Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed, Wins Nobel Peace Prize

The Nobel Peace Prize was, last week, awarded to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, one of Africa’s youngest leaders, for his efforts in human rights reforms in the country, and for signing a peace deal with Eritrea following protracted hostility between the east African nations. The award will be bestowed in December this year.

Responding to the announcement, Amnesty International’s secretary-general Kumi Naidoo said: “This award recognizes the critical work Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has done to initiate human rights reforms in Ethiopia after decades of widespread repression.

“Since assuming office in April 2018, it has reformed the security forces, replaced the severely restricting charities and society law, and agreed a peace deal with neighboring Eritrea to end two decades of hostile relations. He also helped broker an agreement between Sudan’s military leaders and the civilian opposition, bringing an end to months of protests.

“However, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s work is far from done. This award should push and motivate him to tackle the outstanding human rights challenges that threaten to reverse the gains made so far. He must urgently ensure that his government addresses the ongoing ethnic tensions that threaten instability and further human rights abuses. He should also ensure that his government revises the Anti-Terrorism Proclamation which continues to be used as a tool of repression, and holds suspected perpetrators of past human rights violations to account.

“Now more than ever Prime Minister Abiy must fully espouse the principles and values of the Nobel Peace Prize to leave a lasting human rights legacy for his country, the wider region, and the world.”

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Egyptian e-Commerce Startup MaxAB Secures $6.2m Seed Funding

Egyptian B2B e-commerce marketplace MaxAB has secured seed funding of $6.2 million, one of the largest ever seed rounds raised by a MENA startup. The round was co-led by Beco Capital, 4DX Ventures and Endure Capital, with participation from 500 Startups, Outlierz Ventures and other local investors.

MaxAB connects informal food and grocery retailers with suppliers in Egypt’s under-served areas via an easy-to-use app. With this new injection of capital, the company expects to reach 50% of Egypt’s population within the next two years before expanding across different markets.

Led by Egyptian and Libyan entrepreneurs Belal El-Megharbel (previously at Careem) and Mohamed Ben Halim (Previously at Aramex), the 270-strong MaxAB team has built a stock list of over 600 products, including groceries, beverages, dairy, confectionery and non-food products.

Simplifying Egypt’s FMCG market

Using technology to close the gap between traditional retailers – over 400,000 in Egypt – and FMCGs, the Cairo based startup leverages technology to connect brands to retailers via its Android app. It is working to automate and simplify Egypt’s $45bn FMCG food retail market and has recorded 50% month-on-month growth, with 9,000 activated retailers on the platform already.

Brands using MaxAB have access to real-time demand monitoring and business intelligence tools, which improve end-to-end supply chain control, and better forecasting. Retailers in remote and under-served areas will have access to a wide variety of products, the convenience of ordering stock online in addition to second-day deliveries not to mention the added benefit of access to credit facilities.

Belal El-Megharbel, co-founder and CEO at MaxAB, says: “Nobody has addressed the underserved retailers before; retailers are faced with a limited assortment of products, the hassle of dealing with multiple wholesalers and restricted access to credit facilities. At the other end of the supply chain, the FMCGs have limited visibility on market trends, demand patterns and retailers’ business needs – leading to losing potential revenue opportunities.

“We are using data and analytics to understand purchasing and retail behaviours, as well as make the end-to-end process of brands seamless and convenient. This will enable FMCGs to make informed decisions about their purchasing, which will ultimately have a positive effect on their bottom line and catalyse one of the biggest markets in Egypt. This investment round will allow us to accelerate our growth plans and develop new products and services throughout North Africa using the first of its kind B2B e-commerce platform.”

Redefining the grocery supply chain

Yousef Hammad, managing partner at Beco Capital, says: “‘This is Sparta’ was the first impression I got when I met this team of warriors, battling one of the biggest inefficiencies on the country’s balance sheets. By leveraging technology, MaxAB is redefining the grocery supply chain in Egypt to fit the requirements of the micro retailers who make up 90% of the grocery market. The metrics they have recorded in such a short period are impressive, and we expect to continue to see double-digit growth as they scale.”

Peter Orth, co-founder and managing partner at 4DX Ventures, says: “We’ve been consistently impressed with how Belal and the rest of the team have executed, and achieved significant traction in a very short period of time. We believe that their B2B e-commerce model is the right way to serve this significant market, and we’re really excited to partner with the team to drive the next phase of growth.”

To learn more about MaxAB, and what they’re doing in the Egyptian FMCG industry, click here.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

New African Wealth Report Reveals The Richest Cities on the Continent

New World Wealth and AfrAsia Bank have published the latest African Wealth Report, showing the levels of wealth of various African nations at the end of 2018.

According to the report, South Africa is still the richest country in Africa, with the high net worth (HNWI) population of 39,200 people holding the most wealth at $649 billion.

This is double that of the second wealthiest African nation, Egypt, where the HNWI population of 16,700 people holds $303 billion.

Egypt is followed by Nigeria ($225 billion), Morocco ($114 billion) and Kenya ($93 billion).

Total wealth held on the continent amounts to US$2.2 trillion. Around US$920 billion (42%) of this is held by HNWIs, New World Wealth said.

While South Africa ranks at the top of the list, on a per capita basis ($11,450), it is only the second wealthiest nation – following behind Mauritius, where wealth per capita sits at $31,000.

Africa’s richest cities

South African cities ranks as the top richest cities on the continent, with Johannesburg and Cape Town holding the most HNWI wealth among the major cities covered, taking the first and second spots, respectively.

Total wealth held in Johannesburg amounts to US$248 billion, while total wealth held by Cape Town amounting to US$133 billion.

Most of Johannesburg’s wealth is concentrated in Sandton, New World Wealth said, which is home to the JSE (the largest stock market in Africa) and to the head offices of most of Africa’s largest banks and corporates.

Cape Town, meanwhile, is home to Africa’s most exclusive and expensive suburbs such as Clifton, Bishopscourt, Camps Bay and Bantry Bay. It is also a hotspot for wealthy second home owners from around the world. Major sectors there include: real estate, financial services (fund management), retail and tourism.

Also in the top five from South Africa is Durban and Umhlanga (combined), which holds total HNWI wealth of US$54 billion.

This figure includes wealth held in Durban, Umhlanga, La Lucia and Ballito. Notably, Umhlanga and Ballito are two of the fastest growing areas in SA, in terms of wealth growth over the past 10 years, the group said.

Among other African countries, Cairo (Egypt), Lagos (Nigeria) and Nairobi (Kenya) stand out as wealthy cities, sitting on par with South Africa’s popular HNWI areas.

Total wealth held in Cairo amounts to US$129 billion – and the city is home to more billionaires than any other African city (four billionaires live there, compared to just two in Johannesburg).

In Lagos, total wealth held in the city amounts to US$96 billion. This is the largest city in Africa, in terms of population and GDP (but not in terms of wealth).

The richest cities in Africa.

The richest areas in South Africa.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Visa Changes Coming to South Africa

The Department of Home Affairs is working on a number of changes to South Africa’s visa regime, in an effort to make the country more accessible for visitors, investors and people with skills that are critical to building the economy.

Presenting at the monthly Presidential Working Committee on Monday (7 October), Home Affairs minister Dr Aaron Motsoaledi said that his department has lowered turnaround times for critical work skills visas, which are now issued within four weeks in 88.5% of applications.

By comparison, business and general work visas are issued within eight weeks in 98% of applications.

“In November, the Department of Home Affairs will embark on a pilot scheme for the issuing of e-visas, which applicants will be able to access online, eliminating the need for applicants to visit South African missions abroad.

“The department has also located visa services within the offices of various investment facilitation agencies around the country.

“In addition, visa requirements have been simplified for countries such as China and India, which are key markets for tourism to South Africa,” he said.

New countries can now visit South Africa visa-free

Motsoaledi added that the government also recently waived visas for travelers from Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, New Zealand, Cuba, Ghana and Sao Tome and Principe.

In July, a spokesperson told BusinessTech that the Department of Home Affairs will also enter into talks with their counterparts in a number of countries to allow visa-free access for South African travelers.

While countries such as Qatar and Ghana already have visa-free or visa on arrival agreements with South Africa, it would be considered a serious boon if South Africans could travel visa-free to countries such as the UAE and New Zealand.

Department spokesperson Siya Qoza said that Home Affairs was currently in talks with these countries on two main issues.

“We have entered negotiations with these countries with the first priority being an implementation date for visa-free access to South Africa.

“Once this has been confirmed, our second priority is reciprocity.”

Qoza said that initial conversations held with these countries have been positive, with talks expected to be concluded by September.

He added that Home Affairs may expand these negotiations to other countries.

“We are consistently looking at which countries would be of a trade and tourism benefit to South Africa,” he said.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

Nielsen Reveals Stabilizing Prospects in Africa

Africa’s markets are never quite what they seem as revealed by the latest Nielsen Africa Prospect Indicator (APi) which shows that amidst relentless change, country prospects are stabilizing on the continent. This is evidenced by the fact that only two markets changed position on the latest APi ranking update, with Kenya remaining in top position, followed by Cote d’Ivoire.

According to the latest results Nielsen Executive Director Intelligence Global Markets Ailsa Wingfield comments; “Looking at the broader macro prospects, it is clear that Sub-Saharan Africa’s momentum will take longer than expected to flourish, with the initial 3.3% SSA GDP forecast for 2019, downgraded to 2.8%. With this slower growth comes subdued advances in consumer prosperity and demand, and business growth will need to be boosted in non-commodity dependent countries, which provide nuggets of opportunity.”

When drilling down to individual country performance, it becomes clear that top performer Kenya, is characterized by strong economic and consumer prospects, however, its business and retail prospects have deteriorated and GDP growth rates are lower with the economy losing steam in Quarter 1, 2019.

Second ranked Cote d’Ivoire’s greatest challenge is its consumer potential which weakened further in the latest quarter. Only 17% of Ivorian retailers feel that consumer spend is increasing and just 15% think that consumers are increasingly willing to try new products.

Tanzania remains steady in third place on the APi ranking with improved retail prospects although these are countered by a weaker business outlook due to restrictive investment regulations and policies.

Ghana in fourth position is forecast by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as having one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Companies share this positive outlook, rating Ghana as Africa’s second best business prospect, with improved growth expectations. Ghanaian consumer prospects have also increased significantly, with 36% of retailers of the opinion that consumer spend is increasing, compared to only 11% a year ago.

Nigeria retains fifth place which represents its best level in the last three years, and its economic recovery is set to gain further momentum in 2019, with business prospects improving in parallel.

Business prospects

Looking at how businesses rate country growth prospects, the SSA average is moderate for the year ahead, and has remained unchanged for four consecutive quarters. Ethiopia leads the country growth expectation list followed by Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Cote d’Ivoire and Nigeria, all ahead of the SSA average. While only six markets are regarded as having a ‘good’ growth outlook, businesses back their own growth options more highly. Own business growth expectations exceed country growth expectations in two thirds (12) of Africa’s markets.

Nigeria and South Africa show the biggest discrepancy between country and own growth outlook, where own growth expectations are markedly stronger. Companies maintain a strong conviction that these two core markets remain crucial to success and that growth is achievable despite adverse macro factors.

Consumer prospects

Africa’s consumers are marked by disparate spending intentions and purchasing pressure points. For example, Ivoirians pay 33% more than Nigerians for a common basket of goods and only 15% of Ivoirians are more willing to try products, compared to 44% of Nigerians, despite a GDP per capita of 1.6 times higher than Nigerians. Ivoirians’ purchase decisions are however not primarily based on price. They are firmly entrenched in familiarity and trust, with 84% of consumers saying they choose products with this in mind. For this reason, brand propositions must establish awareness and confidence to gain users and grow spend, not merely provide cheaper alternatives.

In Nigeria, despite higher inflation and lower incomes, consumers are adventurous when it comes to experimenting with new products which provides a window of opportunity to reach and resonate with consumers based on their more positive spending intentions.

This shows that cash constrained consumers don’t only need better price points or are risk averse, but also want value and quality assurances from those they have confidence in. Brand, marketing and retail initiatives will therefore demand very different strategies in different countries.

Retail prospects

Overall, the retailer growth outlook is the most favorable it has been in three years, with Tanzania, Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and Uganda ahead of the average. That said, the ease of doing business remains challenging. Manufacturers therefore need to work with retailers to bolster sales through optimal stock supply, relevant product portfolios, favorable pricing points and beneficial trading terms.

Smaller players are providing formidable competition on this front in the prolific informal channels. As a result, the top 10 manufacturers account for approximately 55% of sales in Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Cameroon but are growing at less than 5% per annum, while smaller manufacturers are growing ahead of 15%.

Wingfield adds; “With temperate growth, business expectations are centered on core countries for success, but now more than ever, strategies need to be flexible, adaptable and focused on consumers.”

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Jacques Nel [1], [2].