African Economies Dominate Rankings for the Top 20 Markets
Côte d’Ivoire came first out of 66 countries for having the greatest potential for future growth, according to Standard Chartered’s Trade20 Index. Kenya ranked third and Ghana thirteenth, based on metrics such as economic dynamism, trade readiness and export diversity. Researchers found that while existing trade powers like China and India continue to rapidly improve their trade potential, African countries such as Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire have cemented their positions as East and West African trading hubs from a relatively low starting point. Huge investments in infrastructure, e-commerce and ease of doing business have also started paying off in Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya where the business environment has seen a marked improvement.
SOURCES: AFRICAN BUSINESS MAGAZINE
When the Going Gets Tough, Africans Get Creative
Nigerian digital marketing agency, Wild Fusion has been named
one of the top creative and marketing agencies in the world across 14
industries, according to Clutch, a global rating platform. In its new report,
Clutch highlighted the top-performing digital agencies in different industries
including automotive, business services, dental, e-commerce, education,
financial services, financial technology, healthcare, hospitality, legal,
media, nonprofit, real estate, and retail. Clutch noted that Wild Fusion
“understands the specific needs of the markets they work within”. The
integrated marketing communications agency launched in Nigeria in 2010 and has
expanded to Ghana and Kenya over the years, providing top quality digital
services to an elite clientele.
SOURCES: VENTURES AFRICA
REPORT: The Dirty Footprint of the Broken Grid
The six biggest users of back-up generators are: Nigeria, India,
Iraq, Pakistan, Venezuela, and Bangladesh. In western Africa, private
generators provide the equivalent of 40% of what’s generated by the grid. In
the subregion’s largest economy, Nigeria, the study conservatively estimates
the installed capacity of generators is between 15-20 GW compared with a grid
capacity of 5-15 GW. Overall, the full cost of using generators is estimated to
be between 40 cents to several dollars per kWh particularly for those in the
most remote locations due to logistics and transport expenses. In Sub Saharan
Africa, one out of every five liters of diesel and petrol is used in a back-up
generator. One of the ironies for African countries with poor electricity
supply and heavy generator use is that these petrol and diesel machines are
“substantial contributors to environmental and health burdens.”
SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA
Zimbabwe Backtracks Ban on Mobile Money Services
Zimbabwe’s central bank has lifted its ban on mobile money to cash transactions after three days of public outcry and criticism even as the government continues to struggle to contain the country’s economic crisis. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Monday stopped operators of mobile-money services, the dominant way in which money is moved in the country, from paying out cash. It also tightened the spread at which dealers and bureaux de change can exchange the Zimbabwe dollar to between 3% and 5% from the official rate, down from a 7% spread imposed less than two weeks ago. On September 28 it banned the quoting of prices in foreign currency. Ecocash, a mobile-money service operated by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, has 6.7 million active users in a nation of about 14 million people. It’s the first time since its introduction in 2011 that its users haven’t been able to use the so-called cash-back service. Econet is studying the directive and won’t comment on it yet, spokesman Fungayi Mandiveyi said by text message.
Africa’s Entrepreneurial Spirit
Decent jobs are so scarce in Africa that many people create their own. Surveys by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor find that one in three working-age adults in sub-Saharan Africa either runs a new business or is trying to start one, compared with one in six Americans and one in 20 Germans. In Tanzania informal firms created four-fifths of new non-farm jobs between 2002 and 2012.
SOURCE: THE ECONOMIST
Protecting Kenya’s Small Farmers
Thomas Njeru is a co-founder and the chief financial officer of
Pula, a four-year-old microinsurance firm that serves 1.7 million smallholder
farms of 0.6 acres or less in 10 African countries and India. Pula, based in
Nairobi, Kenya, partners with government agencies and loan providers to cover
the cost of the insurance, which is included in the price of seed and
fertilizer; there is no direct charge to the farmer. Among the coverages Pula
provides is weather index insurance to cover failures of seed germination,
using satellite data to determine whether there has been sufficient rainfall.
Longer-term coverage, called yield index insurance, compensates farmers with
replacement supplies in the event of a poor harvest.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES
Is Zambia Thumb-sucking its Budget Forecast?
Zambian Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu plans to obtain almost 10% of the southern African nation’s total income next year from undisclosed sources, raising concerns about the accuracy and sustainability of government spending plans for 2020. The budget, which Ng’andu presented to lawmakers at the end of September, contains $515 million of “exceptional revenue” that could further stretch the finances of Africa’s second-biggest copper producer if it doesn’t materialize. Government debt has surged from 20% of gross domestic product a decade ago to a projected 91.6% this year, prompting the International Monetary Fund to warn that Zambia is at high risk of debt distress.
Mauritius Launches Plans to Cut Traffic Jams
The railway’s first stage of 13 km inaugurated by Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth will connect Rose Hill, a town in the central part of the island, to the capital Port Louis. When completed, the 26 km (16-mile) route will connect Curepipe, a town in central Mauritius, to the capital Port Louis and comes at a cost of $525 million. It is expected to have 19 stations and four interchanges.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA
Kenya’s Highest-value Banknote Makes Way for a New-look
In June 2019, the Central Bank of Kenya announced that the
1,000-shilling banknote will cease to be legal tender in four months’ time. A
newly designed 1,000-shilling note would go into circulation along with smaller
denominations. Kenya also asked its neighbors, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, not
to allow 1,000-shilling notes, valued at around $9,60. Kenyan authorities said
scrapping the old note would be a way of ending the corruption that has deeply
entrenched in the country. Billions of the high-denomination notes were
suspected to be stashed away by corrupt officials, tax evaders and money
SOURCE: DEUTSCHE WELLE
10 Reasons Why Africa is a Source for Top Tech Talent
Technology is fast growing in Africa and so is tech talent. The
continent is experiencing transformative impact as a result of technology. From
rural Ghana where low income earners are able to buy insurance policies through
their mobile phones to the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, where residents are able
to send and receive money through their mobile phones, technology has become
the order of the day in the continent. Whenever a list of successful tech
startups in the world is mentioned, you never miss two or three that have their
roots in Africa. The continent prides itself in having numerous
successful tech startups that have endured the test of time. Today, some have
been in operation for more than 10 years, providing solutions to some of our
most pressing socio-economic and communications problems. They also thrive by
having a pan-African scope in service delivery. These startups include Ushahidi
founded in Kenya, Instabug in Egypt, RoamSmart in Tunisia, Skyrove in South
Africa, Njorku in Cameroon, Bonglive in Tanzania, among many others.