Markets: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 11:22 am
Islamic finance is in its early stages in Africa but the potential is getting huge attention from financiers on the continent, due in part to the demographic realities of Africa. Muslims account for 40 percent or more of the population in nearly half the countries in Africa. Africa’s infrastructure deficit needs around $90 billion in investment each year for the next 10 years, according to consulting firm EY. Sukuk could be an affordable way for African governments to fill the gap.
Staff, 5:31 pm
In KwaZulu-Natal the strongest activity is along the North Coast from Durban to Ballito — popular among investors. Residential development in upscale areas such as uMhlanga and Sibaya is enormous, prompting converns of oversupply, but home prices are expected to increase. Durban’s North and South Beach areas, including The Point, have increased as popular residential areas, thanks in part to the general upgrade to the Promenade.
Staff, 1:00 am
An investment fund that describes itself as “the first cross-border fund between Africa and France” wants to help French companies expand in Africa and African companies expand into France and other E.U. markets. Investments will be in the form of equity participation, generally through minority stakes. The fund’s capital will targeted towards African startups displaying a high growth potential. Investors include Orange, Bpifrance, Société Générale and Proparco.
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 In many countries, statistics on migration are incomplete, out of date or nonexistent.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 The data may be out of date but it’s the only data we’ve got.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, 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.
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.
Staff, 8:15 am
Blockchain has applications in industries other than financial services, a stakeholder says. Start-ups are already offering products that cover specific use cases. Interest was intense at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa in Cape Town. Most of us do not understand TCP/IP protocol, but that doesn’t stop us from surfing the web and exchanging emails. In the same way, clients will come to trust blockchain the same way they trust the Internet. Organizations starting now on a blockchain journey will have a first-mover advantage.
Global Risk Insights, 12:13 pm
While the world electrification rate is roughly 84 percent, only 19 percent of the sub-Sahara Africa population is connected. The grid is unlikely to expand fast enough to satisfy demand. Pioneering business models relying on pay-as-you-go could push off-grid solar energy to reach 9 million African households by 2020. Despite the early success of off-grid solar energy access through pay-as-you-go payment models, challenges remain.
Dana Sanchez, 11:20 pm
Foreigners have been invited to invest in Ethiopia’s state-owned shipping and logistics company. Will telecommunications and banks be next? Ethiopia is one of the last African countries to have a state monopoly in telecoms. The U.S. hopes to bring its technology, know-how and managerial skills to Ethiopia. The American Chamber of Commerce of Ethiopia was launched in November. “The private sector needs a level playing field that allows fair competition with state-owned enterprises,” a U.S. stakeholder said.
Dana Sanchez, 2:22 pm AFKI Original
Shopping is changing in Africa. Formal retail developers are learning from the failures of malls in developed markets like the U.S., and applying new models to old ideas. African micro enterprises and small businesses will have a greater demand for shared space and flexible office space in the future. New or existing African office developments will need to apply design principles used in innovation labs, incubation centers and flexible work spaces, a stakeholder said.
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