19 November 2011

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is offering funding up to $1.5 mil for innovative business ideas

The Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) is inviting private sector companies to compete for investment support for their new and innovative business ideas. The AECF makes matching grants or soft loan funding of up to US$1.5 million available to projects and business ideas with the greatest rate of return against its objectives.
The AECF has recently launched three new competitions that are open until 15 December 2011. The competitions were launched with funding from the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). The fund manager of the AECF is KPMG Development Advisory Services.


1. Renewable Energy and Adaptation to Climate Technologies Window Round 2 (REACT R2)

The REACT R2 competition will support business ideas in renewable energy, adaptation to climate technologies, and applications from financial institutions that wish to expand their lending in these areas. There is no restriction on where the applicant company is from, only that the projects must be implemented in one or more of the 5 countries in the East African Community. Applications related to adaptation to climate change technologies are particularly welcome in this round.

2. AECF Agribusiness Africa Window (AECF AAW)

The Agribusiness Africa Window is a competition open to agribusiness ideas (broadly defined) from across the continent of Africa. It will support business ideas across the whole agricultural value chain (production, processing, input supplies, logistics, etc) as well as rural finance, information and other service sectors associated with agribusiness and rural enterprise. AECF AAW will co-fund successful applicants with grants and repayable grants of between US$250,000 to US$1.5 million. Special consideration will be given to projects implemented in DFID focus countries.

3. AECF South Sudan Window (AECF SSW)

The South Sudan Window will support business ideas in agribusiness, associated service sectors and value chains which extend from the Republic of South Sudan to local and international markets. The criterion on project size has been adjusted to US$100,000 minimum and US$1.5 million maximum to attract more small and medium sized businesses.


What is the AECF?

The AECF is a US$120 million private sector fund, backed by some of the biggest names in development finance and hosted by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Since its inception in June 2008, the AECF has grown from strength to strength. To date the AECF has run 11 funding rounds and are now managing 52 projects, with an additional 32 projects approved for funding. What started out as a US$36 million fund is now at US$120 million and still growing!

How does my business apply?

From the AECF website (www.aecfafrica.org), you need to download the application form and submit it to the AECF before the deadline – it is easy to complete and only requires an outline description of your company and your project.

How are successful proposals selected?

All proposals submitted will be screened and the best will be shortlisted and forwarded to the AECF’s independent Investment Committee. Commercially viable proposals that are considered to have the greatest positive impact on the rural poor in Africa will be invited to present a detailed business plan. The final selection of business ideas will then be made.

Does my company have to contribute?

Yes. Your company must provide matching funds equal to, or greater than, 50% of the total cost of the project. The AECF aims to leverage its funds and applications from companies providing a greater percentage of the funds for the project from their own resources will be treated more favourably, all other things being equal. Similarly, those projects with a greater repayable grant percentage will have a greater chance of winning.


Contact Details

For more information please send an email to info@aecfafrica.org, or visit our website at www.aecfafrica.org

27 September 2011

Africa and Asia could become the epicentre of the global economy

Developed economies had for long been regarded as immune to major breakdown. We now know differently. Decades of structural challenges, coupled with poor financial controls and sheer human greed, have left Europe and America with, as Harvard economist Dani Rodrik rightly puts it, “debilitating challenges”.

That’s bad news for the citizens of developed countries. And, yes, the crisis poses challenges for Africa, too. However, the challenges now faced by developed economies also present a unique opportunity to close the gap between developing and developed economies. Rodrik says of Europe and America’s fragile recovery: “In such an environment, rapid growth in the developing world is the only thing that could propel the world economy forward and generate increasing demand for rich-country goods and services – the only silver lining in an otherwise dreary future.”

I agree with Rodrik. Africa and Asia have the potential to become the epicentre of the global economy. That moment in economic history is now. Our immediate aim must be to fully unlock that potential and turn it into historic outcomes.

The questions we must now pose ourselves are the following: what are the drivers of unprecedented growth in Africa and Asia? And, perhaps more importantly, what must Africa and Asia do, immediately, to capitalise on this historic opportunity to converge on developed economies?

The central thought I want to build a case for is that global economic power is shifting, albeit slowly, from Europe and North America to Africa and Asia.

Africa and Asia have already learnt the important lessons of the debt and financial crises of the 1970s, 80s and 90s. African and Asian economies learnt, through bitter experience, the importance of sound macroeconomic management. They also came to appreciate that the state and the market needed to work in partnership, and that the liberalisation of capital accounts and markets was not a panacea for growth.

But, more is required of Africa and Asia in order to sustain growth levels in the future, and it is worth exploring what else, beyond the conventional wisdom, might ensure that Africa and Asia become the dominant players in the world economy, soon.

So what are the big, little-known truths, about Africa and Asia?

Fifty years ago most of Asia was at least as poor as Africa. South Korea had the same income level per capita as Sudan and Ghana’s citizens were richer than virtually all the Asians. As recently as 1982, average per capita income (PPP basis) in developing Asia was less than half that of Africa, but by 2008 Asia’s per capita income was double that of Africa. Put another way, in the last 20 years per capita incomes in Africa have slightly more than doubled, while incomes in developing Asia have jumped by nearly 11-fold.

China in particular has achieved what no country in history has done, doubling per capita incomes every 10 years over a period of 30 years. Through concerted leadership, China is transforming from a rural to a manufacturing economy which has meant that over a period of approximately 25 years, roughly 600 million people were lifted out of poverty. This meant a decline in poverty rates from 85% to 15%.

Whereas, currently, Africa accounts for just 2% of global GDP and Asia a further 25%, by 2050 Africa’s contribution will have risen to around 5% and Asia’s to an astonishing 50% so together they will account for well over half of global GDP. Over the next five years Africa is likely to take the lead with the highest average growth rates and will become the fastest growing continent.

This trajectory stays the same even if we take a slightly longer term view. Over the next decade, for example, many economists are forecasting that Africa will grow at an average of 7% per year, thereby maintaining its position as the most rapidly growing continent.

It is natural, of course, to wonder what the sources of these growth forecasts are. OECD countries, for example, have never achieved these average levels of growth for even a five-year period, let alone sustained over a number of decades. This fact alone points to deep differences in the sources of growth. It is critical, for precisely this reason, that we be wary of cutting and pasting solutions from one region of the world to other regions without taking full cognisance of structural differences. Indeed, even talk about “Africa” and “Asia” belies the reality that different economies within these regions themselves differ in salient respects.

Part of the growth spurt is, nonetheless, linked to significant general differences between Africa and Asia, on the one hand, and Europe and North America, on the other.

Some of the differences include Africa’s demographic transformation – the doubling of the population in the coming decades, rapid urbanisation and a youth bulge; the extent of arable land on the continent; and the extensive and accessible commodities which, in turn, create significant manufacturing, trade and investment opportunities.

Of course, even the demographic transformation is a double-edged sword. On the positive side, a growing population implies greater demand for goods and services which, in turn, translate into increased economic opportunity and activity.

Beyond the economic benefits of increased consumption, there are also benefits for various industries that flow naturally from this demographic transformation. In countries such as Angola, for example, the construction industry is in boom because the reality of rapid urbanisation is, precisely, that new infrastructure must be built.

Africa’s demographic trends count powerfully in favour of sustained growth. Africa’s workforce will become the world’s largest by 2040. Already, there are over 500 million people of working age, and there will be over 1.1 billion by 2040. Africa is in the position to reap the demographic dividend of a bulging youth population, at a time when all other regions, and not least Europe, are entering a period of dramatically increasing dependency ratios.

There are, fortunately, already positive signs of human potential in many developing countries being successfully harnessed to achieve demonstrable economic output. The number of engineers that are produced in India, for example, leave Europe and North America with little hope of successfully competing with India for scarce engineering talent.

What we need, however, is for the human potential of all the citizens of Africa and Asia to be similarly developed. Pockets of excellence are worthy of praise. But they must be replicated across the regions.

The point to be taken to heart is a strategic one: an educated, healthy, highly skilled and self-sufficient workforce must be the foundation of an emerging markets success story.

Education is critical. Health is critical. Partnership between governments, civil society and the private sector, glued together by a mutually beneficial vision of an alternative reality for Africa and Asia, is crucial.

So, Africa’s and Asia’s demographic transformations, if exploited with appropriate policy interventions, can indeed be the catalyst for bringing about the growth forecasts I started this article with. Africa’s GDP is approaching $2 trillion, larger than Brazil’s, with its consumers spending around $900 billion per year. Within 10 years, around 2020, its GDP will have grown by a further trillion, consumer spending will be close to $1.5 trillion and the population will be well over 1.5 billion.

These changes will be effected across multiple parts of the economy. The four groups of industries which together will be worth over $2.5 trillion in annual revenues in Africa are:

consumer facing industries (retail, telecommunications, banking),

infrastructure-related industries,

agriculture, and

mining and minerals.

22 September 2011

Tanzania to Export Rare Earth Mineral

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania — Tanzania is set to venture to export a rare earth, bastnaesite, following the discovery of a wide zone of the rare earth of the low grade earth material used mainly in the production of hi-tec products

The rare earth mineral has been discovered in the course of drilling done by a Canadian firm, Montero Mining and Exploration Ltd, at the Tumbili target at the Wigu Hill Rare Earth Project some 170 km south-west of Dar es Salaam city, and 68 km south of Morogoro.
According to the Minister for Energy and Minerals Resources, William Ngeleja, said the discovery shows Tanzania has huge potential for mining, and urged small Tanzanian miners to venture into the exploitation of such rare minerals.

"The Government will look for ways and means to help small miners around Wigu Hill to access the deposits according to the laws of the land," said the Minister.

He said that the Wigu Hill's first competitive advantage is that it is simple carbon material, unlike many rare earths which are found in deposits that are complicated by radioactive materials or silica, creating all kinds of processing, and costs.
Mr Tony Harwood, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Montero Mining and Exploration Limited told The East African Business Week in Dar es Salaam that the completion of a 1,525m drilling program at the Tumbili target on the South East side of Wigu Hill carbonatite complex and the discovery of a broader zone of mineralized carbonatite breccias will now map Tanzania among the Rare Earth producers in the world.

He said at present China produces 97 % of world supply of Rare Earth Elements (REE's), and due to the 21st Century technological progress and environmentally sustainable development associated with the rising prices of REE's and China's control over export quotas, it is becoming imperative that the rest of the world develops new rare earth resources to meet the increasing demand from 'green technology.'

Demand for rare earth metals is likely to rise by 48% due to digital revolution and popular hi-tech products such as iPods and smartphones.


(Meeting point for serious business between India & Africa)

The 2nd Africa-India Forum Summit which was held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in May 2011 set the stage for dynamic and vigorous engagement between India and Africa. In 2010, bilateral trade stood at US$46 billion; this is expected to reach US$70 billion by 2015. The resilience exhibited by the African and Indian economies during the recent financial crisis has strengthened the belief that this partnership holds great promise for the future. Africa’s economy has expanded by 4.7% in 2010 and is expected to grow at more than 5% in the coming years. The Indian economy, on the other hand, grew at 8.6% in 2010-11 and is projected to grow at 8.2% in 2011-12.

Government of India

12-13 October 2011, Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad

India-Africa Business Partnership Summit provides the much needed platform to businessmen and policy makers on both the sides. Continuing with its endeavor of spearheading a comprehensive economic engagement between Indian and African economies, FICCI, with the support of Ministry of Commerce and Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India is organizing India-Africa Business Partnership Summit on 12-13 October, 2011 at Hyderabad International Convention Centre, Hyderabad.

The business summit would bring together the stakeholders like Ministers, CEOs, Managing Directors, Heads of Department of various corporate, Independent Consultants and many more, of the select priority sectors, from the economies of Africa and India at a common platform to share and showcase business opportunities for Indian and African companies.

Summit highlights:

• Two day international conference with specific sectoral round tables to gain insights into the African and Indian markets

• Two day exhibition to showcase the leading players in the identified sectors

• One to one business meetings with the captains of industry and visiting government officials for trade, investments and joint ventures

• Unit visits of the identified visiting delegates to your facilities on mutual consent and interest could also be organized (at own your own cost)

Focus sectors:

• Healthcare & Pharmaceuticals

• Information & Communication Technology (ICT)

• Power

• Agri-food & Allied Services

• Mining

• Infrastructure (Roads & Railways, Housing & Construction and Transportation)

Why should you attend?

• Meet the who’s who of the identified sectors from Africa and India

• Explore the trade, investment, joint venture and project export opportunities

• Information on African industry from profound experts

• Showcase the potential of your organization

• Exclusive B2B meetings

Who should attend?

• CEOs

• Managing Directors

• Head of International Business Development

• Consultants

• Project Developers

• Legal Advisors

• Head of Procurement

• Head of Logistics

• Chief Planning Managers

• Chief Engineers

• Project Managers

• IT Managers

• Township Planners

• Chief of Civil Institutions

• Infrastructure Managers

• Business Development Directors

• Investors

• Sectoral Nodal Institutions


• Ministers/ Senior Government officials/ Key decision makers from the identified sectors

• Leading private and public sector companies

• Investors

• Procurement Agencies & Regulators

• Regional bodies

• Multilateral Funding Agencies

• Financial Institutions

• Manufacturers & Service Providers

• Importers and Exporters

• Technology & Equipment Providers

• Institutions & Consultants

Exhibition highlights:

• The two-day international exhibition will showcase the latest in technology, equipments and services in the identified sectors.

• The exhibition would provide the participating companies from Africa and India an exclusive opportunity to portray their capabilities in the sector to the high level clientele from Africa and India.

Ms. Sneh Patel/ Mr. Saurav Mittal

Ph : +91-11-23487483, 23487489

Fax: +91-11-23765316

E-mail: sneh@ficci.com, saurav.mittal@ficci.com

5 September 2011

$2.7 Million Solar Panel Factory Opens in Naivasha, Kenya

Ubbink East Africa has built a $2.7 million solar panel factory in Naivasha, Kenya. Ubbink East Africa Managing Director Haijo Kuper said during the official opening ceremony that the company will be producing 100 solar panels per day at the new facility, noting, "Our prices are at par with our competitors. The market is huge. As one of the sunniest continents on the planet, Africa gives solar applications like LED-lighting, mobile charging, water pumps, street lighting very short pay-back times thus minimizing pollution levels."
Ubbink East Africa is currently manufacturing solar panels with outputs of between 13 and 120 watts, targeting rural households. Ubbink East Africa is a joint venture of Ubbink B.V - a wholly owned subsidiary of Centrotec Sustainable AG- and Chloride Exide (Kenya), its local partner, and is the first to make photovoltaic (PV) solar panels in East and Central Africa, Nairobi’s Business Daily reported.
Centrotec Sustainable AG CEO Gert-Jan Huisman said that almost 98 percent of the rural population in Africa does not have access to grid electric power supplies, and this was holding back rural economic development.
Solar panels have the added advantage of being environmentally friendly, as most common energy sources in the African countryside are currently highly polluting kerosene lamps and diesel generators.
By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com

ENL Land of Mauritius Unit, Atterbury to Build $80 Million Mall in Zambia

ENL Property, a unit of Mauritian company ENL Land Ltd. (SAVA), plans to build an $80 million shopping mall in Zambia as it expands in sub-Saharan Africa, Chief Executive Officer Gilbert Espitalier-Noel said.
The 25,000 square-meter (269,000 square-foot) project will be developed in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital, with South Africa’s Atterbury Investment Holdings, Espitalier-Noel told reporters today in Ebene, south of the capital, Port Louis.
ENL Property’s current developments total 20 billion rupees ($711.7 million), including residential projects and shopping malls. ENL and Atterbury’s first project is the 3.5 billion- rupee Mall of Mauritius at Bagatelle, a 42,000 square-meter development due to open on Sept. 29, it said.
The Zambian project is a stepping stone in Africa and part of the company’s “logical expansion” as it prospects other sub-Saharan countries such as Tanzania and Mozambique, Espitalier-Noel said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Kamlesh Bhuckory in Port Louis via Johannesburg at 1933 or gbell16@bloomberg.net

Cameroon to Spend 175 Billion CFA Francs on Roads Over 10 Years

Cameroon, Africa’s fourth-biggest cocoa producer, plans to spend 175 billion CFA francs ($379 million) on constructing roads over the next 10 years.
The central African nation will build 350 kilometers (217 miles) of roads each year, Francois Felix Ewane, technical inspector at the Ministry of Public Works, said in an interview in Yaounde, the capital, today.
Cameroon’s roads, of which 5,000 kilometers or 10 percent are paved, are degrading as traffic increases an average of 5 percent each year, according to the ministry. Only 6 percent of roads are said to be in a good state, 21 percent are classified as normal, while 70 percent are mediocre and 3 percent in a very poor state, the ministry’s statistics showed.
The routes will be built around the country, including in the cocoa-producing south, center and east regions. Cameroon follows Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria as the continent’s top cocoa growers. It also produces robusta and arabica coffee for export.
To contact the reporter on this story: Pius Lukong in Yaounde via Accra at ebowers1@bloomberg.net.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at asguazzin@bloomberg.net

12 July 2011

Saran Kaba Jones: A Young African Woman And Her Water Legacy

Saran Kaba Jones
Saran Kaba Jones
Africa’s got a lot of beautiful, remarkable women. Saran Kaba Jones is one of them.
A Liberian national, Jones, now 29, fled her country at the age of 8 with her family in the wake of a devastating civil war which lasted well over a decade. Returning home in 2008– nearly 20 years later, she came face to face with the harsh economic realities of a post-conflict Liberia. “The long and devastating civil war had left Liberia’s infrastructure in ruins – roads, buildings, health clinics, schools, farms and factories were almost totally destroyed,” she says. “There was no electricity, no running water or sewage system, and an inadequate education system.” Liberia was broken.
Saran is not one to whine about inadequacies, but rather the type who finds audacious and creative solutions to them. In order to address the problems of contaminated water, she founded Face Africa (www.faceafrica.org), a non-profit organization that provides access to clean and safe drinking water for rural communities in Liberia, using an innovative social enterprise model to fund water projects. Today Face Africa provides clean drinking water to tens of thousands of Liberians. I caught up with this remarkable Liberian lady via email, where she recounted her journey, professed her undying love for her people, and hinted on her quest for legacy.

Who Is Saran Kaba Jones?
I was born Saran Kaba, on June 21, 1982 in Monrovia, Liberia where I lived until I was 8 years old. I left Liberia in 1989 with my parents and 3 brothers when the civil war broke out. We moved to Cote d’Ivoire where we lived for 2 years with my mother’s family. In 1991, my father was appointed as an Ambassador to the Middle East by the interim government of Liberia led by Amos Sawyer and we moved to Egypt where we lived for 4 years, followed by 2 years in France and another 2 in Cyprus. In 1999, I came to the U.S. to attend Lesley College [in Cambridge, Massachusetts] and transferred during my sophomore year to Harvard College where I studied Government and International Relations. After college, I spent 5 years working in private equity for the Singapore Government’s Economic Development Board, a job I left in August 2010 to focus on FACE Africa full time.
Why did you set up Face Africa? Why are you doing this?
The path that led me to FACE Africa started really when I was a young child. I have always had a strong concern and compassion for others, and have always strived to help whenever possible. From a very young age, I was exposed to a world of diplomacy, travel and community service (my father was a public servant and career diplomat). Born in Liberia, my experiences traveling the world, as well as my time spent living in four different countries (Ivory Coast, Egypt, France and Cyprus), made me certain I wanted to do something internationally that would help people, and specifically my native Liberia – I just never knew what. One thing I did believe was that the most effective way to bring about positive change in Africa and end the cycle of poverty was to invest in the education of its young children.
In 2005, I began sending funds back to Liberia to help a young family friend with his school fees. After two years, he went on to complete high school and enrolled at the University of Liberia where he is currently a student. When I realized just how much of an impact my rather small support had made, I decided to scale up my efforts and dedicated myself to improving the lives of those less fortunate. I had also read Bill Clinton’s book “Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World,” a book I highly recommend because it really touches on the power we all have to make the world a better place and give others a chance to live out their dreams. The book inspired me tremendously and made me want to do more – something on a larger scale. In early 2008, I launched FACE Africa… with the goal of providing educational opportunities to children and young adults in Liberia and other war-torn countries.
In October 2008, during my first visit to Liberia in nearly 20 years (I left Liberia years when I was eight years old), I was faced with the harsh realities of a post-conflict Liberia and the enormous challenges facing the country. My visits to various communities, orphanages, markets, clinics, etc exposed me to a cycle of poverty for which I was woefully and naively unprepared. The long and devastating civil war had left Liberia’s infrastructures in ruins – roads, buildings, health clinics, communications networks, schools, farms and factories were almost totally destroyed. With one of the highest unemployment rates in the world, extreme poverty with average earnings of $1 a day, no electricity, no running water or sewage system, and an inadequate education system, the country had enormous needs.
I left Liberia somewhat depressed and disheartened but also had a new found understanding of the needs and challenges as well as ways in which I could contribute to the rebuilding efforts. One of the areas that I felt needed immediate attention was the water and sanitation issue. The war destroyed major water points and water systems, forcing millions of Liberians to go without access to clean and safe drinking water and proper sanitation facilities.
In October 2009, with a $10,000 grant from the Davis Project for Peace [a Vermont-based charity], we began implementing our first clean water project in Barnesville, Liberia. The project involved the installation of a water purification system capable of producing up to 20,000 liters of drinking water per day and currently supplies over 600 residents with clean drinking water. Exactly one year later, we broke ground on a water and sanitation project in a small rural community called Joezohn with no access to safe drinking water or sanitation facilities. The project was implemented in partnership with Concern Worldwide [an international humanitarian organization based in Ireland] and funded with the help of a $20,000 grant we received from the Chase Community Giving Program.
What do you hope to achieve with Face Africa in the long term?
The world water crisis is one of the largest public health issues of our time, causing 2 million deaths every year. In Liberia alone, millions of people do not have access to clean water and sanitation facilities. At FACE Africa, we believe that providing clean and safe drinking water is the first step to breaking the cycle of extreme poverty. We have an ambitious yet simple goal: clean, safe drinking water for EVERY SINGLE person in Liberia! And once we have accomplished that goal, we plan to target other African countries, with an emphasis on post conflict environment with similar challenges and needs as Liberia.
Your organization is called ‘Face Africa,’ but you seem to be focused on Liberia. Do you have any future plans of expanding and reaching out to other parts of Africa?
We figure we can have the greatest impact by focusing on one country at a time and have selected to focus on Liberia. Liberia only recently emerged from 14 years of civil war which left it a collapsed state: 80% unemployment; extreme poverty with average earnings of $1 a day; no electricity, landlines; running water; or sewage system. According to a recent CDC report, a necessary starting point in rebuilding the country is to provide access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. Improving water quality is therefore our first line of attack.
How long has Face Africa existed? What are your most pleasant memories in all the time you’ve run the organization?
FACE Africa is a very young organization and we obtained our non-profit status in January of 2009. We began operations in Liberia later that year. Since 2009, we have raised close to $250,000 and by the end of this year, will implement enough clean water projects to benefit over 10,000 people in Liberia.
There’s nothing more pleasant or fulfilling than seeing the smiles on the faces of women and children who no longer have to travel miles every day to fetch contaminated water and can now drink water without worrying about getting sick from it. Seeing the look of pride on the faces of the community residents who were involved in the entire process of implementation warms my heart. Hearing from parents about how their children no longer complain of stomach problems is also a highlight of my work.

How do you raise funds for the organization?
We raise funds through three main avenues: 1) Online donations through our website using Paypal or credit cards, 2) Annual fundraising events throughout the year with our main fundraising event being the Annual Gala held every March to commemorate World Water Day. You can read more here. 3) Through small corporate and foundation grants such as those we received from the Davis Project for Peace, the Chase Community Giving Program and the Global Neighborhood Fund. Donors can get more information about our work via our website or contact us at: contact@faceafrica.org. They can also read about other ways to get involved with FACE Africa here.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by my generation! A community of smart, ambitious, socially conscious young men and women who believe they have the power to change the world and make it a better one. Being a part of this dynamic group of young people who share my interests, passions and beliefs is the most inspiring thing ever. Feeling like I am part of a movement encourages me to push myself harder to make my contribution to this community really count. I’ve become a better and more creative person in the process and I have my generation to thank for it. I hope to also inspire other young people to work towards leaving our world a bit better than we met it.

1 July 2011

We podcast AICO Africa’s investment analyst presentation

We are proud to announce that we have podcasted the full investor analyst presentation of AICO Africa Limited. AICO Africa Limited is our 22nd listed company client and the 5th in the agricultural sector. To cater for slow internet links we have published a low resolution and a hi resolution version.

AICO is Zimbabwe’s leading diversified agro-industrial conglomerate (with a market capitalization of approximately US$96m) and owns dominant brands in the seed, cotton, FMCG industries in Zimbabwe and surrounding regions, and is the holding company of Seed Co Limited (market capitalization +/-US$252 million), Olivine Industries and the Cotton Company of Zimbabwe Limited.
AICO is the second company in Zimbabwe to professionally podcast their analyst presentation and is one of the few listed companies in Zimbabwe that is actively disseminating information on its long term investment story as its businesses emerge stronger from the hyper-inflation that ended in March 2009 when the Zimbabwe economy dollarised.
AICO’s new website and communications tools are designed to push information to investors and stakeholders as soon as it is released. AICO also actively solicits feedback of the recipient of their email alerts and the company has invited investors and stakeholders to register and communicate with AICO – you will be assured of a response.
You will also be interested to note that so far my survey on online investor relations practices in Africa reveals that 54% of respondents think that regulators should take the lead in using the internet to disseminate listed company information. Only 26% feel that listed companies should lead the way. AICO is a company that is leading the way –as their online investor relations practices are among the most progressive in sub-Saharan Africa and set a leading example for its peers.
Published on 29 June 2011 by AfricanisCool in For investors, For listed companies, For regulators

27 June 2011

ECOWAS to Emulate Chinese Devepment Model

Beijing — ECOWAS would explore the possibility of emulating the integrated approach to development which has transformed China into an economic giant for the benefit of the citizens, the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency, James Victor Gbeho, has said in Beijing.
At a meeting with the Chinese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Zhai Jun, at the start of a week-long visit to mobilize additional Chinese support for the development of West Africa, the President said that such a development approach would enable the region to realize the dividends of democracy more expeditiously. "ECOWAS will continue to look at the Peoples Republic of China as a source of inspiration on how to bring economic progress and integration to the West African region," affirmed President Gbeho, who is leading a high-level ECOWAS delegation for talks aimed at strengthening cooperation between China and the Commission and its Member States. He conveyed the gratitude of the ECOWAS Chairman and Member States to the Government and people of the Peoples Republic of China, for their contribution to the development of West Africa.
Recalling the historic links between China and ECOWAS Member States which dates back to about 50 years, Ambassador Gbeho also used the opportunity to thank the United Nations Security Council of which China is a member for their support and understanding which contributed to the resolution of the recent political crisis in Cote d'Ivoire. Welcoming the delegation, Minister Jang said West Africa has a lot to learn from China which has prioritized the development of its infrastructure as the surest way of bringing development to the people in an integrated manner. He assured the delegation that China would continue to cherish its relations with the region through a deepening of cooperation toward the realization of West Africa's development objectives.
The ECOWAS delegation was also at the China-Africa Development Fund (CADfund) where President Gbeho canvassed the Fund's support for the development of the region's infrastructure and agriculture. He listed the priority areas to include investments in the energy, roads, rail, water and agriculture sectors, noting that in spite of its immense potentials, the region is characterized by subsistence farming with low productivity. To improve food security, the ECOWAS chief said efforts were being intensified to introduce business elements into the region's agriculture, adding that some Community Member States had already drawn up investment programmes with the purpose of infusing business elements into the sector. CADfund is active in the region with investments in the energy and other sectors. President Gbeho said the key objective of the mission is to deepen and strengthen cooperation between China and ECOWAS through increased private sector collaboration.
The visit, which is under the auspices of the 2008 Memorandum of Understanding between ECOWAS and the China Council for The Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) ,also enabled the ECOWAS team to hold discussions with officials of the China-Africa Joint Chamber of Commerce, the Export-Import Bank of China, the China Development Bank and the Deputy Minister of Commerce, Mr. Fu Ziying.

24 June 2011

USA/Africa-Trade Mission to Cameroon

Praxis Management Advisors LLC
Invites you to  a Presentation at the
Prince George’s County Africa Trade Office
                “Trade & Business Mission To Cameroon
July 22nd – August 2nd
Buea, Douala, Limbe &  Yaoundé

Business Leaders & Entrepreneurs are invited to find out about the opportunities in Cameroon.  Meeting  will take place:
Thursday, June 30th at 10am
Location:  PG EDC, 1100 Mercantile Lane Suite 115A, Largo, MD 20774
Admission:  FREE
Opportunities in:

Renewable Energy, Road & Bridge Construction, Seaport & Airport Construction, Real Estate Development, Telecommunications, IT, Cloud Computing, Nanotechnology, Banking,
Investments & PPPs, Tourism, Healthcare,
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For More Information and to RSVP:  Viola Llewellyn Email: vllewellyn@PraxisAm.com  
Tel: 301-583-4615 OR Tel: 202-390-2165 (RSVP Deadline Wednesday June 29th

Time is getting short to invest in African financial services

Companies looking to enter Africa’s financial services space need to move quickly as the window of opportunity is rapidly closing.

In a report titled At the tipping point: African financial services come of age, consulting firm Accenture notes that due to growing income levels, many Africans are embracing financial services. However, once consumers have access to a particular bank or insurer, they are not likely to switch easily.
“So companies that hang back now may find that the early movers have already gained an unassailable lead at a defining moment,” says Accenture. “Decisions that companies make now with regard to Africa will shape their future ability to participate in the continent’s rapid expansion over the coming years.”
The report says that many African and international banks and financial services firms are already positioning themselves to capitalise on the continent’s underserved markets.
In recent years there has been considerable merger and acquisition activity in the financial services area. To name a few: Barclays has bought stakes in South Africa’s Absa bank and Nile Bank in Uganda; the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC) acquired a 20% share in South Africa-based Standard Bank; and Portugal’s Banco Espírito Santo bought 25.1% of Mozambique’s Moza Banco. “Soon there will be fewer . . . companies to buy,” says Accenture.
Many lenders have also secured partnerships with mobile network operators to develop their mobile banking capabilities. “Telecom providers typically establish close partnerships with only a few selected banks, so their dance cards could soon be filled.”
Accenture has developed a Tipping Point Index, which ranks the maturity and attractiveness of Africa’s financial markets. Key factors such as financial infrastructure, consumer financial services and economic development have been used to segment African countries into four distinct groups.
Established markets
Key characteristics: Mature financial markets. Large stock and bond markets. High percentage of bank assets and retail deposits relative to GDP. High percentage of people with bank accounts.
Countries: South Africa, Mauritius
Forging ahead
Key characteristics: Fairly large, mid-level income economies. Relatively well-developed institutional frameworks, but awaiting critical financial reforms. Emerging stock and bond markets. Lower percentage of people with bank accounts. More difficult business environments than established markets.
Countries: Nigeria, Botswana
Next movers
Key characteristics: In the process of overcoming barriers of low income, limited financial access and institutional or governance deficiencies. May lack fully developed stock and bond markets.
Countries: Kenya, Ghana, Senegal, Zambia, Namibia, Uganda
Transitional economies
Key characteristics: Constrained by poverty. Little or no access to financial services. Difficult business environments. Lack of financial infrastructure.
Countries: Gabon, Angola, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ethiopia, Cameroon, Sudan.

14 June 2011

AFRICA: Eight business opportunities for June

Below are eight business opportunities entrepreneurs in Africa can pursue in the month of June.

1. Vending machines – the ultimate passive income business
Pro Vending, South Africa’s leading supplier of vending machines, is offering entrepreneurs in Africa the opportunity to run their own full-time or part-time businesses. The machines can also be used by shop owners to boost sales at retail outlets. Read more
2. Manufacture quality beverages for the growing African market

Soda King, a manufacturer of soft drinks and purified water, is offering business people and entrepreneurs across the continent a unique franchise opportunity to establish a localised bottling plant. Read more
3. Tap into the market for furniture
Furniture manufacturer Outdoor Lifestyle is expanding into Africa and seeking distributors in the rest of the continent. Read more
4. Establish your own ice manufacturing business
Minus 40′s Ice Block Maker offers an excellent business opportunity for entrepreneurs across Africa. The company has drawn-up a full business plan that entrepreneurs purchasing the Ice Block Maker can follow. Read more
5. Manufacturing company looking to partner with stakeholders in Africa
Calculus Products is offering firms in Africa a complete solution to all their manufacturing needs. The company is also enthusiastic about assisting stakeholders in expanding their manufacturing capacity. Read more
6. Grow your business by investing in bottle filling technology
Aspiring entrepreneurs as well as established food and beverages companies can benefit from using Marefa International’s state-of-the-art bottle filling equipment. We sat down with Marefa’s Peter Vermaak to talk about the company’s products and the opportunities in bottle filling. Read more
7. Why dairy production is a good business venture
Central Milk, a South Africa-based manufacturer of stainless steel equipment for the dairy industry, is able to offer African farmers a complete solution for the establishment of a dairy processing facility. Read more
8. Fruit juice has good potential in Africa
Pacmar, a contract packaging company, is seeking capable distributors in West and East Africa for its own brands of fruit juice. Read more
All the above business opportunities are sponsored advertisements. For more information about promoting business and investment opportunities on How we made it in Africa, email us at sales@howwemadeitinafrica.com

Made in Ethiopia: The story of Holland Car

When Tadesse Tessema’s company first started to sell its locally assembled cars in Ethiopia, one of the biggest challenges was to convince the public that its vehicles were of the same quality as the brands imported from the west.
Holland Car's Awash Executive model in Addis Ababa.
Holland Car's Awash Executive model in Addis Ababa.
“Our main achievement is that we have been able to change the minds of the people,” says Tessema, general manager of Ethiopia’s first indigenous vehicle assembly company Holland Car.
Born in Ethiopia, Tessema lived in the Netherlands for many years. During his occasional visits to Ethiopia he discovered a big demand for cars. So he created a company which exported used vehicles from the Netherlands to Ethiopia. After a while he, however, spotted an opportunity for local assembly. “I thought, why don’t I go back and assemble new cars in my country.”
To access funds for the new business, Tessema went into a joint venture with a Dutch firm, Trento BV Engineering. This allowed Holland Car to obtain additional funding from the Dutch government. After launching operations in 2005, the company in 2006 celebrated its first assembled car during a ceremony at the Hilton hotel in Addis Ababa.
All car parts are imported from China and assembled at a facility outside the capital. The Daily Monitor newspaper earlier reported that Holland Car used to import parts from Chinese auto manufacturer Lifan Motors. This partnership was later ended and the company currently works with JAC Motors.
At first the assembly plant was only able to turn out one car per day, but following additional investments and facility improvements, the company currently has the capacity to produce up to six units. Tessema wants to increase this to ten cars per day. He also has plans to go from assembling cars to manufacturing the parts as well.
All Holland Car’s models are named after rivers in Ethiopia, with names such as Abay, Tekeze and Shebelle. Tessema says this is to emphasize the cars’ local credentials and to foster a sense of national pride.
Plans are also underway to roll-out a biogas powered car. The goal is to not only assemble the vehicle, but to also produce the gas itself. Holland Car is, however, seeking further government assistance before going into full-scale production. “From the distance we have travelled so far, we have come to the conclusion that there is nothing to hinder us from manufacturing biogas cars here in Ethiopia,” reads a statement on Holland Car’s website. In addition, the company is also marketing a mass transportation bus designed and manufactured in Ethiopa, for both the local market as well as the rest of the continent.
With a population of around 80 million and double-digit GDP growth rates in recent years, many are viewing Ethiopia as the next big investment opportunity in Africa. Last month, Ethiopia’s newfound importance as a business destination was confirmed when it was announced that the 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa will be held in Addis Ababa.
Tessema says that companies like Holland Car are changing perceptions of Ethiopia. He said that “the sky is the limit” for investors looking to do business in the country and that “now is the time” to invest.
Africans themselves need to grab hold of the opportunities on the continent. “Investors from Asia are coming to invest money here, while we Africans still sit down and wait,” Tessema notes.
He believes that the African diaspora can play a significant part in the continent’s transformation. “If 10% of these people can come back to Africa, most of the problems in Africa would be solved. Governments have to give the opportunities . . . and incentives to bring these people back . . .”

13 June 2011

UO to export sustainability expertise to Gabon

University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere, left, speaks with Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba following the Friday signing ceremony to establish a joint research center at the UO and in the west-central African nation of Gabon.
University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere, left, speaks with Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba following the Friday signing ceremony to establish a joint research center at the UO and in the west-central African nation of Gabon. (Photo by Peter Lockley, courtesy of University of Oregon.)
University of Oregon is establishing a joint research center headquartered in Eugene and Gabon, West Africa, to study sustainability, economic development and natural resource management.
Richard Lariviere, UO's president, was in Washington, D.C., Friday to meet with Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba to sign the agreement, which will include research and training.
The Gabon-Oregon Transnational Research Center on Environment and Development is part of the university's Global Oregon Initiative, one of UO's five "Big Idea" priorities for research and teaching.
In a press release, President Ondimba emphasized the educational benefit the agreement will bring to Gabon.
"This unique cooperative agreement will enable us to address our urgent educational needs and also modernize our universities and research centers," he said.
The Oregon African Studies Consortium, which includes UO, Oregon State University, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland State University and Willamette University, will partner with the Gabonese government to create a new model for sustainable development in Africa.
Gabonese leaders are pushing to move from an economy based mainly on oil to sustainable natural resource management, low-impact ecotourism and significant investments in education and human capital development.
Gabon, nestled south of Cameroon and west of Congo, has a population of 1.5 million and its economy is supported by its coastal and offshore oil industry. It also boasts national parks covering 11 percent the country, with rain forests covering much of the rest.
While it's sometimes called the "Eden of Africa," Gabon is not without its problems. A meeting between President Ondimba and U.S. President Barrack Obama was called into question this week because of human rights and corruption charges leveled at President Ondimba's family.
"Gabon can be recognized as the place in Africa for a green, sustainable model of development," said Dennis Galvan, an Africa expert, associate professor of international studies and co-director of the Global Oregon Initiative at the UO. "There are few places where you can learn about how to do this in the U.S., and Oregon is at the cutting edge of sustainability and green development. So Gabon is making a strategic investment for its future by partnering with the UO."
Collaboration in the project could include organizations such as the Smithsonian Institution, which has had a center in Gabon for several years and will help in developing a forest and ecosystem management curriculum

9 June 2011

Hedge funds 'grabbing land' in Africa

Hedge funds are behind "land grabs" in Africa to boost their profits in the food and biofuel sectors, a US think-tank says.
In a report, the Oakland Institute said hedge funds and other foreign firms had acquired large swathes of African land, often without proper contracts.
It said the acquisitions had displaced millions of small farmers.
Foreign firms farm the land to consolidate their hold over global food markets, the report said.
They also use land to "make room" for export commodities such as biofuels and cut flowers.
"This is creating insecurity in the global food system that could be a much bigger threat than terrorism," the report said.
The Oakland Institute said it released its findings after studying land deals in Ethiopia, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, Mali and Mozambique.
A worker on small-scale farm in Zimbabwe (archive shot) Foreign firms are snapping up farming land in Africa, a new report says
'Risky manoeuvre'
It said hedge funds and other speculators had, in 2009 alone, bought or leased nearly 60m hectares of land in Africa - an area the size of France.
"The same financial firms that drove us into a global recession by inflating the real estate bubble through risky financial manoeuvres are now doing the same with the world's food supply," the report said.
It added that some firms obtained land after deals with gullible traditional leaders or corrupt government officials.
"The research exposed investors who said it is easy to make a deal - that they could usually get what they wanted in exchange for giving a poor tribal chief a bottle of Johnnie Walker [whisky]," said Anuradha Mittal, executive director of the Oakland Institute.
"When these investors promise progress and jobs to local chiefs it sounds great, but they don't deliver."
The report said the contracts also gave investors a range of incentives, from unlimited water rights to tax waivers.
"No-one should believe that these investors are there to feed starving Africans.
"These deals only lead to dollars in the pockets of corrupt leaders and foreign investors," said Obang Metho of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia, a US-based campaign group.
However, not all companies named in the report accept that their motives are as suggested and they dismiss claims that their presence in Africa is harmful.
One company, EmVest Asset Management, strongly denied that it was involved in exploitative or illegal practices.
"There are no shady deals. We acquire all land in terms of legal tender," EmVest's Africa director Anthony Poorter told the BBC.
He said that in Mozambique the company's employees earned salaries 40% higher than the minimum wage.
The company was also involved in development projects such as the supply of clean water to rural communities.
"They are extremely happy with us," Mr Poorter said.

2 June 2011

Africa's Green Revolution may be a long time coming

Africa needs the kind of Green Revolution that caused a huge leap in agricultural productivity in many parts of the world in the 20th century. But efforts to change how farmers work may take decades.

Bill Gates speaks after a meeting on global food security with US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (l) and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner (c.) last spring at the Treasury Department in Washington, DC. Finance ministers from the United States, Canada, Spain, and South Korea, as well as the leadership of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, met to announce an initial contribution of $880 million for a new fund to tackle global hunger and poverty.
It's tough to keep your eye on the long view when the prospect of famine is at the door. But that's what organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, CARE, and the United Nation's World Food Programme are trying to do more and more.
The old adage seems to have truth in it: Give people a fish, they eat for a day. Teach them to fish, and they can feed themselves for a lifetime.
The Gates foundation is committed to spend $1.7 billion to alleviate the underlying conditions that create poverty and hunger in Africa, says an Associated Press story. But it may take two decades or more to bring its work to fruition.
"It takes years and years to shift the system," says Roy Steiner, deputy director of global development for the Gates foundation. "Giving food to people is certainly necessary when there's a crisis," he said. "But these people don't want to be depending on outside charity. And, frankly, who is going to pay for all of that food being given?"
The "fishing poles" that it and other relief agencies are trying to provide include more drought-tolerant seeds, better fertilizers, educating farmers on better farming techniques, and helping them get their crops to market more easily.
Agriculture has come under the spotlight as world population grows along with concerns about how changing climates may affect food production. A report released yesterday by the aid agency Oxfam, called Growing a Better Future, "warns that spiraling prices and endless cycles of regional food crises will create millions more hungry people unless we transform the way we grow and sell food." It predicts that the price of basic foods such as corn could more than double in the next 20 years.
What's needed in Africa is the kind of Green Revolution seen in other parts of the world in the 20th century. Whether genetic-modification of plants will be a key part of the answer in Africa remains to be seen (see "How science could spark a second Green Revolution").
The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa, led by African scientists, economists, and business leaders, helps small farmers, especially women, improve their farming methods. It's just one effort receiving aid from the Gates foundation.
By Gregory M. Lamb, Staff Writer / June 1, 2011

Africa Becomes Attractive To Foreign Investors

A few weeks ago, Ernst and Young launched the maiden edition of its annual Africa Attractiveness survey. It’s a must read for anyone serious about doing business in Africa. The survey analyzes the attractiveness of Africa as an investment destination for foreign direct investors and is the result of analysis from 500 international business leaders polled from a diverse range of industries.
The consensus: The continent is becoming more attractive than ever before to international investors, and perceptions are becoming more distinctively positive as a result of the improved socio-economic growth that has pervaded the continent. They agreed that Africa is the region with the fastest economic growth rates and the highest return on investment (ROI), and as the continent continually makes improved strides in political reform, macroeconomic stability and social development, these trends are likely to improve.
It’s a good time for the continent. Foreign direct investment (FDI) flows have strongly increased in the last decade, and it’s expected to get even better. Projected capital inflows are expected to hit the $150 billion mark by 2015. Among other things, this anticipated payday is fueled primarily by ever-increasing population growth and an unprecedented explosion in the size of the middle class. According to a recent report by the African Development Bank, it is estimated that at least 310 million Africans (about 30% of the population) now fall within the middle-class bracket, which makes for an increased consumer market base demanding to be serviced with new goods, products and services. These components have opened up untold opportunities for foreign direct investors, making Africa an investment haven of sorts.
It’s a great time to invest in Africa, and while the continent might be savoring its new-found sexiness to foreign investors, there is still a lot of work to be done. Despite the growth trends, Africa still attracts less than 5% of global FDI projects. This is relatively low when looked at on a global scale. The reasons include  political instability and an inadequate level of education in several countries.
More importantly, major African countries still suffer a dearth of infrastructure. Take Nigeria, for example: The country has suffered a major setback through a devastating electricity crisis it has suffered for several decades. Unfortunately, successive governments (even the current one) have displayed a lackadaisical commitment towards providing a lasting solution to the problem. Businesses cannot function effectively without electricity; hence, foreign businesses that would have otherwise thrived in the country have to look elsewhere. Similar infrastructural deficits are replicated in several countries all over the continent. Furthermore, corruption, despite experiencing a downturn, still remains a major component in doing business in several African countries.
But in spite of these little shortcomings, Africa is still the next best place to put your money. It’s about time you stepped in.

Mfonobong Nsehe The Africa Chronicles

Follow me on Twitter @EmperorDIV



31 May 2011

TANZANIA-INDIA A Rewarding Relationship

DAR ES SALAAM, May 27, 2011 (IPS) - The Indian prime minister, Dr Manmohan Singh, concludes a three-day visit to Tanzania on May 28. Singh arrived in Dar es Salaam from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where he took part in the Second India-Africa Forum Summit, which began on May 20.

The Tanzanian leg of his overseas trip has reinforced already close cooperation between the two countries, and comes at an opportune moment for the Tanzanian government in its search for foreign investment.

Tanzania and India have long historical links. The first bilateral cooperation agreements between the two countries date back to January 1966, just two years after the official birth of Tanzania from the union of Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964. (Zanzibar is an island off the coast in the Indian Ocean.)

The total value of trade between India and Africa stood at 31 billion dollars in 2009-2010; trade between Tanzania and India exceeded a billion dollars that same year. India is Tanzania's leading source of imports (900 million dollars in 2010) and the second largest investor, after Kenya, according to the economic desk at the Indian embassy in Tanzania.

India's involvement with Tanzania can be explained first of all by the large Indian Diaspora which in this East African country. The first Indians arrived here more than 90 years ago, shortly after the First World War, when the League of Nations designated the territory as a protectorate under British control. At independence in 1961, a large number of Indians remained in the country and today occupy an important place in the country's economy.

According to figures provided by the Indian embassy in Dar es Salaam, the economic capital, there are 40,000 Tanzanians of Indian origin, and an additional 8,000 expatriate Indians. The Indian community lives mostly in the country's major cities, where they are involved in commercial enterprises and industry.

At the first India-Africa summit held in New Delhi in 2008, India and Tanzania agreed on cooperation in two key areas, food security and health. In line with this, a first batch of 288 tractors arrived from India in October 2010, to help Tanzanian farmers achieve better yields.

"Four hundred others, of an eventual total of 1,700, will arrive soon," the Indian ambassador to Tanzania, Kocheril Bhagirath, told journalists this week, stressing that the country will continue to support Tanzanian agriculture.

For 45 years, Tanzania has benefitted from Indian expertise in numerous domains. "The partnership is very dynamic," says the Tanzania-India Friendship Association, headed by the former Tanzanian prime minister Salim Ahmed Salim. "India has helped us to realise some of the millennium development goals, particularly in the health sector."

A new hospital is to be constructed in Dar es Salaam in 2013, which will be co-managed by the Tanzanian government and a private Indian firm. It will offer specialist treatment that is not currently available in the country, with patients forced to seek treatment overseas.

In 2010, day-patient units for treating cardio-vascular complaints were established in two clinics in Dar. The city's Lions Club - financed by diasporic Africans - has also sent 2,000 Tanzanian children suffering from serious cardiac problems for treatment in India, according to the Indian embassy.

Even before that, in 1996, Tanzania's first private university, the International Medical and Technological University, opened in Dar es Salaam, a project supported by the Bangalore-based Vignan Educational Foundation.

Also expected to be raised during the Indian prime minister's visit is the struggle against terrorism and Somali piracy. Piracy has disrupted maritime trade in the Indian Ocean that both countries depend on and the possibility of cooperation between the naval forces of the two countries was to be discussed, according to reports. 

By Arnaud Bébien

30 May 2011

Africa does not need irresponsible investments

The World Bank has sent a strong notice to foreign investors who want to invest in Africa saying that the continent does not need irresponsible investments.
In a speech delivered as part of celebrations to mark the African Union Day, the World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, Obiageli Ezekwesili told investors and African ambassadors in Washington DC that even though Africa is open for business, it is not open to just any business.
“Africa does not need the irresponsible investments that have for many decades unleashed corruption and degrading conditions upon those they claim to serve”, Ezekwesili said.
The continent can only afford responsible investments, she emphasised.
According to Ezekwesili, Africa needs investments that are people-focused and pro-poor, promotes Africa’s efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, helps in creating jobs and promotes transparency, accountability as well as good governance.
Investments that bring about the emergence of an African middle class and build the skills Africans need to compete in today’s global and knowledge-based economy, she added.
Analysts have projected that FDIs into Africa will grow in the coming years.
Global financial experts, Ernst & Young has predicted that FDI into Africa will reach $150 billion by the end of 2015.
The World Bank, in a document titled “Africa’s Pulse” estimates that at the end of 2011, foreign direct investments (FDI) into Sub-Sahara Africa will hit a record high of $40.8 billion.
The extractive industries is expected to receive majority of these FDIs into the continent due to its perceived potential growth with some sectors such as tourism, consumer products, construction , telecommunications and financial services emerging as attractive investment options, it said.
The World Bank indicates that FDIs into Africa rose to $32 billion at the end of 2010 with prices of oil and metals exports seen as the main drivers.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi & Ekow Quandzie

27 May 2011


Mobile phone: An opportunity for low cost Banking in Africa.
Africa, home to over 800 million people is still grappling with significant unbanked populations even among the urban populations across cities, semi urban and rural communities.Regulators, innovators, technologist,financial services providers, international developmental organizations and governments are rallying around this significant dilemma of Banking the unbanked African.
New exciting technologies like the Mobile and cards are bridging the wide divide with innovative solutions like agency Banking, mobile financial services, community and micro finance Banking.
Unlike any other place on the Globe, mobile financial services is ushering a new dawn and hope to millions of unbanked people in Africa. Bringing convenience of banking anytime and anywhere using the mobile phones as a means of authentication for basic financial services. The mobile technologies is proving to be the solution to a century old challenge as a transformational channel for previously unbanked which are accessing services for the first time through the convenience and security of the mobile phone.
The ubiquitous mobile phone with the strong compelling needs of Africans, coupled with sheer ingenuity is changing lives and connecting Africans to the global e-commerce ecosystem which is more advanced with formal Banking services.
With the wide spread availability of the Mobile phones across regions in Africa, the unbanked African is only an sms away!
Plan to attend a one day summit which will proffer practical regulatory, technological, commercial solutions to the challenge of reaching the unbanked in Africa.
The summit will examine the following:
  • Reducing cost of reaching the unbanked though technology innovations.
  • Social benefits of banking unbanked populations.
  • Measuring impacts of regulation on the unbanked.
  • Building sustainable commercial propositions.
  • Evaluating cost effective channels, technologies and solutions to reach the unbanked.
  • Improving financial literacy to Africa’s unbanked.
  • KYC methodologies suitable for African market.
  • Examining the cross road between Micro Finance, agency Banking and mobile money.
  • Promoting a sustainable investment climate for financial inclusion.
  • Impact of credit in unleashing the potentials of unbanked.
  • Agency Banking as Cost effective channel to deliver commoditized financial services.
  • Delivering transformational Banking experiences for underserved communities.
  • Technological innovations promoting access to low income segments.

Speakers from across the world will deliberate and proffer solutions that will  radically change the present situation and position Africa’s unbanked population to benefit from the growing global economy.
Join solutions providers, technologist, international development experts, regulators, Micro finance experts, financial services providers, mobile money providers, Mobile network providers, agency Bankers and other leading subject matter experts to chart the way forward at the UNBANKED AFRICA SUMMIT – 2011.