Markets: Latest News
Staff, 8:48 am
According to the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA), a total of US$6.5 billion has been raised for African PE from 2011 to 2016.
Dana Sanchez, 5:07 pm
Bitcoin surged today above $1,400. Its most recent rise is attributed to strong demand in Japan, where the digital currency is designated legal tender. Most African banks charge 10-to-19% on remittances. Bitcoin has started taking a bite out of the $4B trade from international transfers to Africa, but it’s still moving slowly. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is credited with helping boost the value of bitcoin. The Winklevoss brothers — disputed founders of Facebook — applied to list a proposed bitcoin-tracking exchange-traded fund, and were initially rejected. The SEC is reconsidering.
Peter Pedroncelli, 6:00 am
The number of wealthy South Africans looking to attain U.S. investment visas more than doubled from 2014 to 2015, with many considering the benefits and advantages of having an exit plan during economic and politically unstable times. Recently released data revealed that South African demand for US EB-5 visas, which enable investors in American companies to obtain a green card, increased noticeably since 2014. A U.S. EB-5 visa can be attained by investing at least $1 million (or $500,000 for projects in a “targeted employment zone”) and creating more than 10 full-time jobs in the U.S. within two years.
Ann Brown, 1:20 pm AFKI Original
Two young women hope to unite the Sudans with a digital media model for post-conflict Sudan. Sudanese internet use is robust. Sudan ranked No. 41 out of 201 countries for internet penetration. It has more internet users than Belgium. These entrepreneurs must overcome challenges unheard-of in the west.
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.”
Peter Pedroncelli, 9:29 am
South African Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago believes that the country is still capable of thriving despite being downgraded to junk status by two credit ratings agencies in the past few weeks. President Jacob Zuma upset markets and triggered downgrades from both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings to BB+ after his surprise cabinet reshuffle at the end of March, which included the removal of respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan.
Peter Pedroncelli, 9:33 am
In the interests of reducing inequality and poverty within the African continent in the long-term, and avoiding the growth of populism across Africa, the G20 countries, headed by Germany, are pushing for a plan that will increase private investment and infrastructure development in Africa. Speaking at a forum on global infrastructure at the Inter-American Development Bank in Washington, German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble set forth a proposed scheme that will see various G20 member countries and international lenders partner with African countries in order to attract global investors.
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, 5:34 pm
South African food giant Pioneer said the deal would have created Africa’s largest consumer goods company. The deal was 95 percent finalized when the country’s foreign-currency debt was downgraded to junk by S&P and Fitch. The downgrade followed Zuma’s cabinet reshuffle and removal of Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan. It’s not clear what impact the downgrade will have on M&A in South Africa. With economic conditions expected to worsen, companies could struggle and could go through a period of distressed sales.
Dana Sanchez, 4:53 pm
An IPO today on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange introduced a new option for investors who want to add African exposure to their portfolios. The AMI Big 50 ex-SA ETF offers 50 African blue-chip companies outside South Africa. The IPO is a world first – an ETF offering exposure to a pan-African index that excludes South Africa. “A lot of people do worry about the liquidity risk, but being an ETF means that there is a secondary market on the JSE which allows investors in smaller quantities to trade exposure in and out of Africa,” a stakeholder said. The ETF is managed by Cloud Atlas, which plans to launch two more Africa-focused ETFs by July.
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