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 »
Africa is on the verge of a supermarket boom thanks to the (comparatively) freewheeling spending habits of its citizens and spending on food.
But any retailer or producer thinking about Africa may be too late – the investment and deals are already underway, according to Mohit Arora, director of agricultural banking at Standard Bank. 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 »
Last November, GlaxoSmithKline topped the Access to Medicine Index for the third year running, commended for its equitable pricing policy in emerging markets and a pro-access approach to licensing and patents.
You can be forgiven for feeling puzzled – the ranking marks a big turnaround for a company which little more than a decade ago was public enemy number one in Africa and elsewhere. How did that happen? Continue reading »
Travel anywhere in Africa, and three brands are ubiquitous: Manchester United, Coca Cola and DHL. But the latter of the three – already present in 52 African markets – is not ubiquitous enough, it seems.
This week, DHL tripled their African service points from 300 to 1,000, aiming for 10,000 in the medium term through partnerships with telecommunications and technology companies, and post offices. Continue reading »
Olam, the Asian agribusiness, is looking to test out an ambitious diversification plan in Africa. In a way, it shouldn’t be a surprise – Olam started in Africa as part of an Indian conglomerate producing cotton for Nigerian markets, before it began exporting agri-commodities, and eventually morphing into a fully fledged rubber-to-cashews business listed in Singapore.
It is in Africa where the company is looking to branch out into fertiliser plants, plantations and consumer goods, according to Ranveer Chauhan, managing director and regional head for Olam in Africa. 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 »
The choice of target in the recent bloody hostage standoff in Algeria was not by chance. By attacking the gas sector, jihadist terrorists went for maximum impact. Energy accounts for 98 per cent of Algeria’s exports and 70 per cent of tax revenue, with the In Amenas plant accounting for 12 per cent of the country’s gas output.
It is unlikely to prompt any large-scale pull-out by foreign companies, but the events cap a longer term deterioration in the operating environment of Africa’s biggest natural gas producer, where new investment has all but dried up, with steadily decreasing numbers of successful oil round awards. Continue reading »
To date, the story of China’s growing presence in Africa has been mostly narrated by western media, African newspapers, and a universe of blogs, websites and social media outlets. Often, it is framed in the context of land-grabbing, resource-snatching, neocolonialism and invasion.
Independent and small-scale oil companies like to be quick on their feet, beating the energy giants time and again in the exploration race. But in some of Africa’s more promising energy areas, regulatory hurdles and resource nationalism are starting to hold things up. Continue reading »
African sovereign debt has quadrupled in the last decade, but compared to other regions still has a long way to go. As Eleanor Whitehead of This is Africa explains to Rob Minto of beyondbrics, investor appetite for African bonds is growing – so which countries are next?
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