Tag Archives: Africa
Africa: Latest News
Ann Brown, 1:20 pm AFKI Original
Two young women hope to unite Sudan and South Sudan with an online magazine that fills the gap in independent digital cultural news. They say theirs is a digital media model for post-conflict Sudan. Sudanese internet use is robust. Sudan ranked No. 41 out of 201 countries for internet penetration in a 2016 estimate. It has more internet users than Belgium, Sweden, U.A.E. or Greece. These entrepreneurs must overcome challenges unheard-of in the west, like governments that can barely provide official permits and little in the way of sector guidelines or research.
Tom Jackson, 1:00 am AFKI Original
South African startups were the most popular in Africa for investment in 2016, with Cape Town and Johannesburg establishing themselves as hubs. Junk status could have a serious impact on this. Michael Jordaan, former CEO of South Africa’s First National Bank, is now an investor in innovative tech startups. The ratings downgrade is bad news for the economy as a whole but startups will be less affected than larger firms, he told AFKInsider. “Startups need to dominate a niche at first and in this sense the macro economy is a very small factor,” he said. “Startups should take comfort that they will survive and thrive if they keep their customers happy.”
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.
Staff, 3:59 pm
Wind and solar power in Africa are short-term solutions that cannot fix serious, immediate problems. African cities need abundant, reliable electricity, and they need it now. Wind and solar do not equal real economic development or really improved living standards. African governments need to stand up to Europeans, global banks and environmentalists who oppose big power plants in Africa. Our leaders need to remember that Europe and the U.S. did not have a World Bank or other outside help when they modernized and industrialized. They did it themselves.
Staff, 2:42 pm
Huarong Zhang is chairman of Huajian Group, whose Chinese factories make shoes for Ivanka Trump, Nine West, Michael Kors and other Western brands. This week, Zhang brokered a $ 1.5 billion deal with the Nigerian government to build a shoe factory Nigeria. Huajian already has a shoe factory in Ethiopia manufacturing more than 2,000 pairs of shoes a day that are exported to the U.S. and European markets. Huajian produces 12 million pairs of shoes a year, mostly high-end brands for European and U.S. markets. They typically sell for at least $100 a pair in the U.S.
Tom Jackson, 12:36 pm AFKI Original
Across Africa, banks are choosing to work with startups rather than compete against them. Citibank has run mobile challenges in Nairobi, Standard Bank has incubators in South Africa, and Barclays has just selected its second cohort in its Cape Town-based accelerator. Fintech startups are reimagining the concept, delivery and consumption of financial services in ways banks have been unable. However, such companies lack the financial clout and access to customers to ensure mass uptake of their solutions. Banks can offer them this.
Dana Sanchez, 9:40 pm
Mastercard hopes to roll out fingerprint payment cards globally by the end of 2017. South Africans’ willingness to try new technology and their familiarity with using biometrics for identification made the country an ideal market to test the payment cards. They’ll work with any card terminal around the world that accepts embedded chip technology. In the U.S., embedded chips are increasingly popular. Regulations make merchants and financial institutions liable for breaches resulting from a lack of support for chip-and-pin cards. Some merchants won’t have to get new equipment to accept fingerprint-enabled cards.
Staff, 8:36 pm
Pension funds are good news for infrastructure projects in Africa. Development banks and private equity funds are targeting pension funds in Africa as sources of investment capital. Four African countries hold 90 percent of Africa’s pension fund assets. Despite challenges, African pension funds are likely to make a substantial impact on infrastructure investment in the next few years. One promising trend is the rise of regional funds targeting pensions. They’re making a new source of African capital available to address the region’s infrastructure deficit.
Staff, 1:00 am
By moving manufacturing to Ethiopia, Chinese textile companies are moving closer to their raw material base, the cotton-producing countries. This is part of their value chain repositioning, a strategy most Chinese companies are adopting. They’re are also using Africa as a gateway to emerging markets on and off the continent. Products made in Ethiopia can be exported duty- and quota free to the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The same benefits apply to the E.U. Ethiopia also offers cheap electricity at US$0.04 cents per kilowatt hour. It’s now the second-largest electricity producer in sub-Sahara due to its hydropower dams.
Staff, 12:01 am
The fall in African private equity investment in 2016 could be a short-term blip. Among the losers was US-based Carlyle, one of the world’s winningest investment firms. Carlyle invested $147m in Nigeria’s Diamond Bank in 2014. The bank’s market cap fell by 90% over the subsequent two years. Bob Geldof’s PE firm 8 Miles just invested in Blue Skies, a British fruit firm that operates in Africa. Utilities including telecoms were the most popular target for private equity investment in 2016. West Africa was the most active region.
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