Sudan’s first multi-party elections in 24 years have ended with a resounding victory for incumbent Omar al-Bashir’s National Congress Party. The poll has been heavily criticised by the international community, with election monitors at the Carter Center calling the process: “Highly chaotic, non-transparent, and vulnerable to electoral manipulation.” The Centre’s report also highlighted violence and intimidation around the country in the run up to the vote. EU election monitors in the restive Darfur region were withdrawn over safety concerns.More . . .
Nigeria’s acting president Goodluck Jonathan meeting US president Barack Obama in Washington PHOTOS: AFP/Getty Images
Attendees of this year’s World Economic Forum on Africa in Dar es Salaam were treated to an unprecedented show of unity from Zimbabwe’s three leading political figures. President Robert Mugabe, prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai and deputy prime minister Arthur Mutambara shared a stage at the forum to attempt to rekindle investor interest in the country, at one time one of the continent’s leading economic powers.More . . .
- Build on broadband – and the rest will follow Information and communication technologies underpin almost every single activity undertaken in the modern world. Today, it is no exaggeration to say that the great majority of people are dependent in some way on ICT networks and applications, even if they do not themselves have first-hand access.
- Mobile health: from silos to systems Still in its infancy, the emerging field of mHealth – the use of mobile technologies to improve health outcomes – runs the risk of not realising its full potential.
- Regional integration There is a renewed sense of optimism surrounding regional integration in Africa, as the continent’s governments increasingly turn to the private sector as the main driver of economic growth
- Strength in numbers Comesa’s proposal for a common investment area could act as a spur to cross-border investment
- Reforming Senegal’s customs A public-private partnership has vastly improved the customs clearing procedures at Dakar port
- The rebirth of the East African Community A new report from brewer SAB Miller, “The East African Community: Why this time is different,” gives a cautiously optimistic assessment of the East African Community’s prospects in building a coherent regional economic and political framework at the second attempt.
- Ajai Chowdhry: Exclusive Interview “India as a country didn’t do enough branding. You know how that branding happened? It was Indians working abroad that created the Indian brand. Engineers who went out, doctors who went out, software engineers who went out, administrators who went out, researchers, scientists, teachers. These are the people who actually created brand India”
- The fight against corruption The UK’s new bribery laws should bring more clarity to corporate prosecutions, but the movement of large companies into the developing world presents huge challenges for the authorities
- Too Big to Fail? The World Bank’s loan to Eskom to build the Medupi coal-fired power plant comes as a relief to both industry and the local population, who have suffered from power cuts. But questions are being asked about its environmental impact and the South African company’s role in the region
- Kanayo Nwanze: Exclusive Interview “One factor that emerged from the 2007-2008 food crisis was the clear linkage in the developing world between food security and political stability. It brought down two governments, one in Haiti and one in Madagascar. What happens in some small developing country affects a big one in Europe. They realised that food security is no longer what we used to think it was”
- African operators seek new frontiers Much of Africa’s mobile revolution has been concentrated in a few countries, but with increasing levels of competition, operators are looking to expand into non-traditional markets in order to secure future growth
- Signposting the route to private investment Attracting private investment back into African infrastructure will be critical if the continent is to open up bottlenecks and catalyse development
- Jørgen Ole Haslestad: Exclusive Interview “We see the huge potential that this area has. If we can participate in moving it in the direction that we would like to see it, then we can sell more products. We can’t do that if we’re just sitting, listening and selling our fertiliser. Here we have to be active. I’m not into this for the fun of it. We’re not an NGO”
- Why food could be Africa’s sweet spot The food industry has been amongst the best performing sectors in Africa and has shown an average annualized growth of 20 percent in the last 4 years. Investors in Africa are slow to adjust to this reality as most of them are still focused on finding the next oil field or securing the next plot of arable land. Silk Invest is launching its African Food Fund because investors are much better off investing in food companies that service the local consumer rather than investing in commodities or farmland.
- New developments in African telephony In OECD countries mobile telephony is seen as a business with utility-like characteristics. Saturated penetration levels and established competition are pervasive. Africa exhibits the polar opposite of this; there are thought to be 500m potential new subscribers and currently there is a scramble for mobile assets across the continent as multinational mobile operators seek growth away from their stagnated markets.
- Lending to Africa’s small holder farmers means improving efﬁciencies Developing innovative solutions is the key when lending to small holder farmers and small to medium sized businesses in Africa’s agricultural sector.
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“There is a regional consensus that the crisis cannot be allowed to affect regional development”
“Africa probably has more resources than any place you can imagine”
“There can never be soft touch regulation. But it has to be regulation that is not arbitrary. The direction needs to be clear”
“Africa has lots of potential – raw materials and young people – but it needs FDI”