Kurt Davis Jr.
Kurt Davis Jr., 9:29 pm AFKI Original
Mozambique, the economic darling of 2014 and 2015, is facing a perfect storm of problems — some self created. Political tensions are at their highest since the lead-up to the October 2014 presidential election. Sporadic attacks on road transport and other infrastructure in central Mozambique have fueled growing fears of instability. This has influenced international decision makers and weighed heavily on foreign investment. The government may not be to blame for everything, but frustration with the country’s debt is definitely a government problem.
Kurt Davis Jr., 3:52 pm AFKI Original
Her quick rise to the top cracks the glass ceiling of Africa’s male-dominated business world. Critics say she’s privileged, but what about the Bushes, Clintons and Kennedys? She’s accused of pilfering state funds but the movement of money between family members does not establish corruption in the system. Funds may be owed. If allegations of money laundering are confirmed, particularly within Sonangol, analysts will change their views on Isabel.
Kurt Davis Jr., 12:36 am AFKI Original
Overexploitation is the story of a new crisis in Africa — the quick depletion of Africa’s coastal fisheries. At its heart is illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. This is the case with up to a half of West Africa’s fish catch. A regional registry of fishing vessels should be established. The Port State Measures Agreement’s basic principal is simple: If ports where fish are landed are the checkpoints for the fishing industry, then it more difficult to find a port-side buyer for illegally caught fish.
Kurt Davis Jr., 9:20 am AFKI Original
Ghana’s status as an electricity exporter encourages private investment. Most rural districts are connected to the national electricity grid, making Ghana a leader in transmission and turning the focus to generation. Expect the private sector to supply more power than the current 53%. To support investor participation, Ethiopia liberalized the energy sector. Investors would be smart to diversify beyond hydro in Ethiopia. Some investors say Ethiopia has potential to become a major geothermal producer.
Kurt Davis Jr., 12:35 pm AFKI Original
Competing consumer and developer interests are finding middle ground in some African countries and striking out in others. Low energy prices are the most desirable political outcome, but investment slows or is avoided altogether below a certain price threshold. Short term, coal will remain a vital part of African power generation. But the potential for investing in Africa’s renewable energy market shouldn’t be ignored.
Kurt Davis Jr., 6:00 am AFKI Original
Statistics suggest fertile ground for a regional boom in African insurance industries. Insurance companies have historically focused on South Africa, one of Africa’s most mature financial markets. Life insurance premiums there accounted for 90% of the African total in 2013. Fast growth, however, is changing the balance. Ghana and Kenya have already expanded the market, reducing South Africa’s market share. New consumers are forcing change in African insurance. Distribution through brokers and brick-and-mortar banks are inefficient ways to reach lower-income populations.
Kurt Davis Jr., 8:45 am AFKI Original
South African commodities will likely feel more pain in the second half of 2016. Some argue that a potential sale of Barclays Africa is influenced by the significant drop in its value relative to the rand and the subsequent effect on the JSE. Customers in Africa, at the end of the day, all want better access to financial services. Banks must be efficient, competitive and reduce cost to retail customers in mature and immature markets. That would benefit the entire continent, not simply Southern Africa.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:50 am AFKI Original
East Africa has depended on economic diversity and local entrepreneurship to keep the economic pace in the past decade. The East African Community accordingly will expand faster than its peers. Lower import bills, less currency volatility and comparatively more foreign investment will bode well for the region’s growth and performance. It is hard to ignore how the integral parts of the system – the banks – do not benefit from that prognosis.
Kurt Davis Jr., 3:58 pm AFKI Original
The commodities downturn and slowing growth instill fear in some investors. But the underlying fundamentals of West Africa and Central Africa are positive. Nearly a third of adults in West Africa have a bank account. Throw in a very young population — 44% of West and Central Africa is 14 years old or younger. Mobile banking becomes a massive opportunity if you digest these demographics in the long term. The commodity decline is changing the Africa rising story. The financial services sector deserves not to be wrapped up in the anxiety.
Kurt Davis Jr., 11:32 am AFKI Original
South Africa is the confounding country on this list. Its public-private partnership environment has a good track record of successful projects. Yet the country’s political and economic volatility raise concerns. Still, South Africa is fundamentally very strong and can easily rebound. A system usually wins out when it has clear-cut procurement and bid processes, disclosure and audit mechanisms, a bidder scoring process and a strong regulatory environment. The 1 percent real GDP will pass.