creating the Most Distributed African Lifestyle Magazine

Chioma Onwutalobi

Chioma Onwutalobi was recently featured on Forbes highlighting her story as a successful entrepreneur. This feature highlights the journey of a 24 year old entrepreneur seeking to change the narrative associated with Africa. From a thriving legal career to diving into the publishing industry, she shared what led her down the path to working with some of Africa’s most prominent celebrities making Glam Africa the most distributed African lifestyle magazine today. Chioma’s career began in the legal department of London-based oil & gas firm. Qualifying as a lawyer was something she had always wanted to do. As part of her role, she found herself frequently traveling to various parts of Africa, often for months at a time, including Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, and The Democratic Republic of Congo. Whilst working on deals, she felt significantly disconnected to her country of origin and came to the realization that she knew very little about its neighboring African countries. When sharing this with her peers (many of whom are also second or third generation African immigrants) it became clear that this was a common theme and concern for them also. At university, Chioma had previously created one of Nigeria’s most popular news websites, which at one point ranked in the top 100 on Google Analytics so was familiar with the concept of distributing online content that would keep readers engaged and updated with trending news.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

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