Corporate Good News From Africa

  1. Wimmer Financial in talks to finance lithium mine in Zimbabwe:

The demand for certain natural resources found in Africa play a key role in electric products. For example, lithium is a much sought after commodity found in many parts of southern Africa’s Zimbabwe. A jump in global demand for electric cars and batteries has driven demand for mined minerals such as lithium, graphite, cobalt and copper, a key component in electric car batteries. “We see investment opportunities across Africa in mining, oil and gas, green energy as well as real estate. We are currently doing a deal in the lithium space. Lithium is what you need for batteries and electric cars,” says Per Wimmer, a former Goldman Sachs banker and the founder of Wimmer Financial LLP, a London-based corporate advisory firm. As the demand for electric cars and batteries increases, so does demand for what goes into a battery, which is lithium, graphite, cobalt and copper, Wimmer explains. These elements are vital for new technology advancements and products, and are therefore shaping demand and supply on a global scale.

  • North Africa- Egyptian companies score biggest increase in rankings:

Market capitalization for the region is down to $98bn or 13% of the total, with the bulk of the market capital supplied by the Bourse de Casablanca in Morocco and the Egyptian Exchange. Both the Egyptian Exchange EGX30 and Morocco’s MASI Free Float indices are down by about 16% in local currency over the year to March 2019. The outlook for Egypt is particularly positive, with stockbroker Exotic forecasting higher economic growth (GDP) than in 2018, and lower inflation, interest rates and deficit in the current account. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the prospects for Egypt’s economy are good with real GDP growth of 5.5% forecast this year, rising to 6% by 2024. Egypt scored the biggest increase with its share of the top 250 ranking rising from 34 companies in 2018 to 39 this year. Moroccan companies though accounted for a bigger share by market capitalization. The new entrants include healthcare (Cleopatra Hospital at #161), building materials (Samcrete #184), banks and capital markets companies, distributors MM Group (#244) and Egypt Chemical Industries (#248).Many Egyptian companies scaled the rankings including hotels, banks, food, real estate, capital markets and telecoms. The number of Tunisian companies in the ranking has shrunk from seven to five. However leading beverages firm Society and industrial conglomerate Poulina – whose iconic founder passed away earlier this year – soared up the Top 250.

  • West Africa- Region holds many star performers:

Many of the star economies for 2019 and future years are in the region, with growth set to benefit from relative political stability, improving prices for oil and other commodities, and ever closer links between the economies. Top real GDP growth in 2019 is forecast for Ghana (8.8%), Côte d’Ivoire (7.5%), Senegal (6.9%), Benin (6.5%), Burkina Faso (6%) and Niger (6.5%). Nigeria’s election in February, won by the incumbent Muhammadu Buhari, has not brought stock market cheer and the NGSE Main Index has slid steadily since. In April the IMF forecast 2.1% real GDP growth, rising to 2.6% by 2024. It will be boosted by recovering oil production and rising private demand. Excitement about economic growth in the Francophone economies is not reflected in the market capitalizations and the stock exchange indices, with the BRVM-Composite Index on the regional exchange down 28% from March 2018.The high growth economies are linked by a shared currency, with value pegged to the euro, a shared central bank and regulator, and a dynamic regional stock exchange shared by eight markets. Growth in Ghana is forecast to slow by 2024, meanwhile the Ghana Stock Exchange Composite Index shows that investors are already cautious as it is down by 28% in the year to March, after peaking in late April 2018.

  • African Women build businesses:

Across sub-Saharan Africa, ambitious women are unleashing their potential by starting businesses. Tanzeel Akhtar talks to successful female entrepreneurs from Nigeria and South Africa to find out about their achievements and discover what motivates them. Female entrepreneurship in sub-Saharan Africa is rising rapidly, with a number of ambitious women defying the odds, going solo and unleashing their potential. In an increasingly interconnected world, the rise in technology-based businesses is playing a crucial role in narrowing the gender gap and pushing female entrepreneurship forward. As national economies face stiff competition for specialist market skills and resources, a number of startups are drawing international interest. There are also a number of global initiatives supporting and propelling female-run businesses on the continent. Speaking in March at a dinner held by She Means Business, an initiative designed to empower female entrepreneurs across Nigeria, Facebook’s policy programmers head in Africa, Sherry Dzinoreva, said that the company would be intensifying its female entrepreneurship training. But despite the launch of such initiatives there are still a number of challenges women need to overcome. Across Africa, women are prevented from pursuing a career in business through overt and hidden discriminatory practices. In sub-Saharan Africa, at least 40% of the labour force is female, according to the Pew Research Centre. However, 74% of women’s non-agricultural employment is informal, in contrast with 61% for men. In the private sector, African women hold 23% of positions at executive committee level and just 5% of CEO-level jobs, according to McKinsey. Access to capital and exclusion from male dominated business networks constrain women’s participation in business. 

  • Indian Ocean oil & gas: Africa’s next energy frontier:

There have been substantial discoveries of oil and gas in East Africa and the Indian Ocean in the last decade, but the full potential of the region has yet to be realized, asTom Collins reports. When, in February, Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya found himself bundled aboard a direct flight to Mogadishu after hasty instruction from the Kenyan government, it was clear that the long-standing Indian Ocean border dispute between Kenyan and Somalia had reached a new low. With both sides laying claim to a 100,000sq km triangle containing potential offshore oil and gas, the long-standing row – which was taken to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in 2014 – was triggered once more after Kenya accused Somalia of auctioning off four contested blocks to bidders during a conference in London earlier this year. While the Mogadishu government strongly denies this claim, Kenya’s foreign affairs principal secretary, Macharia Kamau, hit back by saying. “This unparalleled affront and illegal grab at the resources of Kenya will not go unanswered and is tantamount to an act of aggression against the people of Kenya and their resources. ”As diplomats and ministers continue to trade blows, accusing one another of undermining national sovereignty and threatening regional stability, the standoff reminds the region of its lucrative hydrocarbon reserves and the high stakes involved in their exploitation. Substantial discoveries made over the past decade have drawn the focus of large international oil companies (IOCs) – some of whom are beginning to produce at established sites along east Africa’s India Ocean seaboard – and have triggered the interest of a flurry of smaller exploration companies and eager parastatals looking to pioneer the next big find. Africa’s Indian Ocean sits directly opposite the energy-hungry Asian markets of India, Southeast Asia and China.

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