Markets: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 11:07 am AFKI Original
South African media giant Naspers is launching its 18-month-old internet TV service ShowMax in Poland. It plans to provide hyper-local content and original productions rather than trying to compete with expensive shows designed to appeal to audiences worldwide. It’s competing with the much older, bigger, more established U.S. firm Netflix, which launched in 1998. Netflix is also commissioning original content, but it has an overseas problem, one commentator said. “It just doesn’t have the amount of local content that some of the (streaming and pay TV) competitors have.”
Dana Sanchez, 5:34 pm
With its island-building binge, Dubai is a big customer for African sand. So are Africa’s expanding concrete manufacturing giants. For the island project “The Palm Jumeirah,” Dubai used 200 million cubic meters of sand and stone. Some of the sand came from the sea off Dubai’s coast but a large amount came from African beaches. In Cape Verde, one in three people is unemployed. Sand mining is a fast way to earn money. The consequences of excessive sand mining are devastating. On beaches where tortoises once buried their eggs, there is now only dirt and stones.
Dana Sanchez, 2:10 pm
The South African rand lost almost half its value against the U.S. dollar over the past five years as the country struggled through economic crisis. Zuma welcomed the investigation, saying the government is prepared to act against distorted financial markets “to protect our country’s economy.” He said the financial sector needs new players to diversify, and the government plans to establish a state bank. South Africa’s competition watchdog recommends fines of 10% of banks’ annual in-country turnover.
Dana Sanchez, 4:16 pm
The world’s largest furniture and homeware store, Ikea, has collaborated with some of the best designers in seven sub-Sahran African countries to curate its first African collection in what is described as an effort to “democratize design.” Ikea says it wants to tap into the “creative explosion” happening across the continent. The furniture and homeware collection will focus on “modern rituals and the importance they play in the home.” The collection probably won’t be accessible in the African cities that inspired it. Ikea’s only African outlets are in Morocco and Egypt.
Staff, 1:02 pm
It may be surprising to learn that North Korea has long fostered diplomatic, economic and military relations with various African countries. These relations have thrived even after widespread international condemnation following its first nuclear test in 2006. An Africa pivot may be the only option left for the country as China -— its traditional ally — increasingly distances itself. Following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test over the weekend, the U.N. warned members to “redouble efforts” to enforce existing sanctions.
Tom Jackson, 12:35 pm AFKI Original
Despite the hype, profitability is still an unattainable ideal for Nigerian online shopping giants Konga and Jumia. Believers say e-commerce in Africa is “absolutely a long-term play.” They expect the short- and medium-term to be challenging. Players are still working on fast and easy payments and refunds, and trouble-free deliveries and returns. “It takes a long time for consumers to become comfortable shopping online, and it’s hard and expensive to accelerate this,” a stakeholder said. Investors aren’t all put off though. The potential prizes are too great.
Dana Sanchez, 2:34 pm
Supporters of the conflict minerals rule say it successfully held manufacturers accountable for the minerals they source from DRC. Its suspension would “enrich abusive thugs” and could lead to the complete repeal of Dodd-Frank regulations, implemented after the 2007-2009 financial crisis to limit risky practices that caused the U.S. banking crisis. However a U.S.association of manufacturers estimates the law costs U.S. businesses $9-to-$16 billion. This led to the suspension plan by Trump, who campaigned on a pro-business platform.
Dana Sanchez, 2:29 pm
Prices rose even faster than in December, when inflation was 24.3 percent — the highest since January 2011 when the Arab Spring uprising was at its height. Food prices have gone up more than other goods, rising by 38.6 percent year on year. Tourism, one the main sources of foreign currency, has been hit hard by jihadist insurgency. The number of tourists visiting Egypt in 2016 was 46 percent less than 2015. This decline is attributed to Russian and British flights being suspended following the Metrojet flight crash in the Sinai.
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.
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