By moving manufacturing to Ethiopia, Chinese textile companies are moving closer to their raw material base, the cotton-producing countries. This is part of their value chain repositioning, a strategy most Chinese companies are adopting. They’re are also using Africa as a gateway to emerging markets on and off the continent. Products made in Ethiopia can be exported duty- and quota free to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The same benefits apply to the E.U. Ethiopia also offers cheap electricity at US$0.04 cents per kilowatt hour. It’s now the second-largest electricity producer in sub-Sahara due to its hydropower dams.
Agriculture: Latest News
Staff, 12:01 am
The fall in African private equity investment in 2016 could be a short-term blip. Among the losers was US-based Carlyle, one of the world’s winningest investment firms. Carlyle invested $147m in Nigeria’s Diamond Bank in 2014. The bank’s market cap fell by 90% over the subsequent two years. Bob Geldof’s PE firm 8 Miles just invested in Blue Skies, a British fruit firm that operates in Africa. Utilities including telecoms were the most popular target for private equity investment in 2016. West Africa was the most active region.
Reuters, 1:00 am
Africa’s informal alcohol market is about four times bigger than its $11 billion commercial market, analysts say. Home brews have a strong tradition rooted in centuries-old African rituals. AB InBev needs to develop products affordable enough to tap the informal beer and alcohol markets, says InBev’s new Africa head. AB Inbev’s big rivals in Africa – Heineken and Diageo – have also launched lower-priced drinks made with local ingredients that are affordable for more people.
Kurt Davis Jr., 9:54 am AFKI Original
As commodity prices have fallen, African manufacturing has increased leverage — and the attention of investors — to garner more foreign investment. Tanzania is probably one of the easier bets if you are following the crowd. Success stories include Kenya-based Catalyst Principal Partners, an East Africa-focused private equity firm which invested in Zenufa Laboratories, a leading Tanzanian pharmaceuticals manufacturer. Catalyst also invested in Chemi Cotex, which makes toothpaste, skin and hair products. Both involve non-food and beverage consumer goods that are manufactured locally. Both have taken market share due to quality products and competitive pricing.
Dana Sanchez, 9:34 am
There are just 37 black-owned wine brands in South Africa, the world’s seventh-largest wine producing country. The industry employs 290,000 people at 550-plus wineries. Empowerment and transformation has been slow to increase black ownership and leadership. Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first black female winemaker, is a role model and symbol of change. She recently launched her own brand, Aslina wines, named after her grandmother in a rural KwaZulu-Natal village of 1,000 people. The wines are set for export to the U.S. later this year.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:13 am AFKI Original
The Anglos have an apparently insatiable investment appetite for the region. Gabon will no longer fly under the radar after Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group — the world’s largest private equity fund — purchased Royal Dutch Shell’s onshore assets in Gabon for $587 million. Petroleum services, infrastructure and timber are rising on the radar for crafty investors in Gabon. Financial services and ICT too. Gabon is a stable provider of services and networks to neighboring countries. Here are six other Francophone African countries investors are looking at.
Kurt Davis Jr., 5:44 pm AFKI Original
Africans are demanding more meat in their diets, but consumption may be limited because there are not enough commercial livestock owners producing affordable food. Firms are gobbling up arable land, not just for crop production but also for livestock and cattle. Investment shops are slowly redirecting capital to this subsector of agriculture. Nigeria is in tough times, but people still have to eat. About 45% of rural households own livestock, and meat consumption is strongly correlated to livestock ownership in Nigeria. Fewer than 10 percent of livestock owners function as a business. Most are just supporting the household livelihood.
Ann Brown, 1:04 pm AFKI Original
When a coup in Madagascar sent her father into bankruptcy, 24-year-old Hanta Tiana Ranaivo Rajaonarisoa was forced to abandon her business administration studies in the U.S. She took over the family’s unused essential oil-making machine, and now supplies insect repellants to 40 pharmacies in Madagascar. Malaria is one of the country’s top 5 causes of death. Rajaonarisoa says she’s helping protect Madagascar’s amazing biodiversity — up to 90 percent of the country’s plant species are endemic — by using green waste recovery in her products.
Peter Pedroncelli, 11:22 am AFKI Original
The idea of funding a venture by raising money through many small contributions on the internet strikes a chord among Africans. It’s ubuntu at its finest. When Media 24 closed Ideas magazine in South Africa in 2016, former editor Terena le Roux took it upon herself to resurrect the publication. Thanks to support on social media, she launched a crowdfunding campaign via Thundafund. The money continues to come in, and she was able to relaunch the magazine.
Staff, 1:01 am
The U.S. did not have a trade policy for Africa when Rosa Whitaker went to work for the U.S. State Department. U.S. policy was to view Africa as a charity case. Whitaker helped draft AGOA, the law gives duty-free access to the U.S. for African countries meeting eligibility requirements on human rights, rule of law and labor standards. With AGOA, the whole narrative changed, Whitaker said. “We no longer saw Africa as benefactors of charity. We were able to substitute paternalism with partnership.” The U.S. had trade representatives for every other region of the world except Africa. President Bill Clinton did not wait for AGOA to be passed before appointing Whitaker assistant trade representative for Africa.
Mongabay, 1:34 pm
Ethiopia has failed to make the most of emission reduction projects that allow developing countries to sell certified carbon credits, a stakeholder said. Making carbon credits marketable requires time, substantial investment and resources. Even then, a prospective buyer might reject them. Proponents say the carbon trading projects can’t come soon enough. The country is losing five times more forest than it’s planting. If Ethiopia is strategic, it can sell abundant resources like water to help power industrialization, boost tourism, boost electricity generation and create a wealthy green economy. And it’s renewable.
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