16 Jul

New private equity fund commitments to boost growth of African companies

African companies will benefit from several new private equity fund commitments and investment partnerships announced during June 2018, according to Africa Private Equity News, an industry information service. These funds focus on a variety of sectors – including agriculture, renewable energy and technology – and will help businesses on the continent accelerate their growth.

South African private equity firm Agile Capital has launched a third fund of R1 billion (about $75 million) and is aggressively targeting fresh investments. While Agile’s existing portfolio is concentrated on the services, manufacturing, automotive and infrastructure sectors, the firm’s criteria for investment doesn’t exclude other industries. “We favour acquiring a controlling stake in any sustainable company poised for growth,” says CEO Tshego Sefolo.

Specialist forestry investor Criterion Africa Partners has announced the first close of its Africa Sustainable Forestry Fund II, with several institutional investors – including the UK’s CDC Group, Dutch development bank FMO and the European Investment Bank – making commitments of $81 million. The fund has a total target of $150 million, and invests across the forestry value chain.

Renewable energy continues to be a popular theme for investors, and Climate Fund Managers was therefore able to attract additional capital of $75 million to its blended finance facility, Climate Investor One (CIO), bringing the total third-close fund size to $535 million. The CIO, launched in partnership between FMO and South Africa’s Sanlam Infraworks, provides funding for renewable energy projects in the wind, solar and run-of-river hydro sectors in developing countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. The three new investors are IMAS Foundation (a sister foundation to the INGKA Foundation – the owner of INGKA Group, which in turn owns the majority of IKEA’s department stores globally); Swedfund, the development finance institution of Sweden; and the Nordic Development Fund.

Gulf Capital, the Abu Dhabi-based alternative asset manager, revealed that Egypt is one of its target geographies for over $350 million it plans to invest in private equity over the next two years. “We are encouraged by what’s happening in Egypt. Egypt is growing above 5%, they devalued the currency, restructured the economy, introduced new investment laws, and foreign reserves are [at an] all-time high. If you look at the IPO market, it is 10 to 15 times oversubscribed,” the firm’s CEO Karim El Solh, told Gulf News.

Read more here: How We Made It in Africa

 

07 Aug

Invest in Nigerian agriculture from anywhere in the world

invest in the Nigerian agricultural sector, anywhere in the world.

Farmcrowdy is a Nigerian online platform which allows users (sponsors) to invest in the Nigerian agricultural sector, anywhere in the world.

Sponsors can choose what kind of farms (and crops) they want to invest in. Farmcrowdy then uses the investment to: secure land; engage and train the farmer in best agricultural practices; plant the seeds; insure the farmers and crops; complete the full farming cycle; sell the harvest; and then pay the farm sponsor a return on their investment. Sponsors are able to keep track of the full cycle through updates in text, pictures and videos.

Farmcrowdy founder, Onyeka Akumah, tells us about the risks facing the business and his most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

1. How did you finance your start-up?

We received seed funding from a Lagos-based investment house when we first launched in 2016. This was to get the idea to the market effectively. Following up on that we have also been selected as the only African start-up to participate in Techstars Atlanta this year. The funding from this programme has come in handy to get us to the next level.

2. If you were given US$1m to invest in your company now, where would it go?

3. What risks does your business face?

  • Biological risks which could cause pest and disease contamination. If our farms were exposed to biological risks, it would lead to lower yields and loss of income.
  • Currency fluctuation which can increase the cost of production, and in turn, affect the spending power of our farm sponsors.
  • Government policies which can influence (positively or negatively) our cost of operations and market access.
  • Civil unrest which could affect our farms and farmers
  • Supply-chain risk, including logistics and infrastructure, which could lead to food waste and create post-harvest losses.

4. So far, what has proven to be the most successful form of marketing?

Referrals from one sponsor to another, encouraging them to participate in the agricultural revolution sweeping Nigeria. This has been majorly championed by word-of-mouth testimonials about the success we have had with our farmers and the relationship with our farm sponsors.

5. Describe your most exciting entrepreneurial moment.

My most exciting entrepreneurial moment has been being able to build a company out of an idea that was just on some paper. Seeing this idea grow, employing people to work on it and make something meaningful, and creating value for people we call customers, has been thrilling. This has been the most exciting part of my journey – moving from idea to business, to employer of labour, to value for customers.

6. Tell us about your biggest mistake, and what you’ve learnt from it.

The biggest mistake has been hiring the wrong people in the early stage of the business and working with the wrong technology partners. This can have a devastating effect on the success or failure of your business, and over time I have had to make hard decisions and let people go.

Going forward, we are proud of our current team. We are proud of the passion they bring to change lives and the selfless will to change the world one farmer at a time. I consider myself one of the luckiest people in the world having smart people around me, looking to solve an ambitious but real problem.

[Source from HowWeMadeItInAfrica]

12 May

Nigeria Parliament Approves 21% Budget Hike to Boost Economy

Nigeria’s lawmakers approved to boost spending by 21 percent this year’s budget to help the West African economy recover from its worst slump in 25 years.

The Senate, led by its President Bukola Saraki, agreed on Thursday in the capital, Abuja, to increase spending this year to 7.4 trillion naira ($23 billion). That compares to a budget of 7.3 trillion naira that President Muhammadu Buhari proposed on Dec. 14. The House of Representatives, the National Assembly’s lower chamber, approved it earlier Thursday.

Nigeria’s economy, which vies with South Africa’s to be the largest on the continent, shrunk by 1.5 percent last year, the first contraction since 1991, after revenue from oil, its biggest export, fell by almost half. About 30 percent of the budget will be spent on roads, rail, ports and power to help stimulate business activity.

The government should implement the budget quickly “to boost the economy and take it out of recession,” Michael Famoroti, an economist at Lagos-based Vetiva Capital Management, said by phone. Spending on capital projects to promote exports and in the oil-producing Niger delta region, is expected in the second half of the year, he said.

The spending plans assume daily production of 2.2 million barrels of crude oil sold at $42.5 per barrel, and an exchange rate of 305 naira per dollar, according to budget documents. This was unchanged from Buhari’s proposal, the chairman of the Senate’s Committee on Appropriations, Danjuma Goje, told lawmakers.

The government’s oil-production target may be reached in the second half of the year as “oil revenue is expected to be strong,” according to Famoroti. If non-oil revenue doesn’t increase, Nigeria might face “another under-performance of the budget.”

Foreign-currency shortages in the country forced the central bank to introduce multiple exchange rates, with the main rate at 315 naira per dollar, more than 20 percent cheaper than the street price.

The two chambers of Parliament debate and approve spending plans separately before harmonizing their proposals into a single document sent to the president to sign into law.

 

Read more: Nigeria Parliament Approves 21% Budget Hike to Boost Economy

13 Apr

South African Stocks Poised for Long-Term Gains Despite Zuma’s Maneuverings: Ryan Hoover, Portfolio Manager, Africa Capital Group

Late last month, South Africa’s increasingly unpopular president, Jacob Zuma, unceremoniously sacked his well-regarded Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan, and other dissident cabinet officials in a transparent power grab – replacing them with long-time loyalists.

Gordhan and Zuma had clashed repeatedly over the latter’s links to the politically-influential Gupta family and the management of state-owned enterprises.

Gordhan’s ouster not only leaves the Treasury without a proven hand at the tiller, it removes one of the government’s strongest proponents of transparency.

Predictably, the news triggered a 4% plunge in the value of the rand versus the dollar. And has already resulted in South Africa’s credit rating being downgraded.

So, while the headlines are dour for the moment, we remain bullish on South African stocks over the long-term.

The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has seen it all over the past thirty years.

Read more: Africa Capital Group LLC South African Stocks Poised for Long-Term Gains Despite Zuma’s Maneuverings – Africa Capital Group LLC

12 Apr

Fitch downgrades South Africa’s credit rating to “junk” status

Ratings agency Fitch downgraded South Africa‘s credit rating to sub-investment grade on Friday, saying a recent cabinet reshuffle that saw respected finance minister dismissed will likely result in a change in economic policy direction.

Fitch changed its outlook for South Africa to stable from negative. Fitch’s downgrade to BB+ from BB- on both foreign and local currency debt follows that of S&P Global Ratings which also cut South African foreign debt to “junk” status.

Downgrades to junk from the two agencies could see South Africa drop out of some widely used global bond indexes.

Read more: Fitch downgrades South Africa’s credit rating to “junk” status

06 Apr

African Financial & Economic Data’s Data Hub, Sector Focus and Country Profile packages now available via the Beast Apps

London, United Kingdom, April 6, 2017 – African Financial & Economic Data (AFED) a provider of definitive financial and economic intelligence on Africa, announces the release of the BeastExcel plug-in, built in partnership with the Beast Apps.

This collaboration combines AFED’s services with the BeastExcel technology from the Beast Apps, enabling clients to calculate more efficiently their investment.

Clients will be able to access AFED’s data using excel directly through the cloud, without the need of any programming or ftp download, which will help with workflow integration challenges. Team members will be able to work collaboratively and see real-time changes updating in Excel as soon as the data becomes available. All data is now accessible using a browser, Excel, tablets.

We are pleased to provide our data through The Beast Apps. This will allow clients to manipulate their data, view it on their desktop and save on integration costs.” – said Jonathan Bloch CEO of Exchange Data International

In that regard, Ashok Mittal, President of the Beast App emphasised “Excel is a very powerful tool and is a de facto integration tool for most professionals. The Beast App’s ability to deliver data, analytics or trading directly into Excel in an existing spreadsheet, through the cloud, without any programming helps solve workflow challenges. The data updates automatically as soon as it changes, without having to do anything. We are happy to extend our relationship with EDI and make their African Financial & Economic Data (AFED) from Excel. A user interested in this data can access the rich set of data available through a simple and easy to use dialog driven interface into Excel without doing any programming.”

Visit www.africadata.com for more detailed information on the different datasets and request a 1-month free trial.

# # #

About African Financial & Economic Data

African Financial & Economic Data (AFED) is a product of Exchange Data International and provides definitive economic intelligence on Africa. AFED’s unparalleled overview of all 54 African economies provides interested parties in African countries with the detailed financial and economic information they need to make good political, financial, strategic and investment decisions. Learn more at https://www.africadata.com/

About The Beast Apps:

The Beast Apps (tBA) is a Financial Technology leader that helps build, expand, integrate and migrate clients’ Pre-Trade, Trade and Post-Trade systems, deployed in a data centre or the cloud. The Beast App’s customers include large financial firms to entrepreneurial firms, and has a team that understands the working of the financial industry and financial products through decades of experience of trading, brokering, management and technology. For more information about tBA,  please visit https://www.thebeastapps.com/

04 Apr

UN emphasizes its commitment to support women’s empowerment in Egypt

The United Nations joins Egypt in celebrating the ingenuity, courage and determination of Egyptian women and the extraordinary role they play in their families and communities across Egypt, and emphasizes its commitment to support women’s empowerment in Egypt

The month of March was an important month for women in Egypt. The commemoration of the Day of the Egyptian Women, the International Women’s Day, and the 61st global Session of the Commission on the Status of Women culminated in H.E. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s pronunciation of 2017 as the “Year of Egyptian women”. The United Nations joins Egypt in celebrating the ingenuity, courage and determination of Egyptian women and the extraordinary role they play in their families and communities across Egypt, and emphasizes its commitment to support women’s empowerment in Egypt.

The Government of Egypt continues to demonstrate its clear commitment and actions to achieve equality between women and men, and promote women’s social, economic, cultural and political empowerment through targeted actions, policies, programmes and legislations. In his pronunciation of 2017 as the “Year of Egyptian women”, H.E. President Abdel Fattah El Sisi stressed women’s central role for the future of Egypt, the need to safeguard women’s constitutional rights and for women to be at the forefront, and outlining expediting steps towards the empowerment of women.

The United Nations commends the launch of Egypt’s Women’s Strategy 2030 under the leadership of the National Council for Women – a pioneer strategy globally for women’s empowerment – and welcomes the presidential directions to the Government of Egypt to regard the Egyptian Women’s Strategy 2030 as the reference document that guides the upcoming work on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In line with the 2014 Constitution and the Egypt Vision 2030: Sustainable Development Strategy, the Egyptian Women’s Strategy 2030 is devised to enact women’s constitutional rights that foster principles of equality and non-discrimination, equal opportunity, and protection. This affirms the government’s recognition that social justice and inclusive growth will only be realized when women are enabled to benefit and contribute as equal citizens to Egypt’s sustainable development.

In line with these positive developments, “the UN in Egypt reiterates its commitment to supporting the Government of Egypt and its partners in their efforts towards local development solutions to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women,” said the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations in Egypt Mr. Richard Dictus.

Distributed by APO on behalf of UN Information Centre in Cairo.

03 Apr

50 Kenyan companies listed in London Stock Exchange Group’s inaugural ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report

NAIROBI, Kenya, March 31, 2017

  • Landmark report identifies fastest-growing and most dynamic private businesses across Africa
  • Report shows breadth and diversity of African business, with 42 countries across 7 major sectors represented
  • Highlights strong company performances and the potential for these firms to become the next corporate champions powering Africa’s future economic and social  development
  • UK Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP joins company CEOs to open trading in London
  • Companies included in the report will be celebrated at an event in Nairobi on 12 May
  • Almost half of the Kenyan companies operate in innovative industries, with 14 companies in the renewable energy space and 11 in technology and telecoms

50 companies operating in Kenya are named today in London Stock Exchange’s inaugural ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report. Collectively, Kenyan companies make up 14 per cent of the total number of companies in the report, one of the highest concentrations of high growth companies in Africa. 28 per cent of Kenyan companies operate in the renewable energy space, reflecting the country’s preeminent role in exploring alternative energy production on the continent.

Amongst those from the country are:

  • Cellulant – a mobile commerce company operating a payments ecosystem which connects financial sector customers, Mobile Network Operators and businesses to their consumers
  • D.light – a solar energy company delivering affordable solar home and power solutions for people without access to reliable energy
  • Eaton Towers – owns and manages a network of telecommunications towers in Africa
  • Shop Soko – an ethical fashion brand and mobile technology-enabled supply chain platform

The report in numbers:

  • The report identifies 343 companies from 42 African countries as the continent’s most exciting and dynamic small businesses
  • Companies delivered impressive average compound annual growth rate (revenue) of 16 per cent over a 3 year period 2013-2015
  • Fast-growing companies appear in all regions of Africa. Highest concentration of companies from West Africa with 31 per cent of companies, closely followed by East Africa with 26 per cent and Southern Africa with 22 per cent
  • South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria are the countries with the most companies in the publication, each represented by over 50 companies
  • Fast-growing companies are present across a wide range of sectors
  • There is strong representation from innovative industries, with 22 companies in renewable energy and 40 in technology & telecoms
  • Industry, which covers areas such as oil and gas, construction, manufacturing and chemicals, is the biggest sector , with 23 per cent of companies in the report, followed by Financial Services which includes mobile banking, micro-credit, disruptive technology and Fintech, with 16 per cent, indicating that the continent has great promise for both traditional and more recent economic success stories
  • The 47 consumer services companies corroborate the trend of burgeoning consumer demand and growth of the middle-class across the entire continent
  • Report highlights the important role of female entrepreneurship;12 per cent of the companies in the report are led by female CEOs, three times the average for companies across Africa

Today, company CEOs featured in the report were welcomed to London Stock Exchange Group by the Rt. Hon. Priti Patel MP and Xavier Rolet, CEO, London Stock Exchange Group at a special launch event to celebrate African companies’ success, ambition and uniquely African entrepreneurial spirit. They were also joined by a broad range of Africa-focused investors, as well as senior representatives of African Development Bank Group, CDC Group and PwC, all partners on the report.

International Development Secretary, Priti Patel said: “London Stock Exchange’s first-ever ‘Companies to Inspire Africa’ report is proof of the dynamism and vision of the City of London in supporting Africa’s growing economies.

“Now is the time for UK businesses to seize the opportunities offered by Africa, and the UK Government is supporting the City of London to become the global financial centre for the developing world.

“This will help Africa industrialise faster, trade more and create millions of jobs, driving the continent forward to a future of prosperity, and helping some of the world’s poorest countries stand on their own two feet.”[…]

Read the full story here: APO

 

24 Mar

South Africa Committed to Work with Nigeria for a Better Africa in a Better World

South Africa is committed to work with Nigeria for a better Africa in a better world. This was said by the South African High Commissioner to Nigeria Mr Lulu Louis Mnguni. Mnguni was speaking at a welcoming session for the South African business delegation which arrived in Nigeria on Wednesday, 22 March 2017.

The delegation is in Nigeria to attend the trade and investment mission to that country. The mission started on Monday, 20 March 2017 in Ghana and will kick-off its second leg in Lagos, Nigeria today. The mission is organised by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti).

According to Mnguni, the two countries do not only focus on servicing the interests of their own citizens, but also to consolidate the African Development Agenda.

He added that both South Africa and Nigeria were the leading forces in Africa and as they move towards the regeneration of the African continent they both could play an important role as the two major countries with leading economies.

Mnguni told the delegates that South Africa with its vast wealth of expertise had an advantage of assisting other African countries to diversify their economies.

“To this end our Department of Mineral Resources has been hard at work, working with Nigeria,” he said.

The mission forms part of the dti’s objective to identify and create export markets for South African value-added products, and services. It will also serve to promote South African products, and service offerings, whilst creating business partnerships between business communities of the respective countries.

Sectors targeted for the mission are agro-processing, electro-technical, infrastructure, mining, services and capital equipment. The programme for the mission will include trade and investment seminars, site visits and business-to-business meetings.

Distributed by APO on behalf of The Department of Trade and Industry, South Africa.

17 Mar

Orange launches its brand in Burkina Faso and strengthens its positions in West Africa

Orange will pursue its development in mobile financial services and 3.75G mobile Internet, where it was the first operator to launch and is today the uncontested leader in Burkina Faso

Orange (www.Orange.com), one of the world’s leading telecommunications operators, announces today the launch of its brand in Burkina Faso. Less than one year after the closing of the Group’s acquisition of Airtel, together with Orange Côte d’Ivoire, this announcement clearly demonstrates Orange’s ambitions for the West African market.

Orange will pursue its development in mobile financial services and 3.75G mobile Internet, where it was the first operator to launch and is today the uncontested leader in Burkina Faso. Its Orange Money solution for international transfers will be further expanded in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). The expansion of its optical fibre network will contribute to increasing its brand awareness as the leading provider of Internet access and connectivity to enterprises. Thanks to an ambitious network modernization plan and the strength of its parent company’s innovation capability, Orange Burkina Faso will bring an incomparable customer experience to its 6.3 million subscribers.

Bruno Mettling, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the Orange group and Chairman and CEO of Orange MEA (Middle East and Africa), commented: “It is a great honour for the Orange group to inaugurate its presence in Burkina Faso at a time when the country is resolutely engaged in a vast economic development programme. The arrival of the Orange brand testifies to our commitment to providing the benefits of the digital ecosystem to the entire population of Burkina Faso.”

Ben Cheick Haidara, CEO of Orange in Burkina Faso, added: “Today, customers in Burkina Faso are more demanding and the way they use digital services has evolved; we are at a decisive turning point in the development of the telecoms market. Our ambition is to continue the work accomplished in recent years in the mobile money and mobile Internet fields to make Orange the leading partner for Burkina Faso’s digital transformation.”

The launch of the Orange brand in these countries is also an opportunity to welcome the men and women of Orange Burkina Faso and underline their accomplishments in their daily work to offer an incomparable customer experience.

Orange is present in 21 countries in Africa and the Middle East, where it has more than 120 million customers. With 5.2 billion euros in revenues in 2016 (12% of the total), this region is a strategic priority for the Group. Orange Money, its flagship offer for money transfers and mobile financial services is currently available in 17 countries and has more than 30 million customers.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Orange.