Politicians steal $50b yearly from Africa – Obasanjo
November 10, 2017 | 0 Comments
FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo has alleged that more than $50 billion is stolen and smuggled out of Africa to other countries yearly by political leaders and businessmen as well as other key players in both public and private sectors.
Obasanjo, who spoke on Thursday, November 9, at the maiden yearly anti-fraud conference, organised in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, by the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners, ACFE, Lagos Chapter, lamented that the smuggling of the huge funds meant for socio-economic growth and development of the African continent is now giving African leaders, past and present, great concern.
He warned that African countries might not develop if leaders and followers refused to show concern about the ugly trend.
Thus, the former president called for concerted efforts towards curbing the trend. He also charged financial professionals and all members of the association and everyone generally to help in curbing the trend not only in Nigeria but Africa as a whole.
Godwin Oyedokun, president and chief executive officer, ACFE, said: “It is really a delight to host Chief Olusegun Obasanjo. Your acceptance of our invitation is an indication that you have the love of this nation at heart.” The former president was named Grand patron of the ACFE at the event.
*Courtesy of Real News Magazine
Caf president Ahmad reassures Guinea over 2023 hosting
November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Mohamed Fajah Barrie*
Confederation of African Football (Caf) president, Ahmad, says he wants to work with Guinea to ensure they can host the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon).
Ahmad made the offer to Guinea’s head of state Alpha Condé when the two met on Monday.
“Officially Caf has never questioned the allocation of 2023 Afcon to Guinea” Ahmad said.
“We also reaffirmed to President Alpha Condé our willingness to accompany Guinea to organise the 2023 Afcon.”
The Malagasy also warned the West African country to make sure they observe the deadlines to have all the required facilities ready before the commencement of the competition.
“Guinea must be willing to respect the conditions of hosting Afcon. Otherwise, there will always be an alternative,” Ahmad added.
“If Guinea is committed, I think it will respect the Afcon timing. We have the right to worry about the organisation of the Nations Cup, because if it does not work, it is the Caf that is pointed out.”
Ahmad, who chose not to campaign in Guinea to become Caf president, was accompanied to Conakry by his vice-president from DR Congo, Constant Omari, for the one day visit.
They held a meeting with the Guinea FA headed by Antonio Soure, who heads the 2023 Nations Cup Local Organising Committee, and discussed new Caf reforms.
There has been concern in Guinea that they might be stripped off the opportunity to host Nations Cup for the first time following questions about Caf’s decision in 2014 to award the hosting rights for the next three finals to West African Francophone speaking countries.
The President of the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations, Phillip Chiyangwa, who helped campaign for Ahmad to become Caf President called for an inquiry seven months ago.
The Zimbabwean feels West Africa countries were favoured over other regions by the previous Caf regime led by Cameroon’s Issa Hayatou.
However Ahmad once again insisted Caf has never officially considered taking the tournaments away from Guinea, Cameroon (in 2019) and Ivory Coast (in 2021).
President Kagame and Tony Elumelu to headline Young Entrepreneurship Day at the Africa 2017 Forum
November 9, 2017 | 0 Comments
|The Young Entrepreneurship Day will bring together some of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs with investors and new partners to help them scale up their ideas and businesses and the most successful start-ups will gain access to a deal room and also a one week tailored course at Stanford|
|CAIRO, Egypt, November 8, 2017/ — HE Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and chairman of Smart Africa, and Tony Elumelu, Founder of the $100m Entrepreneurship Programme, will be headlining the Young Entrepreneurship Day (YED) at the Africa 2017 Forum (www.BusinessForAfricaForum.com).
The YED is a new addition to the Forum and will take place on the eve of Africa 2017, on the 7th December. It has been designed to connect some of Africa’s most promising entrepreneurs and also give them exposure to investors, incubators and accelerators as well as to partake in workshops that will give them the skills and tools to scale up their businesses.
Both Kagame and Elumelu have been championing entrepreneurship and will be sharing their perspectives both from government and the private sector as well as engaging in an open platform with some of the upcoming leaders from across Africa
Sitting on the advisory board of the YED are Issam Chleuh and Rebecca Enonchong, two of the foremost players in impact investing and in the technology space in Africa as well as Parminder Vir, CEO of the Tony Elumelu Foundation. Other speakers at the YED include Ben White of VC4Africa and Wale Ayeni from IFC Ventures, the venture capital wing of the World Bank’s private sector arm.
Commenting on the YED, the Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Dr. Sahar Nasr, whose ministry is organising the Africa 2017 programme alongside COMESA Regional Investment Agency, said that creating a pro-business environment for entrepreneurs to thrive is at the centre of her government’s policies. “Egypt has been at the forefront of making entrepreneurship work. With a bustling population of 90 million, 50% of which are below the age of 30 and tech savvy, Egypt is rightly staking a claim as one of the fastest growing entrepreneurial hubs in the world.”
Africa 2017 has been earmarked as the biggest B2B and B2G gathering to take place in Africa this year. A number of heads of state have confirmed their attendance and there are 30 African investment promotion agencies and government delegations scheduled to attend. Alongside President Al Sisi of Egypt and President Kagame of Rwanda, the Presidents of Côte d’Ivoire, Alassane Outtara will be in attendance as well as the President of Comoros, Azali Assoumani and the Prime Minister of Mozambique Carlos Agostinho do Rosário. Some of Africa’s biggest names from business will also be attending Africa 2017, with the aim to accelerate cross-border investments and partnerships.
The Forum will also be a platform for Egypt to showcase some of the mega projects that are underway and the opportunities linked to these in agribusiness, logistics, mining, energy construction, real estate and tourism.
Africa 2017 Forum (www.BusinessForAfricaForum.com) is held under the high patronage of H.E. Abdel Fattah Al Sisi on 7th to 9th December 2017 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, and is organized by the Ministry of Investment and International Cooperation of Egypt and the COMESA Regional Investment Agency (RIA).
20 Top African Start-Ups Enter World Bank Group Digital Acceleration Program
November 8, 2017 | 0 Comments
|Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B|
|CAPE TOWN, South Africa, November 6, 2017/ — Twenty of the most promising African digital start-ups will take part in the XL Africa (www.XL-Africa.com) residency, the flagship initiative of the business accelerator launched last April by the World Bank Group’s (www.WorldBank.org) infoDev program. From Nov. 6-17 in Cape Town, the entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to learn from their mentors and peers, increase their regional visibility, and get access to potential corporate partners and investors.
The residency will conclude with the XL Africa Venture Showcase, a regional event organized in association with the African Angel Investor Summit, in which the entrepreneurs will present their business models to a select audience of corporations and investors. With support from African investment groups, XL Africa will help the start-ups attract early stage capital between US$250,000 and US$1.5 million.
Selected from a pool of over 900 applicants, these start-ups specialize in digital solutions for the African market, including fin-tech, transportation, health care, education, human resources, and B2B. All companies provide a digital product or service currently available in one or more African markets and show potential to scale across the region.
“We are pleased by the interest infoDev and XL Africa generated across the continent in just a few months,” said Klaus Tilmes, Director of the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice at the World Bank Group. “XL Africa attracted firms with high-growth potential; many have female co-founders, have already raised early stage investment, and have demonstrated significant market traction. The number and quality of applications received are a clear testament to the competitiveness of African start-ups and the key role they play in Africa’s growing digital economy.”
The selection for XL Africa was conducted by a panel of industry experts from the International Finance Corporation (IFC); implementing partners IMC Worldwide, Koltai & Co, and Venture Capital for Africa (VC4A); as well as investors from prominent African funds, including Knife Capital, 4Di Capital LLP, Singularity Investments, TLcom Capital LLP, Goodwell Investments, Nest Africa, and Africa Tech Ventures.
“We encountered very strong companies, particularly in the transportation, HR, and data analytics sectors,” said Danai Musandu, investment associate at Goodwell Investments. “We also observed signals of a nascent pipeline of digital companies beyond the traditional hot spots of Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. These talented entrepreneurs are among those who are going to drive innovation on the continent and offer great opportunities for investors looking at African markets.”
The selected start-ups participating in the event are:
XL Africa is funded by the governments of Finland, Norway, and Sweden, and administered by the World Bank Group with implementation support from IMC Worldwide, VC4A, and Koltai & Co.
African High-Level Officials, Private Sector Leaders to Chart Actionable Plan to Accelerate the Africa’s Agricultural Transformation
November 8, 2017 | 0 Comments
This action-oriented forum will assemble influential leaders — African high-level officials, private sector leaders and community champions — for dialogue, advocacy and policy action to drive Africa’s agriculture transformation on the theme, “Leadership for Agriculture: Moving African Policy to Action”.
Africa’s agriculture sector and agribusiness are projected to create a $1 trillion agrifood industry in the next decade. Despite this tremendous potential, total investment in the sector falls short of levels required to deliver fundamental change fuel agricultural transformation.
The African Development Bank estimates that between $315-400 billion over the next ten years is required to transform strategic agricultural value chains.
“Recognizing agriculture as a business is a core aspect of the strategy to advance growth in Africa,” said IGD President Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych. “The Leadership4Agriculture Forum is an opportunity for private sector leaders and high-level African officials to strengthen their partnership by identifying their aligning interests so that Africa’s agricultural sector can reach its full potential.”
Guided by recent findings from the World Bank’s 2017 Enabling the Business of Agriculture Report and the 2017 Africa Transformation Report by African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET), the L4Ag Forum will focus on harnessing agriculture and agribusiness as an engine of economic transformation in Africa.
The L4Ag Forum will feature a keynote address and two panel sessions with African Finance and Agriculture Ministers and business leaders from across the African continent.
The first panel, “Enabling the Business of Agriculture: Increasing Access to Agricultural Inputs to Enhance Productivity and Regulatory Reforms”, will focus on improving commercial access to seeds, fertilizer, and mechanization. The second panel, “Agriculture Powering Africa’s Economic Transformation: Fueling Agro-industry and Agribusiness”, will draw attention to commercializing agriculture; adding value and spurring agro-industry; and innovative financing.
Grow Africa Executive Director William Asiko will offer a presentation on applying the panelists’ key points and create actionable steps in achieving policy reforms.
During the Action Roundtable sessions, African high-level government officials and business leaders will have an opportunity to re-imagine government and business engagement, brainstorm achievable goals around a specific agribusiness sector growth policy, and explore investment opportunities in agribusiness ventures.
For more information and for the full agenda on the L4Ag Forum, please click here.
Ethiopian Airlines celebrates delivery of first 787-9 Dreamliner
November 7, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Wallace Mawire
Ethiopian Airlines and Boeing [NYSE: BA] have taken delivery of the
carrier’s first Boeing 787-9. Ethiopian is leasing the Dreamliner
through an agreement with AerCap, according to Hanna Atnafu,
Manager, Corporate Communications, Ethiopian Airlines.
It is reported that Ethiopian is the first airline in Africa to
operate the 787-9.The Dreamliner carries much-needed medical equipment
and supplies to Ethiopia.
Ethiopian’s newest 787 touched down in Addis Ababa following a
non-stop 8,354 mile (13,444 km) delivery flight from Boeing’s Everett,
Ethiopian becomes the first carrier in Africa to operate the 787-9
and extends a tradition of setting aviation milestones.
Ethiopian became Africa’s first carrier to fly the 787-8 in 2012,
and similarly introduced the 777-200LR (Longer Range), 777-300ER
(Extended Range) and 777 Freighter.
“We are proud to celebrate yet another first with the introduction
of the cutting-edge 787-9 into our young and fast growing fleet,” said
Mr. Tewolde GebreMariam, Group CEO of Ethiopian Airlines. “Today, the
787 is the core of our fleet with 20 aircraft in service. Our
investment in the latest technology airplanes is part of our Vision
2025 strategy and our commitment to our esteemed customers to offer
complete on-board comfort. We will continue to invest in the most
advanced aircraft to give our customers the best possible travel
The 787 Dreamliner is the most innovative and efficient airplane
family flying today. Since 2011, more than 600 Dreamliners have
entered commercial services, flying almost 200 million people on more
than 560 unique routes around the world, saving an estimated 19
billion pounds of fuel.
“AerCap is very proud to deliver to Ethiopian Airlines their first
787-9 aircraft, as the airline continues to lead the way in African
aviation,” said AerCap President and Chief Commercial Officer Philip
Scruggs. “The 787-9 will complement Ethiopian’s existing fleet of
787-8 aircraft, bringing further operational efficiencies and scope to
enhance their existing network. We thank our friends and partners at
Ethiopian Airlines for their continued confidence in AerCap and wish
them every success as they continue to optimize their fleet.”
“We are pleased to see the 787-9 enter into Ethiopian’s growing
Boeing fleet,” said Marty Bentrott, senior vice president sales for
Middle East, Turkey, Africa, Russia and Central Asia Boeing Commercial
Airplanes. “The 787-9 will further enhance the Ethiopian network with
its incredible range and capacity.”
Ethiopian Airlines conducted its 32nd Humanitarian Delivery Flight
as part of the 787-9 delivery. In conjunction with the non-profit
Seattle Alliance Outreach, Ethiopian transported goods donated by
medical organizations in the U.S. to Black Lion Hospital and St. Paul
Hospital in Ethiopia.
“We are very happy to continue our longstanding partnership with
Boeing to deliver medical equipment and supplies to public hospitals
in Ethiopia, which benefit the society at-large,” said GebreMariam.
“This is our 32nd humanitarian flight over the course of the last few
years. No airline has provided such sustained support to the delivery
of humanitarian supplies to the African continent. It is a testament
to our commitment to serve the community as a responsible corporate
Ethiopian Airlines operates a Boeing fleet of 737, 767, 777, and 787
airplanes in passenger service and six 777 and two 757-200 airplanes
in cargo operations.
Amnesty International Is This The End?
November 3, 2017 | 0 Comments
SOUTH AFRICAN AIRWAYS AWARDED WITH TOP HONORS BY TRAVEL WEEKLY
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments
Airline Receives Five Distinguished Magellan Awards
Fort Lauderdale, FL (October 31, 2017) – South African Airways (SAA), Africa’s most awarded airline, has been honored with five premier Magellan Awards from Travel Weekly, one of the leading travel trade publications in the U.S. The Magellan Awards commemorates the best in travel, honoring an array of
travel providers based on their design, creativity, and inspirational messaging in the development and execution of their advertising and marketing platforms. The awards distinguish a broad range of companies within the industry, including airlines and airports, cruise lines, destination tourism boards, tour operators and travel agencies.
For 2017, South African Airways has received recognition from a panel of travel industry professionals with the following Magellan Awards:
Gold: Airline Marketing – Promotional Video South African Airways Next Beginnings Video
Gold: Tour Operators – Marketing-Consumer Collateral 2017 South African Airways Vacations Product Brochure
Silver: Tour Operator Marketing 2017 South African Airways Vacations Product Brochure
Silver: Airline –Overall-International Carrier South Africa Airways Vacation South Africa Travel Planner
Silver: Tour Operator – Marketing-Trade Collateral 2017 South African Airways Vacations Product Brochure
“It is a great compliment to receive these awards and be recognized by travel industry experts on the
value of our marketing collateral that is developed to promote our products through travel trade and consumer channels,” said Todd Neuman, executive vice president of North America for South African Airways.
“This is the third year that South African Airways has been recognized by the Magellan Awards. This serves to reaffirm that our teams’ commitment in providing quality products and marketing material for our valued travel
partners for the promotion of travel to Africa is being recognized by travel professionals from around the world.”
“This year’s winners represent the most talented and creative people in not just the travel industry but of any industry,” said Arnie Weissmann, editor in chief of Travel Weekly.
“We congratulate South African Airways, as they continue to raise the bar, to inspire travel and enhance the travel experience. Their work leaves a lasting impression on our expert judges and readers.”
South African Airways offers the most daily flights from the U.S. to South Africa with daily nonstop service from New York-JFK Airport and daily nonstop service from Washington, DC-Dulles Airport to Accra, Ghana or Dakar, Senegal, with continuing service to Johannesburg. Via our Johannesburg hub, SAA links the world to over 75 destinations across the African continent and Africa’s
Indian Ocean islands. Onboard, SAA provides an in-flight experience designed for pure comfort for longhaul travel. Our customers enjoy a spacious Economy Class cabin, gourmet cuisine and a selection of complimentary spirits and award-winning South African wines and generous checked baggage allowance. Also included are individual audio / visual entertainment systems that deliver an extensive menu of first-run movies, music choices, and games.
South African Airways (SAA), South Africa’s national flag carrier and the continent’s most awarded airline, serves over 75 destinationsworldwide in partnership with SA Express, Airlink and its low cost carrier Mango. In North America, SAA operates daily nonstop flights from New York-JFK and direct flights from Washington D.C.-IAD (via Accra, Ghana and Dakar, Senegal) to Johannesburg. SAA has partnerships with United Airlines, Air Canada and JetBlue Airways, American Airlines and Virgin America, which offer convenient
connections from more than 100 cities in the U.S. and Canada to SAA’s flights. SAA is a Star Alliance member and the recipient of the Skytrax 4-Star rating for 15 consecutive years.
IGD Frontier 100 Forum: African and Global Business Leaders, Investors Gather to Boost U.S. Investment In Africa
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments
- Global business leaders offer bold strategies to bolster private sector investment opportunities to scale African companies and growth sectors.
- Fireside Chat with top U.S. government officials and congressional staffers laid out plans for greater private sector engagement in U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy
- Forum hosted the Africa investor (Ai) Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable
WASHINGTON D.C. – October 31, 2017 – Top African and global business leaders and investors gathered for the Initiative for Global Development’s Fall Frontier 100 Forum in Washington on October 11-12, to build momentum and catalyze action on increasing greater U.S. investment in Africa and deepening business relations between U.S. and African companies.
The Fall Forum was held at the Ronald Reagan Building and Covington law office in Washington, DC.
The invitation-only forum convened for two days on the theme “Growing the ‘Middle’: Investing in African Companies for the Continent’s Economic Transformation”, where leading CEOs and senior executives from companies operating on the African continent, investors, and African and U.S. policymakers offered bold solutions to bolster investment opportunities to scale African companies and growth sectors.
Investment in the Sub-Saharan African region continues to lag behind other regions of the world, despite the growth and maturation of Africa’s private sector. The forum sessions sought to put forth solutions and specific targets to bolster investment in the region to fuel rapid job creation and the continent’s economic transformation.
“African companies are the engines of growth in Africa. Our Forums go beyond the typical networking and business discussions. As business leaders, we are all about action and solutions. We know how to solve problems in innovative and collaborative ways to accelerate investment and growth on the continent,” said Dr. Mima S. Nedelcovych, IGD President & CEO.
An interactive tri-sector collaboration session led by a team from PYXERA Global generated lively discussions among forum participants on how to create effective cross cutting partnerships between the public, private and social sector through simulation games and role-playing activities.
An investor dialogue captured the perspectives of an investor, Hurley Doddy, Managing Director and Founding Partner, and Co-CEO of Emerging Capital Partners (ECP) and an investee, Bunmi Akinyemiju, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Venture Garden Group, on the opportunities and challenges of finding the right investment partner.
Akinyemiju said a company’s success to scale depends largely on its founders, diversity of skills and the need for both local and diaspora talent. Yet from an investor perspective, Doddy emphasized that to attract investors, a company must structure itself to surpass the founder for the long term. In the end, Akinyemiju whose company has received more than $20 million in investment, noted that finding the right investor is “like a marriage” and the investor and investee must possess aligning interests.
A full-day of forum sessions featured engaging panel sessions on attracting private equity investments, financing Africa’s agro-processing industry, and exploring franchise investment opportunities.
The Fall Forum hosted Africa Investor’s Development Finance-Institutional Investor Roundtable, moderated by Ai CEO Hubert Danso, with key leaders from the development finance industry with counterparts from the institutional investment community to generate new partnership strategies and vehicles available to de-risk and finance African infrastructure investment assets.
Burkina Faso’s Finance Minister Rosine Sori Coulibaly, in her luncheon remarks drew attention to investment opportunities in the West African country: “Burkina Faso is back and ready for business,” said the Honorable Sori Coulibaly.
Creating an enabling policy environment for investment and engagement with the U.S. and African private sector took center stage on the forum’s opening day.
Top U.S. government officials laid out their agency’s priorities to strengthen engagement with the private sector for sustainable development and inclusive growth in Africa during a Fireside Chat at the Ronald Reagan Building.
Mark Green, Administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development and former IGD President & CEO, pointed out that the goal of foreign assistance must be to end the need for its existence. “The only sustainable way of reaching that goal is by tapping into private enterprise, turning to all of you to help tackle the challenges, and the opportunities that we all see,” Administrator Green told private sector leaders.
Jonathan Nash, acting Chief Executive Officer of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) spoke about MCC’s mission to reduce poverty through private sector growth and outlined the agency’s achievements in Africa in creating strategic partnerships, building new market opportunities and encouraging American firms to invest in African businesses.
Presenting his remarks immediately after a Capitol Hill hearing on the U.S. Foreign Operations budget, Ambassador Donald Yamamoto, acting Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs for the U.S. Department of State, spoke about proposed budget cuts to U.S. foreign assistance and underscored the importance of having more American businesses invest in Africa to propel growth.
A policy roundtable on shaping U.S.-Africa trade and economic policy highlighted an urgent need for the U.S. to foster stronger business partnerships for African companies to take full advantage of the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), the signature U.S.-Africa trade law.
Both Republican and Democratic Hill staffers on panel agreed that bipartisanship is key in increasing the budget for Foreign Operations and moving U.S.-Africa related legislation forward.
An evening reception, sponsored by the African Development Bank, paid tribute to Babacar Ndiaye, former President of the Bank, who recently passed away in Dakar, Senegal. Charles Boamah, Senior Vice-President of the African Development Bank, shared progress on the “High 5s”, the Bank’s agenda for Africa’s economic transformation.
The Fall Forum closed with an evening reception to roll out a grassroots campaign on increasing U.S. investment in Africa. The grassroots campaign is part of IGD’s Africa Investment Rising campaign, a dynamic multimedia communications and advocacy effort aimed at changing the narrative on doing business in Africa.
The African Development Bank and African Export-Import Bank served as Collaborating Partners. Forum sponsors included Covington as Platinum Sponsor; Ex-Im Global Partners, AllAfrica.com and Accenture as Gold Sponsor; Clin d’Oeil Magazine as Silver Sponsor; and Africa investor as Organizational Partner.
Media Partners included Africa Investor, Africa.com, Africa Trade magazine, African Business Central, AfroPop Worldwide, Asoko Insight, Center Africa TV, Face2Face Africa, Quartz Africa, Pan-African Visions, and VoxAfrica.
Infrastructure investment is breaking ground for new development and growth trajectories in Africa
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Tshepo Mahloele*
Historically, strategic infrastructure investments have altered the trajectory of a country’s economic and social development. From America’s Hoover Dam to Dubai’s international airport, infrastructure can transform people’s path to prosperity and propel entire nations to the global stage. I firmly believe we can achieve the same for Africa. It only takes leadership.
Whether it is connecting people to new opportunities through broadband, providing improved electricity access using renewable energy, or reducing geographic divides with world-class airports, investments in 21st century infrastructure has the potential to transform prospects and growth across the continent.
The disruptive power of infrastructure goes a long way. In 1935, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s government invested US$49million in the Hoover Dam (roughly US$840million today) and it took 5000 workers five years to complete. Today, it provides water for 25 million people and hundreds of thousands of hectares of agricultural land, and provides electricity to roughly eight million people.
Major cities like Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Diego, and Phoenix would never have grown as prosperous or strategically important without the Hoover Dam. And, California definitely would not have become the 7th largest economy in the world without it.
As Harith General Partners, together with our partners across the continent, we have made strides over the past 10 years in building a modern and well-developed Africa we can proudly bequeath to future generations.
Our investments are targeted at strategic sectors that are aimed at propelling African economies into higher growth trajectories. Our investment in Main One Cable is one such investment. It’s aimed at fuelling the rapid growth of broadband and internet access and had a particularly profound impact on West African countries. The 7000-kilometer submarine cable has connected Nigeria, Ghana, and other countries to the rest of the world and served as a catalyst for broadband and connectivity.
Main One has helped to reduce the prices for international connectivity services by 80 percent in Nigeria and Ghana. The social impacts of this are immense, with thousands of jobs being created and injecting a necessary boost to the ICT sector in these countries, with positive impacts on economic growth.
The sheer scale of the opportunity for investment and related challenges in Africa will require a collaborative effort between private investors, governments and development finance institutions.
Collectively, these partners will need to invest nearly US$100 billion annually over the next decade to fully reap the benefits available in the power, transportation, telecommunications, water and sanitation, and irrigation sectors.
Central government investments continue to ground much of the continent’s infrastructure development, contributing roughly $30billion needed each year for the maintenance of existing infrastructure.
However, public spending levels overall remain far too low to meet the region’s rapidly growing infrastructure needs. Given this, the private sector will continue to serve as a major player in filling the funding gap and reaching spending targets.
Importantly, while the need for investment is large, the potential return is also very attractive on a risk-adjusted basis. Compared to other developing regions, the growth potential in Sub-Saharan Africa is even greater. Approximately 40 percent of the region’s population lives in landlocked countries, and many economies are largely isolated from global market centres. Investments that help these less connected economies overcome geographic disadvantages, lower transportation costs and engage in trade, will open up a new opportunities for millions of people living across the continent.
Bridging the quantity and quality gaps in infrastructure could increase GDP per capita growth by 1.7 percent points each year, excluding South Africa. For lower-income countries in the region, the power sector offers the largest potential gains, while lower-middle-income countries could see particularly large gains from transportation sector investments.
With the assistance of our anchor investments such as the Government Employees Pension Fund and support from the African Development Bank 10 years ago, Harith was able to take risks and pursue a pan-African vision of infrastructure investments.
At the heart of my decision to pursue a pan African infrastructure investment vision was inspiration from former President Thabo Mbeki’s African Renaissance vision, which reignited Ghanaian President, Dr. Nkwame Nkrumah’s One Africa vision in the 1950s. Nkrumah recognised that Africa’s infrastructure is, to a large extent, a legacy of arbitrary borders and transport networks designed to feed former colonial powers.
Hence it takes up to 28 days for a rail shipment from Durban to reach Malawi. It is easier and cheaper to ship goods from Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Durban than through the DRC port of Matadi. The continent is littered with such examples.
The most expensive infrastructure is the infrastructure you don’t have. It is impossible to calculate what growth is lost due to the absence of good quality road or rail networks.
While the US leap-frogged from a primitive agricultural economy to the world’s industrial behemoth in 200 years, Africa’s trajectory is likely to be even more surprising given the advantages of telecommunications and steady advances in education.
With political stability and good governance gradually taking root in many African states, the environment is ripe for both continent-wide and global capital to flow into our shores and, turn Africa into a permanent construction site for mega infrastructure projects to propel the continent into a higher economic growth trajectory.
*Tshepo Mahloele is the CEO of Harith General Partners with assets under management north of US$1.8bn. Harith celebrates 10 years this year.
African cities must adopt holistic approach to tourism growth – Mastercard Global Destinations Index
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments
Tourism is a catalyst for economic growth in Africa – a key theme during the UN World Cities Day celebrated today around the world. The sector is especially important now when governments are seeking out ways to drive diversification as part of their growth strategies. African cities need to find efficient ways to develop into smart cities capable to not only attract visitors, but also to offer unique experiences and overcoming growing infrastructure demands.
The Mastercard Global Destinations Cities Index (GDCI) provides insight into the motivations and travel spend of visitors – a prime driver for development in the sector. The Index ranks 132 global destination cities in terms of visitor spend, and provides insight on the fastest growing destination cities, and a deeper understanding of why people travel and how they spend around the world.
There were thirteen African cities ranked in the Index, indicating a great opportunity for tourism authorities to work together to better position the continents full and diverse offering. Cities ranked included: Johannesburg, Cape Town, Lagos, Casablanca, Cairo, Durban, Accra, Dakar, Entebbe, Tunis, Nairobi, Maputo and Beira.
Learning from the world’s top destination cities
Bangkok, a city that remained the top-ranked destination city by international overnight visitor arrivals with 19.4 million visitors in 2016 alone, provides a good case study on what cities in African can adopt. Additionally London, with 19.06 million visitors, can be used as blueprints for future planning given their strong focus on mobility.
Across the top 20 destination cities, the majority of travel is conducted for leisure purposes. The Index indicates expenditure categories that illustrate how people are spending when they visit these top performers. Key contributors to spend include: dining, shopping, lodging and transport.
These top 20 cities provide a full experience, with many boasting strong infrastructure helping to enhance visitor’s opinion of the city and thus their willingness to spend.
GDCI indicates that more people than ever are visiting cities for business or leisure travel, and that at the same time, the research indicates that people expect their experience when traveling to be both seamless and personal.
African cities must do more to connect people with all that the continent has to offer – but it is critical that cities identify on their uniqueness and overall appeal to visitors. Cities that know what they are about, and what they want to represent, attract more visitors and thus more spend. The continent has the widest range of sights and sounds, with natural beauty, warm people and a uniqueness not often found around the world – this is very appealing to international visitors.
As the top destination city, Dubai sees over 14 million international overnight visitors, which is significantly higher than other cities in Africa. It’s no coincidence that Dubai ranks number one as having the highest percentage of visitor expenditure of GDP (30.3%), given its global positioning as a hot shopping destination. It has carved out a unique proposition and the city thrives on this positioning.
The benefits are obvious, more than half of the top 20 destinations reported an increase in spend consistent with or greater than GDP growth. This reinforces the important role that travel plays in a country’s economy and indicates that the sector is growing much more rapidly than the combined average of all economic areas.
What can African cities do today to build for tomorrow?
- Infrastructure and public transport is key: For highly attractive destination cities, like Bangkok, London and Paris that top the list, ease of travel is a big factor in drawing visitors. This is why Mastercard is working with governments and cities across Africa to simplify access to urban services like public transport, helping to enable users to pay for their train or bus simply by tapping their card or swiping their phone.
- Look deeper at the purpose of travel and spend: It’s safe to say that Africa is no longer just a safari destination, and the reason for travel to Africa varies largely by what a city has to offer. Using data to understand what appeals to travellers will give cities an upper hand to mine the popularity of that destination, and then further enhance the offering. Data is a smart way for tourism authorities to effectively and efficiently gather important insights. Mastercard’s Tourism Insight Platform provides data on spend as well as insights from search engines – proving that data is the tourism industries greatest asset and must be taken seriously.
- Build stronger cross sector partnerships: Expertise within the public sector must be harnessed, it is here where innovation is shaping African cities and helping to digitise economies. Tourism is a diverse offering, and governments are more willing than ever before to collaborate to realise the full potential of the sector. As indicated in the GDCI, cities must differentiate, provide unique experiences and ensure are capable of hosting people from around the world. This is achievable only via cross sector collaboration, and a willingness to adapt.
The Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities ranks cities in terms of the number of their total international overnight visitor arrivals and the cross-border spending by these same visitors in the destination cities in 2016, and gives visitor and passenger growth forecasts for 2017. Public data is used in deriving the international overnight visitor arrivals and their cross-border spending in each of the 132 destination cities. This Index and the accompanying reports are not based on Mastercard volumes or transactional data.
ICT Offers Africa The Best Opportunity To Bridge The Development Gap-Prof Victor Mbarika
November 1, 2017 | 0 Comments
By Ajong Mbapndah L
Information and Communication Technology (ICT’s) represent the best hope for Africa to bridge the development gap with the rest of the world, says Prof Victor Mbarika Founder and Board Chair of the ICT University. With campuses in Cameroon and Uganda, under the leadership of Prof Mbarika, Nigeria is on course as the third African country to host the University.
Based in the USA, the ICT University Foundation funds and designs quality education to people who do not have to leave Africa. The Foundation establishes Campuses across the world that have similar standards and curricula like those in the USA. With over 20,000 students served annually, from basic certificate programs to Ph.D. programs, offered onsite and online,the ICT -U has emerged as a formidable hub for education that meets 2st century development challenges.
The intent is to have a University in each sub region of the continent, and with a campus in Central Africa, East Africa ,and West Africa coming up, the goal is very feasible says Prof Mbarika. With affordable fees, Africans are able to receive education that matches U.S standards and the results have been phenomenal says Prof Mbarika who frequently travels across Africa to harp on the merits of ICTs.
On the affordability of the programs, Prof Mbarika says tuition is kept very low to give opportunities to more Africans. While the fees may still be high for some people, it pales in comparison to what is paid to receive the same education in the USA. In addition, the University Management goes the extra mile to source and provide scholarships an grants to deserving students from poor backgrounds ,Mbarika said.
Support from governments in countries where the Universities are located has been laudable ,Prof Mbarika said. In Cameroon, Prof Mbarika said the registration process was seamless with no bribes requested from him and the university is in the process of starting additional programs in agriculture and medicine. In Uganda, the government has equally been very supportive , Prof Mbarika went on. In Nigeria, where he has had the opportunity of meeting past leaders like General Gowon, Presidents Obasanjo, Jonathan as well as Officials of the current Buhari Administration, the response has been most encouraging ,said Mbarika.
Beyond the countries that host ICT universities in Africa today, many African governments have seen the importance of ICT ,and Prof Mbarika believes that this augurs well for development prospects. In Namibia, Prof Mbarika said he was impressed with the efforts of government to promote ICT. African governments are taking note of the importance of ICT’s and this could be a game changer for the continent, he said.
On projects that the University is working on, Prof Mbarika said there were plans to work on the promotion of agriculture using ICT tools. The University is also fanalizing plans to start a Teaching Hopital in Cameroon with strong emphasis on tele medicine where a professional can be in the USA and be able to treat a patient in a remote part of Cameroon,Prof Mbarika said.