Kurt Davis Jr.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:34 pm AFKI Original
Equatorial Guinea is not the easiest place to get to, or the easiest place to understand. Sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest oil producer is aggressively spending oil revenue on building roads, schools, hospitals and housing. First-time visitors to this closed, mysterious country will encounter easily navigated highways. The government is constructing Oyala, a planned city deep in the rainforest, to possibly replace Malabo as the capital. Oyala will feature new government buildings, a university, five-star hotels and conference centers. Kempinski, one of Europe’s oldest luxury hotel groups, plans to operate the first Oyala hotel and golf resort.
Kurt Davis Jr., 1:00 am AFKI Original
The number of urban Africans almost doubled between 1995 and 2015 and is expected to double again by 2035. Rapid growth is driving the African phenomenon of the megacity — an urban area with a population of at least 10 million. Megacities have economic benefits – economies of scale, innovation, clusters of skilled labor, and higher incomes. But they also struggle with congested slums, unemployment and out-of-control traffic. More than 50 percent of the African urban population lives in slums.
Kurt Davis Jr., 7:45 am AFKI Original
Everyone knows that Africa leapfrogged landlines to mobile phones, but without mobile, the continent is unconnected. Less than 20% are connected to the internet. Business and finance have become online activities globally. Africa needs to get up to speed to compete. Private investors are looking beyond the usual suspects. These are the African countries with the best opportunities for private investors to expand internet capacity in 2017.
Kurt Davis Jr., 9:32 am AFKI Original
Infrastructure in Africa is at the forefront of investors’ minds. Private equity investors see great opportunity, especially in power projects. The Ivorian president is a former IMF economist. The Ivorian budget minister is a former Goldman Sachs trader, and they’re on the same wavelength. The Côte d’Ivoire economy is expected to grow 8-9% in 2017 and 2018. Strengthening infrastructure will be key in the next phase of the Ivorian growth story. The government plans to spend $60 billion on infrastructure through 2020.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:23 am AFKI Original
French cosmetics company L’Oreal has invested in organic beeswax in Mali, the surprise country for 2017. Economic growth should hover around 5-to-6 percent this year as agricultural production strengthens. Lack of investment or interest in the country in recent years means there are unexploited opportunities with many investors still sitting on the sidelines. Opportunities exist in cashews, biofuels, shea butter and cotton. This year should see some investors put cash into the country, especially in agriculture.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:56 am AFKI Original
Kenya has long been known for fantastic athletes, but not so much for entrepreneurs focused on the business of fitness. Kenya-born Saloni Kantaria Mathur ranked No. 1 in Kenyan women’s tennis and studied law in the U.S. before starting an indoor cycling studio in Nairobi. The Reform brand is unmistakably Kenyan and it’s not your average gym experience. Reform integrates live-streamed performance data tech into classes, bringing the competitive instinct into the workout. Mathur shared with AFKInsider what she learned as a female African fitness entrepreneur.
Kurt Davis Jr., 11:03 am AFKI Original
Presidential term limits are a slippery thing. Occasionally they can seem like a good idea. Most of the time, not so much. That’s what makes these five upcoming African elections so riveting. Everyone is watching to see who replaces Liberia’s popular Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — Africa’s first female president. Will it be a former soccer player, or the ex wife of former Liberian President Charles Taylor? He was convicted of aiding crimes against humanity. She’s one of the most powerful woman in Liberian politics. Or it may be a former Coca-Cola executive, a former central bank governor or an attorney.
Kurt Davis Jr., 7:57 am AFKI Original
In cities from Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria to Maputo, Mozambique, gym memberships can be above $100 per month. Africans are paying higher fees than in more mature markets. Zumba classes are abundant, yoga is everywhere, and biking and running are an ever-growing trend in Africa. Putting cash into the facilities for these types of activities is lucrative. Scalability is still a concern but branding across borders and within regions is necessary for growth.
Kurt Davis Jr., 8:15 am AFKI Original
Mozambique had a tough 2016. The country is unable to pay its debt until gas revenues are available after 2021. Public debt is expected to be near 130 percent of GDP by the end of 2016. The IMF continues to help Mozambique negotiate with creditors – a bright spot considering the IMF suspended aid to the country in April after evidence of $2 billion in hidden loans came to light. This “hidden debt” by state-owned firms has destroyed creditors’ trust in Mozambique.
Kurt Davis Jr., 4:29 pm AFKI Original
A sense of what Zimbabwe can expect post-Mugabe. Partnership in the fight against terror for Tunisia. Better strategies combating poverty and HIV in Swaziland. These are just a few of the wishes that a U.S. investment banker visualizes for African countries as the old year winds down and 2016 gives way to 2017.