1Build Resilience For The Long Term: Forging Africa’s Industrial Revolution
Aliko Dangote has built one of Africa’s largest industrial firms from humble origins as a trading company started with a small loan from his uncle in 1978. Today, the Nigeria-based Dangote Group manufactures commodities, including cement, sugar, and flour, in massive volumes and has annual revenues exceeding $4 billion. At the helm, Dangote continues to aim high: his new growth projects include the world’s largest single-train petroleum refinery, currently under construction near Lagos, Nigeria’s bustling commercial capital.
2Zimbabwe Central Bank Bows to Pressure from Business Lobby Group
The bank says it has upgraded its RTGS platform to allow the settlement of transactions in dollars and trading is in test phase. In a letter to the government by the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries (CZI) earlier this month, the business lobby group said the government should allow the trading of dollars in a bid to halt an economic collapse that has seen inflation at its highest in 11 years and businesses closing. The change may be a move by the government to end a crippling scarcity of foreign currency that has caused shortages of goods ranging from gasoline to bread.
SOURCES: Business Day Live
3Tips from Kenya’s Central Bank Governor
Patrick Njoroge, governor of Kenya’s central bank says when going to the debt markets, officials should dress well but they should not try to dress up their economies in a misleading way. “There is no such thing as window dressing, and you should not hope that window dressing will help you; you should actually do what you need to do, make sure you have a solid argument, a solid foundation and wear a suit, and then you will get a good rate,” the country plans to raise as much as $2.5 billion in its third Eurobond issuance.
4Becoming Africa’s Leading Aviation Hub
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has inaugurated the newly-expanded terminal of the Bole International Airport, the main hub of Ethiopian Airlines in Addis Ababa. The project, which was funded and built by China for $363 million, triple the airport’s size and can now accommodate up to 22 million passengers annually from its current 7 million. Last year, Addis Ababa overtook Dubai as the leading transfer hub for long-haul travel to sub-Saharan Africa. The terminal and a new luxury hotel are a great boost for the state carrier, Ethiopian Airlines, which is currently implementing a 15-year strategic plan aimed at becoming Africa’s leading airline group.
SOURCES: Quartz Africa
5Not Enough Hands to Carry Africa’s Renewable Energy Ambitions
One of the biggest problems facing expansion of renewable off-grid power in Africa is that systems need to be built and operated in remote locations, where it can be harder to attract and retain staff. The push for more trained renewable energy workers comes as an increasing number of countries around Africa try to ramp up use of off-grid renewable energy. Overall, only 16,000 people are recorded as working in renewable energy in sub-Saharan Africa, outside South Africa, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). That is just 0.1 percent of the global renewable energy workforce, but with demand growing for renewable energy entrepreneurs and for workers in product assembly, sales, marketing, finance and intellectual property, efforts are underway to provide the talent needed.
SOURCES: Forbes Africa
6Trans-Gambia Bridge a Boon for Trade
A gleaming new bridge in West Africa is transforming transport between Gambia and Senegal. Previously, anyone crossing from northern to southern Senegal or vice-versa has to enter Gambia and, before the bridge, join long queues to cross the river. The wait for the ferry could take up to a week. The 1.9 km Senegambia bridge, which opened to cars and minibuses last week, changed all that. Some traders see the bridge as a welcome success for Gambia, one of the poorest countries in West Africa after more than two decades of dictatorship.
SOURCES: Reuters Africa
7Eritreans Exploit their Newfound Freedom to Pursue Economic Opportunities
Many foreign investors avoided business in Eritrea as a result of sanctions. Investment slowed to a trickle, suffocating the domestic private sector and leading to a shortage of essential goods. Today, many Eritreans have little access to internet, basic health services and agricultural inputs. A trade in electronics and consumer goods is beginning to take hold as Eritreans take advantage of the detente to buy items that have long been difficult to acquire.
8Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority makes Airports Drone-friendly
In the wake of the recent chaos at Gatwick Airport, where a drone grounded hundreds of flights for three days just before Christmas, getting air traffic control involved in drone flights makes a lot of sense. East Africa is leading the way in terms of forward-thinking and world-leading drone regulation. Rwanda boasts the world’s first cargo drone delivery service with Silicon Valley start-up Zipline, which is delivering blood to the country’s hospitals thanks to a deal with the government which gave its drones the status of government flights. And in Malawi, a drone test corridor for humanitarian purposes was launched in 2017 in a partnership between Unicef and the government.
9Community-run Saving Groups in Kenya Cater for Entrepreneurial Women
Financial Sector Deepening, an organisation that promotes financial inclusion, says 41 percent of Kenyans use chamas. The system is mostly used by women, who organise themselves in groups for saving, lending and borrowing. Financial inclusion, particularly for women, is crucial to economic growth and a key aspect of the Sustainable Development Goals, a set of international targets established to dramatically reduce poverty by 2030.
SOURCES: Al Jazeera
10Young African Entrepreneur Launches New Cosmetics Line
Nigerian-born, Uche Enweugwu has been in the makeup industry for a few years. She began her makeup career in Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada and is now looking to expand her brand/expertise worldwide. Initially, she started out by launching her own YouTube platform – MakeupbySwift and is now launching her own cosmetic brand – CUE Cosmetics. The cosmetics industry has become diversified and increasingly competitive with different brands of make-up entering the market every year. Each brand offers a new feature in enhancing beauty in different ways.
SOURCES: She Leads Africa