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HSEVEN Launches Africa Startup Acceleration Program, With Up To €1.5 Million Investment Per Business

HSEVEN, Africa’s largest accelerator is launching “HSEVEN DISRUPT AFRICA”, an ambitious startup acceleration program designed for entrepreneurs of the Moroccan and African diaspora.

The 6-month program will provide a seed investment of €150,000 plus an eventual investment of €500,000 to €1.5 million.

HSEVEN DISRUPT AFRICA is designed to support exceptional entrepreneurs building high-impact startups, and targets seed and early stage startups with 2 to 5 founders that are eager to impact Africa through innovative services, products and business models.

The program will start with a global call for applications, followed by an international selection roadshow in New York, Montréal, San Francisco, Shanghai, Dubaï, Londres, Amsterdam, Paris, Casablanca.

The selected startups will benefit from a seed investment of €150,000 at the beginning of the program for 5 to 7% equity, then an eventual investment of €500,000 to €1.5 million at the end of the program. These investments will be granted through a partnership with the venture capital firm Azur Partners. The program will also benefit from funding of the Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF) and the Innov-Invest program of the Caisse Centrale de Garantie (CCG) with the support of the World Bank.

The startups will be given strategic advice and expertise, access to key networks and capital through our partners Azur Partners, Fabernovel, Strategy&, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), l’École Centrale, Amazon Web Services and the top 50 Venture Capital firms interested by Africa. They will also benefit from tailored mentoring with +350 Moroccan and international mentors. For more information, visit: www.hseven.co

The startups will be located at HSEVEN’s 12,000 ft² campus in the heart of the Marina of Casablanca. The call for applications is now open and 10 startups will be selected to take part in the program.

“We will bring the best Moroccan, African, and African-at-heart entrepreneurs from all over the world to build impactful world-class African startups” said Amine Al-Hazzaz, Founder & CEO of HSEVEN.

To read more about HSEVEN, click here. For applications for the startup program, 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].

Africa Eyes $1 Trillion in Private Equity Deals

Fund managers say ready to deploy up to US$1 trillion for investment in the continent.

The African continent is set for a major shift in Private Equity investment trends after a major announcement was made in Nairobi this week.

During the 16th annual African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) conference, fund managers from around the globe, mainly the US and European markets said they are ready to deploy up to US$1 trillion for investment in the continent.

This is through PE funds, a move that now places the continent at a strategic position to tap into the funds for investments in various areas.

If tapped by local investment firms, the pool of funds could more than double the number and value of deals reported in the last six years, with regions such as East Africa, West Africa and Sothern Africa reaping big.

“It is a plus for Africa,” said Baba Alokolaro, Managing Partner at Nigerian law firm- TNP (The New Practice),“From what we have seen, investors are taking Africa more serious than they had in the past,”

Alokolaro who led a team of experts from TNP to the Nairobi event said the continent should angle itself for more deals this year, singling out Kenya as one of the countries set to benefit in East Africa.

“We expect to see a lot of deals going forward. In East Africa, Kenya will remain a top investment destination,” he said.

AVCA latest data shows the value of reported African PE deals between 2013-2018 was US$25.7 billion, on a total number of 1,022 deals. During the period, total value of African PE fundraising closed at US$17.8 billion.

The highest value in the six years was recorded in 2014 (US$7.8 billion) which went down to US$2.5 billion in 2015, the lowest during the period under review.

Last year, the value dropped to US$3.5 billion from US$3.9 billion in 2017, reflecting reduced investment activities by both fund managers and investment funds.

West Africa leads in both the number and value of deals reported during the period, where it accounted for 26 per cent(volume) and 25 per cent-share of total deals.

East Africa took a sizable share commanding 18 per cent of PE deals by volume , but lower on value which accounted for eight per cent of the US$25.7 billion.

The Nairobi announcement hence places the continent at a strategic position to revitalize the markets.

AVCA Chief Executive Michelle Essome has since expressed confidence over growth of the PE market in the continent.

“We are positive the PE market will continue growing presenting a unique asset class for Africa. The growth will enable companies to expand, create employment and improve lives in the continent,” Essome said told journalists in Nairobi.

AVCA Chairperson Tokunboh Ishmael said: “Our hope is that companies will grow to an extent where they will expand and increase intra-regional trade.”

According to Tokunboh, who is also the Co-founder & MD of Alitheia Identity, growth in investments will strengthen the continent, giving Africa a stronger bargaining capacity in the global scene.

East Africa

Kenya has continued to dominate the region’s PE space as investment firms hunt for deals in different sectors.

According to official industry data, the East Africa’s economic power house accounted for 59 per cent and 58 per cent of the value and volume of deals reported in the region respectively, between 2013 and 2018.

Uganda took 19 per cent of the volume of PEs and 11 per cent of the total value. Tanzania accounted for nine per cent on both the volume and value of deals reported in the region.

Ethiopia took an 11 per cent share of PE deals by value and seven per cent by volume, Rwanda six per cent (volume) and three per cent (value) while Djibouti had a seven per cent share of PE deals by value and one per cent (volume) of the total deals.

194 PE deals were reported during the six year period(2013-2018) valued at US$2.4 billion, of which US$6 million worth of the deals were median deal size.

“The average growth rate in East Africa was almost six per cent from 2010 to 2018, with Djibouti, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Tanzania recording above-average growth rate,” AVCA says in its latest report.

East Africa Venture Capital Association (EAVCA) data shows disclosed value for deals almost doubled to US$834.3 million last year, compared with US$446.78 million in 2017.

Ethiopia has the potential to be a key market for PE investment, AVCA has since noted, given the size of its population (at 108 million) , the second most populous on the continent.

This year’s event saw more than 500 top fund managers and strategic investors from across the globe meet in Nairobi to deliberate on industry challenges and investment opportunities, mainly in Africa.

The fund managers collectively manage more than $1.5 trillion (Sh151.3 trillion) in assets.

During the forum, the Kenyan government called on investors to put funds in projects that will help the realization of President Uhuru Kenyatta’s Big Four Agenda of Food Security, Universal Health Care, Affordable Housing and Growth of the Manufacturing sector.

“We welcome you to take advantage of the investment opportunities in the country, mainly in the Big Four and other sectors,” Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Industry, Trade and Cooperatives CS Peter Munya said.

The government has since assured investors of protection for their investments in the country.

Top areas of investment

Sectors commanding huge numbers in PE investments in the continent include consumer staples (15 per cent), consumer discretionary(14 per cent),industrial(13 per cent),IT(11 per cent),real estate(nine per cent), Health Care(7%),utilities (6%),communication services(6%) materials(5%) and energy(3%).

“There is a lot to expect in the PE market with East Africa expected to remain bullish,” said Edward Muriu, Team Leader at MMC Africa, a leading advisor in the capital markets space.

 

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: Markus Spiske [1], [2].

Climate Financing in Africa Accelerates Alongside Urbanization

When daily power cuts became the “new normal” in Zambia during a 2015 drought, farms, companies, schools, and households experienced anything but business as usual. Zambia’s energy is drawn primarily from hydro power, so when a dry spell plagues the nation, its economy—alongside the potential for long-term socio-economic development—dries up, too.

Although low rainfall that year was especially punishing, Zambia’s energy crisis has been a problem for over a decade because of the nation’s reliance on hydropower. In theory, diversification was possible: since the Zambian sun shines almost 65 percent of daylight hours, solar power was an attractive option. But scalability and affordability had posed challenges.

Scaling Solar, a World Bank Group program that helps developing countries procure grid-tied, private solar power, offers Zambia a solution. The program includes technical advice for large-scale adoption of solar technology and a set of pre-negotiated, template documents aimed at increasing transparency and reducing risks and costs for governments and developers. Financing, guarantees, and insurance to boost confidence about projects in new and challenging markets are also options.

Scaling Solar made it possible for Zambia to achieve some of the lowest solar tariffs in the region. The program has since expanded to Senegal, and mandates have also been signed in Ethiopia and Madagascar. Spreading renewables-based solutions across the continent is important because although Africa is responsible for only 4 percent of global greenhouse emissions, 65 percent of Africans are in some way impacted directly by climate change.

Identifying solutions to help Africans adapt and become more resilient to climate change is one of the objectives of the One Planet Summit taking place on March 14 in Nairobi. The event highlights Africa’s situation as a continent facing climate-related challenges and opportunities, and it will convene African leaders, entrepreneurs, donors, international organizations, and other stakeholders. It is co-hosted by the World Bank Group.

Shining a Light on African Sustainability

The One Planet Summit is built around the idea that resources and solutions for renewable energy already exist in Africa—but there is a need to accelerate financing and mainstream development as the region struggles with rapid urbanization and other challenges presented by global warming.

The figures are daunting. More than 470 million people live in sub-Saharan Africa’s cities, and this is expected to double over the next 25 years. By 2050, the region is expected to house 20 percent of the world’s urban residents. Climate change is a leading factor contributing to the trend toward urbanization, as extreme temperatures and unpredictable rainfall affect income from agriculture.

As urbanization continues, so does the demand for resources and impact on the environment. Currently, cities consume over two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of global carbon emissions. The concentration of people, industry, and infrastructure leaves cities especially vulnerable to climate change–and also uniquely placed to combat it.

Nairobi, the city hosting the One Planet Summit, is a good example of how climate-related challenges can open the doors for climate-smart investment. Although 70 percent of Nairobi’s installed electricity capacity comes from renewable sources, there are opportunities to attract investment in other sectors. IFC analysis found that Nairobi has a $8.5 billion climate investment opportunity leading up to 2030. The biggest investment opportunity—$5 billion—lies in electric vehicles, followed by public transport ($1.6 billion), green buildings ($1.1 billion), water ($360 million), renewable energy ($240 million), and waste ($140 million).

Together, these investment opportunities result from strong policy frameworks such as Nairobi’s Integrated Urban Development Master Plan. The plan focuses on sustainable transport, water and wastewater, power, municipal solid waste, and telecommunications. As with Scaling Solar, these initiatives—along with others that will be proposed and examined at the One Planet Summit—approach long-term climate and development challenges with a determination that sustainability, not crisis, will become the “new normal.”

To find out more about the One Planet Summit, 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], Karsten Würth [2].

South Africa Will Chair The African Union In 2020

South Africa is set for a big 2020 on the international stage after it was announced that its president (most likely Cyril Ramaphosa) will be chairing the African Union next year. It will also be footing the bills for a certain monarchy on its border with Mpumalanga, to play host to AU activities.

There were handshakes and jokes as President Cyril Ramaphosa took his place behind the small South African flag in the front row on the floor of the vast Nelson Mandela Plenary Hall at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa for the opening session of the 32nd African Union heads of state summit. Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, en route to his seat, paused a bit longer to chat, full of jokes, possibly reminiscing about the ANC’s birthday bash in January 2018 which he came to attend in East London. Ramaphosa apparently reached out to Kenyatta himself on that occasion to pull the countries closer.

In the row behind Ramaphosa sat Zimbabwean president Emmerson Mnangagwa. When he arrived moments before, he paused for a discussion with international relations and co-operation minister Lindiwe Sisulu – part of the six or seven-strong Cabinet delegation that travelled to Addis with Ramaphosa. For the rest, the man with his now-famous scarf mostly sat quietly, possibly thinking of the economic troubles back home, and devoid of the adulation that was normally reserved in this forum for his aged, stumbling predecessor.

Ramaphosa’s first AU summit in Ethiopia turned out to be an important one, as South Africa was chosen to chair the continental body in 2020. The chair is rotational, and this year it was the turn of the Southern African Development Community to put forward a candidate. The lobbying wasn’t half as tough as, say, in 2012 when Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma was elected AU Commission chairperson, but South Africa wasn’t the first choice. There was talk initially that it was eSwatini’s turn to lead. Officials, however, said the monarchy – which is heavily in debt – complained about “capacity constraints”. The officials didn’t clarify the meaning of this, but it seems to be about money.

eSwatini would still be “hosting”, officials said, which means the mid-year summit would go to the kingdom. Except, following the AU reforms, mid-year summits are supposed to have been downgraded to gatherings. This aspect of the reform hasn’t gained too much traction so far because hosting summits is a matter of national pride, and perhaps the continental body would agree to make an exception for eSwatini. It has, after all, spent billions of rand (an estimated R4.8-billion, to be more exact) it doesn’t really have, to build a massive convention centre for this purpose.

“South Africa will still have to help foot the bill,” an official said, “because it would have to provide security and logistics.”

eSwatini does not have the military or the cars and drivers to ferry all the big people around, but King Mswati III built a big airport a year or two ago. This means fugitives of international justice, like Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, could jet in and out for the summit without the fuss caused in 2015 when the AU summit was hosted in Sandton. (eSwatini is not a signatory to the Rome Statute.)

Bar a big upset during the May 8 general elections, Ramaphosa will still be in the seat in 2020. As AU chair he is likely to focus strongly on trade and investment, and perhaps pay some polite lip service, at the very least, to human rights issues. During a ceremony where South Africa ratified the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) late Sunday afternoon, AU Commission chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat praised the country for its political commitment to free trade in the continent.

“With the support of South Africa, we can see this become a reality,” Mahamat said.

Ramaphosa said the AfCFTA would move “our continent in a direction that will see African countries progress”. Only about five more ratifications are needed to have the agreement come into effect.

Ramaphosa might also want to see AU meetings start more punctually, although his powers to enforce this might be limited. He appeared to have spent an hour or more waiting on Saturday night for all to arrive for the SADC meeting, which ended up not starting on time, just like the opening session of the summit, which kicked off more than 90 minutes late.

Rwandan president Paul Kagame’s term at the helm of the AU ended in a bit of a storm on Sunday. His invitation to Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose foundation does a lot of work in health in Africa, and Fifa president Gianni Infantino, to address the African heads of state, caused some friction with fellow leaders. It’s highly unusual to invite speakers from outside the continent. Despite this, Kagame failed to live up to his good record of keeping gender balances. Apart from a report-back on refugees, not a single woman spoke during the opening session.

Kagame, however, worked hard in the past year to make the role of AU chair a prominent one, and he hosted no fewer than two summits in Kigali – one on the AfCFTA and the other on AU reforms.

Apart from the AU, South Africa is also currently a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, where numerous countries and pressure groups have tried to lobby the country to pursue what they consider to be a human rights approach.

South Africa did review its vote on Myanmar in favour of such, but the way it’s downplayed opposition concerns of rigging during the Democratic Republic of Congo elections in favour or stability had some questioning its commitment. (Even at the AU opening on Sunday, newly-elected president Felix Tshisekedi was welcomed without any references to concerns around the integrity of the vote.) 1

South Africa would be in a strong position to represent the continental body’s concerns on an international stage through this.

 

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].

Africa in 2019 Outlook Conference Highlights: Part 2

This is a continuation of the highlights from Deloitte’s Africa in 2019 Outlook Conference that recently took place in Johannesburg, South Africa. To read our first article on the conference, click here.

Free trade in Africa – How will the AfCFTA play out?

As one of the flagship projects of the African Union’s Agenda 2063, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aims to create a single market economy to enable the free movement of goods, which may see over one billion people benefit from a combined GDP of almost US$3.3trn. Yet, with 49 countries having signed the consolidated AfCFTA agreement and only 18 out of the required 22 countries having ratified the agreement, Africa’s development impasse may be the result of a number of factors.

Political will

Political will is fundamental to achieving free trade across the African continent, as there needs to be a concerted effort from governments and politicians to drive regional free trade. If AfCFTA follows through with its mandate, it could have the potential to unlock value for companies such as the Mr Price Group, whose operations in 13 African countries may benefit from the logistical and manufacturing capabilities that a unified region would expose the South African-based retailer to. However, engagements between corporates and government are largely characterised by bureaucratic inertia, making it difficult to enable integration. In order to drive substantive outcomes, AfCFTA will require stakeholders to facilitate and stabilise economic growth across the continent.

Infrastructure and logistics

Africa’s infrastructure deficit remains a primary constraint to growth, and so too the resultant high costs of logistics. Although logistics is paramount to AfCFTA, its scale requires significant infrastructure investment and development across the continent, in order to drive structural reform. Infrastructure upgrades will facilitate more efficient trade between countries and across regions. The improvements will also provide an opportunity for countries to leapfrog to new efficient technologies, for investors to expand and diversify their customer base. Engagements with policy-makers and stakeholders will thus be fundamental to ensure infrastructure development across these markets.

Cost of doing business

The cost of doing business across African markets can be as high as 25% to 60% for certain products or services, as the costs associated with logistics, duties and permits tend to be much higher than those in developed economies. Investments in commodity dependent countries such as Nigeria are often characterised by high costs such as logistics, duties, electricity and dollar-funded property developments, which continue to stunt development prospects. With the grander political project of AfCFTA being the African monetary project, achieving regional financial integration and a regional monetary union will strengthen the continent’s bargaining power with global investors.

China in Africa

The presence of Chinese investment in Africa has driven infrastructure development, paving the way for new investments across the continent. Initiatives such as the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) – a global infrastructure development and integration project spearheaded by China – has had notable influence on the role of trade and development finance across the continent. The Chinese currency, the renminbi, has the potential to challenge the US dollar when it comes to the terms of payments for projects or business across the continent. The People’s Bank of China, is expected to facilitate further engagements with African central banks in this regard; but whether the Chinese currency will supplement the US dollar on the continent any time soon, remains to be seen.

Free movement of labour

Trading talent and skills is the low hanging fruit of the broader AfCFTA project, and companies will need to be ambitious in order to drive this growth forward. The skills-export economy will remain fundamental to gearing African economies for growth, as migration will have a significant bearing on boosting the economic integration of Africa. AfCFTA has the potential to unlock value on the continent, contributing to the broader African economy. However, gauging the appetite from African governments, more so those in the economic nodes of the continent, including Nigeria, South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia, will determine the success of the project in the long term.

A view on Africa’s economic and fiscal outlook in 2019

Political tensions continue to plague African economies in 2019, fuelling further speculation their economic prospects. According to the AfDB, GDP growth on the continent is projected to be 4% in 2019 and 4.1% by 2020. Key elements affecting Africa’s economic and fiscal outlook include the following:

Global economic growth

Global economic growth will underpin the development prospects of countries in Africa, however, the slowdown in China, which was supported by the announcement of a fiscal stimulus, is expected to have undue repercussions on the global economy. Moreover, the consequences of political uncertainty in the US will filter through to emerging markets. Similarly, the impact of Brexit as well as the European sovereign debt crisis are expected to underpin the demand and supply prospects from global markets in Africa.

Banking and financial inclusion

Over the past few years, banks have built up their capital buffers to maintain a solid funding base. In East Africa, this has deepened financial inclusion. However, banks in the region will have to align with international best practises and adopt provisions to support the rise of mobile banking. The increase of remittances has had a significant impact on financial stability within SSA banking systems, and in 2019 remittance growth is expected to continue. However, given that the region is affected by contrasting dynamics such as geopolitical risks and trade tensions, these will need to be addressed to determine the financial conditions of these states. Together with rising government debt, these factors will continue to put pressure on banking systems. Banking penetration in the rest of Africa remains low. As it stands, the ratio of banking assets to GDP is under 70%, while in South Africa it is 117%. Although the potential exists to grow this base, there are a number of constraints.

Size: The SSA banking sector is dominated by smaller banks, but in order to achieve scale and drive financial investments, larger banks will need to participate in stimulating financial inclusion. The influx of global players investing in micro enterprises will scale up inclusion in the banking sector.

Access to funding: When it comes to banks, size matters; and the bigger the bank, the more capacity they have to support consumers that do not have access to formal markets. PanAfrican banks have the capacity and strategies to tap into these markets and create new opportunities to promote inclusive growth. Private equity funds will continue to back financial inclusion initiatives across the continent.

Fiscal consolidation

Government finances have been affected by low commodity prices, and for commodity-dependent economies, this has seen the escalation of government debt. However, government guarantees to ailing state-owned enterprises need to be stabilised in order to close fiscal deficits.

South African elections

As South Africans approach the general elections in May, investors will be looking to the president to affirm the South African Reserve Bank’s (SARB) mandate. While investors have regained confidence in the South African economy, the consolidation of cabinet to reduce the expense of civil service and government finances is being scrutinised by credit rating agencies. However, a 2019 Investec GDP growth forecast of 1.9% anticipates that better governance will continue to pull through to aid domestic policies. While 2019 is expected to be a better year for South Africa, with minimal concerns of a further ratings downgrade, there needs to be an improvement on the country’s fiscal outlook to mitigate risks such as unforeseen increases in expenditure to fund infrastructure projects, rising government debt and political uncertainties.

To read the conference report, 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].