Business: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 4:55 pm
In Burundi, where just 5% of people have electricity, a new 7.5-megawatt solar power plant is under construction. It’s expected to add 15% power generation capacity to the East African country. The groundbreaking was held Thursday in Mubuga. The solar plant will be built on 42 acres, 65 miles from the capital of Bujumbura. Mubuga has never had electricity and is 6.8 miles away from the power grid. Its residents have depended on candles, lanterns, firewood and charcoal since time immemorial.
Staff, 2:46 pm
Exclusively a South African gold producer until September 2015, JSE-listed Sibanye Gold is set to become the world’s fourth-biggest platinum and third-largest palladium producer. Sibanye hopes to acquire Montana-based Stillwater Mining for $2.2 billion. If completed, the acquisition will further dilute Sibanye’s portfolio. Sibanye began its expansion in 2016 with the purchase of platinum mines in Southern Africa. The Stillwater deal is in a whole other league. It’s much more valuable and involves mines far from Sibanye’s home country.
Staff, 12:17 pm
Nigeria should be witnessing major investment into its commercial property industry, given its large economy relative to the rest of the continent, its population, which is more than 184 million people and its general development potential. Yet its reliance on oil and its volatile currency had hindered investment. South African investment groups invested in Eastern Europe at the expense of opportunities closer to home, to the tune of around $1.5 billion in 2016. This was more than the total investment volumes recorded in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana for the past five years or so.
Dana Sanchez, 6:42 pm AFKI Original
Large numbers of Chinese migrants have followed the money to Africa, but no one really knows how many — not even close. Estimates range from 250,000 to 2 million. Experts say informed guesses are anything from speculative to “very problematic.” It’s a problem because inaccurate claims about the Chinese migrant population can contribute to xenophobic election rhetoric and violence, says a migration researcher. In many countries, statistics on migration are incomplete, out of date or nonexistent. “Statistics are political,” a stakeholder said. The data may be out of date but it’s the only data we’ve got.
Dana Sanchez, 1:15 pm
Tourism has been the fastest-growing sector of The Gambia’s economy until now, accounting for 18-to-20% of the country’s revenue. The country, population about 2 million, is marketed to vacationers as “the smiling coast of West Africa.” In the wake of the current political unrest, tourism revenue will likely fall 50%, a stakeholder said. The sector will have to rebuilt just as it was after the 1994 coup that brought longtime ruler Yahya Jammeh to power. “I feel sorry for everybody here,” an evacuating Brit said. “It’s going to take years for tourism to pick up again.”
Ann Brown, 9:41 am AFKI Original
Graduating from art school with honors is no guarantee you’ll make it as an artist in Africa or anywhere else. Nigerian painter Oresegun Olumide beat the odds, amazing the world with oil paintings so realistic, they look like photos. Using the people of his Lagos community as subjects, his social media posts go viral. He wants African governments to provide more structure for showcasing African arts heritage to the world. Nigerian society doesn’t accept art and artists well, he said. It is not a priority. “Artists can bring to life the history of Africa through painting. We can tell Africa’s story but we need funding to do so.”
Dana Sanchez, 1:43 pm AFKI Original
Barack Obama’s 2008 election as U.S. president inspired millions of Africans with hopes that strong ties to Kenya, country of his father’s birth, would mean increased U.S. involvement. Some believe Obama will leave office Jan. 20, 2017, falling short of those expectations. He has been blamed for not making African issues a top priority of his foreign policy. Others say he leaves a lasting legacy that will live on — especially in Africa’s young leaders.
Dana Sanchez, 5:02 pm
In a sign that local credit ratings are becoming more lucrative in Africa, U.S. buyout firm Carlyle agreed to become the largest shareholder in Africa’s largest rating agency. GCR rates more credits on the continent than giants Fitch, Moody’s and S&P. Growth is constrained in the present credit ratings system, said the president of the BRICS New Development Bank. The Big 3 rate over 90% of the global sovereign ratings market. GCR specializes in national-level ratings, which rely less on a country’s sovereign rating.
Dana Sanchez, 1:55 pm
The African tech space is not immune to the economic pressures faced by other sectors, but it is proving resilient. Significantly more African tech startups raised funding in 2016 than the previous year, but the overall amount of recorded funds declined, according to a new report. Fintech startups were the winning sector, receiving the most investor funding in Africa in 2016. The economic downturn played a part in that. Fintech in Africa is different, a stakeholder said. It’s building new infrastructure rather than disrupting an existing one.
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.
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