Africa Top10 Business News

1South African Firms Dominate Africa’s Top 250 Companies by Market Capitalisation

Business in Africa is changing, highlighted by new companies in entertainment, health, construction and food entering the top continent’s top business ranking. Although mining, financial services and telecoms still take most of the top spots in Africa’s Top 250 Companies 2019, measured by value, Africa’s biggest company is a forward-facing global media giant, Naspers which just announced plans to spin off some holdings this year and create Europe’s largest listed consumer Internet company.  Another trend is that companies in several of the fast-growing African economies are eating into the number of South African firms in the top ranking, which although they are still dominant make up a little under half the companies featured. Biggest gains go to Egyptian companies whose number in the top 250 ranking rises to 39, from 34 last year. Zimbabwe has nine companies, up from five last year, and Kenya added two to total 14 companies. A Mozambican brewery and a Malawian telco also joined the ranking. Ranking in the Top 250 Companies report is according to the value of shares listed on a stock exchange (“market capitalisation”), expressed in US dollars at 31 March 2019, although many exchanges closed trading on Friday 29 March.

SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE

2Africa’s 25 Most Liveable Cities

Many cities on the continent offer attractive environments in which to do business, and the quality of living is an essential component of a city’s attractiveness. The appeal of cities as a place to live and work is a key aspect of attracting talent as well as global and local businesses. In Africa, Port Louis is the city with the best quality of living and also the safest. It was closely followed for overall quality of living by the South African cities of Durban, Cape Town and Johannesburg, though these cities still rank low for personal safety, and issues around water scarcity contributed to Cape Town. Gambia’s progress toward a democratic political system and improved international relations and human rights meant that Banjul had the most improved quality of living in Africa, but also in the world, rising six places this year. Victoria, the capital city of the Republic of Seychelles also features in Africa.com’s list alongside Tunis, Rabat, Dakar, Accra and Lusaka.
 
SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

3The Biggest Obstacle to Business for SME’s in African Countries

Entrepreneurs have a pivotal role to play in Africa’s unemployment crisis. Today over a third of the continent’s young workforce (those aged 15-35) are unemployed. Another third are in vulnerable employment. By 2035, Africa will contribute more people to the workforce each year than the rest of the world combined. By 2050 it will be home to 1.25 billion people working aged. To absorb these new entrants, Africa needs to create over 18 million new jobs each year. But access to financing remains an obstacle, young entrepreneurs often face double digit interest rates from local banks. And venture capital penetration is still extremely low. Top end 2018 estimates put it at about $725 million for the whole continent. To tackle the problem, African countries continue to start new entrepreneurship funds. In July 2017 Ghana launched the National Entrepreneurship and Innovation Plan. The aim is to provide integrated national support for start-ups and small businesses. Almost a year later, Rwanda secured a $30 million loan from the African Development Bank for the establishment of the Rwandan Innovation Fund. This will focus on investments in tech-enabled SMEs.

SOURCES: FORBES AFRICA

4MTN Lists in Nigeria

MTN Nigeria has signed a $653 million loan with seven local banks, a day after it floated its shares on the Lagos stock market. The seven-year loan deal coordinated by Citibank was signed with a consortium of Access Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Zenith Bank, Fidelity Bank , FCMB, United Bank for Africa and First Bank. MTN Nigeria, majority owned by South Africa‘s MTN Group , floated its shares in a $6.5 billion listing on Thursday turning into the second-largest company on the exchange after Dangote Cement. The Lagos-listed shares gained a further 10% on Friday, its second day of trading. The shares, which listed at 90 naira, closed 10% higher at 99 naira on Thursday. The MTN unit has 52.3 million users in Nigeria in 2017 and accounts for a third of the Johannesburg-based parent’s profit. However, it has had fraught relations with the Nigerian authorities, including rows over SIM cards and tax payments. It listing follows MTN Group’s agreement with Nigerian regulators to settle most of those disputes.

SOURCES: MONEYWEB

5Creating a Cashless Africa

Across Africa, there has historically been a heavy reliance on cash, with around 95 percent of retail transactions taking place in cash. Global and local organisations are investing in innovative digital payment systems and new disruptive payments tools to displace cash, while delivering new levels of inclusion to the benefit of consumers, businesses and governments. One of the leading technology companies in this realm is Mastercard. From a consumer perspective, cash is inconvenient, dangerous to carry and expensive. This remains true across several other African countries where people often have to trade off the demands of an hourly job with the need to travel long distances to access cash or stand in line to pay a bill. Many people also face the danger of being robbed when they come home with their wages.​ Cash also has several negative implications for merchants and small businesses. Not only does it cost these businesses to access, secure, transport and store cash, but it can also hamper business growth if they do not accept electronic payments. For example, entrepreneurs cannot access the credit or loans they need to grow their businesses without a financial record or credit history. They can also lose out on revenue when their customers don’t have enough cash to pay for goods.

SOURCES: AFRICA.COM

6Goldman Sachs Group Banks on Cyril Ramaphosa

The US investment bank seeks to tap into fast economic growth on the continent. The lender is partnering with Investec on equity trading, which will allow both firms to extend their trading operations from Johannesburg to the rest of Africa. Goldman Sachs, which has had a presence in South Africa for 20 years, will also offer fixed-income products, including foreign exchange and South African government securities, to corporate and institutional investors in the country. The firm already provides advisory, wealth- and asset management services to corporations, investment firms, government institutions and individuals in South Africa. The expansion comes after South African elections in which President Cyril Ramaphosa led his African National Congress to victory on pledges to reignite economic growth, streamline his cabinet and stamp out corruption. Colin Coleman, who has headed the sub-Saharan African division of Goldman Sachs since 2000, is a supporter of Ramaphosa and his drive to attract more investments into Africa’s most industrialized economy.

SOURCES: DAILY MAVERICK

7The African Union’s Plan on Creating a Close-knit Relationship amongst Members

In 2013, the AU designed Agenda 2063, a framework with set objectives to aid the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years. The vision is to maintain integration of Africans on the continent. One of the ways the union is doing this is through the proposed launch of a continental passport known as the AU passport. The passport will grant visa-free access to every member state so Africans can move freely across the continent. Presently, only Seychelles and the Republic of Benin have no visa restrictions for Africa travellers. The AU passport is not yet available to the public but is exclusive to heads of state, top diplomats and persons of interest in Africa. But easy travel within the continent is not the passport’s only objective, it is also about opening up borders for economic growth and Intra-Africa trade. There’s a substantial amount of evidence to show that free movement boosts the economies of countries. Residents of other countries are able to contribute skills for human capital development and to the labor market of the receiving countries. The Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA), one of the AU’s frameworks to keep the continent integrated, is an agreement allowing free access to markets and market information in Africa. In 2018, leaders of 44 African countries met in Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city and endorsed the AfCFTA. Since then 52 countries, including South Africa, have joined in. The agreement creates a single market that removes trade barriers says Hafsatu Lawal Garba, one of the researchers who worked on the AfCFTA. By removing barriers, it will allow Africa owned companies and businessmen to expand and enter new markets. This, in turn, widens their customer base, leading to new products and services.

SOURCES: CNN

8Setting Up an African Development Centre

American technology giant Microsoft Corporation has unveiled plans to set up an African technology development centre in Kenya. The technology centre will be Microsoft’s 7th globally and will not only be the corporation’s gateway to the region, but will carry huge potential for jobs and business opportunities for tech-savvy Kenyan youth in the various ICT specializations. The new development sites carry great potential for talent development and technology transfer among Africa’s youth especially in countries with good ICT literacy ratings such as Kenya, adding that the corporation would be hiring 100 local engineers as a start. According to Microsoft, the Africa Development Centre will be a premier hub of engineering for the US technology company and its affiliates. The centre will leverage the diversity of the regional landscape to build world-class talent capable of creating innovative solutions for global impact. Further, the centre is expected to establish a collaborative engineering springboard for new technology investments in Kenya.

SOURCES: CGTN AFRICA

9Getting Around Africa’s Mapping Issues

The growth of e-commerce in Africa is plagued by an array of issues that include fraud and delivery difficulties. Addressya is a platform that seeks to solve this by providing access to a precise and easy address system. All you need is your smartphone, download the app and simply create your profile. With Addressya users can share their address with friends, businesses and customers whenever they like, and for as long as they like with full control over their personal data. The app can also be used to locate customers for smooth deliveries.

SOURCES: CNBC AFRICA

10Plans for Egypt’s New Capital Hit a Snag

Egypt’s government wants to start running the nation from a new capital in the desert from mid-2020, but the $58 billion project is struggling to raise funds and needs to overcome other challenges after investors pulled out. Workers are rushing to build core areas of the new city to replace Cairo, the existing capital on the Nile that has become a traffic-clogged, urban sprawl of more than 20 million people. The project, launched in 2015 by Abdel Fattah al-Sisi a year after he was first elected president, aims to offer a clean and efficient base for the government and finance industry, as well as homes for at least 6.5 million people. But the project, which also seeks to lift an economy dented by political turmoil after 2011, lost a lead investor from the United Arab Emirates and is now being run by the Housing Ministry and the army’s Engineering Authority. Officials say “the large scale of the work leads to large scale problems”, such as finding enough skilled labor to wire up the “smart city” and raising about 58 billion in financing over coming years from land sales and other investment. A promotional video depicts a green city, running on cashless systems for transport and other services, that contrasts with Cairo, much of whose elegant 19th and early 20th century architectural heart has fallen into disrepair. The new city, known for now as the New Administrative Capital, is eventually expected to cover about 700 square km. The first phase, covering about 168 square km, will have ministries, residential neighborhoods, a diplomatic quarter and a financial district. A large mosque and cathedral, as well a hotel and conference center, have already been built.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

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