130 posts tagged sub sahara
130 posts tagged sub sahara
Ambassador Amina Mohamed may have missed the opportunity to become the first woman and indeed first African to head the World Trade Organisation (WTO) recently, but she now has an opportunity to add a feather in her hat with the nomination to become Kenya’s next Foreign Secretary.
Mohamed, who currently works as the Assistant Secretary General and Deputy Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was picked to spearhead Uhuru Kenyatta’s foreign policy on Tuesday.
She is a seasoned diplomat with an equally vast career in the public sector having worked as the Permanent Secretary for Justice and Constitutional Affairs before assuming her current position.
The soft spoken mother of two is a career public servant whose record spans over 26 years and has also worked in the ministries of Local Government and Foreign Affairs.
While accepting her nomination at State House on Tuesday, Mohamed said she would discharge her new duties diligently if her nomination is approved by the National Assembly.
“I am humbled and I feel privileged and uniquely honoured and I will be waiting for your instructions on what I should be doing next,” she told the Head of State Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto.
Mozambique, one of Africa’s poorest states, and neighboring Tanzania are set to become major natural gas producers, while Kenya, deemed the cradle of mankind, sits on at least 10 billion barrels of oil.
These are the centerpieces of a burgeoning energy boom that’s transforming East Africa into a vast source of oil and gas for energy-hungry Asia 3,000 miles away across the Indian Ocean.
“You have almost an embarrassment of riches in Mozambique and Tanzania, in terms of the volumes of gas being discovered,” said Philip Wolfe of UBS financial services, which advises Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production, now a major player in Mozambique.
“In Mozambique, they’ve only just scratched the surface and have already found so much gas.”
After about two years’ exploration, around 100 trillion cubic feet of natural gas has been found in the Indian Ocean off the former Portuguese colony and Tanzania. That’s equivalent to nearly all of Iraq’s gas reserves.
A key enabling factor for achieving sustainable prosperity is the growth of intra-African trade as well as trade with the rest of the world. Djibouti is blessed with a strategic position.
Ethiopia, a thriving country and economy of over 80 million people, relies extensively on Djibouti as its pathway to the sea. We hope to become a gateway not just for our immediate neighbours but for all of East Africa - connecting the region to markets in Europe, the Middle East and Asia and bringing economic benefits to our citizens and the region.
According to Professor Mthuli Ncube, Chief Economist and Vice President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Africa should start using China as a ladder to play a major role in the global economy.
“I think Africa should have a strategy for China,” Prof Ncube said April 26, 2013 during a media interaction in Tunis.
According to Prof Ncube, China has a strategy for Africa but the continent has no strategy for China. The AfDB Chief Economist says the continent’s strategy should be that, Africa should see China as a ladder on which it can climb in terms of the global value chain.
“We should see Africa’s manufacturing sector beginning to make different parts for various final goods which are produced in China,” he said, adding that,
“Africa should become the factory to the world just like China became one in the last 15-20 years ago.”
“I think that is how Africa should begin to see itself in terms of climbing the ladder on the back of China,” he stated.
Prof. Ncube however advised African countries to diversify their economies so that growth will be inclusive. China’s influence has driven Africa’s economy to expand further.
For instance trade between China and Africa reached about $200 billion in 2012 and the Asian powerhouse plans to provide Africa a $20 billion line of credit, its President Xi Jinping announced when he visited Tanzania March 25, 2013.
“President Jonathan is scheduled to leave Abuja for Cape Town tomorrow and will, at the invitation of President Jacob Zuma, undertake a state visit to South Africa ahead of the opening of the World Economic Forum on Wednesday.” Abati said.
The Forum themed “Delivering on Africa’s Promise” is expected to provide a platform for African leaders in government, business and civil society and their counterparts from other regions of the world to discuss further on the continent’s integration agenda and “renew their commitment to a sustainable path of growth and development that will further unlock Africa’s potentials and talents.”
The President will be accompanied on the trip by the Governors of Zamfara, Anambra and Bayelsa states, Senator Smart Adeyemi, Honourable Abubakar Momoh, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr. Jim Ovia, Chief Oba Otudeko and Mr. Tony Elumelu.
Several ministers including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Olugbenga Ashiru, the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Minister of Petroleum Resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, the Minister of Agriculture, Dr. Akinwunmi Adesina and the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Alhaji Musa Mohammed Sada will also be on the presidential delegation.
The President will also participate in the Grow Africa Investment Forum and thereafter honour an invitation by his South African counterpart, Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma to discuss ways of improving trade and economic relations between Nigeria and South Africa.
During the visit, he will also deliver an address to the South African Parliament, co-chair a meeting of the South Africa/Nigeria Business Forum with President Zuma and hold separate meetings with the Chairmen of the Management Boards of MTN, Toyota and Nissan in South Africa.
“People tend to think if you sell things to Africa, you can sell them inferior things,” he observed. “I think that will be the biggest mistake you can make. The consumer in Africa is as much aware of quality as anybody else,” he added.
Van Zyl remains unconcerned about growing competition from budget Chinese and Indian manufacturers in Africa, saying that Toyota’s Etios brand is targeted at cost-conscious drivers, and is selling at the rate of about 2,000 units a month. Toyota, which has a presence in 54 African countries and takes a 14% market share across the continent, is expecting auto markets in East and West Africa to grow by up to 5% this year.
But the South African market may pose challenges. A new survey indicated that in the first quarter of 2013, consumer confidence in the nation had fallen to its lowest level in nine years, a trend that is likely to have an impact on household spending.
The chief economist at First National Bank, which helped compile the survey, noted that a “combination of deteriorating real disposable income growth, slower credit extension and higher prices for imported durable goods probably persuaded many consumers to postpone their durable goods purchases”.
Vice President Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur on Thursday appealed to the Brazilian investor community to consider Ghana’s strategic position within the West Africa sub-region and work together to develop her economic potentials.
He said there were huge potentials for Ghana’s economic growth and government was ready to team up with investors and provide opportunities for the generation of power. At a meeting with a Brazilian business delegation, led by Ms Irene Vida Gala, the Brazilian Ambassador to Ghana, the Vice President said the Government of Ghana was ready to collaborate with investors to tap into Ghana’s rich investment potentials within the overall national development agenda.
Vice President Amissah-Arthur noted that there were similarities between Ghana and Brazil and added that Ghana “was happy to meet with people of the Southern hemisphere.”
Competition between banks, both local and international, for a stake in the rapidly growing markets in Africa is heating up.
But the drive is not without risks and challenges, according to industry players and analysts. The growing and financially underserved populations of many African nations provide potential new sources of revenue for the industry at a time when the economies of developed nations remain stagnant.
The rise of the middle class is perhaps one of the most compelling developments in Africa in recent years, according to Diana Layfield, chief executive for Africa at Standard Chartered. She was speaking on the sidelines of the Ernst & Young Strategic Growth Forum on Africa earlier this month.
The bank, which operates in 37 markets in the region, said in October that it intends to double revenue from its Africa business over the next five years. The continent already contributes 8%, or $1.59-billion, to the group’s revenue, which grew to $19-billion last year.
Layfield said the emerging middle class on the continent is driving the sustainability behind the African growth story roughly one in three people now have access to disposable income and require increasingly sophisticated financial products and services.
“It’s [no longer] about a few people handling a resource economy; it’s about having a meaningful consumer class.”
Thierry Ntako is the CEO of Open-IT, a Burundi based company.
Open-IT came from my meeting with Dr Frank Verbeke, the manager of a Belgian company, Medical Exchange Solutions (MXS). MXS was providing medical IT solutions in hospitals in Rwanda and he wanted to expand their activity in Burundi because he saw that there was a potential market and big opportunities.
As an ICT entrepreneur, I was immediately interested by the project. I though about how many times medical records are lost at the hospitals or some cases when a patient in medical emergency is obliged to wait a long time because of the difficulty to find his medical file between thousands of others.
Many health institution managers also struggle with administrative and financial management and are unable to produce reliable medical information. An ICT system appears as the best solution.
Then Frank and I decided to create Open-IT, which is a joint-venture between MXS and my local IT company, BUSTEC. It was officially launched in January 2011
Business people and investors should focus on hard data, such as the continent’s GDP growth rates and the number of households moving into the middle-class. This is according to Kennedy Bungane, CEO of Barclays Africa.
“You cannot argue against numbers. The Africa’s rise story is not hype, it is not hope, it is real. However, we can, in telling the Africa story, forget to mention that Africa’s risk is still higher than average, it is still higher than other regions. I think the return and the growth and the opportunity is [also] higher, but we must not forget that if you are going to succeed here, you’ve got to appreciate that this is still the region with the second worst poverty of all continents…” Bungane explained.
“Africa is the last growth frontier. It is the one place you want to be in if you run a business that requires a sustainable growth strategy. But Africa is not for sissies, so buckle up and be prepared to do more than just product dump,” Bungane added.
While all the panellists were bullish on Africa’s prospects, they all acknowledged that there are many challenges and risks associated with doing business on the continent.