The conversation about Africa is shifting from one of “deficits” and “gaps” to one about opportunities, prospects, ventures and creativity. That’s not news to companies that have paid close attention to the continent and invested there. The fast growing youth population, the urbanization expected to drive over 50% of Africans to cities by 2050, and Africa’s formalizing economy are all well known. These trends and other developments have driven a half century or more of growth in Africa, and will continue to do so.
Research reports and studiesJanuary 2020 Maximiliano Mendez-Parra, Sherillyn Raga and Lily Somme
This report highlights the opportunities and challenges facing UK firms when investing or conducting business in Africa, with a particular emphasis on the non-extractive sector. It highlights the mutual benefits for Africa, in terms of economic transformation and growth, and for the UK, in diversifying investments in rapidly expanding markets. The study draws from data on UK investments in Africa, and information provided by more than 75 UK companies operating in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.
What is it that is driving the prosperity in this island in a region torn apart by decades of political and social upheavals?
No single factor is responsible, but peace, stability, a patriotic citizenry, and functioning civil service have all contributed. But arguably the most important development has been the return of hundreds of Diaspora ‘Somalilanders’ who have abandoned life in the West to set up business in the country.
Mr Mahamed-Guled, is one such returnee. After several years living in the West , Guled decided to follow his dream of playing a part in the economic development of his ancestral land. In Somaliland he and a small team of young people floated the Guul Group, a commercial conglomerate that runs a range of services – from agro-processing to transport and logistics, construction, fisheries, import/export, and business consultancy.
The raggedy cargo truck drives onto the ferry which immediately sinks deeply into the water, only seemingly buoyed by the grace of mother nature. The truck appears misplaced on the ferry, but locals assure me that this is the cheapest and quickest route to the final destination. “This is Africa” is often an overused phrase, but this truck is a microcosm of the continent’s transport and logistical challenges (and subsequent investment opportunities).
It is an often overlooked fact, but only about 30% of African roads are paved, and 50% remain in “poor condition,” according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa. It is this reality that makes shipping cement from Shanghai to the shores of Djibouti about 60% cheaper than shipping from Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to neighboring Djibouti by road. This statistic does not indicate better things for ports. The same UN report estimates that Africa’s ports productivity is mere 30% of the international norm. This is logistics in Africa. But why?
The Prospects of Tea Growing in Somaliland
By: Abdirahman Ibrahim Abdilahi
Somalilandsun – Many people in the country are of the view that tea cannot be grown in Somaliland given the erratic rainfall, inappropriateness of altitude and soil. In contrast, the climate is conducive to growing tea in the country and there is a technology to manage soil and rainfall.
A leading Tea Development Authority in Kenya tea Production Company is looking into the potential prospects of growing tea in Somaliland and is interested in setting up large scale tea plantations and small scale farms in the country and their vision is eventually to add value the tea products locally and package for local consumption and with time and capacity to export from Somaliland to neighboring regions. The principals overriding my interest in this sector are to enable the economic development of Somaliland by setting an example to be emulated by others.
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – Residents of some rural and urban communities in Somaliland are now utilizing
solar power as their main and only source of electricity.
According to Ms Asha Khalid 37, thanks to the portable solar bulbs sold by Guul Group-GG her 12 years son Master Hussein who is a 5th grade pupil can now do his homework at ease thus an improvement in his academic grades.
Hussein Adan who is one of the brightest students in Obsiye, used to struggle with studies in his darkened home due to lack of sufficient light as he mostly relied on the one kerosene lamp the family owned thus in great demand, but after his parents brought home the GG supplied solar bulbs things have improved rapidly for him especially at school.
It’s true, things are changing out there, and if you’re a business, you need to change with the times. These days, if you want to have any kind of market share you have to have what is commonly known as ‘authority’. People will only trust your marketing efforts and your company as an entity when you appear to have authority. Why? Well, there are hundreds of companies that do what you do. To step out from that particular group you need to show that you have something of worth. And knowing more than the other company does about your field immediately marks you out as a company worth listening to. Here are some quick tips and pointers to help you do this.
During a session at last week’s World Economic Forum on Africa, held in Cape Town, experts discussed how Africa can tap into local innovation to launch globally recognised brands. Here are the highlights from the session.
Brand Africa has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years, said Xavier-Luc Duval, vice-prime minister and minister of finance and economic development of Mauritius. The transformation, he added, has not been as superficial as the word “brand” might imply.
“Over the years, Mauritius has been consistent in achieving political stability, consistent in the rule of law, consistent in educating our people, consistent in easing the cost of doing business,” he said, highlighting that a country’s brand is what it does and not what says it is.
Why investors in frontier markets need someone to show them around
CARDBOARD BOXES are not sexy. But they are useful: imagine trying to shift a lorryload of eggs from farm to shop without packaging. Because boxes make it easier to move things around, they allow shops to stock a wider variety of goods at lower prices. So to run a cardboard-box factory in Africa is to put more and better food on African plates.
The Riley Packaging plant in Uganda is quite a sight. From wall to wall and floor to ceiling, it is crammed with vast rolls of paper. A visitor feels like an ant gazing at stacks of toilet rolls. A management consultant might ask: why does Riley need to keep so much inventory—three months’ worth—heaped idly on the floor? Surely there are better uses for the firm’s capital?