Untapped Investment Opportunities in Africa

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? read more

Somaliland: Country has Abundant Tea Growing Potential

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. read more

A guide in Africa

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? read more