Kurt Davis Jr.
Kurt Davis Jr., 12:01 am AFKI Original
African bond investors are laying the rules for 2017 after a tumultuous 2015 and 2016. Senegal’s $1.1 billion Eurobond launch earlier this month establishes the parameters. The offering – more than eight times oversubscribed – demonstrates investors will reward African countries for growth and political stability. But what many African sovereign bond issuers will have to consider is how big yields could become. In some corners of the continent, bankers may start to ask if there will be a penalty for those holding significant undisclosed debts.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:55 am AFKI Original
Many African economies could use an infusion of cash into their agricultural markets at the exchange entry point. Liquidity is vital to further stimulate market activity in Africa, especially in the agriculture sector, where 70 percent of Africans make a living. Many African countries do not have agricultural commodity exchanges (or any active trading market) and effectively lack the liquidity and incentive to spur more cash inflow and investors into the sector.
Kurt Davis Jr., 5:03 pm AFKI Original
The story line in 2017 is buy undervalued assets, especially those with massive upside — no surprise. The surprise, however, may be looking for that opportunity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Kabila is still in power despite his term of office ending. Mineral prices have been low and hurt local mining companies. Budget cuts are a big topic in local politics. The DRC, like one or two other countries on this list, is worrisome on the surface. But there are opportunities in the government’s desire to strengthen private-sector investment.
Kurt Davis Jr., 2:00 am AFKI Original
Short-term volatility and uncertainty in the African growth story create opportunities for hedge funds. Hedge funds generally operate more flexibly than private equity, and they have the creativity to generate bond-like returns that outpace inflation. Critics say hedge funds have limited liquidity in an opaque world. The riskiest play — but with big returns — is in agriculture and land. Where land is for sale in Africa, investors are making a play for a limited resource, especially when it’s arable, ripe for production or ideal for commercial and residential construction.
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.
Kurt Davis Jr., 2:33 pm AFKI Original
Investors are strategically betting on the upside in Francophone Africa due to strong economic growth rates and a stable CFA franc. Lusophone Africa also presents opportunity. Low assets prices have replaced the exorbitant numbers of the oil-and-gas heyday, particularly in Angola and Mozambique. Debt restructuring can restore some confidence in Mozambique’s economic system. Private investors are finding a government more willing to deal on better terms, and companies that are pricing assets at fairly digestible prices.
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.
Kurt Davis Jr., 11:08 am AFKI Original
The economic downturn did little to stifle demand for African real estate. Some of the biggest returns and opportunities exist in rental properties, from beachfront getaways to hidden villas. Affordable housing is a major challenge for governments. Private investment is seen as a solution. Developers, private investors, and ordinary people can play a role in addressing the construction gap in the real estate sector and make a good return while doing so.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:24 am AFKI Original
Mauritania requires no royalty payments, which is not the norm. This is a benefit for oil, gas and mining explorers anxious about paying royalties when commodity prices are unpredictable. Mauritania’s corporate income tax rate is relatively low at 25% — a plus in a region where the tax and fiscal systems can change any investor’s outlook on risk and reward. Large government irrigation projects have aided agricultural production in the desert. Israeli technology and cropping strategies have had some success in other parts of Africa. There is potential here, but it requires investment in technology — not always a priority in agriculture.