Africa markets

The latest UN annual report on hunger and food security is a sobering reminder of the challenges that Africa faces in spite of a recent improvement in economic growth and governance.

The State of Food Insecurity in the World, published by the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the World Food Programme, says that the reduction in global hunger continued with numbers of undernourished people falling from 840m in 2008-2010 to 805m in 2012-2014. Read more

Late at night during a power blackout in Ghana’s capital Accra is neither the time nor the place you’d expect pop diva Celine Dion to come to your rescue. But when a rider from restaurant delivery service Hellofood Ghana lost his bearings with a customer’s dinner on the back of his motorbike, he turned to Celine for help.

Unable to find his customer’s home in the gloom, he arranged for the client to come onto the street playing “My heart will go on” on her phone. The driver, also a Dion fan, played the same music on his phone, allowing the two of them to locate each other by siren song.

“Luckily, he still had a mobile phone signal so he could phone the client,” says Yolanda Lee, a 26 year-old Canadian who runs Hellofood Ghana, a subsidiary of Hellofood Africa which manages a meal delivery service in 10 countries and 14 cities in West, East and North Africa. Read more

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. Read more

From the ‘hopeless’ to the ‘hopeful’ continent, a decade of strong growth has changed perceptions of sub-Saharan African economies – not least among international investors, who have rushed to recent Eurobond offerings from the likes of Zambia and Rwanda. Rubbing against the optimism though are criticisms that the growth achieved has been far from inclusive, with human development lagging behind. Chart of the week takes a look. Read more

Investing in Zimbabwe is not for the faint-hearted. But its stock exchange has been booming of late. To maintain the momentum, management at the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange is planning to sell shares in the organisation this year to raise funds for modernisation.

Tafadzwa Chinamo, chief executive of the Zimbabwean Securities Exchange Commission said in an interview with Bloomberg that an initial public offering would take place before the end of the year, with a likely valuation of around $15-20m. Read more

Zambia’s second bourse is hoping to kick off trading “in weeks”, giving investors a chance to trade derivative products alongside the bonds and equities available on the main Lusaka Stock Exchange (LuSE).

Peter Sitamulaho, deputy chief executive of the Bonds and Derivatives Exchange Zambia, or BaDEx, said the bourse is just waiting on getting its first clearing member, which would guarantee trades: “When the first bank signs, we will be able to trade.” Read more

By David Mitchell of BDO

Africa is experiencing rapid economic growth and infrastructure development. In addition to the huge investment programmes, there is a strong pipeline of M&A activity and an increasingly sophisticated and growing financial and professional services industry.

With a strong demand for more British and international lawyers to go and work in Africa to help facilitate this, the opportunity for lawyers and accountants at any stage in their careers, whether newly qualified or senior partners, has never been better. Read more

By Dambisa Moyo

In my book Dead Aid I suggested that African governments could and should access the international capital markets to finance their development objectives such as infrastructure, healthcare and education. I argued that the relatively transparent global bond markets would help impose discipline on governments that were otherwise viewed by investors as reckless and, in many cases, corrupt. Critics argued that my suggestion was naive, and that African policy makers were ill-equipped to venture into the international debt markets.

Four years later, and African governments are proving the naysayers wrong. 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

Last year Africa comfortably outperformed other emerging markets for the first time since the financial crisis. Stephen Bailey-Smith, head of Africa research at Standard Bank, discusses with emerging markets assistant editor Rob Minto what’s behind this strong performance, and whether it’s sustainable.

The clang of a bell announced the launch of Kenya’s new small and midcap market segment on Tuesday, but its founders are determined that will be the only old-fashioned thing about it.

The Growth Enterprise Market Segment (GEMS) could be the solution to several constraints on the growth of Kenya’s economy, which relies on small business for 40 per cent of the country’s $36bn GDP, and may provide the route for Kenyans to invest in the country’s nascent natural resource sector. Read more

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. Read more

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. Read more