Category: Business

Bank of America Merrill Lynch warns of recession in South Africa over Eskom

By Colin McClelland

South Africa will face another recession by year’s end if the Eskom load shedding debacle isn’t remedied, according to forecasts by Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

GDP growth will plummet by year’s end and signal a recession, which is two quarters of sub-zero growth, Michael Jacks, head of equity research in Johannesburg at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, told reporters on March 20 in the city’s Rosebank area.

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Can Ethiopia’s Long Love Affair With Boeing Survive the 737 Max Crash?

By Selam Gebrekidan

Last week, a brand-new Boeing 737 Max 8 crashed shortly after takeoff in Ethiopia. Five months earlier, an identical Boeing model crashed in Indonesia. With investigators looking into the possibility that a design flaw played a role in both disasters, the company is in a harsh spotlight.

Like Boeing, Ethiopian Airlines has long been held in high regard. It maintains a young fleet, and it operates a respected aviation school.

The airline has been intertwined with Boeing for six decades. It was the first African airline to buy its jets, with a loan from the American government. And over the years, it has maintained such close ties with Boeing that it did not purchase planes from rival Airbus until three years ago.

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Burger King restaurants keep losing money in South Africa – but a whole lot more are due to open anyway

By Phillip de Wet , Business Insider SA

Burger King outlets are losing it an increasing amount of money, the chain’s South African parent company Grand Parade Investments (GPI) said on Monday morning – but it is not backing down on plans to roll out a lot more of them.

A month ago GPI announced that it will liquidate Dunkin Donuts and the American ice cream brand Baskin Robbins in South Africa, after it could not make them profitable nor find a buyer interested in taking them over.

But things will be very different with Burger King. In interim results for the last half of 2018, GPI said it will roll out 15 new Burger King outlets every year for the next three years, which will increase its footprint by exactly half, to 135 stores.

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Feds Investigate Oregon Company’s African Rainforest Hardwood Products

By and
Roseburg Forest Products, one of the country’s leading manufacturers of particleboard and plywood, has ended production and sales of certain lumber products in the midst of a federal investigation into whether the wood came from the illegal logging of African rainforests.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to OPB that its Homeland Security Investigations division has an ongoing investigation into illegal imports of okoumé, a wood used for plywood and veneer siding. The Lacey Act prohibits the trade of plants and wildlife taken, stored or transported illegally.

Okoumé hardwood trees grow in the rainforests of west-central Africa, where the deforestation of habitat for endangered species is drawing the concern of conservationists and scientists alike. Okoumé is used in some of Roseburg’s Real Wood Siding products, which are sold by major retailers including Home Depot and marketed as “environmentally friendly.”

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Gray Matters Capital Selects Two African Start-Ups for its Digital Self-Learning to Earning Accelerator GMC Calibrator

Gray Matters Capital, a US-based impact investor focused on the funding for-profit social enterprises in markets of Africa, India, Latin America, USA and South East Asia, has announced the names of the start-ups which have made it to the second cohort of its GMC Calibrator Program.

The GMC Calibrator is a Digital Self-learning to Earning Accelerator launched by Gray Matters Capital in April 2018 with an aim to make the mobile phone a device to promote Self Learning to Earning by improving user engagement, monetization and optimization of mobile learning platforms. This is done by understanding and implementing the principles of behavioural science and data driven decision making.

The cohort of March 2019 of the program has two start-ups from Africa – Sierra Leone based Mobile Learning Platform for Financial Inclusion Mosabi and Kenya s leading Parenting Website Mums Village joining seven other start-ups from India and Vietnam.

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Netflix increases production of African films

When Godwin Jabangwe stood in front of a room full of Hollywood movie executives to pitch his first feature film last November, he knew his idea wasn’t exactly the stuff of a conventional blockbuster.

He wanted to make an animated movie called “Tunga,” he explained, about a young girl who travels to a mythical lost city on a quest to save her village from drought. It would be set in Zimbabwe. Oh right, and it would be a musical.

“Five years ago, with an idea like that, you would have been laughed out of the room,” Mr. Jabangwe says. But his idea immediately caught the ear of a big production company, and last month, after a scrappy bidding war, Jabangwe signed a deal with them. “Tunga” is going to be a Netflix original.

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Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce set for trade mission to US

The Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce (NACC) is set to lead delegates on a five-day trade mission with the theme: ‘Turning Promises to Action,’ to the United States. The event holds between April 28 and May 3, 2019, at the Silicon Valley.

This annual commitment of the NACC, according to a statement, was geared towards promoting trade, commerce, investment and industrial technological relationships between the public and private sectors of in Nigeria and the United States.

It added that the trade mission would attract businesses in information technology, banking, agric-tech, cloud technology solutions, artificial intelligence, robotic process automation, blockchain, smart contracts, amongst others.

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Nigerians, African-Americans dominate list of Black Billionaires 2019

By Mfonbong Nsehe

Of the 2,153 people who made it to the 2019 FORBES list of the World’s Billionaires, 13 of them are black, up from 11 a year ago.

Cement tycoon Aliko Dangote is still the richest black person in the world with a fortune estimated at $10.9 billion. He’s closely followed by Nigerian oil and telecoms mogul Mike Adenuga.

American businessman David Stewart, who is majority owner of World Wide Technology, an $11.2 billion (sales) IT provider, whose customers include Citi, Verizon and the federal government, joins the Black Billionaires Club with a fortune FORBES estimates at $3 billion.

Nigerian businessman Abdulsamad Rabiu, who made his fortune in cement, flour, edible oils and real estate, returns to the 3-Comma club after a multi-year hiatus. He last featured on the FORBES list of the World’s Billionaires in 2014.

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U.S. to host Trade with Africa Business Summit

Following a successful inaugural event in 2018 held in Bentonville, Arkansas; home to world’s leading retailer and Fortune #1; Walmart, global business leaders, trade experts and policy representatives of U.S. and African countries will convene for the 2nd
edition of the “Trade with Africa Business Summit” in Chicago.

This event positions the Chicago Metropolitan area and the State of Illinois as a favorable destination for Africa’s business & political leaders looking to create new trade partnerships in the U.S.

Theme of the 2019 event is: Growing U.S. – Africa Trade, Trade Financing & Developing Africa’s Supply Chain. Africa offers new markets for U.S. made products. Similarly, U.S. serves as an untapped market for authentic African products (raw and manufactured). Trade with Africa Business Summit 2019 helps fast-track such discussions with stakeholders from the world’s next economic frontier; Africa. Continue reading “U.S. to host Trade with Africa Business Summit”

Ten African companies to feature at New York’s COTERIE

By Kennedy kanethe

Ten women-owned businesses from Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya will next week attend COTERIE, one of the United States’ top fashion trade shows, with support from the International Trade Centre’s SheTrades initiative.

Taking place at the Javits Center, New York City, on 25 – 27 February, COTERIE provides an opportunity for the brands to showcase their collections and connect with international buyers.

All ten companies are part of SheTrades in the Commonwealth Programme, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

In 2018, SheTrades sponsored a delegation of 9 brands from Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria to attend the fall edition of COTERIE, which led to meetings with 100 buyers and secured US $495,000 USD in trade leads.

One of the participating companies was Afrodesiac, a Ghanaian company that has seen tremendous success following its attendance at COTERIE.

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Memphis’s Goal: To Grow Revenue At Minority-Owned Firms By $50M In Five Years

By Elaine Pofeldt

The future of entrepreneurship in America will include many more people of color than in the past, as recent data shows. The city of Memphis is making the most of the trend. It is working to accelerate the growth of minority-owned businesses in a flagship program that could potentially become a model for other cities to emulate in their economic development programs

Under the leadership of Mayor Jim Strickland, The 800 Initiative, launched in May 2018, has set a goal of growing the revenue of 800 minority-owned businesses with paid employees that the city has identified by $50 million by 2023.

The program is offering business coaching, technical assistance, education and access to loans and grants to help the businesses scale. The program also aims to help 200 minority-owned businesses without paid employees to grow their revenue into the six figures and start hiring employees.

The 800 Initiative, hosted by the city’s Office of Diversity and Compliance, is funded in part by a $500,000 allocation in the city’s 2018-2019 budget, and a $1 million commitment over four years by FedEx.

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President of Rwanda makes business pitch a part of NBA All-Star visit to Queen City

Paul Kagame spent the past two decades helping Rwanda overcome a 1994 genocide against the minority ethnic Tutsis that left an estimated 800,000 to 1 million people dead.

Kagame, the president of Rwanda, has embraced social media, eased the cost and hassle for international businesses to invest in the African nation, and looked to South Korea as a model for lifting his nation’s fortunes.

According to his critics, Kagame is yet another African strongman draped in more public relations-friendly clothing who forcefully and violently silences his political opponents.

His sharpest critics include Paul Rusesabagina, of “Hotel Rwanda” fame, who lives in the United States and who told The Washington Post in 2016 he was living outside his home country because he feared for his safety.

What does any of this have to do with Charlotte? Glad you asked. Kagame spent the weekend here, attending the NBA All-Star Game — Rwanda is likely to have one of 12 teams in the newly announced startup league in 2020 that includes significant backing from the NBA — before making a pitch to local business leaders on Monday at The Ballantyne Resort. (NBA Commissioner Adam Silver visited Kagame last year in Rwanda.)

Kagame came at the invitation and urging of Andy Agaba, a native of Uganda and Harvard graduate who runs a nonprofit here that, according to its website, is a Christian economic development organization.

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How Jumia’s planned listing on New York Stock Exchange is strategic for MTN, Rocket Internet

Nigeria headquartered online retail giant, Jumia is mulling a listing in America. It appears the efforts of Rocket Internet to cash out on Jumia will finally pay off as the eCommerce giant is planning to launch its Initial Public Offering (IPO) this year on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

As reported by Bloomberg, the planned listing could value the company at $1.5 billion. The move to have the company listed on the NYSE raises a couple of questions, one of which is about the choice of New York and not any of the African countries Jumia operates in.

MTN Group — the major stakeholder of the company — is looking forward to raising $600 million from the offering, having revealed plans to sell its 40% stake in the company last year.

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Meet the Nigerian couple who are Bringing the foods and flavours of Africa to Ontaria, Canada

African communities pride themselves on preparing traditional fare with vegetables, meats and spices from their home countries, something a local food market in London, Ont. supplies.

Payless African and Caribbean Food Market opened its doors at 875 Hamilton Rd. nearly two years ago, answering the call from local friends and family for ingredients from home. At the time, the couple was living in Caledon, Ontario.

“We saw a need here and I began to persuade my husband to drop his construction work and open an African market,” said Ade Taiwo, co-owner of Payless African and Caribbean Food Market.

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Nigeria Expects $3 Billion in Diaspora Investment Funding

Nigeria expects $3 billion in investment funding from citizens living mainly in the U.S. to support the agriculture, power, mining and transportation sectors, a senior presidential adviser said.

The government will support “a diaspora investment fund,” Abike Dabiri-Erewa, President Muhammadu Buhari’s adviser on diaspora affairs, said in an interview in Abuja, the capital. “They’re planning a $3 billion investment in Nigeria. The fund will be driven by Nigerians in America.”

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