Africa Top10 Business News

1A Case Study of How African Tech Start-ups can Grow

African Tech Start-ups

Jumia, the largest e-commerce operator in Africa, has today launched its landmark initial public offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange. The IPO marks a pivotal fork in the company’s journey since first launching operations in Nigeria in 2012 and expanding over time to 14 African countries with businesses across several verticals including food delivery, real estate, logistics, hotel and flight bookings. The company was initially slated to launch its IPO on Apr. 11 but moved it by a day to allow investors get up to speed with its updated numbers for the first quarter of 2019. Jumia will trade using “JMIA” as its ticker. The IPO is being underwritten by some of Wall Street’s best known banks including Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. Citadel Securities will be serving as the Designated Market Maker. Jumia set a share price range between $13 and $16 with its updated S1 filing showing the company will offer 13.5 million shares for purchase. But following a roadshow to gauge investor interest, Jumia’s shares were priced at $14.5, the midpoint of its initial range. The company confirms it has raised $196 million through the IPO.


2Lessons from the DRC’s Deal of the Century

Sino Congolaise des Mines

The Sino Congolaise des Mines (Sicomines) was the most significant Chinese investment project in Africa when it was agreed in 2007. The infrastructure agreement gave Chinese partners mining rights to cobalt and copper in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These minerals are used in electric vehicle batteries and electronics, including smartphones and laptops. In exchange, China agreed to build much-needed infrastructure projects such as urban roads, highways and hospitals. The infrastructure agreement gave Chinese partners mining rights to cobalt and copper in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). These minerals are used in electric vehicle batteries and electronics, including smartphones and laptops. In exchange, China agreed to build much-needed infrastructure projects such as urban roads, highways and hospitals. In addition to new infrastructure, the Sicomines deal was expected to provide a significant boost to the DRC’s economic growth. The view was that the agreed volumes of mineral production would contribute to higher levels of exports, tax revenue and inflow of US dollars. More than a decade on, the Sicomines deal has not lived up to expectations. There have been infrastructure project delays as well as unexpected costs. There have also been problems associated with poor quality roads and infrastructure and inadequate environment and social impact studies.


3Sudanese Billionaire and Activist Weighs in on why Africans Go to Europe

Mo Ibrahim

The migration of Africans to Europe and North America should be viewed as a positive phenomenon, not a threat, Sudan-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim. Experts said at a weekend conference hosted by Ibrahim’s foation in Abidjan, Ivory Coast that Africans make up about 14% of the global migrant population, a much smaller share than the 41% from Asia and 23% from Europe. “Migration is healthy. It’s not a disease. Migration is about aspirations, not desperation. People who migrate are mostly capable, ambitious young people who are migrating to work and to build successful lives. They add wealth to the countries they go to.” Ibrahim also cited statistics to rebut anti-migration politicians who say Africans have inundated Europe. “Europe is not being flooded by Africans,” Ibrahim said, citing statistics that show 70% of African migrants relocate within Africa. The 72-year-old philanthropist earned his fortune by establishing the Celtel mobile phone network across Africa.


4Is Johannesburg’s Place of Lights Dimming?


With its edgy galleries, artisanal shops, and popular Sunday market, the downtown Johannesburg district Maboneng was a symbol of how urban decay could be conquered through property development. A decade after it opened to the public, however, the architects of this at-times controversial turnaround have caved to some tough realities. Jonathan Liebmann founded Propertuity at just 24, and went on to build Maboneng, which means “place of lights” in seTswana, into a multi-dimensional commercial and residential district with a property portfolio of over 1 billion rand ($70.8 million). Many welcomed Propertuity’s efforts to revive Johannesburg’s inner-city. He enlisted local artists, creatives, and businesspeople to change the working class neighborhood, largely abandoned by white tenants at the end of apartheid, and was celebrated for turning  “an inner city slum into a hipster hangout.” As a private property investor, he spotted an opportunity where few dared to even look. On April 15, 18 properties in the area will go under the hammer in a liquidation sale, marking the end of Propertuity, the company behind the precinct. The sale will includes assets in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban, where Propertuity tried a similar mode of reclaiming the inner-city.


5Remittances to Africa Hit Record in 2018

Remittances to Africa

A recent analysis by the Pew Research Center of World Bank data found that money sent by immigrants to their home countries in sub-Saharan Africa reached a record $ 41 billion in 2017. This represents a 10 percent jump in remittances on the previous year, the largest annual growth for any world region.  Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal and Kenya received the most remittances among sub-Saharan nations in 2017.  The report found that these four countries are also among the leading origin countries for sub-Saharan migrants living in Europe and the US. “Since 2009, Nigeria has received more than half of all remittances sent each year to sub-Saharan African countries, by far the largest share of any country in the region,” the Pew study explained. Nigeria’s regional dominance can be compared to Mexico’s in South America and the Caribbean. In 2017, a record $22 billion in remittances were sent to Nigeria, which has the region’s largest population and economy, although its population of 1.3 million Nigerians who have emigrated is smaller than that of Somalia (2 million) and South Sudan (1.8 million). The World Bank projects the record remittances could become the largest source of external financing this year but warned gains were being undermined by high fees charged by money transfer operators.


6A Future Driven by Africa’s Youngest Entrepreneurs

Africa’s Youngest Entrepreneurs

The Anzisha Scenario campaign concept was born after heated discussions and exchanges internally in response to a research paper that was released in 2018, and the resulting coverage it got in the media. The research took a position that older founders in the US have been more successful as entrepreneurs generally, and, particularly, when it comes to scale and job creation. This then became the next driver of investing in a campaign as a pan-African, inclusive, multi-stakeholder scenario planning exercise. On April 15, during the inaugural Very Young Entrepreneur Education and Acceleration Summit, an experts’ panel and launch the draft position paper. Questions tackled by this panel include: What are the drivers, barriers and opportunities? What are the roles of parents, teachers, students, policy-makers and other stakeholders in making the choice of “entrepreneurship as a career” desirable and supported, with appropriate income as you grow? The Anzisha Scenario as a conversation on campus has already begun to influence curriculum planning and their role in promoting and supporting entrepreneurship as a career path.


7Sierra Leone’s New National Development Plan

Sierra Leone

The government of Sierra Leone, which marks its first year in office in April, has made increased rice production one of the key pillars of its development strategy, with hopes of achieving self-sufficiency in the staple food in “the shortest possible time”. In addition to the $34m set aside in this year’s budget to support the cultivation of rice and other food crops, the government recently signed a $12m financing agreement with the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) that will channel funding and other support to smallholders. This scheme will provide assistance to those engaged in the production of cash crops like cocoa and coffee. Sierra Leone’s economy is essentially agrarian, with upwards of 75% of its 7.5m people employed in agriculture. Approximately 70% of the youth population are unemployed or underemployed, and policymakers believe that agriculture could help to solve the problem. Since 53% of the workforce of 3m is made up of women, the government believes that a coherent strategy will also benefit this traditionally disadvantaged group.


8How this Tanzanian Hustler is Shaping the EdTech Industry

Ali Khatau

Ali Khatau strongly believes in the power of a good education and how it can transform the life of an individual. The 23 year old is a fifth year medical student at Hubert Kairuki Memorial University in Tanzania and a Social & Tech entrepreneur. Ali founded the EdTech company ElimuTanzania, an online platform that helps increase Tanzanian students’ pass rates, as well as improve their IT literacy. The platform currently has over 50,000 users and has donated hundreds of books that have gone on to help thousands of people read and learn. In the following interview with, Ali delves into his journey from growing up in Dar-es-salaam, Tanzania to becoming a serial entrepreneur. “Instilling entrepreneurial values and knowledge among children will definitely increase the number of entrepreneurs in Africa and that will bring about massive change altogether. I’d also like to see a mindset change among young African university and college graduates where you think about entrepreneurship and starting your own enterprise rather than about being employed by others.”


9Zimbabwe’s Plans to Revive its Mining Industry

Mining Industry

Zimbabwe may withdraw mining rights from companies that take too long to dig for minerals, the deputy mines minister, part of efforts to lift output in a sector vital to the country’s economic revival. Zimbabwe sits on the second-largest known platinum deposits after SA and President Emmerson Mnangagwa is keen to revive mining after years of reticence by foreign investors during the Robert Mugabe administration. Speaking to investors and executives at a mining conference in Johannesburg, Polite Kambamura said details of the “use it or lose it” approach to mining policy would be made available in due course. As part of plans to boost mining export revenues to $12bn  a year as of 2023 from $3bn now, Kambamura said the country was putting policies in place to make it easier for mining companies to boost production, while urging investors to restart mines that closed in periods of political upheaval.


10Women Join South Africa’s Illegal Mining Scene

South Africa's Illegal Mining

On the outskirts of Durban Deep, an abandoned mining town with a labyrinth of underground tunnels long since abandoned by the big gold companies has seen a growing number of women driven into this dangerous world, earning less than £10 a day for crushing up to 20kg of rock retrieved from Johannesburg’s disused mineshafts. The threat of sexual violence is all too common. Grinding piles of rough stones into white, gold-flecked silt on a large concrete slab is one of the jobs of the ghostly dust-covered zama zamas – artisanal miners, mostly illegal – who have turned to scavenging in disused gold and diamond mines across South Africa. According to a 2015 report by the South African Human Rights Commission, the country’s burgeoning illicit gold trade has been fuelled by the formal mining industry’s collapse combined with the failure of the ruling African National Congress to regulate the informal mining sector. Political and economic turmoil in a number of neighbouring countries has only compounded the problem.


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