The reputation of Chinese pharmaceuticals in Africa has taken a hammering over the last couple of years. Far from curing disease, Chinese companies are accused of sitting at the centre of a vast counterfeiting industry dumping fake medicines on the continent at a cost of billions of dollars and countless lives.
But two Chinese pharmaceutical companies – Guilin Pharmaceuticals and Watson Global Pharmaceuticals – are breaking new ground by introducing SMS-based authenticity checks for their anti-malarial drugs in Africa. Continue reading »
Africa has the lowest internet penetration rate globally, but some of the world’s tech giants think they may have touched a magic formula for the rollout of broadband on the continent.
The ‘white spaces’ technology being deployed by Microsoft could bring “almost 80 per cent of Kenya’s population online over the next three years,” according to Fernando de Sousa, who heads up the company’s 4Afrika initiative.
Bearing in mind that Kenya’s population has grown to just over 40m, that’s a fairly substantial number. Continue reading »
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe’s plan to hold a general election by June 29, when the current parliament will be dissolved, looks increasingly like a pipe dream. Do the maths and you’ll see that it is impossible for the country to hold a vote before the end of July at the earliest, the country’s finance minister Tendai Biti said.
“It’s a processing issue which will determine the date of the election,” he told beyondbrics from the sidelines of a talk at Chatham House, the think tank. “It is not possible to have elections before at least the end of July”. Continue reading »
Diplomatic relations between Kenya and the west took a pummelling over the course of the country’s presidential election, which saw Uhuru Kenyatta (left) – currently indicted by the International Criminal Court for inciting ethnic violence after the 2007 vote – edge his way to a first round win.
But with results in, will the diplomatic fallout be as bad as the rhetoric suggests? The answer is: probably not. Continue reading »
The race for Kenya’s presidency is heading to a nail-biting finish as the front-runner’s lead fades away and the votes counted show the decision going to a run-off for the first time since counting began four days ago.
With around 80 per cent of the constituencies declared, the early lead held by deputy prime minister Uhuru Kenyatta has fallen away, slipping just below the 50 per cent mark needed to secure an outright win. His rival, prime minister Raila Odinga, is trailing with 44 per cent of the vote but results trickling in from Odinga strongholds are closing the gap. With 20 per cent of ballot papers left to count, the outcome could go either way. Continue reading »
For technology companies, Africa looks a lot like the final frontier. Mobile operators, search providers and phone manufacturers have all been racing to secure their share of the continent’s famously fast growing market as new undersea data cables and soaring mobile phone subscriptions reshape the continent’s connectivity.
Microsoft might have been operating on the continent for two decades, but it is no different. The world’s largest software maker is launching a comprehensive new strategy to expand internet access in Africa, positioning it to grow its business on the continent. Continue reading »
With confidence tanking across western economies, it’s no surprise that the world’s biggest consumer-facing industries have been looking elsewhere for growth. And it was more of the same for Diageo on Thursday, as it announced that its strongest sales and profits increases for the last half year came from developing countries.
The maker of Baileys and Guinness saw global sales grow 5 per cent to £6.04bn over the second half of 2012, with operating profits up 11 per cent to £2.05bn. But its fastest growth rates came from Africa and Latin America, as emerging consumers pour back its international spirit and local beer brands. Continue reading »
Nigeria’s capital markets received a filip in October when the country was admitted to JP Morgan’s emerging market Government Bond Index, a move that that could potentially attract $1.5bn of new capital inflow into the country. Now there’s some more good news for sub-Saharan Africa’s second biggest economy, and this time it is the thinly-traded corporate debt market which stands to benefit.
The International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s investment banking arm, is getting ready to launch a five-year naira-denominated bond, aimed to develop local capital markets. Continue reading »
China’s search giant Baidu announced on Monday that it has partnered with France Telecom-Orange to launch a co-branded browser for low-cost smartphone users across Africa and the Middle East.
The service compresses data to provide customers with a faster, more data-efficient service, while reducing the traffic on Orange networks at the same time. Launching in English and Arabic, it offers one-click access to web-based apps and internet services like Facebook and Twitter. Sounds good, but so what? Continue reading »
Rating agency Fitch is ending the year with predictions that sub-Saharan Africa will be “a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy world in 2013″. With growth expectations of above 5 per cent, the region is set to benefit from rising investor interest, and upgrades may be in order.
Among the agency’s 15 rated sub-Saharan sovereigns, nine have stable outlooks and three positive. So who are the ones to watch? Continue reading »
Research in Motion is set to unveil another disappointing set of quarterly results on Thursday. There’s the bad news. Anything happier to report?
Well, there’s the launch of a new BlackBerry 10 smartphone coming soon, which the company hopes will stem its falling market share in the US and UK. But the Canadian group is also looking to exploit other regions with strong growth prospects – particularly in Africa. Continue reading »
From its distilleries in deepest Scotland, Diageo has got one eye on Africa. The world’s biggest drinks company has been pushing its Scotch whisky brands on the continent and its efforts are paying dividends.
Buoyed by a series of marketing campaigns featuring local celebrities – including Ethiopian Olympic champion Haile Gebrselassie – Diageo’s sales of the spirit in Africa grew by 20 per cent in the last financial year, led by its famous blended Scotch brand Johnnie Walker, which shot up by a whopping 40 per cent over the period. Continue reading »
Nigeria might be trying to lure local companies into listing on its stock exchange, with flotation activity set to increase – but it’s not the only one. London is stepping up its efforts too for listings in tandem. Continue reading »
It’s been a good week for African fixed income, which is receiving a profile boost courtesy of a handful of indices.
First, sub-Saharan Africa’s two biggest economies, Nigeria and South Africa, joined leading global government bond indices. Now Kenya’s securities exchange has followed by launching the country’s first government bond index, which it hopes will deepen capital markets. Continue reading »
As the global economy muddles through, African markets are giving investors something to smile about, with equity, FX, local bonds and eurobonds all outperforming, according to a report this week by Standard Bank.
Africa’s “teflon-coated” eurobonds – or foreign-denominated debt sold to international investors – have been star performers. Standard Bank’s African Sovereign Eurobond index is up over 23 per cent year-to-date, compared to JP Morgan’s benchmark EMBI Global index, which has returned just over 14 per cent. Continue reading »