FDI favouring consumer-facing industry

Africa Brief: Egypt buys less local wheat than last year, Mugabe expected to stay on, mobile data and more

Egypt buys less local wheat than last year

Egypt has bought 3.675 million tons of wheat from local farmers so far this season and will continue to buy from them until 30 July 2013; the state news agency yesterday quoted the country’s main state wheat buyer as saying. “The total amount of local wheat supplied till now is 3.675 tons, 41000 tons less than the same period last year,” state news agency Mena quoted Mamdouh Abdel Fattah, the vice-chairperson of the General Authority for Supply Commodities, as saying.

Excerpt from Egypt buys less local wheat than last year by Reuters, published by The New Age on 30/07/13

Ford mulls new strategy for African market

Ford must end its fragmented mar­keting approach to Africa if it is to benefit from the continent’s inevitable rise as a major vehicle market, according to David Schoch, presi­dent of the American car maker’s Asia-Pacific operations.

Ford has split the continent into three regions, all run by different divisions. Sub-Saharan Africa is the responsibility of Asia-Pacific but leans heavily on its manufacturing subsidiary in SA.

With more than 1-billion people and a rapidly growing middle class, the African market is on the verge of spectacular growth. To take advantage, Ford will need a more cohesive Africa-wide strategy than it has now.

For the full story, read Ford mulls new strategy for African market by David Furlonger, published by Business Day on 30/07/13

Growth-crushing Mugabe expected to stay on

Zimbabwe’s elections probably won’t end President Robert Mugabe’s 33-year rule or his investment-stifling policies, according to analysts. Mugabe and his Zanu-PF party forced mining companies such as Impala Plat­inum (Implats) to cede a majority share of their local assets to black Zimbabweans or to the government.

Morgan Tsvangirai, who is challenging Mugabe for the presidency in the July 31st vote, has promised to unravel the measure. The previous elections in Zimbabwe -in 2008 – ended inconclusively. While Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) won a majority in parlia­ment, he abandoned the presidential race after leading the first round, saying more than 200 of his supporters had been killed. The Southern African Development Community brokered a 2009 power-sharing agreement between the main political par­ties, leaving Mugabe as president and appointing Tsvangirai as prime minister.

Mugabe blames Zimbabwe’s economic woes on sanctions by the US and the EU, which have imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on senior members of his govern­ment. The sanctions also include an embargo on arms and “equipment for internal repression”.

The EU has said it would lift the sanc­tions if the vote was peaceful, transparent and credible.

For the full story, read Growth-crushing Mugabe expected to stay on by Franz Wild, Brian Latham and Godfrey Marawanyika, published by The Star, Business Report on 30/07/13

Listed property settles for follow my leader

The listed property sector is expected to gain greater exposure to the continent as more quality assets are developed. The listed property sector has relatively little exposure to African property, with only a handful of JSE-listed funds having stated intentions to enter the African mar­ket, which is seen as risky.

Clur Research International MD Belinda Clur says the “pioneer­ing phase” of African property developments will be led mainly by unlisted direct property develop­ers, who are paving the way for the listed sector to enter the continent. However, while the continent has a number of attractive coun­tries for investments, “there are concerns that Africa may currently be overvalued, and in some cases retail rental revisions are in play”.

African property developments are being led by private equity funds while more developers are moving into the continent.

For the full story, read Listed property settles for follow my leader by Nick Hedley, published by Business Day on 30/07/13

Kenya bank cashing in on Chinese

Kenya’s Equity Bank has scored 2 billion shillings (R225m) in new deposits in less than six months from a specialised branch in Nairobi to support local Chinese business, helping boost its half-year results, the company said.

The boost from the branch, ben­efiting from China’s push for more influence across Africa, helped drive a 17% rise in first-half pre-tax profit for Kenya’s biggest bank by number of accounts to 9 billion shillings.

The bank is offering letters of credit and bid bonds for Chinese businesses as part of a push on trade finance generally, helping raise non-loan-related income to 36% of the total from 33% in the same period a year ago.

The share of Equity’s revenue from its loans business fell to 64% in the first half from 66% while its cost to income ratio dropped a percentage point to 49%.

For the full story, read Kenya bank cashing in on Chinese by Reuters, published by The New Age on 30/07/13

Oando dividend approved

TAX / JSE-listed Nigerian oil company Oando’s 75 kobo (R0.045) dividend was approved at its annual meeting. Nigerian shareholders will pay 10% withholding tax, leaving them with a 67.5 kobo dividend, while shareholders in SA will pay 15% withholding tax, leaving them with 63.75 kobo per ordinary share. Francesco Cuzzocrea was appointed a non-executive director.

Excerpt from Oando dividend approved by Staff Writer, published by Business Day on 30/07/13

SA ‘cheapest’ for mobile data in Africa

While SA is one of the most expensive mar­kets for prepaid mobile voice prices in Africa, Research ICT Africa (RIA) has found that when it comes to mobile data pricing, the country fares better than others on the continent. In comparison to other African countries, such as Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania, SA has the cheapest 1GB contract mobile broad­band basket at a price of $9.81.

Post-paid customers are often referred to as contract customers. But prices of prepaid mobile broadband products are still relatively high in SA compared to other African coun­tries. She says SA ranked only fourth in the 1GB prepaid broad­band sub index and the country’s 1GB mobile prepaid package cost three times more than the Ghanaian equivalent.

SA also rates poorly in the pricing of fixed-line ADSL broadband, ranking sixth in the 1GB ADSL basket sub index at $42.15 a month. But SA is relatively cheap for the 5GB mobile contract basket at a cost of $21.80 or R218.17.

For the full story, read SA ‘cheapest’ for mobile data in Africa by Thabiso Mochiko, published by Business Day on 30/07/13

David Okwara

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