17 Mar

Infomineo reveals rising global interest in the Middle East Africa region from Fortune 500 companies

Overall, there was a 17% increase in the number of companies in MEA in 2016 compared to 2015, with Johannesburg being the leading destination for Africa

The Middle East Africa (MEA) region has become increasingly important for the majority of global Fortune 500 countries, according to a new report released by Infomineo (www.Infomineo.com), a global business research company specialising in Africa and the Middle East.

The report focuses on multinationals looking at entering, or already present, in the Middle East and Africa region. Overall, there was a 17% increase in the number of companies in MEA in 2016 compared to 2015, with Johannesburg being the leading destination for Africa.

The Infomineo analysis includes the regional footprint of multinationals in the MEA region, the most commonly chosen cities, and the factors which influence the selection of the region, country and city – each element revealing the dynamic growth patterns within the region and a clear trend of Fortune 500 companies establishing some kind of presence in MEA.

In 2016, 196 Fortune 500 companies had established a dedicated regional headquarters in the MEA region. In the Middle-East, Dubai is the most popular choice with 138 companies establishing a dedicated entity in the city. There has also been a marked uptick in companies deciding to cover MEA from outside of the region – 38 companies up from 22 have established a regional headquarters in areas such as London, Brussels and Paris. The leading destinations on the Fortune 500 list include Dubai, Johannesburg, Casablanca, Nairobi, Lagos, and Cairo. Egypt remains behind the leaders due to political instability, however, it has seen a 250% increase in Fortune 500 investment since 2015. Germany and France are leading in terms of coverage rate while China has the lowest presence in the region.

Industry type plays a pivotal role in the selection of city and country. Financial services are more likely to base MEA coverage from London, while technology companies are more inclined towards Casablanca or Lagos. The latter city is also the premier location for organisations looking to manage their operations across Western Africa with 12 Fortune 500 companies already established in the region. Automotive and Healthcare tend to have a presence in both Africa and the Middle East, while Technology is more inclined to having a presence from the outside.

Nairobi, in Kenya, is the leading destination for the FMCG companies and tends to be the top choice for organisations looking to service Eastern Africa. Dubai and Johannesburg are the most popular hubs overall, but both Casablanca and Nairobi are rapidly gaining traction and international awareness. Casablanca has the highest growth rate overall, while Dubai has the highest count. The same can be said for London, which has tripled its number of regional HQs in the region, acting as an MEA hub. Given the geographical proximity and the talent pool present in the city, it could be that London is playing the role of a first step into the MEA region, especially for Japanese and North American companies.

There are numerous factors which impact on the organisation’s selection of a specific city. These include the local market potential, maturity of the industry, existing competitors, political stability and the quality of the employment market, among others. Determining the attractiveness of a location along these clear lines assures the Fortune 500 companies of a stable and profitable investment and significantly mitigates risk. The most attractive cities are Dubai, Johannesburg, Casablanca and Nairobi, and at the lower end of the spectrum, Cairo, Paris, Algiers and Cape Town.

Through this analysis, organisations gain a thorough understanding of markets and factors which ensure a steady base of operations from which organisations can expand into the growing MEA market, and establish brand and identity within the growing middle classes. Infomineo has undertaken in-depth analysis and research on the MEA region, revealing the various factors inhibiting or inspiring Fortune 500 uptake. Further data on the analysis can be found here.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Infomineo.

10 Jan

EU Gives EUR 35M for Agriculture and Accountability in Liberia

European Union Flag
MONROVIA, Liberia, January 9, 2017 — The European Union (EU) has announced that it will provide EUR 35 million in support of agricultural development and the General Auditing Commission (GAC) in Liberia.

Speaking in Monrovia today, European Union Ambassador to Liberia, Tiina Intelmann said: “The European Union props both the private and the public sector in Liberia. The EU supports the Government’s efforts to boost the economy through agricultural development, because agriculture is the road to progress and development.” She added: “Supporting the national audit watchdog ultimately means assuring that public money is properly and wisely spent so as to provide the citizens of Liberia with best value for their taxes and other country’s public resources“.

Ambassador Intelmann stated that the EU will assist cocoa, fisheries, food and nutrition security as well as capacity at the Ministry of Agriculture in ongoing efforts to implement the Country’s own Agriculture Transformation Agenda.

The EU support will build capacity in the Ministry of Agriculture with EUR 12 million so that it delivers policies and services to the best use of Liberian citizens

She said that the EU will help develop the markets for cocoa and fisheries with EUR 8.5 million and EUR 7 million respectively so that Liberian farmers and fishers will increase their incomes from selling their produce. The Envoy added that the EU will assist Liberia to improve rules and policies for fisheries to fight against illegal fishing in the spirit of the political cooperation between Liberia and the EU through the recently signed EU-Liberia Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement.

Also, Ambassador Intelmann announced that the EU will support the Government of Liberia with EUR 12 million to overcome food insecurity by stimulating productivity and diversity in food crops in several counties that suffer from food insecurity.

The EU support will build capacity in the Ministry of Agriculture with EUR 12 million so that it delivers policies and services to the best use of Liberian citizens.

The EU Envoy stressed that following a longstanding partnership with the General Auditing Commission (GAC), the EU has decided to support the Supreme Audit Institution with EUR 5 million over the next four years to fund implementation of its Strategic Plan, and key elements of its Staff Professionalization and Capacity Building Strategy. While previous programmes helped to make the GAC fully operational, the new support will help the GAC to improve performance, be autonomous and independent in line with the 2014 Liberian GAC Act. The GAC will be responsible for managing EUR 3 million of the programme.

The ultimate goal is for the GAC to become a Supreme Audit Institution up to international standard which will have a substantial impact on how public money is spent in Liberia.  The main activities under this programme will entail making the GAC more effective in terms of both audit capabilities and the management capabilities necessary for an autonomous agency, as well as strengthening the relationships with audited Ministries and Agencies, the National Legislature and the media to ensure that the GAC’s audit recommendations are fully taken on board.