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...