Kurt Davis Jr.
Kurt Davis Jr., 11:03 am AFKI Original
Presidential term limits are a slippery thing. Occasionally they can seem like a good idea. Most of the time, not so much. That’s what makes these five upcoming African elections so riveting. Everyone is watching to see who replaces Liberia’s popular Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf — Africa’s first female president. Will it be a former soccer player, or the ex wife of former Liberian President Charles Taylor? He was convicted of aiding crimes against humanity. She’s one of the most powerful woman in Liberian politics. Or it may be a former Coca-Cola executive, a former central bank governor or an attorney.
Kurt Davis Jr., 7:57 am AFKI Original
In cities from Victoria Island in Lagos, Nigeria to Maputo, Mozambique, gym memberships can be above $100 per month. Africans are paying higher fees than in more mature markets. Zumba classes are abundant, yoga is everywhere, and biking and running are an ever-growing trend in Africa. Putting cash into the facilities for these types of activities is lucrative. Scalability is still a concern but branding across borders and within regions is necessary for growth.
Kurt Davis Jr., 8:15 am AFKI Original
Mozambique had a tough 2016. The country is unable to pay its debt until gas revenues are available after 2021. Public debt is expected to be near 130 percent of GDP by the end of 2016. The IMF continues to help Mozambique negotiate with creditors – a bright spot considering the IMF suspended aid to the country in April after evidence of $2 billion in hidden loans came to light. This “hidden debt” by state-owned firms has destroyed creditors’ trust in Mozambique.
Kurt Davis Jr., 4:29 pm AFKI Original
A sense of what Zimbabwe can expect post-Mugabe. Partnership in the fight against terror for Tunisia. Better strategies combating poverty and HIV in Swaziland. These are just a few of the wishes that a U.S. investment banker visualizes for African countries as the old year winds down and 2016 gives way to 2017.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:11 am AFKI Original
It is the end of the year, a time when companies close the books and forecast 2017. As African governments roll out 2017 budgets or budget adjustments, it’s an ideal time to take an early look at the two gigantic problem countries — sub-Saharan Africa’s second- and third-largest economies. A sustained low oil price could all but doom these African budgets and burden their economies. Will debt markets be willing to service Nigeria? President dos Santos said he is prepared to step down — not bad timing. Angola may be the giant taking the hardest punches.
Kurt Davis Jr., 11:34 am AFKI Original
Businessman Trump knows better than anyone that you must have the right friends to survive. Tunisia could be the surprise special relationship. A successful democracy there would boost the fight against terror. Nigeria could go either way with Trump. He wants to help oil in the U.S. This could hurt Nigeria. Political and financial engagement with Egypt, South Sudan, and South Africa will see some rebalancing. Trade that benefits the U.S. is low-hanging fruit for Trump, but how does he view AGOA? He promised to re-evaluate all trade agreements.
Kurt Davis Jr., 12:26 pm AFKI Original
Egypt floated its currency earlier this month. The Egyptian pound dropped nearly 50%. Early signs show increased investment in the country. Despite diverging perspectives on the methodology, most economists buy the long-term upside. If the Egyptian story is any indication of success, letting the naira hit rock bottom on a fully-floated basis will result in greater investment in the country and a recovering naira over time. As one local put it, Nigeria should be able to do this (and many other things) better than Egypt. Maybe this is the opportunity to back up such bold statements.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:10 am AFKI Original
The risk in some sub-Saharan Africa deals can push mezzanine interest rates up between 20-30%. Yet mezzanine finance is a vital opportunity for the SSA financial market. Avoiding equity dilution is a top concern for entrepreneurs and family business owners. Mezzanine finance is a way to do that. If the company is willing to assume more debt to avoid equity dilution, then mezzanine finance is vital. Mezzanine finance is also a vital part of greenfield or brownfield infrastructure, especially power projects.
Kurt Davis Jr., 3:41 pm AFKI Original
Sub-Saharan African banks are late to the party. More than 75% of Africans lack access to traditional banking. Fintech offerings with the most potential are the ones that address the unbanked and underserved. Addressing Africa’s poor is impactful and a money maker, but it’s also time-consuming — something to consider if you want a quick return. Africans may be quick to try a mobile app or technology but end users are not always quick adopters. Here are five sub-Saharan markets with the most opportunities in fintech.
Kurt Davis Jr., 8:49 am AFKI Original
Japan has a favorable rating in many countries. The Chinese have been criticized for executing half-effort projects such as using poor quality materials on roads. China-Africa trade in 2015 amounted to about $180 billion — nearly 7.5 times more than Japan-Africa trade. African leaders are watching and appear willing to benefit from the sociopolitical competition between the two countries. If the numbers grow because of the “race to Africa,” Africa will benefit.