Africa investment

By Ryan Olson, The Heritage Foundation

For several years, now, Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil producing states have been working to create sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). But as oil prices and production decline, such funds may not be able to deliver the benefits they once promised.

Since 2007 Angola, Ghana, Nigeria and Mauritania have joined Equatorial Guinea and Gabon in the club of oil-producing countries with SWFs. Currently, four of sub-Saharan Africa’s five largest oil producers maintain some sort of SWF.

Attracted, perhaps, by the success of similar funds in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, sub-Saharan governments are looking to capture oil revenues in rainy day funds in order to smooth fiscal expenditures during suppressed commodity cycles. Read more

It’s a few minutes into Marion Akinyi Onginjo’s social studies lesson at Bridge International Academy Gicagi in Nairobi and the class 4 teacher is being drowned out by loud cheers next door.

Bridge International Academy Gicagi, Nairobi. Photo: Tosin Sulaiman

Class 4 finally gets its chance to make some noise when one student, Margaret, correctly answers a question about subsistence crops. After Onginjo tells the class, “let’s give Margaret the cowboy cheer,” they stand up, spin imaginary lassoes in the girl’s direction and yell, “One, two, three, four, five, yee-hah.” Read more

At the entrance to Shomaa Impressive School, a compound of 11 classrooms built from thin wooden boards in the Lagos slum of Makoko, prospective parents are greeted with a banner showing four children in graduation gowns and the motto “Raising future professionals”. Just as the message is crafted to appeal to the aspirational market traders and fish sellers who send their children to the nursery and primary school, the daily tuition fees averaging less than $1 a day are also tailored to their modest budgets.

Schools like Shomaa, which has around 100 students, are contributing to a boom in private education in Lagos and other cities in Africa.

A pupil at Shomaa Impressive School, Makoko, Lagos. Photo: Tosin Sulaiman

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Tata Motors, the Indian carmaker, has announced plans to sell its cars in Algeria in a further sign of the growing role that Indian companies are playing in Africa.

Tata said it would launch its passenger cars in a partnership with SPA Elsecom, an established distributor in Algeria. Read more

Senegal is days away from launching sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest sukuk, with the CHF100bn ($208m) bond expected to receive strong investor demand and create further momentum for sovereigns and banks in the region to offer Islamic financial products.

After concluding an investor roadshow on Friday, Senegal is due to end the bookbuilding process for its debut Islamic bond on July 18. The four-year instrument, which has an annual 6.25 per cent profit margin, is targeted at banks and institutional investors in the eight member West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), though it is also open to international investors. Unlike conventional bonds, sukuk do not pay interest, which is forbidden under Islamic law, but grant investors a share in an underlying asset. Read more

South Africa’s Ethos Private Equity has teamed up with the country’s $150bn Public Investment Corporation, one of the continent biggest asset managers, and Development Partners International to acquire a majority stake in logistics company RTT Group.

With the investment in Johannesburg-based RTT, Africa’s largest privately-owned parcel distribution company, the consortium is backing a business poised to benefit from the growth of e-commerce as more people join the middle class. RTT, which has annual revenues of R2.5bn ($235m) and employs nearly 5,000 people, delivers on behalf of large fashion retailers, as well as companies in the telecoms and pharmaceutical sectors. Read more

CDC, the UK government-owned development finance institution, has invested $17m in the South African transport and logistics company Grindrod, backing the development of roads, railways and ports across sub-Saharan Africa that could boost the region’s competitiveness and create jobs.

The investment marks the start of a strategic partnership between Johannesburg-listed Grindrod and CDC, which says it has the appetite to invest over $100m through the alliance as and when suitable projects emerge. Read more

By Jonathan Berman

It was 1996, and Sam Jonah knew he was in trouble.

Jonah was chief executive of AngloGold and had just led the company’s listing on the New York Stock Exchange, making it the first African company on the Big Board. He was on a routine follow-up roadshow when the Rwandan genocide filled the airwaves, and Jonah spent much of the next year explaining that his company had no operations in Rwanda. “Most investors then still thought Africa was a country,” he recalls, “one country. And once Rwanda hit the airwaves, we were all Rwanda.” Read more

By Ivor Ichikowitz of Paramount Group

Africa’s time is now but its full potential can only be unleashed by those brave enough to forge true partnerships.

As economies stumble and fail around the world, the continent is the chief source of hope for global growth but the world’s most powerful leaders are ignoring the truth. Read more

Tax isn’t an issue just for the G8. African governments are on a push to raise their tax contribution to GDP, with Kenya planning to reintroduce a capital gains tax according to the recent budget, and Ghana expected to place a CGT on disposable shares from August this year.

This puts pressure on the status of Mauritius as a tax efficient – or even tax-free – gateway to Africa. Read more

While infrastructure and access to finance are well-known constraints on African firms’ competitiveness, a new study has identified a less obvious burden: political monopoly.

Although political stability might been seen as a positive to investors, single-party states are not cutting it when it comes to getting ahead with business. Read more

President of Cote d'Ivoire

When anyone speaks about investment into Africa, China comes to mind. It’s the familiar and contentious story of a developing power drawn to a resource-rich continent.

But now another growing economy, India, is eyeing Africa – and India’s most prominent industrial house, Tata group, is leading the pack. Read more

On the face of it, sovereign credit ratings and foreign direct investment might not appear to be that dependent on each other. When you’re setting up shop overseas, does it really matter if a country is rated or not?

For sub-Saharan Africa, apparently, it does – and rating agency Fitch has done the homework to prove it. Read more