Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Christian Science Monitor: Wal-Mart could lead corporate America into Africa

Wal-Mart has announced that it is prepared to pay approximately $4.2 billion for Massmart Holdings. Massmart Holdings is a Johannesburg-headquartered chain of discount superstores with a grand total of 290 stores in 13 African countries under brand names such as Makro, Game, and Builders Warehouse. Massmart stores can be found as far away as Ghana and Nigeria and there are stores even in President Mugabe's Zimbabwe.

For quite some time, I have felt that corporate America was missing the Africa story. Like tourists frightened off by rumors of lions prowling the city streets of Nairobi or Lagos, America’s corporate sector has been bamboozled and bogged down in an old African landscape where the only opportunities are to be found in digging up raw materials, and the greatest challenges are with intractable or corrupt government bureaucrats. To be sure, that African landscape still exists, both in mind and in reality. Read More...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bloomberg Businessweek: For B-Schools, Opportunities Rise in Africa

Once content with distant partnerships in Africa, business schools in Europe, Asia, and the U.S. are now establishing more direct programs on the continent
"Business education is the fastest-growing single academic activity in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is immensely popular and very much in need, but the problem is that all but a few of the business schools are fly-by-night or not very good," says Pfefferman in an interview. "There is a huge, unmet demand for quality, so I suspect that more Western business schools may come in, since there is a market." read more...

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

VOA: Increased China-Africa Trade Raises Questions

"What we have seen is that when there is a shock to the economies in these regions, Africa gets hit straight in its face," said Ndikumana. "And diversifying the destination of its exports and the origin of its foreign capital inflows is a good thing for African countries."
Some economists are worried that such trade could stifle the development of manufacturing sectors in Africa, while also increasing what often is called the resource curse. The phrase refers to the paradox that many African regions have highly sought after natural resources, but often experience repeated political violence and extreme poverty.

Jeffrey Sachs: China has left the west on the sidelines in Africa

One of the most riveting moments of the MDG summit came when a senior adviser of the China Development Bank set out some of today’s global realities. She explained on Tuesday that the Bank has $600bn of assets and plans to boost its Africa portfolio.

She noted China’s world-leading speed in building infrastructure, and its intention to help do so in Africa. And she expressed China’s intention to work not only with national governments but also with international institutions, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank, to get the job done.

The room was electrified, as it were, by the prospect of Africa being electrified so rapidly, with China’s investment, technology, and support. The World Bank, African Union, and African Development Bank had projected a series of maps on the screen indicating Africa’s needs for regional roads, rail, power, and fibre optic grids.

Suddenly, all of it seemed quite doable, in a new world economy in which China uses its vast reserves, talents, and economic interests to help get the job done. read more...

Ghana says signs $13 bln in Chinese loan deals

Ghana signed nearly $13 billion worth of loan deals with Chinese investors to fund energy, agriculture and transport development in the West African state, the government said on Wednesday.

The deals would together be one of China's largest financial commitments to Africa, but drew scepticism from analysts who said loans of that size could risk violating Ghana's commitments to the International Monetary Fund. read more...

Friday, September 17, 2010

I.B.M.: Africa Is the Next Growth Frontier

I.B.M. will supply the computing technology and services for an upgraded cellphone network across 16 nations in sub-Saharan Africa. Its customer is India’s largest cellphone operator, Bharti Airtel, which paid $9 billion a few months ago for most of the African assets of Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company, or Zain. read more...

The Economist: Africa's banking boom - Scrambled in Africa

“Now everyone’s looking at Africa,” says Jacko Maree, Standard Bank’s boss. In January Bank of China, the country’s most international outfit, entered into a pact with Ecobank, which operates in 31 African countries. Chinese staff will drum up business from local branches. In August Brazil’s Bradesco and state-controlled Banco do Brasil announced a new African holding company with Banco Espirito Santo (BES), a Portuguese firm active in Angola. And HSBC is in talks to buy Nedbank, a South African bank. William Mills, who runs Citigroup in Africa, Europe and the Middle East, says the continent is becoming “more and more competitive”. read more...

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

CNN Opinion: Why Africa needs 'cheetahs,' not 'hippos'

Editor's note: George Ayittey is a Ghanaian economist and the author of several books on Africa, including "Africa Unchained" and the forthcoming "Defeating Dictators in Africa and Around The World." In 2008, Ayittey was listed by Foreign Policy magazine as one of the "Top 100 Public Intellectuals" of our time. He writes for Africa 50, CNN's special coverage looking at 17 African nations marking 50 years of independence this year.
(CNN) -- Currently, Africa -- a continent immensely rich with mineral resources and yet mired in poverty -- suffers from a catastrophic leadership failure or monumental deficit of leadership.
Since 1960, there have been 210 African heads of state, but just try to find 10 -- just 10 -- good ones among them. Names like Mandela, Nkrumah, Nyerere easily come to mind but then rapidly fall off.
But there is hope in what I call the "Cheetah Generation." read more...

Nigeria embarks on vast free trade zone with China

LAGOS (Reuters) - Nigeria is building a multi-billion dollar free trade zone with Chinese investors on the edge of its commercial capital Lagos to try to develop a local manufacturing base and help reduce its import dependence.

The $5 billion first phase of the Lekki Free Zone, a 3,000 hectare site on the eastern fringe of the city, is 60 percent held by Chinese investors and 40 percent by the Lagos state government, the deputy head of the project told Reuters. read more...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Harvard Business Review: Now's the Time to Invest in Africa

Over the years many misguided pronouncements have touted the improved economic prospects of Africa, home to a large proportion of the world’s billion poorest people. The late 1990s even saw a slight economic resurgence, dubbed an “African renaissance,” but it fizzled, and a gloomy view of the continent as too unstable for investment other than in mining and oil seemed to settle over corporate boardrooms. read more...

U.S News & World Report: 12 Reasons to Invest in Africa

'Ground-floor opportunity.' Seruma says many investors have already missed what he calls a "ground-floor opportunity" in Africa. For the decade ending Dec. 31, 2009, an African composite index made up of eight countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt, returned about 14 percent annualized. South Africa alone returned an average of 13 percent per year over that period. Compare that with the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, which returned about 7 percent annualized, or the S&P 500, which lost about 3 percent over the same time period. He compares the risk versus return ratio in Africa today with emerging markets like China, India, and Brazil in the late 1900s—meaning that investors who enter a new high-growth market first reap the highest returns over time because they're willing to take on more risk. read more...

FT: How Africa can become the next Bric

If you were to think about Africa collectively, and consider it in the same framework that informs our 2050 scenarios for the Bric, next 11 and other major economies, you would see an economy as big as some of the Brics. If you then look at the potential of the 11 largest African economies for the next 40 years (by studying their likely demographics, the resulting changes in their working population and their productivity) their combined GDP by 2050 would reach more than $13,000bn, making them bigger than either Brazil or Russia, although not China or India. Read more...

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

China Railway in $30 Billion South Africa Train Talks

Aug. 24 (Bloomberg) -- China Railway Group Ltd., the world’s second-largest publicly traded heavy construction company, said it is in talks with South Africa’s government for a $30 billion high-speed rail project between Johannesburg and Durban.

Discussions are at an early stage and no funding is in place, China Railway Chairman Li Changjin said in an interview in Beijing today. China Railway has signed an agreement with Standard Bank Group, Ltd., Africa’s biggest lender, Li said, without elaborating. Read more...

Monday, August 23, 2010

HSBC Takes Important Step Into Africa With Nedbank Deal

It may not quite be a new scramble for Africa. But Nedbank, in which HSBC confirmed Monday it’s in talks to acquire a controlling stake, was certainly one of the last opportunities for international banks to buy a ready-made beach-head into the mostly untapped continent.
Beyond the broader fact of growing GDP and untapped consumers, international banks are attracted to Africa because the continent is itself attractive to Asia. As a hub for resources needed by commodity-hungry Chinese industry, the links between the continents continue to strengthen. South Africa, as the major economic power in the region which commands around 20% of Africa’s GDP, is the ideal springboard. Read more...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

India, Japan battle for Africa telemedicine market

The battle for the dominance of Africa's mobile market by Asian countries has moved to tele-education, e-commerce and telemedicine programs, with Japan and India now competing for supremacy in the supply of equipment to support related programs.

While the Indian project, dubbed e-Network, is equipped to support tele-education, e-governance, e-commerce, infotainment and resource mapping, the Japanese project is focused on tele-education and e-governance. Read more...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Liberia signs $1.6 bln palm oil investment: government

MONROVIA (Reuters) - Liberia's government has signed a $1.6 billion deal with Golden Veroleum for a 500-acre palm oil plantation in the southeast of the West African nation, a spokesman said on Wednesday.

"When ratified by the legislature, it will create over 35,000 jobs for Liberians," presidential spokesman Cyrus Badio told Reuters by telephone.

Singapore's second-largest listed palm oil plantation firm Golden Agri-Resources said on Tuesday it was considering investing in Verdant to gain access to the project. read more...

Africa Unlikely to Follow China’s Goose

Can Chinese investment inject some Asian-tiger-like vigor into African economies? That’s certainly the hope of many – including World Bank President Robert Zoellick, who has urged Chinese companies to expand beyond infrastructure and resource-extraction projects and also invest in manufacturing in Africa.
Something like this seems to still be happening in Asia, where countries that are poorer than China — such as Vietnam, Bangladesh and Cambodia — have in fact been picking up some of the textile and garment business in recent years as Chinese costs go up.

But a new short paper published by the Vale Columbia Center on Sustainable International Investment, at Columbia University, casts doubt on whether China’s low-end industries will actually shift to Africa in “flying geese” style. read more...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gabon Signs $4.5 Billion Accords on Infrastructure, Agriculture

Gabon signed accords with three Asian companies to build infrastructure and develop palm-oil and lumber projects that are expected to generate at least $4.5 billion of investment in the country, officials said.

The programs, which may create 50,000 jobs, are part of President Ali Bongo Ondimba’s plans to diversify the nation’s economy, the presidency said in an e-mailed statement today from the capital, Libreville.

“Our objective is to diversify the economy to prepare for the post-oil era using sustainable projects,” Christian Nkero Capito, an adviser to Economy Minister Magloire Ngambia, said in a phone interview today. read more

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Brazil's state bank, partners push into Africa

Brazil's biggest state-run bank and two other partners announced an expansion in Africa on Monday in the latest sign of growing financial links between emerging markets.

Banco do Brasil, Latin America's largest bank by assets, said in a regulatory filing it will team with local private-sector giant Banco Bradesco and Portugal's Banco Espirito Santo (BES) to tap Africa's growing appetite for consumer loans, credit cards and other products.
"The African continent is the future," Finance Minister Guido Mantega said. read more...

New literary series views Africa through African eyes

Tired of reading accounts of Africa through the eyes of outsiders, 14 African writers have set out to document the diversity of their content in a series of books and blogs partly inspired by the soccer World Cup.

The first World Cup to be held in Africa triggered a wave of pan-African solidarity as fans from Dakar to Dar Es Salaam threw their support behind African teams, hoping the home advantage would boost the continent's chances of success.
"For 400 years, Africa's history was hijacked by Europe. The great travel books were all written by Europeans. Africans didn't talk about Africa," said Alain Mabanckou, from Congo Republic, one of the writers taking part in the project.

Some of the authors have already blogged about their travels on the project's Website,
read more

US goes high-end to boost export trade with Africa

The US is moving higher up the products advancement ladder to keep its share of trade with Africa where competition for the low-end market has intensified with availability of cheap goods from emerging economies such as China and India.
“America will not compete at the low-end of Africa’s consumer goods market with Brazil, Russia, India or China (BRIC),” he said on the sidelines of the 2010 Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (Agoa) in Kansas City last week. read more

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Financial Times: BRICs in Africa

It’s become a hoary cliché that the Bric economies are leading a modern day “scramble for Africa” - and it’s a scramble that’s often frustratingly difficult to quantify.

But Standard Bank has waded through the mish-mash of data and emerged with a prediction: that over the next decade emerging economies will contribute 30 per cent of the new foreign investment coming into Africa. While the bulk of African FDI is still from the old economies, the momentum is all with the Brics. So is the drama and the buzz. read more...

West Africa: An Investment Opportunity to Take Advantage Of

The investment opportunity Africa offers has not fundamentally changed because of the World Cup, but rather the sporting tournament has opened people’s eyes to the potential the continent offers in terms of investment and business opportunities. Never is this more so the case than with the African nation of Burkina Faso, where an active program from the government, encouraging mining and exploration, has led to an influx of junior resource companies, while the country itself stands ready for a mining surge.
With this, it has recently begun to inaugurate its first industrial scale gold mining operations, and under pressure from local operators, plans to continue to change its policies towards the industry in coming years. Between 2008 and 2009 for example, the number of exploration licenses awarded by the government rose by 11%, climbing from 537 to more...

World Bank unit leads big funds into Africa

The private-sector lending arm of the World Bank is leading large government-owned wealth and state pension groups into frontier markets in Africa and elsewhere where few big investors have sought to venture.
The funds have amassed nearly $3 trillion in assets, and a 1 percent investment of their assets could add up to $30 billion a year in private investment for Africa. read more...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

U.S. Policy Should Spur Private Investment in Africa

"I think really we've got to realize what China, India, the Europeans, the Arabs already realize: that we've got to have private investment into Africa if we're going to continue a strong U.S.-Africa relationship," he said.
The U.S. government's Export-Import Bank, which aims to decrease risk for U.S. firms selling abroad, provides little assistance for small companies in African markets. The bank provided just $437 million in loan guarantees to Africa-invested U.S. firms in 2008, and most of the recipients were large, stable companies like Exxon-Mobil Corp., Mr. Hayes said.

The China Exim Bank, on the other hand, provided $13.1 billion in guaranteed loans for Chinese companies investing in Africa during 2008, the most recent year for which numbers are available. As a result, U.S. firms are falling behind, even though American investment would be preferred to Chinese in many countries, he added. read more...

Ecobank Signs Pact With Bank Of China

With the desk, Ecobank’s Chinese customers would have access to the resources of both banks, including seconded staff of the Bank of China, which would remove language and cultural barriers that Chinese banking clients tend to face in Africa. read more...

Monday, August 2, 2010

Joining Up Africa: Fullfilling Potential

Korea has important lessons to teach Africa

What will be the benefits for Korea in investing in Africa?

There is plentiful low-cost labor and huge access to raw material imports like agriculture and minerals. Several countries also have open commercial environments where it will be easy to gain benefits in agreements with the governments. I want to stress that there is huge growth in consumer demand and the desire to buy high-quality consumer goods, such as cars, mobile telephones and personal computers. So why not assemble Korean mobile phones in Africa with low-cost labor? read more...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Reuters: UK to boost trade with Sudan despite rights concerns

On his first official visit to Sudan, Henry Bellingham said Britain's new government sought to encourage companies to invest more in Sudan, particularly in its oil and services sectors. read more

Reuters: AfDB eyes doubling Africa infrastructure funding to $10 bln

"There's a big interest in projects that can transform economies... for instance there's big talk about railways. We want to revamp our railways. So if the trends continue as they are now, I would say within five years' time we'll be committing up to $10 billion per year on infrastructure." read more

Seeking Alpha: For Serious Investors: It's Time for Africa

Gone are the days when Africa was considered to be a poor continent rich only in natural resources but where poor people fought for survival amid disease and poverty. Africa, the birthplace of human civilization, is slowly but surely getting its rightful place in the history of mankind. African countries are not simply spectators to the economic rise of China and India but are a party to it. Africa is not only attracting investors from China and India, but African ETFs have also shown substantial gains in the recent times. There is no doubt that some African nations offer a tremendous growth opportunity for the investors, especially for those looking at emerging economies outside the BRIC nations. Of course there are people who are skeptical of the kind of growth African nations can achieve, but as South Africa showed with the successful completion of the FIFA World Cup Football 2010, the continent is ready to attain its lost glory. read more

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Uncaging the lions

Ten years ago The Economist dubbed Africa “the hopeless continent”. Since then its progress has been remarkably hopeful. In 2000-08 Africa’s annual output grew by 4.9% (adjusted for purchasing-power parity), twice as fast as in the 1980s and 1990s and faster than the global average of 3.8%. Foreign direct investment increased from $10 billion to $88 billion—more than India ($42 billion) and, even more remarkably, catching up with China ($108 billion). The Boston Consulting Group notes that, since 1998, the revenues of Africa’s 500 largest companies (excluding banks) have grown at an average of 8.3% a year. read more

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Africa prospects lure investors, but is it ready?

On the Goldman Sachs' growth-environment index, which measures a mixture of economic and social development indicators, Nigeria's score has nearly doubled over the past decade.

"If it were to show the same increase in its growth-environment score over the next decade, many investors will look back and say why the hell didn't I invest in Nigeria," said Goldman Sachs' global head of economic research Jim O'Neill, who coined the term BRICs. read more

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

China to build $8bn oil refinery in Nigeria

It will be the first of three refineries under a deal signed in May between Nigeria's state oil company, NNPC, and the China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC).

The refinery will be built in the Lekki free trade zone of Lagos, Nigeria's biggest city.

The Chinese will cover 80% of the cost, and NNPC 20%, while the state of Lagos will provide land and infrastructure. read more

Friday, July 2, 2010

China scraps tariff on 60 pct of imports from 26 African nations

The spokesman said China was considering the further opening of Chinese markets to African products. By 2013, the country seeks to scrap tariffs on 95 percent of imports from all African countries which China has diplomatic ties with. read more

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

MarketWatch: Tiny Mauritius lures China with talent, Africa know-how

These established trade routes with Africa are a major draw for the Chinese developers of the Jinfei zone, a 521-acre project being hacked out of the red soil and undergrowth about a 10-minute drive north of the capital here that the government says will amount to a $750 million development, Mauritius' largest single foreign direct investment ever.

One of the first economic zones planned by China in Africa, it's a small part of Beijing's plans to greatly increase its foreign investments overseas - what the Chinese press calls the country's "going out" strategy. Read more...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The FORTUNE/TIME/CNN Global Forum 2010

Leaders of business, government and society from all around the world journey to South Africa to discuss "the new global opportunity". click here to visit webpage

Meredith Witney: Insular nations better off

Meredith Whitney says insular African nations have faired better during the financial crisis than nations dependent on one another.
Watch video here

MarketWatch: African markets offer opportunities for the smart investor

"From an investment standpoint, it's a market that's hard to ignore, because it's a massive continent with a huge and young population and very important resources," said David Damiba, a senior fund manager at Renaissance Asset Managers in London. read more

Global Forum: For growth opportunities, don't overlook Africa

I'm was one of the ignorant ones -- I've spent most of my career as a foreign correspondent in east Asia -- but after three days of drinking from the fire hose, I've learned, along with a lot of the other attendees at the conference, that any number of African nations need to be included on any list of emerging "Hot Spots." An illuminating report on growth and opportunity in Africa by the McKinsey Global Institute had a lot of the conference goers shaking their heads and saying, in effect, "I had no idea…'' read more

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Surprisingly, among many of the most sophisticated
international businesses and investors – even among
some of the keenest of the geopolitical Africa-watchers
– there is scant recognition of this unprecedented
and unanticipated turn of events. Yet, this record of
economic performance is indicative of the fact that
an increasing portion of Sub-Saharan Africa is presenting
significantly profitable opportunities for new
investments and/or expansion of existing investments.
Multinational corporations (MNCs) from
countries in the South, most notably China and
India, have been far quicker to appreciate – and to
capitalize on – these changes than have their counterparts
from the North (Broadman 2007). In fact,
not only have Chinese and Indian firms, but also
Brazilian, Middle Eastern, and Russian businesses
have begun to substantially increase their investments
in Africa (Broadman 2008). These investments
are all occurring despite the fact that there is
a deeply held perception that Africa is a highly risky,
if not a dangerous, place to do business. read more (pdf)

Thursday, June 10, 2010

McKinsey Quaterly: Doing Business in Africa

McKinsey Quarterly is in the third of a four-week series on the future of Africa. This week's series cover Doing Business in Africa. Africa topics page

Below are the titles including short descriptions of each of the articles:

Making the most of Chinese aid to Africa
It’s time to move beyond sterile arguments and accept China’s role in Africa. But it’s also time for China to enhance that role. more

The China–Africa business connection: An interview with the CEO of Standard Bank
Jacko Maree describes his experiences working with a Chinese investor—the giant Industrial and Commercial Bank of China. more

The case for investing in Africa
The continent is now growing much more rapidly than the OECD nations. It may well be on the cusp of a reversal of fortunes. more

Assessing Africa’s business future: An interview with the CEO of Absa
The CEO of one of South Africa’s largest financial-services companies discusses the state of business in Africa. [includes related video interview] . more

Capturing Africa’s business opportunity
In the aftermath of the global crisis, Africa no longer seems uniquely risky. The opportunities are huge. more

Toward a well-governed Africa
A democratic, prosperous, and peaceful Africa is now within sight. more

Note: you will need to register in order to access these articles.

China Turns Its Focus To Africa

If China-Africa engagement continues into the future in such an explosive fashion, there will be large communities of newly arrived Chinese traders, engineers and manufacturing professionals from Cairo to Addis Ababa, from Lagos to Luanda, from Harare to Maputo to Capetown.

New Chinese enterprises will launch plants for “local products,” including clothes, pots and pans, plastic buckets, watches, shoes, soft drinks, packaged convenience foods, soap and cosmetics and low-end mobile phones. They could also make and sell consumer electronics, like localized versions of MIT Media Lab OLPC laptops and PCs, and white goods, like televisions, air-conditioners, fans, rice cookers and refrigerators. There will be factories for cement and steel beams for new apartment and office buildings, for furniture and solar power panels. Employing thousands of new plant workers, a line of Tata’s Nano-like inexpensive car and utility truck/SUVs could be produced in South Africa for export throughout the continent.

Simultaneously, these new Chinese-funded projects would require IT support, specialized oil drilling expertise, design services, project management skills and factory floor manufacturing equipment--in short, a new Chinese-led African business and technological eco-system with an appetite for a wide range of products and services. read more

Will Africa outdo China this century?

According to Professor Wiseman Nkuhlu, former Economic Advisor to the South African President, Africa is in a strong position to claim the century from China. Read more..

Japan Targets African, Bolivian Mine Projects Under Revised Law

apan, the world’s second-largest economy, may invest in African and Bolivian mineral projects after a revised law to help companies acquire overseas mining rights takes effect from July 1.
State-owned Japan Oil, Gas and Metals National Corp., or JOGMEC, said it can invest as much as 27.5 billion yen ($300 million) this fiscal year started April 1 in mining and minerals in collaboration with private companies and provide guarantees to fund projects. Under the current law, the agency can invest only in metal and mineral exploration projects. read more

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Africa Business Conference and Trade Fair

This month’s Africa Business Conference and Trade Fair in Baltimore, Maryland will bring together over a hundred dynamic small business owners and entrepreneurs, from the United States and Africa, looking for new opportunities and business relationships in Africa.

The global impact of the economic downturn has sparked the need for new ways to network and do business. The conference mission also aligns with President Obama’s new National Export Initiative program, which calls for doubling exports within the next 5 years. read more

For more information about 2010 Africa Business Conference and Trade Fair visit their page

African airlines set to post first profit since 2002 as global economy recovers

When you speak to many folks who seem to follow Africa's latest economic progress, they're quick to pointing at the minerals-for-infrastructure deals with China that tend the dominate the headlines. But, as one undertakes a closer examination, the breadth of the economic expansion is quite surprising. A great example of this is the below article on African airlines (not the name of an airline) which are set to not only turn a profit this year but also increase their footprints to new national and regional destinations as the demand for fast and reliable transport is on the rise

Airlines in Africa are expected to post $100 million profit from an earlier forecasted loss of $100 million. The upward revision is in line with the whole. Read more

Bharti closes $9 bln Zain Africa deal

Here's another eye popping deal by Bharti of India for a whopping $9 billion.
Read more

Telcos to put $700 mln in new Africa cable

I've just come across yet another news article confirming the increasing investment in Africa, not not by China, but other players. This time it's the French telco giant, France Telecom with a consortium of 20 companies to put $700 in new submarine / submarine to land cable mainly in West Africa. read more

Friday, June 4, 2010

Two Continents

Africa Progress Panel: Panel Progress Report 2010

Africa Progress Report calls on African leaders to turn “scramble for Africa” into real results for the continent; progress being made despite not because of governance. Read more

Thursday, June 3, 2010

West must change approach to Africa

Tom Cargill, Assistant Head of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, writes on the West’s relationship with Africa:

French President Nicholas Sarkozy put it best this week, when he spoke of the increasing important of Africa in Global Affairs: “Africa’s formidable demographics and its considerable resources make it the main reservoir for world economic growth in the decades to come.”

This is indeed the principal finding of our new Chatham House Report ‘Our Common Strategic Interests: Africa’s role in the post G8 World’. Yet so far there is very little evidence that Western policy makers, publics, or most importantly, businesses, are waking up to the opportunities that are slowly draining away from them with each passing day. READ MORE

Boston Consulting Group: The African Challengers - Global Competitors Emerge from the Overlooked Continent

BCG: Economic awakening underway in Africa

Forty African companies, the “African challengers,” have been rapidly expanding , competing in the global economy, and highlighting the vitality of a continent whose economic accomplishments rarely receive attention, according to a report by The Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

The 40 African challengers range in size from $350 million to $80 billion in annual sales and represent most of the major industry sectors. They all display strong growth, an international footprint, and ambitious plans to further expand overseas. Most of the companies are based in South Africa (with 18 companies), Egypt (with 7), and Morocco (with 6). The nine remaining players come from Algeria, Angola, Nigeria, Togo, and Tunisia. These eight countries represent 70 percent of Africa’s GDP, according to The African Challengers: Global Competitors Emerge from the Overlooked Continent. READ MORE

THIS IS AFRICA: Regional integration

There is a renewed sense of optimism surrounding regional integration in africa, as the continent’s governments increasingly turn to the private sector as the main driver of economic growth

Regional economic and political integration was the focus of this year’s African Investment Forum, held in Accra, Ghana, under the banner of Accelerating intra- African trade and investment.
Click here to read more

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

World Bank: Renewing the World Bank Strategy for Africa

The World Bank is reviewing its strategy for Africa, which is outlined in the Africa Action Plan. The strategy is being reviewed against a backdrop of changes in the global economy, in Africa and the World Bank. As part of its review and preparation, the Bank is consulting with a wide array of stakeholders to seek their views and input. The process, outlined in our Consultations Plan, is expected to be finalized in late 2010-early 2011. You can help by sharing your views on how the Bank can best support Africa reach its development goals. To read more about progress on the current action plan, please click here.

To submit your input, please click here

Africa leads the charge of emerging markets

Emerging markets would see estimated economic growth of 6 percent this year, Stanlib chief economist Kevin Lings said yesterday, as he urged investors to build this into investment strategies.

"We are looking at the sub-par growth in the developed world," Lings told journalists in Johannesburg.

"This means growth between the developed world and emerging markets would be uneven." In recessions past, it has been the US economy that has led the world back to growth but this time around experts are punting emerging markets. read more

McKinsey Quaterly: What’s driving Africa’s growth

The rate of return on foreign investment is higher in Africa than in any other developing region. Global executives and investors must pay heed.
Africa is nearly as urbanized as China is and has as many cities of one million people as Europe does. read more

Delta Launches New Africa, Asia Routes

On June 1, Atlanta-based Delta was slated to begin a nonstop flight to Accra, Ghana, three times per week, building on its status as the only American carrier to fly nonstop to the continent. The airline recently said it would further expand Africa service by starting a flight from Atlanta to Monrovia, Liberia, via Accra in September. Delta already flies from Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport to Nigeria and South Africa.

From New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, Delta has routes to Ghana, Egypt, Senegal and Lagos, Nigeria. On Wednesday, June 2, the airline is set to launch a second route to Nigeria, this time to the capital city of Abuja. read more

Sunday, May 30, 2010

A new dawn in Africa

One is a successful fashion designer, a second runs a commodity exchange, a third owns an international call centre, and a fourth runs a farm of 25,000 acres. All of them have lived, worked or studied in Europe and America, and all have abjured the soft life on offer in the West to make their futures back at home. Home is Africa, a continent that is widely regarded as a “basket case” filled with half-starved beggars living off charitable funds solicited by the likes of Bono and Geldof. So why did they return? read more

Brain gain: African migrants returning home

Africa may still be suffering from a chronic brain drain but some of the continent's elite are turning their backs on the West and taking their talents back home according to film-maker Andy Jones.
The story is as old as the hills. Man leaves village to seek riches in the big city.

In recent years, the village has been the continent of Africa, the city represented by the bright lights of Europe and America. read more

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rising Africa puts South Africa on the spot

"South African companies need to wake up. A lot of opportunities are already being stolen from under our noses, and not just by the Chinese -- it's the Indians, the Brazilians, the Russians, the Canadians, Australians," Bonnett said. read more

Africa's Local Champions Begin to Spread Out

Foreign consumer-goods companies including Coca-Cola Co., Nestlé SA and Unilever PLC have been in Africa for decades without much competition from local players. Now, home-grown companies are expanding aggressively across the continent, eager to accommodate a growing middle-class among the billion-person population.

Among the most prominent of these consumer upstarts: African retailers such as Nakumatt Holdings Ltd. of Kenya, the top supermarket chain in East Africa, MTN Group Ltd., Africa's largest cellphone provider, and South African restaurant chain Spur Corp. Nakumatt has expanded into three neighboring countries while 348-restaurant chain Spur has opened in seven other African countries. read more

China short-term boost, long-term threat to Africa

Despite all the criticism, said Akongbowa Bramwell Amadasun, the African exports to China are growing at an annual rate of 30 percent and only a quarter are oil-related. Furthermore, relations with China alone are responsible for a 6.1 percent increase on the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP). read more

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Africa's Pulse

Analysis of development trends shaping Africa's economic future (World Bank - April 2010):

The analysis takes a look at the followings:

1. Recent Economic Trends and Prospects
- Economic Recovery
- Africa's policy response to the crisis
- Risks to economic prospects
- Debt sustainability
- Aid flows lag commitments

2. Africa and the Millennium Development Goals
- Poverty
- Human development goals

Medium-term Challenges
- Infrastructure gap
- Investment climate
- Agriculture
- Governance
3. Yes Africa Can: Success Stories from a Dynamic Continent
- Rwanda: Improving health through results-based financing
- Mobile payments go viral: M-PESA in Kenya
- Tourism in Cape Verde
- Mali: Linking mango farmers to markets

Read complete report here
More on the World Bank in Africa:

Aid = Corruption?

WE live in a culture of aid. We live in a culture in which those better off subscribe – both mentally and financially – to the notion that giving alms to the poor is the right thing to do. In the past 50 years, over USD 1 trillion in development-related aid has been transferred from rich countries to Africa.” read more

Saturday, May 22, 2010

What's the Big Idea? Africa as the next "BRIC

Let me start with a riddle: What trillion dollar economy has grown faster than Brazil and India between 2000 and 2010 in nominal dollar terms and is projected by the IMF to grow faster than Brazil between 2010 and 2015?1 The answer may surprise you: it is Sub-Saharan Africa!

The Big Idea is that sub-Saharan Africa is on the verge of joining the ranks of the BRICs. As the world gets out of the global recession, forecasts made by the IMF and the World Bank stress that given the need for fiscal retrenchment in the advanced countries, some rebalancing of global demand is needed to sustain economic growth. Africa can serve as a new source of global demand. It’s only a matter of time before its population rivals that of China and India. As Bob Zoellick noted in a recent speech, we must start thinking about a “multipolar growth world”, where Africa can take its rightful place. In other words, this is not about charity: businesses are looking for new markets in which to invest and Africa is ripe for consideration. read more

Friday, May 21, 2010

Infrastructure key to Africa’s growth: Asia has role to play

If Africa wants to bridge the chasm from emerging to developed economy, it must have one crucial component in place. According to Paulo Gomes, founder and CEO of Constelor Investment Holdings, which was set up in 2006 to harness investment opportunities in Africa, infrastructure is sorely needed for the land-locked continent. Click here to read more and watch video

Interview with Congressman Bobby Rush, Co-Chair of the Africa Partnership for Economic Growth Caucus (APEGc)

U. S. Congressman Bobby L. Rush is a Member of the U.S. House of Representatives from the first congressional district of Illinois and is one of the senior Members of the powerful Committee on Energy and Commerce. He is also the Chairman of the Commerce, Trade and Consumer Protection Subcommittee. Given his position and experience, he is uniquely equipped and positioned to influence U.S - Africa trade relations. It was his leadership as Co-Chair of the recently launched African Partnership for Economic Growth Caucus (APEGc) that sparked our interest. The primary mission of APEGc is to develop U.S. policies designed to strengthen U.S. –Sub-Saharan Africa relations by promoting growth and economic development. Despite major successes in Consumer Product Safety and other domestic matters, we honed in on his interest in enhancing opportunities for U.S. and African businesses through trade.
Read the interview here...

Françafrique at 50

To accept de Gaulle’s offer, these leaders had to agree, among other things, to allow the stationing of French troops on their territory, provide France with a steady supply of raw materials at pre-determined prices, assume all colonial-era debts incurred by France, maintain the CFA Franc as their common currency, and grant the French Treasury veto authority over their sub-regional central banks. De Gaulle got most of what he wanted, and granted independence. READ MORE