Africa Brief

Africa Brief: Global investors losing out on Africa, Harare will not rush to return to its currency and more…

Global investors ‘losing out’ on Africa

Global investors are missing great opportunities by not considering Africa for investment, with opportunity costs of up to $1.5bn being faced by those not investing in emerging markets. Sub-Saharan Africa is predicted to grow faster than previously forecasted next year (6.1% as opposed to 5.7%), due to growth in SA and Nigerian markets. However certain factors such as insignificant market capitalisation, political instability, corruption, difficulty in doing business and the illiquidity of the market all continue to plague the continent and cannot be ignored as highly risky factors when looking to Africa for potential investment.

Excerpt from Global investors ‘losing out’ on Africa, published in The New Age on 23/06/2014

Harare will not rush to return to its own currency – minister

Zimbabwe’s finance minister, Patrick Chinamasa has again rejected the suggestion to restore the national currency after 5 years of using the US dollar, as such a U-turn would disrupt the hopes for recovery. Although a domestic currency would allow for temporary respite by allowing the central bank to print money and pay local creditors and civil servant salaries, the currency would quickly lose values and ruin relations with foreign donors, in particular the IMF. The focus should be to build up reserves, in the form of hard currency and precious metals, before Zimbabwe can hope to resume funding programmes with multilateral institutions. The minister also acknowledges the poor state of the economy and the need for a complete overhaul thereof.

by Nicholas Kotch published in Business Day on 23/06/2014

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Heineken sees great potential

Heineken believes that the potential of the Nigerian beer market outweighs the security risk caused by the recent deadly bombings and instability in the country. Heineken have experience operating in regions of conflict in the past (e.g. Rwanda and SA) but understand the importance for itself to operate in Africa to tap into the booming economic growth of emerging markets.

Excerpt from Heineken sees great potential published in The Star, Business Report on 25/06/2014

India – now Nigeria’s largest crude importer

Oil-rich Nigeria says India has replaced the US as its largest crude importer, account­ing for more than a quarter of its daily output, after the US drastically reduced its demand in recent months  following an increase in US shale oil and gas production. India now purchases some 30% of Nigeria’s daily crude production, around 2.5 million barrels.

Excerpt from India – now Nigeria’s largest crude importer, published in The New Age on 23/06/2014

Kenya reciprocates with visa rules for SA

SA’s decision to tighten its immigration rules last month has resulted in Kenya tightening their visa requirements for South African tourists as a principle of reciprocity. These include the requirement of having a return ticket, the payment of a $70 admin fee, a letter of invitation and proof of funds. Application is also required in person at a Kenyan embassy. This is in contrast to the previous system of getting a visa at the point of entry. Although the SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry believes that the new requirements would not make a major difference to business travel, due to other countries (e.g. the US and UK) still having much stricter requirements, it will be more onerous for travelers to get to Kenya.

by Andiswa Maquta published in Business Day on 23/06/2014

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Shell ready to settle Nigeria oil spill lawsuit

Royal Dutch Shell is ready to pay up to £30m to 15 000 residents of the Bodo community in the Niger Delta,  in compensation for two oil spills that occurred in Nigeria in 2008. However, lawyers said it might face a far bigger pay out after a London court ruled it could be liable for damages. Shell estimates the spill to be 4 000 barrels, whereas claimants estimate the two spills to be 500 000 barrels. A preliminary hearing to the trial taking place in May next year ruled the Shell Nigeria could be liable if proven that reasonable steps were not taken to protect and maintain the pipeline from theft. A lawyer for the claimants described the $30m as insulting and derisory. Shell has urged the claimants to reach a settlement before the trial commences.

by Ron Bousso published in Business Day on 23/06/2014

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Strikers halt sugar output in Swaziland

A violent strike has closed down much of Swaziland’s sugar industry, stopping pro­duction of the country’s top export revenue earner. Arson attacks destroyed about 170 hectares at 11 Illovo sugar farms, at an estimated loss of R5m, apart from the loss due to work stoppages from the strike, now in its second week.

by Stephen Langa published in The Star, Business Report on 23/06/2014

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SA to exhibit for the first time in Tanzania

South Africa is set to make its first appearance in the Dar es Salaam International Trade Fair, the 38th edition. 14 companies will participate, made possible by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) through its export marketing and investment assistance scheme aimed at boosting SA’s export capacity. The DTI recognizes the importance of increasing trade between SA and other African countries. Tanzania is the 13th largest trading partner in Africa with total trade between the countries standing at R4.67bn, with a large surplus in SA’s favour. SA is Tanzania’s 4th largest trading partner.

Excerpt from SA to exhibit for the first time in Tanzania, published in The New Age on 23/06/2014

Irancell’s Moolman ‘heads for Nigeria’

Africa’s largest wireless operator, MTN Group, appointed Ferdi Moolman as chief financial officer of its Nigeria operations, thereby leaving his post as chief operating officer of MTN Irancell in Iran. This comes after former Nigerian CFO Andrew Bing left the company last month. MTN, which owns 49 percent of Irancell, is being sued by Turkey’s biggest cellphone operator, over the award of a mobile license in Iran in 2005. In Nigeria, MTN’s subscribers may face higher prices if the government forces the writing of improved services and infrastructure into contracts. Shares fell 0.79 percent to close at R225.20 yesterday.

by Bloomberg published in The Star, Business Report on 25/06/2014

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Military faces DRC challenges

South Africa’s military engineers working on roads in the DRC face difficulty as the machines they use cannot be serviced there. The parts needed are not available in the war-torn country and the machines can only be serviced in South Africa. The logistics of this poses many challenges.

by SAPA published in The Star, Business Report on 25/06/2014

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Zimbabwe, Zambia in Kapenta war

The kapenta (Tanganyika sardine) in Lake Kariba is facing a population problem as a result of overfishing and an influx of alien Nile tilapia and Australian redclaw crayfish. Under a 1999 agreement Zimbabwe and Zambia agreed to a 55-45% split of 500 rigs. However these rules have not been adhered to. The boat fleet is more than double the recommended number on the lake and catches for rigs have declined from between 600-700kg per night to 120-150kg per nights from 2005 to the present day. Zambia and Zimbabwe are supposed to cut their numbers of rigs by 50 and 13 per year respectively over the next decade.

by Godfrey Marawanyika published in The Star, Business Report on 25/06/2014

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Two bidders left for oil refinery

Two consortiums from Russia (RT- Global) and South Korea (SK Energy) had emerged as the final bidders for a $2.5bn oil refinery in Uganda. Other bids from the China Petroleum Pipeline Bureau and Japan’s Marubeni Corporation were excluded. Uganda’s hydrocarbon reserves were discovered in 2006.

by Reuters published in The Star, Business Report on 25/06/2014

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Mines’ refunds of tax held back

Zambia was withholding $600m in VAT refunds owed to various copper companies as they did not produce the required import certificates from the destination countries. This requirement was intended to reduce tax avoidance, however the mining companies said they could not comply as sales were often made to middlemen.

by Reuters published in The Star, Business Report on 25/06/2014

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Strikers go back to Gecamines

Gecamines, in the DRC, had started paying unpaid wages to workers, and striking miners in Katanga province had begun returning to work. Furthermore, Gecamines had launched a program to make up for the production lost during the recent strike over unpaid wages.

by Reuters published in The Star, Business Report on 25/06/2014

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Marriott on course to bring own brands to SA

Marriott International is considering bringing its own brands into SA for the first time, as well as exporting its recently acquired Protea brand into the Middle East, after the acquisition of the 116-hotel Protea Hospitality Group earlier this year. At the moment there is no plan to extend the Protea brand further than this. Marriott and Protea’s hotels combined would result in the group entering seven new countries within the African continent.

by Nick Hedley published in Business Day on 25/06/2014

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David Okwara

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