Ghana celebrated its 57th anniversary of independence on Thursday, but a hangover from the heady 15 per cent GDP growth posted in 2011 is putting a damper on the mood.
West Africa’s second largest economy was turbo-charged by the discovery of oil in 2007. Foreign investment flowed in, attracted by the vibrant economy and the country’s reputation as a stable, democratic state. By 2011, Ghana was one of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world and just a year later, oil had surpassed cocoa as the country’s second biggest export after gold.
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It’s rarely a quiet day in South African mining. Last week there was the Mining Indaba conference, where the mood among many miners was one of caution; the mines minister has indicated that the controversial Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill will pass within months; and negotiations over the crippling mining strikes have apparently ground to halt. Then there was the tragic death of at least 10 workers in two separate incidents at Harmony Gold (pictured).
So where next for the industry? Continue reading »
Mining may get a bad press in Africa, but there’s no denying the potential – and it’s importance. Nearly one quarter of the continent’s GDP is now based on extractive resources, the highest ratio among all regions, and between 2000 and 2008 alone, the value created from natural resources in Africa rose from $39.2bn to $240bn.
Yet this is all achieved despite a huge deficit in infrastructure, especially in rail. So a new Grindrod rail network deal in Zambia should be good news – if it can be delivered. Continue reading »
Kenyan officials are on a round of investment meetings in London to discuss the country’s debut eurobond, pegged at $2bn, says the central bank. But market volatility is proving a nuisance and Kenya could be forced to delay the much-anticipated bond.
On Tuesday, analysts at Fitch Ratings said in a teleconference in London that the issue was unlikely to take place before April. Those remarks contrast with those of Kenyan officials, who reportedly said on Monday they were going ahead with plans to issue this month. So, is it going to happen? Continue reading »
South Africa’s banks, notably its “big four” of FNB, Nedbank, Standard Bank and Absa, are some of Africa’s strongest financial institutions. But they aren’t immune to the main problems hurting the economy.
So what effect will Wednesday’s surprise interest rate hike have? Continue reading »
Africa’s private equity industry, with the exception of South Africa, is at a phase of relative infancy and has its share of shortcomings. But factors like political stability, infrastructure growth and rising consumerism have helped spike activity in the continent’s PE hotspots across west, east and southern parts of the continent, fuelling optimism for 2014. Continue reading »
You tell a lot by a country’s electricity supply – in fact, some people prefer it to GDP when it comes to assessing China. So how is Africa doing?
A new Afrobarometer survey of 34 African countries – What people want from government – has named the best and worst countries in terms of power supply in Africa. Continue reading »
Tapping bond markets is something of a trend for many African countries in the past year, including Gabon this month with a $1.5bn 10-year eurobond priced to yield 6.375 per cent.
But selling long-term debt is proving a hard game in east Africa, despite the presumable attractions of political stability and a favourable business environment. Interest costs for government securities are high, with long-term instruments maintaining yields of about 10 per cent or more, creating a growing concern for central banks. Continue reading »
Brian Dames, chief executive of Eskom (pictured), has stepped down after three years at the helm of Africa’s leading power utility and a total of 26 years with the company. Local media quoted chairman Zola Tsotsi saying Dames was going for for ‘personal reasons’.
Dames – who says he uses a gas stove at home and does not own an electric kettle – has had a turbulent time in the hot seat. His departure comes four months after that of Paul O’Flaherty, Eskom’s finance director, shines a light once again on the troubles besetting the power giant. Continue reading »
Zimbabwe is increasingly pinning its hopes on its mining industry to beef up the government coffers. The government is keen to tap into the sector’s huge potential – it holds the second largest platinum reserves globally and its diamond fields are also reportedly ranked among the top five diamond reserves in the world.
But mining needs support to get over the constraints of high production costs, excessive fees, and falling commodity prices. So the government is planning to issue it’s first bond aimed at financing the mining sector. Will it be able to convince investors to participate? Continue reading »
There is plenty of investment appetite for African stocks among institutional investors, and the continent’s financial markets are taking notice.
Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Angola have all recently pushed ahead with plans to deepen and improve their financial markets. But there is still a long way to go. Continue reading »
Overseas companies with operations in Mozambique are concerned with the escalation of political tension in the country, after the former rebel group Renamo said it was ending a peace accord. The move has also triggered warnings from neighbouring South Africa and Zimbabwe that violence could disrupt regional trade.
Although we’re a long way from a descent into civil war, with local elections coming up in November, and presidential and parliamentary elections next year, incidents such as those in the last few weeks will not be taken lightly by the business community or countries with strong economic ties. Continue reading »
NewPlat, the world’s biggest platinum ETF (exchange traded fund), is leaving other players on South Africa’s financial markets in the dust.
New figures from eftsa.co.za show that in the first nine months of this year, R9.3bn ($954m) was raised in new capital by the exchange traded products industry through new listings on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Thanks to NewPlat, listed at the end of April, its issuer Absa Capital (an affiliate of Barclays) has been the main raiser of fresh capital, accounting for R8.2bn of the total raised. Continue reading »
As incomes rise in Africa, the battle is on to snap up the millions of ‘unbanked’ – those without a bank account. The potential is vast: the African Development Bank says only 20 per cent of African families have bank accounts.
As well as innovative new players, the old global payment technology rivals Visa and MasterCard are keen to join in. Both are looking to enlarge their footprint in different corners of the continent. Continue reading »