African agriculture has become an appealing theme for international investors: large swathes of sub-Saharan Africa offer fertile land, abundant water resources and proximity to transportation links or regional markets. Against this backdrop, it is remarkable that, while less than one quarter of the land suitable for crop production in sub-Saharan Africa is under cultivation, many African countries are unable to meet local food requirements. We believe a sustainable business model for farming in Africa must not only take advantage of the continent’s impressive agricultural potential, but also implement strategies that will make Africans successful farmers in the years ahead.More . . .
On November 18 Algeria became the final African country to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, beating Egypt in a heated play-off match in Khartoum, Sudan. Rivalry on the pitch was, however, overshadowed by escalating political tension between the countries in the weeks that led up to the match.More . . .
- Namibian elections hint at future change In a widely anticipated result, Namibia’s incumbent president Hifikepunye Pohamba was returned to office in the country’s general election in November 2009. His ruling party, the South West Africa People’s Organization – a former liberation movement which has held power since Namibia achieved independence from South Africa in 1990 – secured just over 75 percent of the vote.
- Pressure mounts for election Further delays to the elections in Côte d’Ivoire despite international pressure for a resolution have prompted concerns over the prospects for a smooth return to unity in the divided country
- No end to junta’s rule in sight The attempt on the life of Guinean junta leader Captain Moussa Dadis Camara exposes divisions within the ruling cadre and further threatens prospects for a return to civilian rule
- The 2010 forecast This Is Africa’s survey of leading economists examines key drivers of growth and gives an insight into how influential thinkers see the continent’s prospects
- Paul Kagame “A lot is changing. The voices of Africa are becoming more pronounced. There is insistence on Africa being taken seriously by Africans themselves, and Africans are trying to assert themselves and not only say the right things but also be seen to be doing the right things”
- Rhetoric or reality Attention may be focused on Iran’s nuclear programme but Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government has worked hard to become an increasingly global power with a reach that extends into both Latin America and Africa
- Harder edge to soft power China’s growing commitment to UN peacekeeping could hint at Beijing’s willingness to take on a greater role in African security
- A change for the better? Spain’s second “Plan Africa” emphasises multilateralism, but its basic motivations show little departure from previous initiatives, analysts say
- Fragile states back on global agenda Commitments from a number of nations look set to push state-building into the spotlight, and policymakers would do well to learn the lessons of the recent past.
- Picking winners: the return of industrial policy Widespread government intervention to combat the financial crisis is leading to a reevaluation of how the state can promote economic development
- Passport to growth Advances in biometric identification technology could be used by African governments to improve social and political inclusion and spur economic development on the continent
- Investing against the flow Private equity is proving a popular vehicle for private and public investors in Africa as it demonstrates development benefits and high returns
- Upwardly mobile Continued growth in the continent’s mobile subscriber base and an expected shift towards more sophisticated devices in the coming years could make Africa the next frontier in the global mobile handset market
- Unlocking Africa’s broadband potential The arrival of fibre-optic cables on Africa’s shores provides an opportunity for operators to open up broadband markets across the continent, although these undersea cables are only one part of the access puzzle
- Breaking barriers to private sector growth and trade No government can build a future for its people without supporting trade and investment
- A boost for bonds Indications that liquidity and demand will return for African sovereign issuance bode well for new players looking to boost their financing options
- Adapting to an uncertain future Commodity producers hit by volatile prices are looking for effective hedging tools to mitigate the risks.
- Sustainability concerns for Kenyan tea The frenzy over high tea prices in East Africa could be disguising more long term, structural shifts in production of the commodity, as climate change and local environmental degradation weakens crops
- Ferdinando Beccalli-Falco “We spent the last 25 years saying that, look, we are a private business, we do private business things. You are the government, stay out of the way. And then this crisis happened, and all of a sudden we come across the fact that governments, after all, have a role to play”
- Experts - Simon Norris and Kaushik Ray: The rocky road to independents Africa is in desperate need of power. It has little: the same amount as Spain, despite having over 20 times the population. Privately-financed independent power projects are essential to meeting this need, though the development of IPPs on African soil presents acute challenges. What can be learned from those African IPPs that have been successful?
- Experts - Tom Harden and Daniel Jones: Diverse drivers of telecoms investment The African telecoms market is attracting a lot of investor interest of late. Privatisations of telecoms operators, including Nigeria’s Nitel and Zambia’s Zamtel, have caught the eye of various potential suitors, including Indian state-owned companies BSNL and MTNL. Essar’s buyout of Warid’s operations in Uganda and Congo also illustrates recent activity emanating from the sub-continent. Another large M&A deal involving an Indian operator, the proposed merger of South Africa’s MTN with Bharti, only failed to materialise because MTN was unable to gain the approval of the South African government.
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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”