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The number of middle class households in 11 key sub-Saharan African countries – excluding South Africa – are set to triple to 22m by 2030, creating a burgeoning consumer market for items such as vehicles, insurance policies, property and health products, according to a Standard Bank research report.

Simon Freemantle, senior political economist at Standard Bank and author of the report, said the prospective boom in middle class households – those earning between US$8,500 and US$42,000 a year – is also likely to be complemented by a swelling in the number of lower middle class households that earn between US$5,500 and US$8,500 annually. Continue reading »

Following a decade in which Chinese largesse has helped to transform Africa’s prospects – and challenged the supremacy that western companies once enjoyed over the continent’s natural resources – Beijing has sent word to Washington that the world’s two biggest economies might combine their efforts to generate some much-needed electricity in one of the poorest.

The Democratic Republic of Congo, an expanse the size of western Europe that perennially ranks among the worst countries in which to do business, has known little but conflict and penury for decades. World Bank-backed plans to build a third dam at Inga are part of a broader vision for a dam complex capable of generating 40,000MW – twice the size of the Three Gorges dam in China. Continue reading »

After a deal-making spree in Africa in 2013 that included investments in Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and Kenya, private equity group Abraaj is on track for an equally active 2014.

Abraaj, which has $7.5bn in assets under management and is based in Dubai, expects to complete four transactions in the region by the end of the year, including in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, partner Sev Vettivetpillai told beyondbrics. Continue reading »

Angola and Brazil have a lot in common: the Portuguese tongue, a delightful stretch of Atlantic coast and a reputation for beautiful people cavorting in beach-side bars. Brazil is Latin America’s powerhouse; Angola likes to think of itself, with some justification, as Africa’s emerging equivalent.

To oilmen and investors, however, the most intriguing thing the two nations share is a piece of geology that dates from the age of the dinosaurs, before the tectonic shifts that rent the landmass in which they were once conjoined. 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 »

Luanda: up go the costs

If you thought that London / HK / Mumbai / [enter your city here] was a bit on the expensive side, spare a thought for those in Luanda and Juba.

The capitals of Angola and South Sudan are the 1st and 3rd most pricey oil and gas towns in the world for expats, according to hydrocarbons news provider Rigzone. Sifting through the latest cost of living data produced by ECA and Mercer International, Rigzone reckons both capitals now beat Perth and Moscow, and are separated only by Norway’s Stavanger, when it comes to their power to lighten your wallet. Continue reading »

Nigeria’s oil industry may be rich and vast, but it’s also messy, marred with oil thefts and other complications that hurt production. It also happens to be the biggest oil producer in Africa.

But not for long, industry experts say. The continent’s next largest oil producer Angola, which has less of Nigeria’s hassle, could upstage it as early as 2014. In May this year Angola produced more oil than Nigeria, a warning signal that it now on track for the continent’s top spot as the biggest oil producer if Nigeria fails to shake up the industry. Continue reading »

2012 was a great year for frontier-market hard-currency bonds, and Angola hopes to get in on the action in 2013. The oil producer announced on Friday plans to raise $1bn from a debut eurobond issue later this year. Continue reading »

Californian oil major Chevron has given the go-ahead to a $5.6bn development project of an Angolan offshore oil field which will be the company’s second largest investment in African crude to date after its Agbami field in Nigeria.

The Mafumeira Sul project, run through Chevron’s subsidiary Cabinda Gulf Oil Company, is scheduled to begin production in 2015, and will eventually pump 110,000 barrels of crude oil per day from five new platforms, Chevron said. Continue reading »

When it comes to trade, sub-Sarahan Africa is highly exposed to the eurozone, isn’t it? You would think so, given the warnings from the IMF to that effect.

But park your assumptions for one minute. Yes, any eurozone slowdown hurts African trade. But not by as much as a slowdown from other parts of the world, and the eurozone dependency is falling. Continue reading »

Forget sovereign debt for a moment. This is turning into the year of sovereign wealth, with Angola becoming the latest African country to create a fund to invest some of the proceeds of growing oil riches.

The sovereign wealth fund – known as Fundo Soberano de Angola (FSDEA) – will start with $5bn in assets, and look to invest primarily in sub-Saharan Africa. Angola joins Nigeria and Tanzania in launching or planning to launch a SWF in 2012. Continue reading »

With emerging market debt markets booming, is now time for African nations to join in? If Zambia’s recent bond is anything to go by, the answer would be a firm ‘yes’ – as many analysts are fond of pointing out, Zambia’s yield on its 10-year bond is lower than that of Spain.

So what’s stopping African countries jumping in and issing international bonds? Continue reading »

After 33 years in power, José Eduardo dos Santos has finally been elected president of Angola. Observers universally expected him to win last Friday’s polls. Many even predicted the questionably wide margin of victory. Nevertheless, the election has changed the war-scarred southern African petro-state.

In the words of one long-serving Angola-watcher, “the fear barrier has been broken”. Neither the denunciations of a ruling party that has held power since independence in 1975, nor the thuggery of pro-regime militias, could deter the dissenting vanguard that has begun to challenge the status quo. Continue reading »

Daewoo Shipbuilding & Marine Engineering, the world’s third-biggest shipbuilder by sales kicked off the week with a $1.9bn order to build five production platforms for an unidentified African-based customer.

This is almost a quarter of  its revenue from offshore platform deals last year. The news of the contract, which ends in 2016, on Monday sent DSME’s share price up 1.8 per cent and left observers puzzling who might be the client. Continue reading »

The African growth story is well known. But what of the continent’s credit worthiness? Is it lagging behind as far as credit ratings suggest? As European countries seek bailouts and teeter on the brink of default, should African nations have a higher credit rating to reflect their growth?

Not quite. Rating agency Standard and Poor’s delivered an assessment of Africa on Tuesday, and investors shouldn’t get too carried away, yet. Continue reading »