Kurt Davis Jr.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:42 am AFKI Original
When the vote closes on Nov. 8 in the U.S., Ghanaians may realize that they were watching the American version of their election, which will take place in December. The opposition New Patriotic Party, still led by Akufo-Addo, is pushing a narrative centered on the economic trail of tears. He prefers to ask the crowd if their lives have improved in the last eight years, emphasizing the perceived economic woes of President Mahama’s party’s eight years in office.
Kurt Davis Jr., 9:53 am AFKI Original
Critics argue the Trans-Pacific Partnership will cancel out trade benefits that many African countries have under the African Growth and Opportunity Act. Others say TPP is the newer, better AGOA. The next trade agreement between the sub-Saharan African countries and the U.S. as well as Europe should be a better version of TPP. Intra-Africa regional trade still accounts for just 25% of total exports in sub-Sahara. By comparison, European and Asian intra-regional exports are at 70% and 50%. Sub-Sahara still has a way to go.
Kurt Davis Jr., 1:34 pm AFKI Original
African private equity deals fell to $2.5 billion in 2015, compared with $8.1 billion in 2014. Fundraising and transactions are expected to be down further in 2016. It is time to buy for 2017. Market expectations are low in some places, so asset prices are low. Logistics and financial services – going against the past market movement – are huge opportunities if you can buy in at low asset prices and ride the unavoidable African rebound in the next year and beyond.
Kurt Davis Jr., 3:21 pm AFKI Original
Fund managers have struggled in 2016 to raise capital for sub-Saharan Africa-focused natural resource funds. Here’s where having a $1 billion sub-Saharan Africa natural resources fund really helps. In 2017, expect more assets on the market at more reasonable prices. The focus will be on capital management. Expect a buyer’s market. Low M&A value will persist but expect a recovery in volume of deals. Transaction structures will become more complicated. Expect contingencies as buyers and sellers attempt to manage exposure to commodity price volatility.
Kurt Davis Jr., 8:52 am AFKI Original
Many Kenyans worry a crash may be coming. Bubble advocates stress the near-30 percent annual growth rate in real estate since 2011, but occupancy rates are stable and high at 90 percent. Residential housing demand has always outpaced supply, particularly in lower- to middle-income segments of the market. The reality is most housing constructed in Kenya in the last five years is unaffordable to most Kenyans. Less than 10 percent can afford a mortgage. A local land price index shows that land and property returns in Kenya are outperforming treasury bills, bonds and stocks.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:00 am AFKI Original
Under the new law, lending rates will be capped at 4 percentage points above the benchmark central bank rate. The Kenya Bankers Associations criticizes the move as a populist policy, arguing that President Kenyatta has his eye on next year’s election and hopes the cap will boost the economy in the short term. Kenyans supporting the bill are asking the bankers to suggest a better rate if this bill is so bad. Some fear a cap on interest rates brings potentially riskier borrowers into the system.
Kurt Davis Jr., 1:07 pm AFKI Original
After-work teas are becoming after-work beers and glasses of wine in Africa. As incomes grow in sub-Saharan Africa, consumers are demanding better quality wine and spirits – both imported and locally made. “Drink more please” — it’s not the best parenting line but it is the thinking of many top executives at wine and spirit companies. Sub-Saharan Africans drink 10-to-11 liters of beer per person per year. Comparatively, Asians drink about 19-to-20 liters and Americans drink about 73-to-74. Only South Africans drink more than the global average — around 46 liters.
Kurt Davis Jr., 8:24 am AFKI Original
Seychelles Finance Minister Jean Paul Adam isn’t worried. The African island nation, population 90,000, is a top 10 honeymoon destination. It’s not a major economy or a diverse one, relying on tourism and fisheries. But lack of economic diversity leaves the country vulnerable to external shocks. Brexit, a slowing global economy, and weakening economies in other sub-Saharan countries are creating an unexpected tropical storm for this sunny patch of islands. IMF’s 3%-plus growth forecast for Seychelles may fall to 2.5%.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:48 am AFKI Original
Spending on gas projects in 2015 surpassed spending on oil for the first time in North Africa. The serendipitous discovery of gas in sub-Saharan Africa is bewildering to many investors. Discovering gas while searching for oil is like finding gold outside your door when you need cash. The question is how to turn the gold into cash. North Africa could be providing the near-term strategy for sub-Saharan Africa.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:41 am AFKI Original
Zambia’s economy appeared to be improving. The kwacha went from the world’s third worst performing currency in 2015 to the world’s best in 2016. Then Zambia said it wanted an IMF bailout for its ballooning national debt. Creating more uncertainty, the Lungu administration said bailout negotiations only be finalized after the August general election. The incumbent said he will continue bailout discussions. Rival Hichilema may be against the bailout. If bailout talks fail, the markets will send a response to Zambia that will overshadow any election outcome.