Africa Brief

Africa Brief: Africa falls far behind in mobile broadband access, Famous brands gets big in Nigeria and more

Africa falls far behind in mobile broadband access

Whereas the rest of the world prepares to introduce and welcome 5G communications technology, most of Africa is still struggling to launch 2G, let alone 3G technology in their markets which is already behind the LTE and 4G in uses around the world. While Africa is the most rapidly growing market for mobile technology, it still has one of the lowest penetration rates. The reason for this lag in communications technology advancement in Africa is the regulators of licenses and mobile broadband spectrum not releasing this bandwidth into the market and hence restricting the development in African countries. This in turn limits the GDP potential within Africa greatly. The Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) determined that increase spectrum within sub-Saharan Africa over 10 years from 2015 $ 235 billion of additional GDP revenues, create 27 million in jobs and increase GDP per capita by 5.2%. Increased spectrum will lower the cost of mobile devices, improve the speed of data communication, and ultimately help millions of Africans escape poverty.

For the full story, read Africa falls far behind in mobile broadband access by Sifiso Dabengwa, published by The Star, Business Report on 17/09/201

Afriforum claims victory for farmers

Lobby group Afrifo­rum yesterday claimed victory to force the Zimbabwean government to com­pensate white farmers who lost their land during the infamous land seizures when the auction of a house belonging to the Zimbabwean gov­ernment in was suspended after the Zimbab­wean government “hastily” acceded to a punitive cost order of R200,000. Afriforum represents a group of white farmers who have been push­ing for the Zimbabwean government to compensate them for the loss of their land. The auctioning off of property belonging to the Zimbabwean gov­ernment was made as part of a land­mark legal ruling by the North Gauteng High Court in 2010. AfriForum legal adviser Willie Spies said the “door had now been opened” for further legal action to force Zimbabwe to compensate farmers for loss of property rights. The punitive cost order was handed down by the tribunal of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in 2009.

Excerpt from Afriforum claims victory for farmers by Bekezela Phakathi published by Business Day on 17/09/13

Famous brands gets big in Nigeria

Famous Brands, the owner of Wimpy and Mugg & Bean, has acquired a 49% stake in major Lagos-based Nigerian fast food business, UAC Restaurants, which it will use to entrench its position in Africa’s most populous country to take advantage of growing demand for fast food as income levels rise. Famous Brands CEO Kevin Hedderwick said yesterday the deal enabled the group to expand its pres­ence in the “burgeoning, currently low consumption per capita” organ­ised food service market. Chris Gilmour, an analyst at Absa Investments, said first mover advan­tage was vital for fast food compa­nies and that there is huge demand from African consumers as enhanced access to the internet and satellite television creates awareness. The value of the deal, to be funded out of cash reserves, was not disclosed.

For the full story, Famous brands gets big in Nigeria by Zeenat Moorad, published by Business Day on 17/09/13

Morocco: Fuel prices up ministers quit

Morocco’s Islamist government raised energy prices yesterday as it began a sensitive reform of subsidies needed to meet International Monetary Fund requirements. These included a rise in diesel, petrol fuel oil distributors told Reuters. Morocco aims to bring prices closer to international market levels.

Excerpt from Morocco: Fuel prices up ministers quit by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 17/09/13

Libya: Oil shipments still at a trickle

The Libyan government has been locked in talks with feuding tribes, militia and protester groups and struggled to resume oil exports yesterday, as an attempt at a deal with the government collapsed. Output collapsed to a 10th of Libya’s maximum capacity of 1.5 million barrels a day which is the worst disruption since the 2011 revolution and has cost Libya billions of dollars in lost revenues and contributed to a spike in global prices to a six-month high last month.

For the full story, read Libya: Oil shipments still at a trickle by Reuters, published by The Star, Business Report on 17/09/13.

Zimbabwe talks tough on taxes

Zimbabwe’s tax commissioner, Gershom Pasi,  says the government wants to turn the country around following the damage caused by 15 years of deindustrialisation and investment outflows, but this does not mean going soft on tax penalties charged to multinational companies. In Zimbabwe, he said “Penalties must serve a purpose”, with the penalty for a first tax offence is a maximum rate of 100% and then a maximum rate of 200% for subsequent offences. SA scrapped the discretionary power given to revenue authorities to levy additional tax of up to 200% in last year’s Tax Administration Act while Zimbabwe’s Pres­ident Robert Mugabe began his new five-year term last month by pledg­ing to launch an economic revolution in the form of the indigenisation pro­gramme, which was to be extended to all key aspects of the economy. Multina­tional companies have bemoaned their struggles with many tax authorities in Africa.

For the full story, read Zimbabwe talks tough on taxes by Evan Pickworth, published by Business Day on 17/09/13

Hague Trial keeps Kenyans mesmerised

Few major crimes are prosecuted in Kenya. So it came as a shock that six prominent men were formally charged in 2011 with crimes against humanity by the Inter­national Criminal Court (ICC) in connection with the deaths in the aftermath of the 2007 general election. The govern­ment and parliament of Kenya acquiesced to handing their names to the ICC. The reason stated was that Kenyan courts were not up to the task. Cases against three of the six accused have been dropped due to lack of evidence; two of the three remaining are Mr Ruto and President Uhuru Keny-atta. But today their attorneys, and the African Union, claim that it is unfair of the court to make them attend the hear­ings when they have important matters of state to deal with. Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and Rwanda, Kenya’s four East African Community partners, and Eritrea have asked the ICC to exempt Mr Ruto from obli­gatory attendance so he can per­form his constitutional duties. From their opening state­ments, the attorneys appear to be angling for early acquittals. The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Ms Bensouda, is attempting to prove that before the 1997 elections, Mr Ruto was already involved in estab­lishing a group of influential men of his Kalenjin community to car­ry out ethnic cleansing in the Rift Valley in western Kenya. As clamor rose to bring the trials back home among politicians in the ruling Jubilee coalition, the new Independent Poncing Oversight Authority released a Survey on Policing Standards and Gaps in Kenya last Thursday stating the quality of investigations at police stations is very poor. Police are in charge of all criminal investigations in Kenya. Overall 64% of the felony cases reviewed never met the minimum evidentiary threshold to charge a person with an offence.

For the full story, read Hague Trials keeps Kenyans mesmerized  by Susan Linee, published by Business Day on 17/09/13

David Okwara

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