South African Mining: A Path to Growth
McKinsey research finds that 47 percent of South African mining jobs, along with 42 percent of revenues, are in the vulnerable bottom quartile of global cost competitiveness. Global trends, such as the transition to clean energy and a shift in China’s economic focus away from infrastructure development to new technologies, could dampen demand for South African mining commodities in the years ahead. Mining companies can drive real gains in productivity within the space of a few years if they step up technology adoption and improve key dimensions of organizational health such as employee motivation and the work environment. Given that the life of a mine can extend to 30 years or more, mining is an important driver of long-term investment. A renewed mining industry can once again be a primary engine of growth, job creation, and development for South Africa.
In Year of Elections, Will African Countries Get the Investor Vote?
The world, including investors, will keep a close eye on the various national elections to be held in Africa this year. The lead up and aftermath of national polls usually comes with uncertainty, something which investors tend to avoid if possible. At a country level, investors are looking for stability, certainty and how elections may impact this and their ability to exit. At a global level, investors looks at how financial market volatility, trade tensions and geopolitical factors could affect any investment. Governments, corporates and investors working together with a long term, holistic view could open up investment opportunities that have far-reaching positive impacts across the continent.
Battle for U.S. Skies – Ethiopian Airlines Ups the Stakes
Africa’s leading carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, has upped the competition for the US market, with this week’s announcement that it will introduce three-times-a-week flights to the JFK Intn’l Airport in New York, and add to its flights the city’s Newark International Airport. Ethiopian said on Tuesday that it was restructuring its network, opening new destinations, adding frequencies and shifting gateways as it seeks to offer passengers travelling between Africa and the US the best possible connectivity and the shortest routes. The Addis Ababa-based carrier, like Kenya Airways, is deploying the Boeing 787 Dreamliner to its US routes.
SOURCES: The East African
Politics Hinders Ramaphosa’s Bid to Rouse SA Economy
Politics is tying the hands of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa as he weighs policy trade-offs needed to rejuvenate a moribund economy. While Ramaphosa’s ascent to power initially boosted confidence and the rand after repeated policy missteps during the almost nine years Zuma was in charge, indexes tracking sentiment have retreated as reforms fell short of businesses’ expectations. The government’s decision to entertain the option of seizing land without compensation has been particularly damaging, even though it could help the ANC win over voters who may have backed the populist Economic Freedom Fighters in May elections.
Ivory Coast ex-President Gbagbo Released to Belgium After Acquittal
An ICC spokeswoman said Mr Gbagbo was now on conditional release in Belgium, pending a possible appeal. The former leader was charged with crimes against humanity following a disputed 2010 election that left 3,000 people dead and 500,000 displaced. He was the first former head of state to stand trial at the ICC. The violence in Ivory Coast, the world’s biggest cocoa producer, came after Mr Gbagbo refused to accept that he had lost a disputed election run-off to his rival Alassane Ouattara. Court records show judges thought there was “insufficient evidence” to convict Mr Gbagbo of crimes against humanity.
Understanding Yellow Fever
Endemic in tropical areas of Africa and Central and South America, yellow fever is an acute viral haemorrhagic disease spread by the bite of infected female mosquitoes. The ‘yellow’ in the name refers to the jaundice that affects some patients. Symptoms of yellow fever include fever, headache, jaundice, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting and fatigue. The recent outbreak of yellow fever in Nigeria has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the USA to issue a Level 1 Travel Alert (Practise Usual Precautions), saying that “Travellers going to Nigeria should receive vaccination against yellow fever at least 10 days before travel and should take steps to prevent mosquito bites while there”.
Surviving Gender Based Violence in Uganda
A World Bank-financed project supports and empowers survivors of sexual violence through girls’ clubs in the Kamwenge and Kabarole districts of Uganda. The Supporting Children’s Opportunities through Protection and Empowerment Project offers life skills and business training, as well as access to health care and legal aid. More than 1,000 adolescents at risk for sexual violence have been reached through the girls’ club and activities. Randomized trials over a two-year period showed that teenage pregnancy rates decreased by 20% to 25% in villages with an ELA program, compared to a control sample from similarly situated villages without one. The girl’s clubs in Uganda are off to a promising start, said Antony Thompson, World Bank Country Manager for Uganda.
SOURCES: The World Bank
African Coffee Producers Pivoting to Avocados
The taste for avocado has globalized. Avocados may have originated in South America, but it is Africa that is cashing in on the world’s love of avocados. In 2017, Kenya overtook South Africa as Africa’s largest avocado exporter. Before the leap, South Africa was fourth after Peru, Chile and California as the world’s exporters of the popular Hass avocados. Kenya’s coffee farmers caught on, and switched to avocados, making 10 times as much as they did from coffee. Avocados now make up 17% of Kenya’s horticultural exports, according to the International Trade Center. This week, one of Tanzania’s largest avocado growers, Africado, announced that it had secured 2.5 million euros ($2.8 million) to scale up its business.
Zambia Mine Marginalization Case Highlights Africa-Wide Issue
Zambia’s profitable copper mining industry is making its citizens poor, an explosive new report by a southern African research organization says. The report by Southern Africa Resource Watch examined conditions in the community around one mine in northwestern Zambia, where they say they found the vast wealth is not being spread to the surrounding community. And this situation, they say, is a tale told across mineral-rich communities in Africa. But the nation’s mining minister, Richard Musukwa, painted a rosier picture. He spoke from the sidelines of the Mining Indaba. “The effect of the mining industry on Zambia and its communities has been overwhelmingly positive,” says Musukwa. “It has brought jobs, growth, education and infrastructure development. Where there is wrongdoings, breaches of regulation or abuse of the Zambian people and unsafe mining methods, this government will actively and immediately intervene to ensure that the lives of our people are guaranteed.”
Raised in West Africa, Brewed in D.C.
In 2012, two friends originally from West Africa and now living in Washington, D.C., noticed something about their local beer market: an absence of imported African beers. Seeing this as a challenge, Kofi Meroe and Amado Carsky started home-brewing together, incorporating techniques and the unique flavors they knew growing up. The result? Sankofa Beer Company, which looks to bring influences from the mother continent to craft beer in the U.S., via a brewing environment that reminds the pair of home. “Whether it be the ingredients or the inspiration, we want to bring West Africa to the beer conversation,” Carsky explains. The company is named after the Sankofa bird, an African symbol from the Ashanti/Akan people in Ghana that means in order to ensure a strong future you must return to collect and understand your past.