Private Education in Africa

by Developed Africa 24. October 2013 09:00

Currently of vast debate is how to approach education in Africa, as there is a rise in support for private education, but it threatens to widen inequality. 

The issue has become prominent in the media recently triggered by Gems Education (an education company operating private schools in 10 countries) and its plans to expand into Africa due to the continent's expanding growth. The argument for the use of private schools is that 

demand for private education is growing in the developing world because of government under-investment"

and so, if education can be improved, even if it isn't for everyone, surely the chance to improve the education and life chances of more children should be taken. 

However, the argument against private education has got quite a strong following. Professor Tooley from the University of Newcastle, who has done a lot of research and written a lot on the education of those living in the world's poorest areas is:

skeptical of outside private school provision, which he believes "is missing a trick", and may exacerbate existing inequalities"

This is the main argument waged against the possibility of a rise in private education across Africa, that though it might educate a few, and whilst there will be a number of poorer students let in for free, it is going to end up widening the inequality throughout African countries. 

However, there are a lot of positives to introducing more private school establishments, they are more likely to hire women as teachers and their are better learning outcomes. But on top of this, if the public sector were to also interact with this private education sector, vouchers can be provided to allow poorer children to attend the schools, thus not widening educational inequality. 

In conclusion, as was argued by Lee Crawford (economist) in an article from the Guardian:

to rule out any engagement with the private sector on principle is to ignore the voices of millions of parents"

It would be impossible to think that a ban could be placed on private education across a whole continent.

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Stream Global Services Acquires Tunisia-Based N2SP

by Developed Africa 23. October 2013 09:00

Stream Global services acquisition of N2SP Tunisie this week adds chat and email support capability to its French language services.

A service and support company for Europe, N2SP Tunisie, has been acquired this week by the global service provider Stream Global Services. Meaning that Stream Global now has a larger and more advanced presence in Europe. It would appear that their vision is under way to bring the best service to their clients by becoming:

the leading integrated, global business process outsourcing solution provider"

The services provided by N2SP, and now also by Stream Global, include hotline maintenance and technical support and customer service activities. Leading members within N2SP will remain in their positions so as to help with the period of transition into working under a new organisation.

The main services already already outsourced by Stream Global to Fortune 1000 companies involve sales, customer care, and technical support services, by a workforce of over 39,000 employees, working in over 35 languages. The move comes as Stream is aiming to expand its international presence, beyond its already 55 service centres in 22 countries, in order to improve on the efficiency which it offers its customers. 

In order to learn more about Stream Global click here.

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Women's Employment in Africa: Part Two

by Developed Africa 22. October 2013 09:00

Continuing on from yesterday's blog, we look towards solutions to the issues behind the unfairness in Women's employment.

We went through the first two segments attached to the issue, firstly we identified the problem; secondly, the causes of this problem; and now we will look to solutions as well as why it is better for the whole continent.

Solutions to the problem of female employment in Africa.

Key to improving the situation of Women's employment in Africa is changing how they are treated by employers. If we take the agricultural sector as an example, it is clear that whilst there is a higher percentage of women working in agriculture, their pay is not inline with that of men's. Therefore, what needs to change here is employment and payment rules and regulations within different sectors. 
In terms of other sectors, in which it is not so easy to police regulations, what is important for women is leverage in accepting a job. At the moment, they accept these badly-paid jobs with awful conditions and instability because they have no other choice. It is that, or living in even deeper poverty. 

when employed, women are more likely than men to engage in farming, and less likely to be self-employed or wage earners."

So, the solution, is to invest in women. Invest into their ideas and the businesses they are currently trying to run on a small scale. It is observed that street vendors, for example, in many African countries are almost exclusively women, because they take what little they do control within the household and try and sell items they have made, or food, to passers by. This proves that many women across Africa have the entrepreneurial spirit to bring themselves out of poverty, and the drive to work hard. Women like this should be invested in, to bring them into the formal sector and to improve their job circumstances, as well as to improve the employment of other women, as investing in one woman's business idea would lead to the need to hire employees. 

Advantages of more Women in real employment.

The advantages of involving more women in real employment are hard to argue against. There is no reason why one would want to argue against the inclusion of women into fair and equal employment. It not only benefits the whole economy but also can help to improve the livelihoods of individual households. 

An article from AllAfrica that we have referenced previously quotes a report from the Africa Agriculture Status Report which argued that:

providing women the same access to productive resources as men could increase yields on their farms by 20 to 30 percent".

This argument is representative of an argument that can be used across all sectors, if women were given the same access to resources, and treated the same as men, productivity would be through the roof. Benefiting each country's economy, and then the image of Africa as a whole too. There are so many women willingly working in unfair circumstances that the difference they would make given fair conditions would be phenomenal. 

But the breakthroughs do not just need to be made in sectors in which women are employees. But they can prove their worth as employers and innovators too; and investment is key here. By investing in women with entrepreneurial drive, so much progress can be made, not only for the women involved, their families, and their communities. But their country, and subsequently Africa, can grow further and develop fully.

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Women's Employment in Africa

by Developed Africa 21. October 2013 09:00

Women's employment in Africa is a matter of great importance, the job market cannot be allowed to remain so unequal and discriminatory.

Firstly, we need to identify the problem.

The issue that is perpetuating across Africa is that women are not treated similarly to men when it comes to employment. This can be seen in many different instances, but, unlike youth unemployment, it is not a case of unemployment across the board, it is a lot more complicated.

An overview of the situation can perhaps be described as the unfair treatment of women in employment. This can be through unequal pay, unstable employment, harsh working conditions, longer working hours (with less pay), but more often than not, women have to stay at home to look after their families and have no power over themselves because they cannot raise their own capital. Women find most of their employment in the informal sector, and whilst, as is argued in a document written at Harvard University that:

Africa is known for its high rate of female labour force participation"

this does not mean that it is fair paid or stable work. With a growing number of women in political positions across Africa, it is time that fair employment rates should begin to be seen.

Secondly, the causes. 

So why is this the case? It has to do with the incredibly unfair, misogynistic, social discrimination that is rife throughout many African countries. There are a number of causes which lead to women being either in unstable, unequally paid, or no employment. A first point to mention is the lack of education, many girls and women in Africa often achieve less in education (again, for reasons other than their own capabilities) which leads to not being able to get into jobs that require certain standards of education. This of course then leaves them fewer options in the job market. But even this lack of education has something causing it, and that is the  discrimination against women that perpetuates throughout society in Africa.

Women face discrimination foremost because they are expected to only be able to work in the home, to fetch water, and to look after their family. This belief stops girls from attending school, getting good jobs, and from being able to develop themselves further. In our next post, we will discuss the solutions to this problem, and what Developed Africa believes to be the best method for giving more power to women in Africa.

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Nigeria

by Developed Africa 18. October 2013 09:00

Nigeria's economy is changing, and there are many new development projects underway. 

There has been a lot of attention recently surrounding the Nigerian billionaire, and richest man in Africa, Aliko Dangote. The Nigerian businessman famed for being Africa's richest man wants to take on not just Africa, but the world. But what is most interesting about Dangote's success is that it started in Nigeria, and he insists of investing it back into Nigeria, despite what any naysayers think. For example he has recently built a hospital costing N2bn in the city of Kano in order to improve the access to healthcare for Nigerians. This is proof of his dedication to improving Nigeria, and also his faith in the country's development. 

An in-depth profile of the billionaire from the Financial Times analyses his investment and presence in Nigeria, and what it shows is that Dagnote whilst others may not have faith in Nigeria:

Dangote could be in a position to be an even more significant catalyst- by proving that labour-intensive manufacturing can also thrive on the world's poorest continent, as freight costs for imports rise, power supplies improve and markets deepen"

The hope is that by proving he has faith in investment into Nigeria, then more will follow his example, and all they have to do is look at what he has done for himself and they should have no doubt. It is not just Dangote with faith in Nigeria, there are reports that show its economy is strong, and apt to get stronger. And as the second largest economy in Africa, this should not be too surprising. 

Standard & Poor's based its strong positive outlook on the Nigerian economy on the background of strong gross domestic product, GDP, growth prospects of the country, deriving from the reals sectors such as telecom, agriculture, and the strong drive to fix the power sector"

This positive look at the country's economy, paired with the faith investment shown from Dangote, should be enough to convince other investors of its potential. The country is now embarking upon a move into the agricultural sector, with a $36 million food processing plant, supported by Dangote. The move is an attempt to cement Nigeria a future in agriculture, and a better run agriculture sector than currently exists, to replace the dominance of oil in the future. An article from the IB Times argues the 

Nigeria has already ramped up agricultural production by about 8 million metric tons last year, according to Bloomberg, and plans to spend about $10 billion on it over the next few years, with help from foreign investors. The new plant will help to turn that output into processed food on Nigerian soil, which could drastically reduce the $11 billion that Nigeria spends on food imports every year."

It is important to recognise the importance investors hold in this picture, without which many development projects could not go ahead. And as Aliko Dangote has proved with his vast wealth, investing in a country others might doubt can turn out to be the best move possible. 

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'Local Content'

by Developed Africa 17. October 2013 09:00

Not unrelated to our double-article at the beginning of the week, we look at 'Local Content' and what it means, especially during the International Economic Forum.

Alternative to the potential of a resource nationalism movement, the call for increased investment into 'local content' from international resource investors has gained a lot of support, especially from African governments and leaders, according to an article from African Arguments. Local Content is described as:

finding ways to make investors procure more services, labour, and materials from local businesses, the reasoning goes, their countries will benefit from resource endowments multiple times"

However, it would appear that there is a fairly strong argument also garnering a following amongst investors, as well as other attendants, that whilst they recognise that it is important for them to support the local economy, it doesn't make an awful lot of sense to them to support inefficient business. As Arturo Gonzalo Aizpiri of Repsol is reported as saying:

we have to do all we can to make sure that the local society is benefiting from our activities, that can not be mistaken with trying to protect inefficient sectors or companies"

 Which is a fair argument, although it could be possible that these sectors would not be so inefficient if they actually received large contracts and more investment. One of the main reasons they receive so little business is because big companies use suppliers/producers from abroad, if they took their business to the local suppliers, they would not be so inefficient.

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Healthcare That Moves

by Developed Africa 16. October 2013 09:00

We posted lasted week about health in Africa and how healthcare it is going to become more mobilised, well here is an Infographic to show how healthcare has adapted to the people who are mobile.

To learn more go to click here about North Star Alliance and their mission.

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Resources in Africa: Part Two

by Developed Africa 15. October 2013 09:00

Following on from yesterday's post, we continue to analyse the resource sector.

Aside from the debate about resource nationalism, it is evident that most reports at the moment show a strong amount of investment coming from China, but not only this, the investors are acting in a way which is beneficial to the African countries, as the Business Reporter writes: 

A new generation of African leaders has found it so much easier to strike deals with the Chinese because of their no strings attached approach, as well as the "in-return" infrastructure investments; the building of roads, airports, schools, hospitals and so on."

However, many would argue that this is still not enough, or at least not enough of what Africans really want. It would appear that they want Chinese investors (or any investors for that matter) to supply are more jobs. For example, an article from Reuters reported earlier this year noted that despite South Africa being the manufacturing hub of the continent, 40% of shoes come from China, in response to this:

South African President Jacob Zuma bluntly warned last year that such an unbalanced pattern of trade was "unsustainable""

Counter to this, many still believe that this is a far better option than investment which has 'strings' attached, like the investments from many Western institutions which add on democracy and governance requirements. Which is perhaps why the topic of African ownership of resources and control of how they are used has come to the fore. Investment is most definitely needed into developing Africa's resource supplies from foreign investors, but there is an argument that they should be investing into a sector that is weighted more equally, and is fairer to the host country.

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Resources in Africa

by Developed Africa 14. October 2013 09:00

Africa's bountiful resources have often been a source of contention, we evaluate the current mining investment sector

An article from the Huffington post, among many others recently, has posited that Africa's natural resources could be the development boost it needs if only the sector was structured for the country's benefit.

International companies typically provide the technology, skills, and finance required. This means that much of the income generated from these industries goes to foreigners. Whether Africans benefit depends largely on how effective governments are in raising revenues from taxes and royalties."

This does not mean to say that international companies do not deserve to be making money from the resources, they are putting in a lot of investment for their returns, the point here is that the countries are not taking enough advantage of their resources, and they are not using an effective system to properly benefit from their mineral wealth. Instead, the article promotes several measures that are important to ensure a fair system that allows African governments to gain more control. Transparency and accountability are highlighted here as being key to the development of the sector, and as more and more countries get on board with The Extractive Industries Transparency Inititative, they will be better informed as to how to properly negotiate contracts with large international companies. But what is evident is that it is extremely important how things are handled once the income is captured, that it should be properly handled. And this means that it is invested correctly rather than frittered, and that the focus is not solely on resources, because they will run out, and when they do, African countries need to have built up their other sectors to ensure they have diversified enough to keep their heads above water.

All Africa posted an article in late September discussing the existence of a new "vision" for African resources which:

seeks to retain most benefits from the rich minerals that have been exploited and taken out of Africa for decades without significant returns for Africans"

This is again on similar lines to the ideas postulated by the Huffington Post article, that African governments should start to make moves into gaining back some of the revenue from their natural capital. The article argues that the new vision is one that takes back ownership of resources for governments, so that the money made from oil, or diamonds, or gas, can have a serious and positive impact on the lives of African people. 

For a long time now, some scholars have branded Africa's immeasurable natural resource wealth as a curse because most States that have the most amount of minerals, are among the poorest, due to the way these minerals are managed and exploited."

The discussion highlighted the importance of countries controlling their own resources, so as not to be left poor whilst foreign investors and countries benefit greatly from their mineral wealth. This is linked to our posts last weeks regarding Botswana and their 50/50 split of the profits from diamond mining in the country. This occurred due to Botswana owning their wealth of diamonds found within its borders, and so was able to broker such a deal. It is possible to see more discussion recently around the idea that such a move would be better for other African nations. 

governments and communities are starting to stake claims for control over the resource located within their national boundaries"

So it is possible that governments may start changing the rules around their extractive industries in order to gain access to the riches produced and to help them develop further.

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AfDB Pharmaceutical Summit

by Developed Africa 11. October 2013 09:00

The African Development Bank held a summit at the end of September regarding the opportunities for pharmaceuticals within Africa.

With a booming demand on drugs and medicine expected to raise up to US $40 billion as early as 2020, Africa's pharmaceutical prospects are attracting growing interest from private investors around the world"

This summit shows how important having private-public partnerships is going to be in developing a robust pharmaceutical sector. There is quite a growing demand for non-essential medicines now across Africa, as the middle class grows larger, but not only this, a new sector would also increase job opportunities, as the AfDB have argued:

Investments in skills and technology are also at the centre of the Bank's development agenda. Given the specific nature of the African pharmaceutical industry, technology and innovation can be harnesses to accelerate inclusive growth and job creation in the sector."

However, there is still evidently a lot of progress to still be made, and a long way to go before the sector really starts to take off. AfDB's Health Division Manager, Feng Zhao said:

In the context of the current financial crisis, huge up-front investments are needed to boost the industry"

The IMS health study argued that:

Africa presents a complex, multifaceted set of markets, which are highly heterogeneous in terms of pharmaceutical growth, language and trading blocs (Figure 2).Consequently,the opportunities they offer are also quite variable. Understanding the nuances and navigating the challenges are key to establishing successful and sustainable operations."

And so it is clearly evident that Mr Zhao's advice needs to be heeded, that the only way to properly kick-start the pharmaceutical market is with substantial investment, as well as public-private partnership. 

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Transform Africa International Conference, October 2013

by Developed Africa 10. October 2013 09:00

The TransformAfrica Conference is taking place October 28th-31st, 2013

Following the Connect Africa conference in 2007, TransformAfrica hopes to address the progress made since Connect Africa, and what needs to be done in order to use broadband connections to develop Africa in both the private and public.

       

The conference will feature four key events: The TransformAfrica Leader Summit, Youth Entrepreneurship & Innovation Extravaganza, International Exhibition, and Award Ceremony.

The aim of these events is to create a platform through which government and private sector can work together on technologies. a platform for youth entrepreneurs to discover new ventures and opportunities, to offer a networking opportunity for stakeholders, to showcase new technology innovations and to recognise the efforts of individuals and organisations in their work to transform Africa.

The conference is taking place in Kigali, Rwanda, 28th-31st October 2013.
For further information and details on the event, click here.

Contact Brenda Nyakira to attend the event:
Brenda Nyakira, Trade and Investment Assistant | Rwanda High Commission
Phone: +44 20 7224 9832
Email: brenda@ambarwanda.org.uk

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Botswana and its Development: Part Two

by Developed Africa 9. October 2013 09:00

Continuing on from yesterdays blog, a further look into how Botswana managed to control its development agenda so well.

The institution of the National Development Plans, revised every 6 years, have helped greatly in continually moving Botswana forward and keeping its growth up. The NDPs guide the overall development of the country, as the government's website explains:

NDPs contain Government strategies planned to be undertaken over the Plan period. Programmes and projects to be implemented to achieve such strategies are also included in the Plan. The Plan contains estimates of revenue expected over the entire period as well as expenditure and manpower growth projections."

Not only this but there is a mid-plan review half way through to assess how the projects are developing and to compare the revenue estimates to the current revenue statistics. 

The NDPs were introduced before diamonds were discovered, so the foundations for sound economic policies were already in place, so it was easier to develop a good economy than if they had been heavily dependent upon diamond mining. A report on Botswana's economy argues that:

The process of preparing NDPs has served to keep government expenditures from growing faster than government revenues over the long term."

It is evident that the plans have definitely secured Botswana's growth over the years, although it is still clear that a large section of income comes from diamond mining, which is why it is important for Botswana to have a successful investment group in order to capitalise opportunities that will help it to develop further. The aim of the BITC is to not only advertise business opportunities throughout Botswana in the UK, but it will also provide information and advisory services to investors, oversee research and studies to analyse and improve Botswana's competitiveness, and one of its best new roles will be to help local businesses and producers ion Botswana to develop the ability to be ready to export.

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Botswana and its Development

by Developed Africa 8. October 2013 09:00

Developed Africa attended the launch of the new investment authority for Botswana in the UK yesterday evening: the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre

The aim of the BITC is to attract investment to Botswana as well as to further trade links, and this is something which Developed Africa believes is necessary in order to further develop Botswana and its interests. 

This move is necessary to further investment interest into Botswana, as Botwsana's history has shown, investment and private partnership fosters growth very well indeed. To see this we just have to look at the way in which Botswana conducted its investment into diamond mining when diamonds were discovered in 1967 in the town of Opara in the central district of Botswana. Instead of having divided up the diamonds on district lines, the government decided that the state as a whole would own any diamonds found, which encouraged a sense of inclusion. As the OECD reported:

Sound macroeconomic policies and good governance have parlayed the country’s diamond resources into a remarkable transformation from one of the poorest countries in the world at independence to upper middle-income status"

The investment into mining the diamonds was done with the mining company DeBeers along the lines of a 50/50 takings for the country and the company. This partnership led to much development for Botswana, as not only did the company provide thousands of jobs for local people, but they put a lot of investment into roads and infrastructure in the country. The New York Times reported how Debeers has:

built roads, hospitals and schools in Botswana; worked to help the country deal with H.I.V. and AIDS; and been involved in and paid for a hundred other things that have helped make Botswana an African success story"

This success can also be seen to bet the product of the 6-yearly National Development Plans which set out a strong 6-year agenda for development and economic governance in order to ensure that the country continued along the lines that the government believed it should be taking and was not affected by the decisions of aid donors. 

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Gambia leaves the Commonwealth

by Developed Africa 7. October 2013 09:00

Last Thursday, 3rd October, Gambia announced on State TV that it has decided to leave the commonwealth.

No reasons were given other than that the Gambian government considers the institution of the commonwealth to be "neo-colonial", the statement given stated that the government had:

decided that The Gambia will never be a member of any neo-colonial institution and will never be a party to any institution that represents an extension of colonialism"

For more comments on the move and thoughts on why it happened:

Gambia to leave the Commonweatlh | The Telegraph

Profile of the Commonwealth | BBC 

Gambia pulls out of 'neo-colonial' Commonwealth | Reuters

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Climate Change and African Agriculture

by Developed Africa 4. October 2013 09:00

It may be just mere environmental discussion in the Britain, but in Africa climate change is a very challenging reality.

The challenges felt in African countries by farmers especially are becoming more extreme in nature, and having a greater effect upon crop yields and livestock rearing. Rains are a main feature of the struggle, going towards either extreme: in some areas the rains are too strong and flood the crops, in others rains are too little and often too late, causing crops to struggle and more often than not, die. This is definitely a major problem and one that needs addressing, and fast. Firstly, it is going to greatly effect the income and livelihoods of African farmers, if they cannot adapt well enough to the changing nature of the climate around them, then they will soon find themselves in even greater poverty. Secondly, in an extreme circumstance, it could cause food shortages across the world if crops cannot be produced well enough on African farms.

An article from the Guardian reported several stories from farmers, as well as the Climate Change Officer from Care who has said that:

The people we work with are living with the effects of climate change right now. In Niger, farmers are being forced to find new sources of income as climatic changes make rearing livestock impossible"

 However, there is another side of this story, which sees the climate change narrative being used for personal gain by Western countries instead of African countries. The argument follows that the climate change narrative which posits that new forms of energy need to be procured is being used to manipulate and use African land for their own gain and purposes. This side of the debate was put forward in an article from Policymic:

Consider how the discourse of energy crisis and resource limits in wealthy countries- underlined by fossil fuels' contribution to climate change- has spawned a rush for African farmland for biofuel production, which in turn is being touted "green growth" in the global south."

It could be argued that Western countries caused this global climate issue, and are now enforcing renewable energy values onto Africans, which whilst may be a wise move for Africa to make, could be seen to be a little dictatorial. 

However, putting this argument aside, the new methods of farm work that have started to be introduced could make a huge difference to the worries caused by climate change. For example, as reported by All Africa, the Farming First tool which includes:

different information; tools; the guides; key messages; examples; case studies"

The Guide to UN Framework Conventionon Climate Change was created by the group Farming First along with other partners in order to inform farmers about the best ways to deal with the changing climate:

Friis said the hope is to not only help farmers, but to encourage policy makers as well, to engage in climate change discussions"

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Launch of 'Africa50'

by Developed Africa 3. October 2013 09:00

Last week saw the announcement of a collaboration between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Made In Africa Foundation (MIAF)

Africa50, a $500 million Pan-African infrastructure fund, is a joint venture between the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the Made In Africa Foundation (MIAF), a UK non-profit organisation founded by Kola Aluko and Ozwald Boateng"

The idea between the fund is to invest the money into infrastructure projects in Sub-Saharan Africa and the money will be mainly used to fund the feasibility studies needed by projects in order to be able to move forward with the venture. 

The joint venture will see MIAF attractive more investment for the fund, as well as co-managing it, and deciding what projects to use it for. An article from This Day Live reveals more:

The alliance between MIAF and AfDB aims at raising $500 million for Africa50's project development arm by the first half of 2014"

This collaboration is well-documented evidence that investment into business and infrastructure projects is the best way to move in developing Africa.

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Investment into Health in Africa: Part Two

by Developed Africa 2. October 2013 09:00

Following the previous post, we look into the growing importance new technologies will have in African healthcare and reaching the hard to reach

There is another area of potential that needs exploring in healthcare, and that is technology. As technologies develop it will become easier to ensure widespread healthcare even into the most rural areas of African countries. Linked to a recent post of ours about mobile technology in Africa, it would appear that there is a lot that mobiles can do in terms of improving healthcare too.

Many reports have heralded the use of mobile phones to better consolidate and gather the information and statistics about different diseases, illnesses and health incidents. An article from MIT Technology Review, expands upon this:

For the first time we are seeing good quality data that can tell us who is dying and from what, who is sick, and where clusteres of diseases are occuring"

On a staffing and supply level, there is evidence of mobile technology being used to improve the stock and supply of vaccines and medicines.

By allowing real-time data of stock levels in remote facilities to filter back up the chain, it is possible to prevent unnecessary stock-outs and ensure that vaccines are available when infants and children are brought in to be immunised" 

They can also be used to update patients on appointments, for medical staff to look up records and for updates on when vaccines are available. These all may seem like very small advantages, but they could make a great change to healthcare in Africa, making the process of seeing and organising patients so much smoother is a big move. 

Mobile technology could start to allow people living in rural areas to get better access to healthcare than ever before, and without the long tortuous journeys, an article from the BBC News, depicts the changes mobile use can bring to health services. Not only does it talk of the uses already metioned above, but it also highlights the importance this is going to have in the livelihoods of rural African people. 

Amref- the African Medical and Research Foundation- is using computers and the internet to let local healthcare professionals consult urban experts"

By doing this, it means that people can go to their local professional, who is a lot closer than expert help, but still receive the same advice and proper treatment as local professionals will be able to get their advice easily from experts in urban areas. However, there are of course flaws in these plans, as this system is heavily reliant on electricity and internet access. So it is important that energy and internet schemes are also invested in thoroughly in order to support the health sector.

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Investment into Health in Africa

by Developed Africa 1. October 2013 09:00

The recent announcement from the UN that they are investing $700bn into Women and Children's health in poor countries, it seemed timely to look into the investment in health in Africa. 

The Bank Group's Presdient, Jim Young Kim, explained the investment:

The World Bank Group is committed to using evidence-based approaches to help ensure that every woman and every child can get the affordable, quality health care necessary to survive and live a healthy, productive life"

There is much material depicting the African health landscape, most of which is arguing that it looks as though it is going to see a positive boom in the coming years. A press release from the Africa Healthcare Summit 2014 describes the opportunities for healthcare:

The economic boom in many African countries has fuelled demand for improved healthcare. As governments try to meet demand and begin to implement universal health schemes, and the Africa sector undergoes "major policy, system and infrastructural changes", investor opportunities are increasing tenfold"

As long as the boom in various countries' is utilised correctly, a real difference could start to be made in healthcare, and especially as the World Bank has stepped up with its investment. This move should hopefully encourage further investment. A blog from the World Bank confirmed how now is the perfect time to invest:

There is no doubt that investors can expect strong returns, it is estimated that, by 2015, Sub-Saharan Africa's healthcare market will rocket to $35 billion. Fedre Meiring, associated director of the Corporate Finance Divisiion of Delitte posits that: "The healthcare sector appears to be well placed to take advantage of both the expected growth on the African continent and the relatively high proportion of global disease in Africa""

So there is strong support for the notion that investing in healthcare now is a good idea, and not only will the investors benefit, this will contribute to Africa's overall development. 

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The Westgate Shootings, Kenya

by Developed Africa 30. September 2013 09:00

 

On Saturday 21st September the Somali terrorist group Al Shabaab attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi, leading to a 4 day siege on the shopping centre in which at least 39 civilians were killed. The tragic loss of so many lives has shaken Kenya and the international community. Such a profound, international tragedy has led to much speculation and discussion over the motives for and consequences of the attacks.

Where to get the news on why Westgate was a target:

The Other Casualty In The Nairobi Mall Massacre Is Kenya's Economic Progress | The Huffington Post

Nairobi Westgate Mall Siege: Jewish and American Stores Made Shopping Centre Al-Shabaab Target | International Business Times

Why Kenya was targeted:

Why did al-Shabaab target Kenya? | World Bulletin

Why Kenya Is An Inviting Target For Terrorists | NPR

For news on casualties and victims: 

Kenya shopping mall attack: Stories of the heroes and the victims- From a boy who took on terrorists to the off-duty SAS soldier | The Independent

Kenya mall attack: dozens more bodies believed buried under rubble | The Guardian

Information on Al Shabaab:

Al-Shabaab leader's ambitions appear to be as complex as his personality | The Washington Post

Al-Shabaab's Global Menace | Wall Street Journal

The 'White Widow' Speculations:

Kenya widens mall attack probe, alert for UK 'White Widow' | Reuters

'White Widow' Samantha Lewthwaite: Interpol Issues Red Notice On Behalf of Kenya | Huffington Post

Who is the 'white widow' Samantha Lewthwaite? | BBC News

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Educating Africa

by Developed Africa 27. September 2013 09:00

 Education in Africa is an important aspect of poverty reduction and needs constant attention

 Education is an important tool in combatting poverty in developing countries, especially at this time as the African country growth rates are reaching new heights, and growing businesses need educated and skilled people to employ. An article from Forbes argues that

despite high unemployment rates on the continent, employers often struggle to fill vacancies. In a PWC survey of 1,330 global CEOs, over half report concerns about finding the right talent to reach business targets. Vast skills gaps are holding back job creation and growth in many African economies"

So not only are there not enough children with access to education, those who do attend school are not receiving the right skills training for future employment. This is a serious lapse which needs to be addressed, not only so individuals can be educated properly, but so that African countries can continue to grow, and thus improve education.

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Mobile Phones in Africa and their Potential

by Developed Africa 26. September 2013 09:00

 

There have recently been a lot of reports about how successful the growing use of mobiles has been in Africa, for a number of reasons.

A recent small article from Humanosphere featured this infographic:

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The article also put forward Kerr Neilson (Australian investment manager and billionaire)'s view that by having access to mobile phones Africans can access so many more useful applications that can help them in their everyday and working lives, such as weather predictions, product prices and the ability to transfer money at the touch of a button. And whilst it might seem that just having a mobile phone cannot help all that much, these are capabilities rural African people would not have access to otherwise, and it presents them with the abilities to be ahead of the game in a number of areas, farming for example.

People become less isolated through the use of technology, and especially mobile phones, it also becomes easier to access healthcare. These are just a couple of the arguments put forward by Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Colombia University, and recently reported in an article from the Guardian about the usefulness of mobile phones in development. 

When speaking of technology, and specifically mobile technology Sachs said:

It has changed how everything about development is done"

But now the task is to get as many people as possible access to mobile phones and technology in order to capitalise on this realisation. 

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Invest instead of Land Grabbing

by Developed Africa 25. September 2013 09:00

 

Land grabbing is a major issue in Africa, and one that needs some attention

Land grabbing is a wide-scale issue, it hits the incomes of thousands of farmers across the continent and a recent article in the guardian has evaluated what should be done to stop it.

It is estimated that:

at least 30 million hectares have been targeted by large-scale land transactions over the past decade"

The article sets out that the most recent rise in land grabbing around 2007-2008, was due to rich countries wanting to secure land that has generous natural resources to ensure a plentiful supply of produce for themselves. But what it has meant is that there is little investment into African farmers which is greatly needed, instead rich countries have just taken what they want for themselves with no regard that what they are doing is hindering African development. 

the FAO estimates that more than $80bn (£49.8bn) per year of net investments in agriculture in developing countries are needed. Achieving the goal in a sustainable manner that preserves natural resources will cost even more"

However, it is a struggle to ensure the best way of investing in agriculture, as the article makes it clear that farmers are the best investors in agriculture, but they cannot meet the sufficient investment needs even with government help. So a partnership is needed. 

FAO research shows that investments that involve local farmers as equal business partners, leaving them in control of their land, have the most positive effects on local development"

But obviously, this is not going to just immediately occur, something needs to be done to ensure that it is harder for businesses to land grab, G8 leaders have promised to help imporve land governance, which is key, but unless something actually happens, land grabbing could just keep happening. And as the developed countries of the G8 host many of the world's most influential investors, it is quite possible that they can be influenced. 

Developed Africa itself has many African opportunities on its database which encourage investment in agriculture and partnership, which is the best way for Africa to develop, and to combat land grabbing.

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Sustainable Energy and Electrifying Africa: Part Two

by Developed Africa 24. September 2013 09:00

Energy in Africa is a very prevalent and important matter that needs to be addressed.

Following on from our previous post, we will analyse the approach of the Obama administration in its "Power for Africa" innovation. 

The project aims to bring electricity to more than 20 million more homes, to introduce 10,000 MWs of cleaner energy, as well as to increase the reliability of the energy being used "through combined grid, off-grid, and mini-grid solutions"

Ozwald Boateng in an article for the Telegraph argued that:

The need for this initiative is obvious: Africa, a sixth of the world's population, produces only 4pc of the world's generated power. The 800m people of Sub-Sahara generate the same amount of power as Spain"

But it is clear that there is significant amounts of debate over the ways in which the US administration are approaching the issue, it is argued by some that the methods used are going to be more helpful to the US and big business rather than Africa. And that maybe the:

approached being outlined seem likely to lead to large, climate-polluting, centralised power projects- not the decentralised, renewable energy systems that are the most efficient and cleanest means of reaching Africa's poorest families"

This is perhaps the biggest concern that is used by many of "Power Africa"'s critics, as they feel that:

Once Africans are locked into natural gas infrastructure, they're locked into 40 years of increasing emissions- and four more decades of global warming's impacts"

And whilst it should not be up to developed countries to dictate to Africa that it should focus on renewable rather than fossil fuels which will inevitably help it develop faster, at the same time, there is the argument that it could in fact be best for Africa to have a large focus on renewable energy. Renewables are the safest and easiest way to ensure energy can be distributed to the more rural areas across the continent. 

Of course, one could argue that the best thing for African countries is to see economic growth, and to see that the best way would be to create fossil fuel power plants of there own to allow them to prosper and benefit from their natural resources. But the argument against this method is that it is not reaching African countries' poorest, it will merely result in a temporary increase in economic growth, whilst not only would renewable energy be a more secure method, but it is also easier to reach the poor with. 

It is clear for the article from South African Civil Society Information Service (SACSIS), that the US policy is perhaps not for the African people, but for the US big oil businesses wanting to get in on the new oil and gas fields found off Africa's coast. 

by doing away with lending restricitions on climate polluting projects, OPIC is free to grease the wheels for mega-deals between U.S. fossil fuel companies and African interests" 

This is in relation to the fact that the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC)'s cap on greenhouse gas emissions may be weakened in order to American businesses to benefit from energy actions in Africa. Which is perhaps quite a lot of evidence to prove that this project is not necessarily what is best for African people, or African business in the long run, but US business.

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Sustainable Energy and Electrifying Africa: Part One

by Developed Africa 23. September 2013 09:00

Energy in Africa is a very prevalent and important matter that needs to be addressed.

It is apparent that Africa desperately needs to increase its energy capacity in order to meet the high demand for energy that will gradually increase in coming years:

According to a Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) report on energy, the continents power demand will increase six-fold between 2010 and 2040, an average growth of nearly 6% a year"

And it is integral that the energy supply created should be sustainable, in order for Africa to avoid not only the environmental consequences but the bad economic impact as well.

It is important for the continents development that it embraces icreasing energy infrastructures and investment into energy resources, as it is argued by many that without being able to supply its own energy resources, real development is not going to be possible. The African Union commissioner for infrastructure and energy argued that:

Africa needs energy access in order to become competitive. Energy is a prerequisite for development, health, education, portable water, industrialisation, and combating poverty. It is essential for our development; we cannot achieve a prosperous Africa without securing energy"

Being able to power itself will allow Africa to not only be independent in terms of where it gets its energy, but also, it will allow the continent to do so much more on its own towards its own development.

There are many different initiatives set out by various different organisations or governments to combat the issue of energy in Africa, to name a few there is the World Bank's "African Electrification Initiative", Barack Obama's "Power Africa", and the UN's "Sustainable Energy for All" to name a key few. 

 

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Inaccurate and out-of-date GDP data usage

by Developed Africa 19. September 2013 09:00

An article from SciDevNet brings into question our use of GDP to measure countries' development.

According to the article, there are several ways in which the measurements of GDP are flawed, perhaps most importantly, the information available to be used by each country is extremely varied. For some it is difficult to obtain all the information needed, it is argued this is due to several historical aspects that have made it difficult for countries to correctly evaluate the economic statistics, as a lot of the money made is often through informal measures. On top of this, there is the issue that different countries will use different bench-marks to base their growth rate upon, for example some are still using out of date measurements from before 2000, making their results look worse than those measured based off results from 2006.

It is widely expected that when Nigeria revises its GDP data, probably next year, it may surpass South Africa as Sub-Saharan Africa's largest economy. The problem is that not all countries in the region use a recent base year"

So what can be done about the lack of strong information?

The message for data users is to question your evidence. And data disseminators, such as the World Bank with its World Development Indicators, need to label their data correctly and clearly acknowledge knowledge gaps."

This is perhaps the best way to understand such statistics for now, for them to be shown with their gaps and the way they were measured to be distinctly advertised by the producers of the information. But for a more long term solution the investment needs to turn towards ensuring countries have the right capabilities to be able to produce the best data possible. 

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Technology and Conflict Prevention

by Developed Africa 18. September 2013 09:00

Can technology actually prevent conflict rather than just fuel it?

Contrary to what many would think about the use of technology in conflicts, that it helps to create protests and conflict, this article from Generation C Magazine postulates that instead it could be used to prevent conflict instead.

Access to ever-increasing information and data also translates into conflict prevention by enabling institutions to monitor events, evaluate and trigger responses to verifiable crises"

There are several examples of when technology has been used in such a way: the recent 2013 Kenyan elections saw Uchaguzi, the crowd-sourcing and conflict mapping platform, was used. As well as this, citizens were encouraged to "opt for peace through text message" as well as many well-known personalities promoted peace. But it was not only in Kenya:

Prior to this in 2010, UNDP introduced crowd-sourcing for conflict prevention through its Uwiano Platform for Peace whereby citizens could report incidents of violence during the 2010 referendum by sending mobile text messages to a toll free number"

This seems to have worked quite well in the number of events cited, and it seems like a method which can keep people well connected and a good way of promoting peace. However, it is also possible that this could create a "digital divide", this leaves those without the right and most up-to-date technology out of the loop and therefore cannot be all-encompassing. On top of this, there is the possibility of over-reliance on technology and a risk of putting too much faith into a system that could easily be hacked and the anonymity of informants could be under threat.

Overall it is an interesting and encouraging notion that people can be linked together in such a way in order to create lasting peace, but of course there are aspects that need to be ironed out in order for it to be an idea that can be relied upon. 

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GM Crops and their Controversy in Africa: Part Two

by Developed Africa 17. September 2013 09:00

Following yesterday's post, we look further into argument for the use of GM crops in Africa

Another article about GM crops, also from the Guardian posits the argument that "opposition to GM crops is a "farce"", arguing instead that it has gone through rigorous testing, and is proven to be safe to use. However, it is important to recognise that this argument comes from the organisation AGRA (see our posts from last week), a company which greatly supports the use of GM crops in Africa, as they are working alongside a GM conglomerate. 

Teresa Anderson, international advocacy coordinator for the Gaia foundation has said of AGRA's most recent report that it:

clearly indicates their full support for GM crops, and their intention to use their influence to open African doors for Monsanto's and Syngenta's patented GM crops"

So it is easy to see that any argument for the use of GM crops may support it for business reasons, i.e associations who are supported by GM businesses, and therefore will support the cause because it makes business sense,, and makes them more money. 

However, we should also take a look at the actual benefits that GM crops are claimed to bring to the table. They induce faster growth and resistance to pathogens, thus allowing for bigger crop yields than are currently seen, and would, in fairness perhaps help to combat African farming problems, as well as solve the world's food issues if they were used across Africa. 

Having looked at the positives, it is evident that whilst there might be a lot of benefits to adopting the use of GM crops across Africa. But issues and worries still remain, and if the EU have not accepted their usage, African countries should not have to feel pressured by large conglomerates or institutions from the US into using them. 

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GM Crops and their Controversy in Africa: Part One

by Developed Africa 16. September 2013 09:00

GM crops and whether they should be used in Africa has become a source of controversy

The use of GM crops in Africa is currently only commercially used in South Africa, Burkina Faso, Sudan, and Egypt, countries across the rest of the continent do not currently do so due to governments banning the use because of environmental hazards and human health risks.

The use of GM crops is widespread in the US and that is where most of the pressure is coming from for African countries to embrace it, however Europe is virtually GM free, and it is argued by many that the problems of GM should not been enforced from the US.

Writing for the Guardian online blog Million Belay (director of MELCA-Ethiopia) and Ruth Nyambura (Head of Communications & Advocacy at the African Biodiversity Network), are strongly against the introduction, and practical enforcement, of GM crops onto African countries from the West and North. There are number of reasons for their objections, but foremost is that the hassle is not needed, arguing instead that African farmers are already using seeds and crops that have adapted to withstand various problems that crops might face:

having many different types of seed-... which have evolved with local pests and diseases and are adapted to difficult soils and weather patterns- is a far better strategy of resilience than developing a single crop that is bound to fail in the face of climate change"

This is one of the best arguments against the use of GM crops in Africa, they could cause far more issues than they might solve, and they possibly are just not needed, as African farmers and their crops seem to have adapted fairly well to adverse conditions.

On top of this, it is important to recongise the difficulty African farmers and suppliers might face if they do embrace GM produce in terms of dealing with countries who do not allow GM products to be grown in their own countries. For example dealing with the EU could become complicated, and as one of their largest export areas in the world, it would not be good for the African economies. It is evident that the EU have great concern about the use of GM crops, as we can see from the various clashes they have had with the US in trade forums over the matter. An article from BD Live explains the same thing:

The biggest hurdle for African countries to negotiate in the GM question is possible sanctions from their biggest agricultural export market, the European Union (EU)"

Therefore, it is important to consider what exactly moving to GM crops would do for Africa, and the problems it would cause, before outright deciding that it would be a good thing just because it improves crop yields. 

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3rd UK Ugandan Convention 2013

by Developed Africa 13. September 2013 09:00

 

The Uganda Convention is taking place on Saturday 14th September. 

Developed Africa is looking forward to attending the Uganda Convention of Trade and Investment tomorrow, the third annual convention to encourage investment in Uganda, as well as to showcase Uganda's business capabilities. 

Three years ago, the Ugandan UK Convention, headed by Willy Mutenza and supported by UIA, MOFA, Diaspora business community, organized a conference in London, UK, to showcase the business capacity of Ugandans beyond its borders. This year, with a diverse line-up of entrepreneurs and public officials, the Ugandan UK Diaspora Trade and Investment Expo- 2013 will serve as a platform to push for better conditions to do business in Uganda, including a vast showcase of investment opportunities by the private sector and the Uganda Investment Authority.

Several senior officials from the Ugandan government will attend the expo — from Hon. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, Vice President, Republic of Uganda, Patrick Bitature – Chairman of Uganda Investment Board, Hon. Maria Kiwanuka, Minister of Finance, Hon. Amelia Kyambadde, Minister of Trade and Industry, Ashish Thakkar, CEO and Founder Mara Group, Mr. Elly Karuhanga, President of Tullow Uganda and Director of Tullow Uganda, Dr. Irene Muloni, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, HE Professor Joyce Kikafunda, High Commissioner to the UK, Eng. Dr. Frank B. Sebbowa, Executive Director, Uganda Investment Authority, Hon. Daudi Migereko, Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Rt Hon. Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga, Speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Mr. Richard Kamajugo, commissioner for customs, Hon. Tress Bucyanayandi, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, Sebaggala M. Kigozi, Executive Director, Uganda Manufacturing Authority, Hon Ajedra Gabriel, Minister of State (Investment) just to mention a few..

Yet, the key element of the conference’s success will be the various exhibitors and entrepreneurs who actually do business in Uganda. Willy Mutenza, Chairman of the Convention, says the expo is “for the diaspora, by the diaspora” and each year, the list grows — an indicator that more and more Ugandans entrepreneurs and investors see the expo as an opportunity to market their services.

With hopes that Convention can serve as a catalyst to develop infrastructure for engagement, they’re showcasing a compendium of infrastructure projects by the UIA. And as a result of the convention, Developed Africa has received over 40 new opportunities that are available from developedafrica.com totaling over $1 billion.

The event will be running 10.30-18.30 at Troxy, 490 Commercial Road, London, E1 0HX

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Remittances to Africa and their Difficulties

by Developed Africa 12. September 2013 09:00

Recent events have brought discussions of the difficulties involved in providing remittances to the fore

An article in the Guardian focuses on dismissing Barclays as wrong for making the decision to end its remittances accounts, but it is important to look at the difficulties incurred when dealing with remittances, especially due to the stricter laws brought in by the US since 9/11. 

The introduction of strict anti-money-laundering laws in the US has been cited as a reason for Barclays' decision, after a $1.9bn (£1.2bn) fine imposed on HSBC bank by US authorities for failing to prevent money laundering by drug barons in Mexico."

Many, including Abdirashid Duale, Chief Executive of Dahabshiil remittance company, argue that there are many companies that are being forced into this shut down by Barclays, who have strict compliance rules in place and have had no issues with money launderng in their experience, and so are confused as to why this is being used as the reason to stop the account. 

However, despite the fact nothing may have occurred, it is clear that these rules put a lot of pressure on Barclays to ensure the performance of the remittance companies they carry, and any mistakes evidently carry a heavy price.

The remittances problem will be the subject of a UK government round-table with banks, regualtors and money service operators next Monday"

Oxfam's Chief Executive Mark Goldring, has said:

Closing money-transfer companies' bank accounts is likely to drive the money transfer business underground making it even more difficult to regulate"

But it appears to be accepted that this is not purely due to Barclays' moves but more to do with the unreasonable banking rules that have led Barclays' to such a decision. 

 

 

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Public-Private Partnerships to be Encouraged in Africa

by Developed Africa 11. September 2013 09:00

An African Economist article argued the case for Public private partnerships as a way to aid African economies.

Despite the fact that economies of many African countries have started to see high growth rates, this has not translated to a reduction in poverty or improved lives for Africa's poor. Employment rates have not risen at the same rate, and measures need to be taken to ensure that as economies start to do well, it has a positive effect on the lives of Africans.

Africa's economies need to improve their public institutions and infrastructure, deepen regional integration and provide their citizens with quality education"

Private companies and investors need to join forces with the public institutions in order to provide the proper services for each countries' people. Developed Africa strongly advocate the movement towards investment in business and services from private businesses in order to improve public standards of life.

 

 

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Analysis: Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa: Part Two

by Developed Africa 10. September 2013 09:00

Following from yesterday's post, a continued analysis of the "Green Revolution"

Putting aside the issues brought up in the last blog post in regards to Agra's methods and partners, we should turn to its aims and intentions and analyse whether it is a good goal for African development.

 The main thrust of the "Green Revolution" is to ensure sustainable food security for Africa, the main way in which they seek to improve the livelihoods of small farmers is by

investing in agricultural value chains"

which will address the issues faced by small holder farmers in terms of selling on their produce. 

The reasoning given behind the need for a 'green revolution' is that the agricultural sector is an important contribtuor to the economy, ans so poor output in agriculture has a negative effect on African development.

Also, it is argued that the only way to ensure that Africa meets its development agenda of annual growth rate of at least 6% for agriculture is by an "agricultural transformation". In its "vision" and "mission", AGRA describes its strategy as one that focuses on

smallholder farmers while working for change that strengthens the entire agricultural system and focuses on high-potential breadbasket areas and countries" .

They argue that all the knowledge and information needed to end poverty is already available, they just need to facilitate this knowledge in a manner available to small farmers, so they can copy the methods that will give them the best chance for success. In a nutshell, they want to distribute technologies that will aid agricultural productivity

in ways that are environmentally friendly and empower smallholder farmers, the majority of whom are women"

developing an incentive scheme to improve farmers' knowledge of technologies as well as creating a platform which will allow governments and organisations to work together to discuss and address the issue of agricultural productivity. 

Again, the issues raised  in the previous article would point to the possible ineffectiveness, or even negative effect, of these objectives on African agriculture, the right intentions are present, but it may be possible that the methods and the lack of African input may cause issue.

 

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Analysis: Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa

by Developed Africa 9. September 2013 09:00

 

New African Agriculture Status Report depicts need for a "Green Revolution"

Linked to our blog post last week regarding the importance of recognising women in agriculture, the African Agriculture Status Report 2013 was released last week. A report which comes from the organisation Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), set up by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, in order to achieve a

food secure and prosperous Africa through the promotion of rapid, suatainable agricultural growth based on smallholder farmers"

Their definition of the "green revolution" that is needed is one in which:

increased agricultural productivity is guaranteed through investments in research and technology, infrastructure, as well as providing the enabling environment for the private sector, including farmers to promote agribusiness"

 AGRA aims to complete the following goals by the year 2020: doubling the income of 20 million small holder farmers, reducing food insecurity 50% in 20 countries, and ensuring that at least 15 countries are on a path toward sustainable and climate-friendly green agriculture. The basis of AGRA's aim is noble and one which everyone should support, however, in practice it would appear that they garner a lot of criticism in regards to the ways in which they work and the types of farmers they support. Not only this, but there is an argument against their belief that they are "African led" when in fact 50% of their board are not Africa, and all of the investors are American. Obviously it is crucial to have the correct funding, but to claim that a cause is being led by Africa when in fact the majority of people who will have a say in what happens, is misleading and potentially worrying for the projects they will decide to pursue. 

The foremost argument levered against AGRA is that it has the potential to make the same mistakes of the original green revolution, which did not cover Africa, but was a similar notion led by Norman Borlaug, American Agronomist. 

For example one of the largest criticisms is that it will only actually benefit big farms, and leave small farmers out in the cold because they will not be able to afford the technologies that are being introduced. This is what is often argued happened with the original 'green revolution':

gaps between social classes widened as wealthy farmers got wealthier and poor farmers lagged behind"

But claims such as this are strongly denied by members of AGRA, in a Q&A session with Humanosphere, Deputy Director of Agro, Roy Steiner, had this to say against allegations of ignoring small farmers:

If you look at our grants, it's clear that our focus is on smallholder farmers, particularly women farmers. The seed companies we support sell packs of seeds in one or two kilogram packets because that's what individual farmers buy. The materials we develop are in hundreds of different languages and our support often goes to smallholder organisations"

This does not mean however that they are completely focused on small holder farmers as they claim to be. Not only this, there have been protests in the past couple of years against the organisation associating itself with an American conglomerate Monsanto, stemming from the fact that the company:

supports research into genetically modified (GM) crops and other projects the activists believe will harm poor farmers overseas and only work to advance the interests of American or Western agri-business"

This is the main issue that is held against the group, that its methods might not be the best for Africa, and therefore could be counter-effective. 

 

 

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Tax Evasion and its Effect on Developing Economies

by Developed Africa 6. September 2013 09:00

A recent press release from Oxfam has argued that tax evasion is greatly harming poor countries economies.

The statement argues that by allowing tax evasion by multi-national corporations to continue, developing countries' economies will continue to be damaged.

Developing countries lose an estimated $100 billion to $160 billion annually to corporate tax dodging"

It reports that the G20 agreed plans to repress tax evasion, but that very little has actually happened in order to bring about any changes, especially any changes that allow developing countries to be a part of the discussions.

However, the argument against any clamp down on tax evasion by multi-nationals is that they would perhaps take their business elsewhere, somewhere where it is easier to avoid tax, and therefore would greatly affect the developing nations to an even greater extent.

Dmitri Medlez, Russian Oxfam country director argued that:

Economic growth alone won't be enough to prevent poverty escalating across G20 countries and beyond. The G20 must tackle the challenges of inequality to generate strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

Whilst this may be true, it is also arguable that African countries might lose out to investors and see their economy decline if such a clampdown is not completely world-wide.

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Women Need Recognition So That Agriculture Can Thrive

by Developed Africa 5. September 2013 09:00

 

An article from All Africa highlights the potential lost in agricultural through the marginalisation of Women.

The article highlights what many already know to be true, that by recognising women equally in terms of business, this time specifically in agriculture then the economy of African countries will be given a positive boost.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) published an agriculture status report which showed that:

although women contribute more than 70 percent of agricultural labour, they own only 1 to 2 percent of land in Africa, with most of them only accessing land through male relatives.

It is time Women were recognised for their contribution to the economy, for equality's sake, and also for the sake of the economy. If women were correctly recognised for their efforts and owned the land they labour upon then there would be a substantially positive effect on the economy. 

Developed Africa itself advertises many opportunities that support the position of women in agriculture as well as business on its website. 

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Aid and Donors: Is it a Good Idea for Donors to Have More Of a Say?

by Developed Africa 4. September 2013 09:00

A recent article in the Guardian brought up the case for Philanthropists and Aid donors to work together.

The argument from the article is that philantrhopists cannot just be expected to continue giving money without having any say in where their funds are going and what projects they are supporting. Instead, it argues that there should be a closer relationship, and those providing money and donations should be given a chair at meetings to discuss how to address a certain problem and how best to utilise the money the group has. It also argues that unless things change their is very little incentive for philanthropists to keep donating money:

The message to philanthropists is unappealing: give your money through existing aid channels, desist from running your own programmes, and help drum up support for more taxpayers' money for official donors to spend"

It goes on to argue that despite what many may think, philanthropists do in fact have a lot to contribute, and should be allowed a voice. But it is also important to note that philanthropists really have very little reason to want to work with aid organisations rather than following their own personal projects, because they would get very little say in terms of what is done with the money.

First, there must be joint decision making and shared governance. Official donors cannot expect philanthropic organisations to stump up cash without a seat at the table"

In order to keep receiving their donations, philanthropists must be given a say in what happens to their money, otherwise they will have very little reason to keep donating. On top of this, perhaps it is the best way, to keep everyone working towards the same goal and along the same lines, they need to work together, and create projects together that can make more of a difference that two separate projects would make. 

However, it is possible to argue that by allowing the person who donates the money to a project, who may have very little knowledge on the subject or how aid projects should be approached, it can greatly disrupt the positive impact that project will have. 

The subject of how much say donors should have over the money that they donate is greatly debated. To what extent can you be sure that they understand the situation, and if they start enforcing rules and constraints upon a project, the likelihood of a positive outcome for that project is in jeopardy.

Despite the fact that it makes a lot of sense for aid organisations and philanthropic donors to work together so that projects are a lot more streamlined and centred towards a common goal, giving power to donors is always dangerous territory. By being able to dictate what is done with their money, expert advice and experience may be ignored and replaced by the vision of the donor, and whilst that may sometimes work, more often that not it does not. 

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Feminism in Africa: Part Two

by Developed Africa 3. September 2013 09:00

Following from yesterday's blog on the differences in Western and African feminism, we explore the journey of Feminism in Africa to date.

An interesting article from Think Africa Press has brought to the surface another aspect of Feminism in Africa that was not discussed in the previous article. The reason feminism is prevalent in Tunisia was due to an authoritarian regime using treating women fairly as a means to prove that the regime was an "advance society" and "deserving of sovereignty" to the international community. And when Ben Ali came to power "state feminism" and the protection of women's rights was used to "gain legitimacy" from the international community. 

Whilst this may have been the case, it is evident that throughout Africa as we entered the 1990s, feminism stopped being purely a top-down policy, and stopped just being women's grass roots groups who participated in cultural activities and produced goods. It began to be influenced by the international feminist movement, and therefore started to come from the Women themselves. 

The 1985 UN Conference on Women held in Nairobi and especially the 1995 UN Convference on Women in Beijing served as catalysts for many organisations and activists. International donors, weary of state corruption and waste, began to shift resources towards non-governmental organisations, including women's associations." 

This is where we can argue that, on a visible scale at least, public level feminism became owned by women themselves and women's organisations, not just a tool used by corrupt governments to legitimise themselves to the rest of the world. 

Gwendolyn Mikell writing in 1995 discusses what she felt to be the

peaking of a new feminism now as African states reinvent themselves in the 1990s"

This, she describes, followed the "feminism" that was forced upon African women from both the West and from the government's of their countries, neither of which were really their battles. She describes the difficulty of evaluating feminist movements in Africa, as before the point at which African women began to own their own feminist movement, there was anger towards what they perceived as:

attempts by Western academics and activists to co-opt them into a movement defined by extreme individualism, by militant opposition to patriarchy, and, ultimately, by a hostility to males."

From her research Mikell has come to recognise that African Feminism has been able to rebuke the assertions laid upon it by Western feminism, thus developing into a movement which will have the ability to properly scrutinise politics, norms, and society and decide logically whether these aspects respect women and men the same. It has managed to avoid the story of hating men, and will not be a movement which will

fixate on the female "body," champion woman's autonomy from man the "victimizer," or question the value of marriage and motherhood"

but it is one that has recognises African women's many struggles and adapt this into fighting for their own equality in their own context.

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Feminism in Africa

by Developed Africa 2. September 2013 09:00

 

The topic of African feminism is a difficult one to address as there are so many dimensions to discuss.

Firstly it is important to recognise that Feminism is often thought of as a western concept, but within Africa women are most definitely contributing their own definitions to the global understanding of feminism. The fact that in a lot of cases they have further to travel in reaching gender equality makes their fight currently very different to that of the West's notion of the movement. So that Feminism is something that relates to their suffering and their particular situations, and not instead just following the outlined movement of Western feminism. 

An article from Think Africa Press argued that the difficulty in uniting Western Feminism with women's movements in Africa is perhaps due to the

differing notions of freedom, empowerment and equality or even diverging end goals"

Different obstacles are faced by women in Africa, and they are bringing their own definitions of what freedom and equality means to them at this time. 

An interesting point is made in an article from the Guardian when describing the inequalities and insecurity Women in many African countries have to suffer through, it then points to the fact that getting angry about the oppression of Women from religion is not key on their agenda, getting equal education and freedom from the fear of the effects of war is key to them. Religion is an institution which offers them some comfort at this point. Being urged to move away from religion, as many western feminists would advocate, is not what they want at this time, and they may not be ready for it.

Massive inequalities are occurring in African nations that are greatly angering, for example:

in Burundi, women are the social and economic powerhouses of their society, sustaining their families with apparently nothing more than a tenacious desire to see their children do better. However, they are still forbidden from inheriting land and many are exposed to the threat of beatings or rape"

It is hard to then justify that Western women and women in the developing world are fighting for exactly the same things at this moment. Of course the ultimate goals and beliefs are the same, in terms of wanting gender equality, but at this moment they have very different issues to deal with.

This topic of two different types of feminism is one that has hit the media recently, following the twitter trend of "#solidarityisforwhitewomen", a phrase coined by Mikki Kendall, which defines the belief that feminism (in America especially) is only focused on white women, and does not take into account the struggles of black women or other ethnic minority women. Whilst not entirely linked to the subject of Feminism in Africa, it does bring to the fore the fact that there may be a difference in the feminist experience of women from different races, cultures and backgrounds. 

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Zimbabwe Plans Boost to Tourism

by Developed Africa 30. August 2013 09:00

 

Zimbabwe aims to boost its tourism with a "Disneyland in Africa" near Victoria Falls

An article in the Guardian explains the new Zimbabwean venture, as despite the country having suffered through a decade of conflict and inflation,  it would appear that things are set to change:

The government says it recorded a 17% increase in tourist arrivals in the first quarter of 2013, up to 346,299 to 404,282"

Alongside this, the government has decided to invest in the tourism industry by putting $300m into plans for a large theme park near to Victoria Falls. The tourism and hospitality minister, Walter Mzembi outlined the plans which would cover:

shopping malls, banks, and exhibition and entertainment facilities such as casinos"

Along side this 1200 hectares of land has been set aside for hotels and "convention centres" so not only will the venture benefit from the leisure tourism industry but also from business tourism. This is an important move to note following one of our recent articles on the Namibian tourism sector, and how it is important to ensure both sections of the sector are covered in order to produce the best economic outcome. 

Not only is this evidence of a good move within the tourism sector, the investment as a whole is evidence that the best way to develop a country is to invest in its infrastructure and businesses, because that is what will move a country towards development, not aid.

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Development on Film

by Developed Africa 29. August 2013 09:00

An interesting article from Humanosphere discussed the portrayal of development in the media and film

The article from Humanosphere is loosely linked to the two previous blog posts, in that it discusses the medias portrayal, and thus, the public's perception of development and world issues.

It brought to my attention the awful fact that media stations (in America) have, and will, turn down media stories or documentary series with a development focus because they do not bring in enough viewers. This is an incredibly worrying fact, as without media coverage such as documentaries, where will the average American be learning about development around the world? And the article answer? Hollywood.

It is important to not completely dismiss the possibility of a film being able to reach out and properly bring development issues to people's attention. But the worrying factor is how they are depicted and portrayed, and to what extent they are a main part of the film. Also, a misleading film on a development topic could convince many that that is what is actually going on, and therefore they will care less, or take a misinformed stand point on an important matter.

Reporting on Africa does not get much attention in the US, but a film starring Leonardo DiCaprio about Sierra Leone does."

But all too often the development story fades into the background and is often over-simplified so that it pushes the story of the film along, whilst not being too over-bearing. Whilst this may not always be the end of the world, it can perpetuate a false image of development. Not only this, but the article argues that 

City of God depicted gang violence in Brazil's slums in a way that oversimplified an increasingly complex and difficult situation. Such a film, say the authors, can influence poor policies by foreign nations"

Whether or not films have this much power of persuasion is unclear, but it is evident that something should be done about the poor coverage of development news getting through to the American public.

 

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Does 'Slacktivism' help change the world? Part Two

by Developed Africa 28. August 2013 09:00

 

Despite the negative connotations and lack of large scale action, slacktivism might still be a force for good in the world.

To completely dismiss online activism is perhaps not the best idea, yes it might go against the beliefs of the die-hard, old-school activists, but there is a lot of evidence to suggest that it does actually make quite a lot of difference in the world.

Firstly, the argument that nothing can be properly mobilised offline from the online is possibly nonsense. The Arab Spring movements were organised online through social media, and it is evident that they made quite a bit of difference in the world. As a study from the University of Washington has shown,

conversations about revolution often preceded major events, and social media has carried inspiring stories of protest across international borders"

This is a fairly extreme example of how social media can actually make a difference in the outside world, but it is important to note its impact on a smaller scale too. For instance, the argument from UNICEF that 'liking' their page does not help them buy things to save children's lives, this is not really the way in which social media is supposed to be utilised in terms of campaigns. Social media's impact is that of spreading the word and bringing important causes to people's attention. On top of this, just because someone has liked UNICEF's page, or any other charities page does not mean they have not made any other actions, it is just another means of being able to show their support and in turn, bring it to the attention of others.

Charity concerts are also often bundled into the same conversation as 'slacktivism' as not really having a lasting impact on people, for instance this article in the Telegraph from 2005 argued that it was only a short-term solution that made no real difference. But we surely cannot be persuaded that it made no long term difference? The past 28 years since the Live Aid concert have seen a massive increase in not only a government focus on development, but also a persistent interest from the general public that just did not exist as it had done before. 

The use of twitter and blogging are actually a very efficient way of sharing ideas, spreading causes, and making change happen. Without blogs and tweets that promote the coverage of certain atrocities or events, they might not be highlighted in the mainstream media and go unnoticed. 

Developed Africa itself uses both twitter and blogging to keep people and its followers up to date with the goings-on in Africa, innovations, events, and economic updates. Re-tweeting or spreading the news of events and causes is not doing nothing, it is alerting others to the cause. 

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Does 'Slacktivism' help change the world?

by Developed Africa 27. August 2013 09:00

 Times have changed in terms of activism, and the internet plays a large role- but does this translate to having a large impact?

The phenomenon of "slacktivism" originates from some point in the 1990s, used by Dwight Ozard and Fred Clark to define the activism activities of young people which really have no further reach than their own feeling of self-worth. Back in the early 2000s slactivism or "clicktivism" as it became once it moved online, described the notion of people signing up to email notifications from charities and activist groups, but never actually doing anything, or even reading the emails. Nowadays the term is generally used to describe the actions of people online as they post, share, and 'like' articles to do with charity campaigns or protestations of human rights.

The recent example of the "Kony 2012" campaign, highlights how little people know about the campaigns they were 'supporting' on facebook and other social media sites. The video went viral, being shared madly across Facebook, people were taken with the 30 minute video claiming that if enough people took part, Kony could be caught within the year. The follow up to watching and sharing the video was supposed to be participation of a "cover the night" campaign, in which activists would cover major cities in Kony 2012 posters, making the world take notice. But despite reaching over 100 million views in 6 days, the "cover the night" campaign garnered little turn out in comparison with around, as reported in the Guardian. Admittedly, some did continue to campaign and in January of this year President Obama signed a bill to bring Kony to justice.

However, what is important to take from this example is the lack of motivation by the millions who shared and supposedly supported this campaign to actually do anything about it. And that is the issue with Slacktivism, an issue UNICEF decided to make some noise about. In March 2013, UNICEF began a campaign against clicktivism with posters saying things such as: "Like us on Facebook and we will vaccinate zero children against polio". The campaign, coming a year after the Kony incident, takes its main issue up against the constant campaigns from various companies who advertise that for every 'like' they receive on Facebook they will donate a certain amount to a charity or cause, but UNICEF officials say that:

this type of campaign is that it breeds a type of charity slacktivism- for most users, no further action is taken after that initial click"

And it is true, this is what many are concerned with when it comes to online activism, yes, it shows that there is a lot of support for different charities and causes, but it doesn't actually do anything. For the most part, good old fashioned activism is seemingly dead. For example, whether or not it is the right thing to do, the recent "open letter" Stephen Fry sent to the Prime Minister of the UK to encourage him to boycott the Russian Winter Olympics in the name of gay rights received a lot of shares and retweets on both facebook and twitter. But no action, no march, no movement. That was last week, and now everyone who shared or like the post has moved on and forgotten about it. Support hardly ever turns into action these days. 

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Women in Agriculture

by Developed Africa 23. August 2013 09:00

A recent article from the New York Forum on the future of Africa highlighted the importance of women in agriculture.

Many statistics point towards the importance of women and agriculture, and thus point towards the obvious necessity to invest in, and create projects supporting, women. The statistics the New York Forum called attention to were as follows: 

"60 to 80 percent of agricultural work, while in Congo, female farmers produce more than 80 percent of food crops"

which is an impressive amount, but not one that has any sway in business dealings. Not only this, but a recent post from NEPAD highlighted that:

over two thirds of all women in Africa are employed in the agricultural sector and produce nearly 90 percent of food on the continent".

Therefore it is important to invest in the welfare, education, and power of women, as they make up such a large percentage of a production sector, so hold the possibility of a lot more potential and power in the future. The New York Forum states that fortunately there is a lot of investment being put into things like training for women in agriculture. But it is not just training in terms of the tool and labour training supported by FarmAfrica, but also training in technology and computers. 

For example the Women's charity the Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) are encouraging and supporting women to gain knowledge and experience of ICT and technology. They have also specifically advocated the use of technology by women in agriculture as it helps keep them connected even if they live in very rural areas. The Next Women Business magazine posted an article on how projects like those from WOUGNET can help women develop different skills:

By applying ICT to create opportunities for sharing and exchanging knowledge, women are able to expand their network and gain access to more resources"

By investing in women in this way, it allows them to develop and learn more about better farming techniques, as well as knowledge of running businesses, especially as through technology they are able to share ideas with others.

Writing for the Skoll World Fourm, Sheila Sisulu, Deputy Executive Director for Hunger Solutions for the World Food Programme argued that:   

 Women are at the heart of a significant untapped potential to increase agricultural production in Africa."

But it should be made clear that it is not just in agriculture in which women need to be supported, women are key players in all other sectors of the economy, and therefore are obviously worth investing in other areas too. There are already several opportunities available from developedafrica.com that support women in business, a number in agriculture as well as in advertising media and entertainment, and the food & hospitality industry. 

 

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Tourism in Namibia and How to Progress

by Developed Africa 22. August 2013 09:00

A recent article in The Namibian discussed the importance of focus on how best to develop Namibia's tourism sector.

Tourism is the fasting growing industry in Namibia due to it being one of the most

breath taking eco-tourism destinations on the planet".

And it would appear that Namibia has something other African countries lack in terms of tourism. And that is the fact that there are more travelling to Namibia visiting for leisure tourism purposes than for business.

But despite the popularity of the leisure tourism market, it is arguable that there is huge potential for growth in the business travel market, and due to its rich resources, one that Namibia could benefit from greatly. Combining that with its vast beauty, it could be the perfect destination for both travel and leisure tourism. 

In terms of investment and development, the government of Namibia are well aware of the potential of the tourism industry, Uahekua Herunga, the Minister for Environment and Tourism has said that: 

the tourism industry presents great opportunities to promote economic, social development, and environmental protection" 

The article itself argues for the importance of the meetings industry, as it is the perfect combination of both business and leisure tourism, as delegates attending meetings will almost always book leisure activities during their stay.

Namibia is in an ideal situation from which it can expand its tourism industry and open it up to the business sector. Due to the booming leisure tourism industry, the infrastructure is there from which a business tourism sector can be built. On top of this, the expanse of the current leisure tourism sector is attracting people to the area who will be able to see the potential of Namibia for business, and will return.

Of course, investment will be needed in order to allow this area to expand and therefore business tourism-based companies can upload their opportunities and projects to developedafrica.com in order to attract investors. 

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Growth and Poverty in Africa

by Developed Africa 21. August 2013 09:00

This years Africa's Pulse report from the World Bank has shown that whilst poverty has decreased, it is not nearly enough. 

Whilst there is such a focus at the moment on the massive steps African countries are making in economic growth, with more growth should come a reduction in poverty. A recent article from the African Economist argued that there had indeed been a lot of improvements in reducing poverty across the continent, but that in order to properly reflect the growth in economies, development needs to be implemented in the right areas.

much remains to be done to raise the quality of life for the many who live in extreme poverty"

Actions need to be taken to ensure that there is widespread improvement of life, and that everyone is benefiting from the speed of growth, not just a few. Important development areas to ensure this are most definitely agriculture and electricity as well as health and education.

The article quotes the World Bank's Vice President for Africa, Makhtar Diop as saying:

without more electricity and high agricultural productivity, Africa's development future cannot prosper"

There is evidence that the presence of one light in a family home increases the income and productivity of that family by 25%. Small improvements like this, that produce such extraordinary results prove just how easy it would be to reduce poverty along side the growth of the economy.

Governments have recognised this and are willing to change the current circumstances. But what is needed more than anything is investment, and projects that will allow Africa to leave poverty behind can advertise themselves through Developed Africa, in order to get the investment to get their project underway. 

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Formalising the Informal Sector

by Developed Africa 20. August 2013 09:00

 How to bring the informal sector and its workers into the formal sector

One of the biggest issues when tackling the unemployment crisis in Africa encouraging people and entrepreneurs to be part of the formal sector, when for so long, they have only managed to get by with jobs under the informal sector.

It is evident that what is needed is for the different African governments to invest in schemes and policies that will encourage people to not fear the move to the formal sector, but to allow them to easily make the move so that they can begin not only contributing more to the economy, but also will be better off themselves. Too often, there is a fear of the formal, as it constitutes in many people's minds higher taxes, more forms to fill, and just a lot more hassle. However, there are a lot more benefits too, one of which is stability. Something that many in Africa are so often without.

A recent article in the Tanzania Daily News depicted the praise given to the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) by the Informal Sector Workers Union (ISWU) for inviting formal sector workers and entrepreneurs to join the fund, and therefore reap the benefits of being NSSF membership. It was ensured by Mr Kimaro, Informal Sector Operation Officer of the NSSF that:

entrepreneurs who join the fund through the umbrella association are assisted to meet their economic and social needs".

This is an example of the moves that need to be made by governments and organisations in order to formalise workers from the informal sector in order to improve and contribute more to the economy but to also improve the livelihoods of the workers themselves. 

 

 

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Mali and Aid

by Developed Africa 19. August 2013 09:00

Highlighted recently in a number of articles from Africa Review, Mali can be seen have suffered due to foreign aid.

It is evident from the reports that Foreign aid has done Mali no favours, and if anything, it is causing it more damage. The country has become dependent on aid, but not only that, it was dependent upon the jobs created by the NGOs working in the country, as one youth advocate reported

When the NGOs left, we were hit twice, of course the aid projects were important, but the unemployment effects were worse- up to 30% of youth worked for humanitarian organisations".

The NGOs mentioned here left following the 2012 coup in which a group of mutinying Malian soldiers overthrew President Amadou Toumani Toure, which created the "first contraction in GDP growth since 1993" strong evidence of weak foreign aid projects that had merely been holding the economy together rather than doing anything to benefit it long term. 

This transition period presents Mali and its donors with the opportunity to address systemic issues that previously impeded development"

But what it also means is that Mali has a new opportunity to change the structure upon which its economy is based, rather than aid based, now is the time for Mali to increase foreign investment, rather than aid. And rather than fearing for the 30,000 youth who enter the economy every year with no prospect of a job, the Malian government should see them as an asset, who can turn Mali's prospects around. 

Following the election results last Tuesday which announced the new President to be Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, there is the possibility of a new, peaceful era for Mali, as Mr Keita claims:

I will bring peace and security. I will revive dialogue between all the sons of our nation and I will gather our people around the values that have built our history: dignity, integrity, courage and hard work"

But in order to move on from this dependence on aid, the opportunity needs to be seized now, and business needs to be at the forefront of Mali's economy. In order to do so, foreign investment is needed, not foreign aid, but investment which will allow Malian's to provide their own solutions and to build and grow their own economy. 

Developed Africa provides a platform from which Malian's with business opportunities and ideas can receive reach the audience they need in order to prosper. 

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Investment in North Africa

by Developed Africa 16. August 2013 09:00

 (not finished)

Investment in North Africa- 

Partly due to Egypt's stock exchange rising by 3% this year, there is a lot to be said for investing in North Africa. And a lot of activity is coming from China, as 2012 saw 3 North African countries among their top ten African destinations for Foreign Direct Investment.

China offers a different approach to development policy characterized more or less by the ‘trade not aid’ principle"

Examples of the North's ambitions and potential were reported by the Libya Herald earlier this year, for instance Tunisia is setting itself up to be the world's centre for renweable energy, Algeria is home to a growing small and medium sized business sector, and in a number of Libyan cities there are several SMEs that could grow into the regions biggest multi-nationals. 

Evidence of such activities and businesses across North Africa chimes with the report from Reuters' blogger Carolyn Cohn that despite uncertainties and disruptions within the region, 

international investors are seeking out well-run businesses in Middle Eastern and even some North African stock markets"

Not only this but investors are cleverly looking towards the youth as their future employees, and see the youth as a great, often untapped, opportunity source. This is what is needed in the North of Africa, especially following the uprisings which have left many young people unemployed and disheartened, by focusing new business and investment towards the youth, tension will be eased and economies will grow faster due to the vast potential available from employing the youth of Africa. 

Cohn also reports that investors have faith in business and investment despite the turmoil in North Africa, because they believe that

businesses are often able to carry on, regardless of political instability."

Businesses can still thrive and prosper in spite of difficulties in the region, because businesses are always needed, and business and investment is what will put the North of Africa back on its feet. Instead of being nervous of the instability in the region, investors need to be positive about the potential to help grow these countries' economies and to improve their stability. 

 

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Need for more diversified investment in Africa

by Developed Africa 15. August 2013 09:00

Growth rates may be among the fastest in the world, but investments need to start diversifying.

A recent article by Dianna Games, CEO of Africa@Work, has gone beyond the growth rate statistics to prove that they are hiding the real development image of poverty and underdevelopment that is continuing throughout Africa. It is a very interesting point that whilst the growth rates are heralded as being among the fastest growing in the world, that this disguises the fact that these countries are still struggling on a social level. 

It's fine to celebrate high growth rates in Africa, but to look at them in isolation is to distort the real picture"

As the article points out, a lot of the development and investment goes on in the major cities and economic hubs of African countries, and it is rare for investment to reach much beyond the outer-reaches of said cities. To summarise, the article concludes that more investment needs to be channeled into more rural areas and into different sectors. 

There is no doubt much has changed and there is starting to be a "rising tide" effect of growing, and increasingly diversified, investment in Africa. But the growth is resting on shaky pillars."

In order to ensure that a wider base of projects are funded, investors can look to Developed Africa for a large variety of investment opportunities and projects, many of which look to expand beyond the main cities and hubs of African countries in order to reach the members of society that investment projects have thus far ignored.

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The potential of "Agroforestry"

by Developed Africa 14. August 2013 09:00

An article from How We Made it in Africa on tackling the future food crisis.

A new innovation that has the potential to increase food security is called "Agroforestry" and involves: 

integrating trees with agriculture, crops, and livestock"

One way in which this works, and has been tried out in Nigeria, is that by using trees as a means of protecting crops from adverse weather conditions as well as increasing the fertility of the soil.

Besides greater cereal crop yields, the trees provide fuel wood and sellable wood, adding significantly to famrers' incomes. Many also provide edible leaves, fruits and nuts as well as fodder for livestock"

Simple solutions such as this can solve the problems Africa and the rest of the World faces in the future, such ideas and knowledge needs to be shared in order to increase productivity and security. 

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Investment in Africa on the Rise

by Developed Africa 13. August 2013 09:00

An article from the Wall Street Journal speculates on the recent increase of investment in Africa.

The Wall Street Journal Article points to the $1 billion investment from IHS Towers, an African Telecommunications developer" as evidence of a recent spike in investment in Africa. This comes at a time when it is especially evident that the so called "emerging" BRIC countries, who were once thought to be the next generation of large economies dominating the economy are slowing down. Therefore there is even more reason to invest in Africa, because it contains some of the fastest growing economies in the world at the moment. 

However, the article did also show concern at the fact that whilst

"between 2004 and 2010 Nigeria grew at an average of 7.2%... at the same time absolute poverty went up by 6.4".

And they argue that it if this is true, the stability of the growth rate is dubious because there is evidently an imbalance within African countries in distribution of wealth.

However, it is arguable that without increased investment, increased transparency, and increased support of African countries, nothing at all will improve. But if investors look to Africa with optimism, they can help it to grow sustainably.

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Developed Africa reaches over $3 billion worth of opportunities

by Developed Africa 12. August 2013 09:00

We now have 64 opportunities available on developedafrica.com from Malawi, Cameroon and Nigeria in total worth over $3 billion. Ranging in price from the lowest at $100,000 to the highest at $1 billion. 

The number of business and investment opportunities available from Developed Africa is already a clear signal of the importance of the platform. African businesses need investment in order to prosper, and to do so they need an easy way of find investors. The easiest way for them to do so is to advertise their plans onto developedafrica.com, free of charge. 

A wide range of sectors are represented in the opportunities available, spanning from agriculture, to energy, resources, tourism and more.

Energy is an extremely important, and growing, sector within Africa, especially many of the renewable energy projects we have advertised on our website. Renewable energy is a large new market in Africa, picking up speed due to the efficiency, sustainability and the improved access compared to the electrical grid. There a total of 12 renewable energy investment opportunities available in Cameroon spanning various regions, reaching rural communities who currently have to use the harmful, and inefficient fuel, kerosene. On top of this there is an opportunity in Malawi trying to reach rural areas with no access to electricity and provide them with batteries to fulfill their basic electricity needs. In a recent article on All Africa reporter Amadou Jallow explained the enormous impact on people's lives of the electrification of rural villages. It ends the dependence on Kerosene lamps on a domestic level, but on a higher level, it has meant traders and taxi drivers can work later due to the street lamps now in use.

Its not just energy, agriculture is another key area covered by the current opportunities, a business that needs support throughout Africa to ensure that farmers and producers can maintain their projects. In many of the opportunities it is a case of expansion or new technology and equipment, and a number include support mechanisms for Local Small Hold Farmers. 

Tourism and hospitality is an integral sector to the growth of African nations, and there are many such opportunities available from Developed Africa: including beach resorts, eco lodges, and hotels. An eco-lodge development is our least expensive opportunity currently advertised at $100,000, a promising opportunity that will not only attract tourists from across the globe, but will also provide jobs for the local area. 

Another very important sector that is available, and highly beneficial, is the construction of roads and bridges across Cameroon, allowing for increased ease of transport and also trade, these projects will have a really positive impact on lives and business in Cameroon. Not only this, but the largest investment available is the construction of a much needed development of a specialised terminals for deep draft vessels at a port in Cameroon costing $1 billion, creating not only better trade prospects but also 10,000 jobs as a direct result.

With so many opportunities to get involved in Africa, to help Africa towards development and to invest in a profitable business, Developed Africa should be the first place to look when thinking of investing in Africa.

 

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How to Improve Slow Growing African Countries

by Developed Africa 9. August 2013 09:00

South Africa's growth reported to continue to lag.

The AFDB Economic Outlook Report published in May of this year, announced that among the slowest- growing countries were South Africa, Egypt, Swaziland and Sudan. Business Day Live repoerts that:

The African Development Bank forecasts South Africa's GDP to grow 2.8%, much more positive than current expectations of around 2%".

But that figure is still considerably lower than the expected GDP growth of countries such as Sierra Leone at 12.1% and Malawi and 6.1% for 2014. South Africa has since released its National Development Plan to be reached by 2030 in which the government plan to:

upgrade roads, ports and access to utilities"

But all these objectives will need investment, and the real way to increase growth and to appeal to international companies is to lay out plans clearly and simply in a way which investors will be able to feel sure of their investment and involvement in South Africa. This is what Developed Africa offers, and is something which other predicted slow growing countries, such as Egypt, Swaziland and Egypt, should get on board with. 

 

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African Energy

by Developed Africa 8. August 2013 09:00

Push towards renewable energy in Africa from the World Bank.

The World Bank is going to put $340 million into a Hydro-electric power project spanning 3 African countries: Burundi, Rwanda and Tanzania. This is mainly due to the fact that it wants to instill the virtue of using environmentally friendly energy into African communities so that they do not suffer the problems of the rest of the world of emitting trillions of tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year. 

Though there are some that would debate the effects of greenhouse gases, and that using traditional fuels is cheaper for African citizens, the World Bank's director for Sustainable Development has defended and promoted its move, stating that:

at around 6 cents a megawatt-hour, this project puts the average power plant cost of roughly 23 cents a megawatt-hour to shame."

This really is an area that desperately needs investment, and the support of the World Bank in this area will hopefully encourage other investors to do the same. According the World Bank's own fact sheet report, only 24 % of citizens in sub-Saharan Africa have access to electricity. The Wall Street Journal's article reports that not only will the project:

cut business costs, give customers more access to services and fuel manufacturing growth"

it could also improve the likelihood of children attending, and excelling, at school. As the added security of lights around the school would encourage attendance, and the possibility of electricity in the home would enable children to study away from school.

Developed Africa has many hydro-electric, solar and wind power opportunities promoted on its website, and is therefore a great supporter of the move towards providing sustainable electricity across the continent.

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Africa can feed Africa

by Developed Africa 7. August 2013 09:00

Analysis of the sudden excitement about the "test-tube burger" and how it isn't actually that helpful to Africa.

An article in the Guardian yesterday discussed the issues of selling the idea of this "test-tube burger" as a solution to feeding the growing population of the world. Essentially it has been argued that this innovation may in the future be able to help with the worries of a lack of food resources, when faced with a possible population of 9 billion. But as the Guardian article rightly points out, it is the West in the first place which led Africa to depend upon on imports due to subsidised western-imported crops undermining internal products. And as Kanayo Nwanze, President of Ifad, points out:

Africa can feed Africa. Africa should feed Africa. And I believe that Africa will feed Africa"

He goes on to encourage the support of small farms and farmers, who are the most important actors in feeding Africa, and in order to keep them going, investment needs to be pushed towards them and not towards expensive ways of creating artificial meat. 

Agriculture holds the key to Africa's development, and development holds the key to a future where Africa is not only feeding itself, but feeding the world."

Investment in African businesses, especially agriculture, is what Developed Africa is advocating, and it is evident from this article, that this is the answer to the world's future food problems. 

 

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The "Brain Gain"

by Developed Africa 6. August 2013 08:58

The Africa Report recently posted an article on the reverse of the Brain Drain in Africa.

It would appear, according to the report, that the "brain drain" of the 1980s and 1990s from Africa is seeing a reverse as more of the African diaspora are returning to their home countries to set up businesses and to create new opportunities both for themselves and the continent. 

Whilst there may be a tough transitional period between their lives abroad and their new lives back home, many have succeeded in realising their potential and create successful businesses. But what is clear more than anything is the general feeling that the moves back to Africa that people make are mainly family based. The decision to move back and set up business is often personal, as people want to get back to their families. As well as the draw of a change in lifestyle, Mariam Kone who moved from Canada back to Mali explained that: 

In the West, you work a lot and life is highly material. It's all about buying material stuff," she says, adding that in Mali she has struck a better balance between work and leisure."

There are many reasons for the return:

Africans are coming home from abroad—for patriotic or family reasons, or simply because of the continent's increasing opportunities."

This is what Developed Africa feels is important for the Diaspora to realise, the growing potential and growing amount of opportunities that are available to them. The Diaspora are the group to help Africa grow, with their personal vested interests in the continent, they can contribute greatly to its development. 

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Ozwald Boateng African Development

by Developed Africa 2. August 2013 09:13

 

In a recent article from How We Made It in Africa about Ozwald Boateng, his passion for Africa and investment in Africa is depicted.

Quoted as saying:

I genuinely believe it is the time for Africa right now",

it is clear that Ozwald is a great supporter of developing Africa. He was a co-founder of the Made In Africa Foundation, the main focus of which is to encourage investment in African infrastructure.

An article, written by himself, in The Telegraph, Boateng shows his support for ensuring for the need to bring Africa up to speed on energy and electricity. But not only this, he argues that

It is only when Africa is part of the global system that the world economy can reach its full potential".

He sees the people of the world as inter-connected and until they work together equally, the world not reach its full economic potential.

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The World Bank in Africa

by Developed Africa 1. August 2013 09:00

Following our post earlier this week on the former President of the World Bank, another post involving the World Bank in a whole different issue.

An article in the New York Times earlier this month is of significant interest to those concerned with African development.

The article covers three main issues. Firstly, that the World Bank has been increasingly seen to have less of a role than direct investors as shown by the statistics:

World Bank spending was just $5.6 billion in 2011, versus over $46 billion in foreign direct investment."

It is clear that despite the fact that Africa is recognised as one of the world's countries most in need of aid, that the World Bank has declined as an instrument for development, especially in comparison to private investment .

The second issue covered is that of whether or not the Bank is still upholding its measures of good governance when dealing with African governments. It would appear not, as it pledges aid to the DRC, using the argument that governance can be improved through investment. Now, this is a belief up for debate, on one hand it is arguable that by investing you are not showing the government with bad governance that it needs to improve, and thus it will remain the same. However, by investing anyway, there is clearly an argument that once a country is more financially stable there will be seen improvements in governance.

Finally, the question of the World Bank and working itself out of a job. It is clear that the Bank needs to recognize when to stop involvement, and where the line of its jurisdiction ends. There is a debate, the article notes, on the importance of climate change and the influence international institutions should have. But as the New York Times writer argues:

While such issues are important, all organizations, including the bank, have to ration their influence. Such discipline is especially important now that many African countries may find alternative means of finance."

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Kenyan Traders Association demands Coffee Industry Re-vamp

by Developed Africa 31. July 2013 11:32

 

Following our post from Monday about changes coffee corporations are making, an article from AllAfrica highlights the demand to protect farmers comes from the KCPTA

Head of communications Sylvester Odhiambo argued that:

The current system benefits multinational traders at the expense of coffee farmers living in abject poverty" 

Therefore it is evident that despite the moves the coffee multi-nationals have made towards helping farmers with training and funding, there is far more to be done. And it should also be coming from legislation to ensure that it benefits all farmers, not just those who are connected to companies making an effort towards fairer trade. 

The Farmers said the marketing of coffee is full of bureaucracy and they are losing a lot of money to middlemen"

This is another aspect that needs addressing, ensuring that there are less links in the chain between the farm and the coffee cup in order to get the best deal for farmers. 

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BRIC leadership in the future

by Developed Africa 30. July 2013 09:00

 

James Wolfenshen, former President of the World Bank, gives an interview to the Guardian.

In a recent interview with The Guardian, James Wolfenshen argued that the future of the development institutions lies in the hands of the BRICs, and that such a move will not be surprising. He also states that it will be better for development as it will bring the institutions closer to the world they are trying to reach.

I think if you look at the Brics and the economic changes they are experiencing, it is evident they have a very serious claim on leadership."

Not only this but Wolfenshen warns that the West need to be cautious, because the financial crisis we are experiencing could affect the money we put into development and thus possibly negatively affect development across the globe.

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Projects for Quality Coffee Bean Farming

by Developed Africa 29. July 2013 09:00

 

  

An article in the Wall Street Journal has highlighted the importance of consumer pressures on business.

Coffee giants Nestle, Mondelez International and D.E. Master Blenders have all started to make waves in the coffee manufacturing world by making some movement towards a more ethical approach in their treatment of farmers and coffee bean producers. Each of these giants has set up a project designed to benefit these important stakeholders: Nestle is setting up training and replanting programmes in Africa; Mondelez a similar scheme in Vietnam; and D.E. are offering funding to farmers to support their businesses.

Clearly there are two different angles that this can be viewed from. Firstly, the motivation for these large companies to adopt policies of this sort. And secondly, how far these policies go in dealing with consumer and wider concern about business ethics where multinationals are involved in developing countries.

It is clear from the article in the Wall Street Journal that the motivation being projected is that these producers are driven by consumer demand, not only for a better quality product but for businesses with an ethical core, who treat their primary producers well. However, the real push behind these moves is the fact that rural farmers are starting to migrate to cities because they are not making a good enough living from farming, and so to encourage them to keep growing coffee, the coffee companies have created an incentive scheme. Frank Mechielsen from Oxfam states that:

Companies are afraid they won't have enough supply in the future"

These farmers leaving has led to a shortage of the highly-demanded beans that are used in single-serve coffee machines; so these steps are not being taken for purely philanthropic reasons, or because they are listening to consumers, but because there is a real commercial imperative to treat their producers more equitably.

On the second point, it is important to note that in spite of the motives, positive measures are being put into place in order to encourage farmers and to help them prosper and develop better skills. But it is possible that far more could be done, Mechielsen from Oxfam comments again saying:

It's good, but companies make big profits from coffee and spend much more on marketing"

This development is not dissimilar to the actions of Nestle and Mondelez earlier this year when they put their backing behind Oxfam fighting for women's right, especially in cocoa farming. Not only was there the motive to improve women's position in life and to fight for their equality, but again there was the self-interested motivation that it was in their best interests as businesses to support women's rights.

Ultimately, of course, the motivation is not the most important element of these programmes. These schemes are expected to yield real benefits for producers, they are ethical, they reflect well on the businesses involved and they satisfy consumers' ethical demands. It is important to understand the economic motivators that have come together in these decisions, but it is more important that business is taking an ethical lead and making people's lives better.

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Cheap African Airlines Struggle

by Developed Africa 26. July 2013 09:00

 

An article in the Economist last month highlighted the issues that many low-cost airlines in Africa have come across.

Whilst there is high demand for these low-cost flights, there is a high price to pay for the owners. Costs and taxes are high, forcing several airlines out of business. But there is such potential in these airlines to boost Africa's economy that these facts cannot be ignored and just put down to poor business skills or accounting. The problem here is that taxes on fuel are too high for them to provide these low-cost flights and to prosper at the same time, action needs to be taken by African governments if they want to see their economies flourish.

Tony Tyler from the International Air Transport Association said this:

Nowhere is the potential for aviation greater than on the African continent”

And the ITATA are asking the African governments to make the changes that will allow not only these airlines to grow, but for the economy to grow too.

just as liberalisation paved the way for the spread of mobile phones in Africa, similar reforms are now needed if aviation is to reach its full potential."

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Foreign Investment in Africa (Graphic)

by Developed Africa 25. July 2013 09:00

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Part Two: A Rising Africa and its Diaspora

by Developed Africa 24. July 2013 09:00

This is the concluding part of yesterday's article. The original version of this article was published by Pambazuka News.

A long-standing critique of traditional aid is that it fails to properly target the most useful areas of development because it does not always hold the best interests of the recipients at heart and that it does not possess the understanding of the unique, local conditions in which programmes are operating. The increase in donor influence over specific projects greatly diminishes the possibility of long lasting positive outcomes. The power of diaspora backed projects is that they can exist on an intra-familial or intra-community basis so it is clear what the motives behind them are and they are able to overcome the information gap which can exist between local communities and multinational organisations. According to IFAD, diaspora investments in agriculture a four times larger than the official development funds; if this power could be harnessed intellectually as well as financially then local projects would have a higher chance of working.The ODI especially, believes that localised aid is, and would be, a far more effective use of the funds and resources, and would most certainly involve much more local knowledge of the particular project and area.

In a recent article, a research fellow for the ODI argued that not only is localising aid work better for the project and the local area, but that it strengthens aid systems, producing optimum results. In particular several areas are highlighted that would be enhanced from localising aid, including the national economy and a strengthened national government due to better control over project management. The difficulty of such schemes is that at present they are not tracked or analysed to a professional standard, so while they may have the best interests of the right stakeholders at heart, they may lack the professionalism to deliver a project most effectively. The lack of formality in this sector, then, is both a strength and a weakness.

Several schemes have been established to amplify the impact of diaspora cash-flows such as the improved structures of sub-Saharan African financial sectors and the increased money lending capacities in such areas. Of course, there is still a huge amount of potential to be unlocked.

There are some clear areas that policymakers in both the developed and developing worlds can help to improve the effectiveness of diaspora contributions. Domestic bank charges account for around 12% of remittances to Africa currently, which clearly limits the scope for contributions of any sort. The complex and off-putting visa demands of, for example, countries in the European Union represent an enormous stumbling block for well-functioning diaspora schemes. Policymakers have recognised these issues but change will not occur overnight. It is crucial that the diaspora and related diaspora organisations seek to improve relevant structural issues themselves. If the diaspora improves organically, those policymakers seeking to complement this growth will have a stronger case to make.

Globally, transparency has become a major issue for policymakers and businesses alike in the last ten years. This is a movement that is built on data - how to measure it, how to manipulate it, how to test it. It embraces governments, civil society organisations and the commercial sector by unifying these different groups under the simple ideal that better data equals better results. Because transparent schemes let the public scrutinise the associated data there is less chance that the needs of local stakeholders can go ignored - those stakeholders are now able to check and prove or disprove claims of assistance. This sort of process is one that would greatly benefit diaspora investments - rather than simply claiming to hold the interests of local stakeholders closer to heart than traditional aid or business models, they will be able to show it.

In 2004, a paper by the Migration Policy Institute called for organisations to focus on combating the information deficit surrounding diaspora funds to help nascent development and investment projects to be more effective and transparent. Developed Africa believes that opening up the commercial potential of Africa is also best served by combating this deficit. There are millions of opportunities in the continent for investment and other support; the main issue for those on the outside is a lack of knowledge about what is available and, crucially, what returns they can expect.

If members of the Africa’s diasporas know everything they need to know about where these opportunities are, what they are seeking to achieve and what support they are seeking, they will be empowered to become involved in development. Diaspora organisations are ideally suited to drive such projects forward as they have better local understanding and have a clear commitment to seeking sustainable change. Developed Africa offers a platform for this.

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Part One: A Rising Africa and its Diaspora

by Developed Africa 23. July 2013 09:00

 

 

A shorter version of this article, which will be published here in two parts, was published by Pambazuka News.

Ever since The Economist declared that Africa was 'rising' in 2011 there has been a great amount of attention given to this new conversation about the continent. While in some ways the 'Africa rising' concept is a welcome reappraisal of Africa, it has been criticised for its vagueness and focus on tired cliché rather than detailed evidence. Financial growth in African countries has been strong for the last ten years. As a McKinsey report stated, "real GDP rose by 4.9 percent a year from 2000 through 2008, more than twice its pace in the 1980s and ’90s." This strong growth has continued while recession hit much of the rest of the globe and is even more impressive given the context of conflict in selected states lowering the overall average.

African countries are still dependent on various forms of external income. Foreign direct investment in 2011 amounted to $42.7 billion according to the UN. Aid programmes contribute $44 billion to African countries according to a UN policy brief from 2010. The importance of diaspora contributions is often overlooked.

Diaspora remittances to Africa represent an enormous sum - around £60 billion in 2012 from 30 million migrants - which represents huge potential and the overwhelming willingness of the diaspora to contribute. It is a large pot currently focused on short-term change but which would be better targeted at commercial opportunities, partnerships and structured investments aimed at promoting growth and sustaining change. It is clear that the intentions of African migrants are excellent; it is also clear that such intentions could be better channeled. Remittances are the first step in harnessing the potential of the diaspora.

The African Union has recognised the need to more clearly monitor money flows from the diaspora. Earlier this year, two workshops were organised in cooperation with the World Bank to attempt to work up some tools, policies and deliverables related to diaspora giving. Clearly, there is a need to improve this process. Even the basics of quantifying the size of the diaspora itself is difficult - the International Monetary Fund highlights that many different countries use different definitions of the word. From this point onwards, the picture of the diaspora and its contributions to Africa is blurred.

While the sums involved are vast, there is little in the way of specific data - the African Union still relies on data sets from non-African organisations - to judge the actual impacts of diaspora based interventions. It is possible that this money is changing people's lives and communities for the better; it is also possible much of the money is being wasted. The real problem, at the moment, is that there is almost no way of knowing which is happening.

The reality is that diaspora backed interventions are probably very welcome but are likely to be poorly managed. As in the world of traditional aid, measuring impact properly is key to delivering better projects and achieving lasting improvements. With financial flows, this can be a simple process - most people are aware of a cost/benefit analysis, for example - and there is no doubt that a framework for diaspora investments would go a long way to better usage. Other benefits that the diaspora give back to their countries of origin are less definite in value: ideas, experience, knowledge, expertise. These 'social remittances' are powerful and incredibly useful - if those too can be channeled into more specific schemes they become more measurable and more focused.

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Harnessing Remittances to Africa

by Developed Africa 22. July 2013 09:00

An interesting read on the growing importance of remittances sent to Africa.

The article highlights the need to encourage the African diaspora to invest more in Africa, and due to the evidence of the volumes of remittances sent to the continent, it is a key avenue to follow.

A business friendly environment may induce African migrants to send more money to their home countries and invest in productive domestic projects"

So with Developed Africa's work to create a more inviting business climate by linking African opportunities to UK investors, it is likely that the African diaspora will be more willing to invest in the continent, helping it to prosper.

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Save the Children Merges with Merlin

by Developed Africa 19. July 2013 09:00

Save the Children merge with health NGO Merlin

As Save the Children and Merlin merge, it makes big news in the NGO and development world. Many are questioning why has this happened and what will it mean for both organisations? An interesting read in the Guardian lays out the facts and figures of the move, but also delves into the different arguments for what it could mean.

Immediately, when you think of merger, you think of business. And that is exactly what springs to mind in terms of this new development. So despite the confused reaction of many, it is clear that this is simply a business move, and proof that despite hiding behind charitable buzz words, deep down, NGOs behave like businesses. They may be calling it a 'partnership' but it is most definitely a merger. Which there is nothing wrong with in many people's eyes, but NGOs like to conceal this part of their nature in order not to appear competitive or business-like in any way. As the article puts it: 

if mergers are a reality in global development, so too is competition"

At this point they also mention the fact that by making this move Save the Children could well be stepping on MSF's toes, and perhaps even looking to overshadow it and increase its influence across the sector. Another important question is which of the two will triumph? Despite the fact that they are pitching this as an opportunity to combine their efforts with one another to provide a wide ranging quality service, to many, it's just Save the Children making their move into another area of the NGO realm. 

But is it that such a bad thing for NGOs to start merging? Despite the fact that NGOs try to steer away from any possibility that they might be business like and compete with one another, by not merging they are remaining at odds with every other NGO who is pursuing the same goals as they are. And by remaining like this, we can see more of the issues that have become prevalent in the development world including: competing projects from different organisations vying for space; the money donated to each charity split into too many different groups, whereas if they merged, they would have far more funding, and a more controlled focus. More merging like this could in fact lead towards a more succinct approach to development problems, without so many different NGOs pursuing their own projects, it could even make sense for them to join forces formally in order to best approach the situations and problems they face. 

But this also opens up the argument that being a business in the development world is not as bad as charities would like you to believe, and proves that a business like Developed Africa is paving the right way in its approach to development. Aid is not a sustainable method of helping underdeveloped countries to prosper, but encouraging business and competition, which works pretty well for the rest of the world, is the way forward. 

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Creating Investment Interest in Malawi

by Developed Africa 18. July 2013 09:00

Joyce Banda, the President of Malawi has made several big moves to entice FDI

Mrs Banda recently devalued the Malawian currency to leave it at K250 against the American dollar, which despite causing upset with those is Malawi, it was done with a purpose.

By devaluing the currency Banda hoped to encouraged foreign investors and has definitely increased exports because Malawian goods have become far cheaper, creating more interest.  

The recent article from Ventures, is an interesting read that highlights both the negative and positive aspects of Banda's moves. But importantly it notes that whilst the old President Mutharika might have scared off investors as well alienated his country, Banda has taken many steps to further privatisation and increase interest. In particular regard to the country showing its readiness for change, it is highlighted that:

Mrs Banda hopefully revived such efforts through further privatisation and mandated currency devaluation"

The article, whilst giving both sides to the argument, can be seen to argue that investors should be encouraged by the President of Malawi's efforts and should not fear investing in Malawi's future.

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UK Government to Knock Down Trade Barriers

by Developed Africa 17. July 2013 09:00

Justine Greening announced new UK investment into breaking down barriers to trade in Africa

It was announced on Monday by Justine Greening the Secretary of State for International Development that the UK is going further than just providing aid to Africa. It is going to break down barriers to allow for free and easy trade, allowing businesses within Africa to flourish.

We need to set the private sector free to create the jobs and incomes that the world’s poor desperately need."

The new deals are providing £27.8 million to Kenya and £30 million to Uganda and Rwanda through the TradeMark East Africa Programmes and promise to improve trade roads as well as modernising custom facilities. But not only this, the UK is also going to invest £7 million into International Trade Centre investigations into trade regulations and bureaucracy. 

This new announcement is very much what Developed Africa is advocating, and hopefully increased trading opportunities will encourage not only African businesses to go beyond what they have been able to do previously, but also will encourage UK investors to have more faith in opportunities and projects within Africa. 

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Need for Increased UK Investment in Africa

by Developed Africa 16. July 2013 09:00

We spotted an interesting article in Corporate Financier Magazine in which Deloitte's support for investment in Africa, especially from the UK, is highlighted by their Director of Research Chris Gentle.

As we recently highlighted in the post about Ernst and Young's Annual Attractiveness Survey of Africa, there is a lot of negativity towards doing business in Africa coming from those who are not currently involved, compared to positive feelings towards interaction with those who are. Gentle noted his concern with the UK's lack of investment in global services markets. More specifically, Gentle is worried that the UK does not perform as well as it should in the fast growing markets of the world - and as we know seven of the ten fastest growing economies are in Africa. He had the following to say:

This is an issue which needs to be addressed, It will require a combination of business investment, practical help for mid-sized firms looking to break through and targeted government support for our successful industries"

Deloitte have also published other materials furthering their support for UK involvement and investment in Africa, their online leaflet highlights the fact that Africa has experienced widespread, significant growth in the last decade and looks likely to go from strength to strength in the coming decades. This growth makes the continent home to a fantastic host of opportunities which Gentle thinks the UK has a great chance to invest in. Developed Africa exists to promote and support increasing interest and investment in Africa. Hopefully Gentle's statements will encourage others to do the same.

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African Transparency: Business is the real winner

by Developed Africa 15. July 2013 09:00

Interesting article over on Devex that outlines the benefits of promoting transparency for governments, civil society and, crucially, business:

The African Development Bank (AfDB) last week became the first multilateral lender to publish its data through the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).

After disclosing on July 1 data on both its public and private sector activities as well as providing precise geocoded information, AfDB joined the ranks of over 160 development organizations that seek to improve transparency on aid spending to make more effective in fighting poverty with IATI.

The decision has significant human and financial resource implications, but the bank fully believes both are justified because this “is the only way for us to conduct our development business,” said Victoria Chisala, AfDB division manager for quality assurance and results.

The AfDB has already made strides in open data - it put in place a disclosure and access to information policy back in February. As we looked at in the last post there remains something of an image problem for commercial ventures in Africa. These kind of bold, broad steps towards global standards will help to combat such problems.

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Highlights: Africa Attractiveness Survey 2013

by Developed Africa 11. July 2013 09:00

Moon rising over Cape Town, South Africa

We spoke in the last post briefly about the Ernst & Young 2013 Africa Attractiveness Survey and thought it might be of interest to flag up a few of our highlights from the document.

The 2012 edition of the Survey focused on the huge jump in foreign direct investments (FDIs) in Africa - up 27% from the original survey in 2010 - and stressed that, despite the criticisms, the narrative surrounding the continent's rise should be told "more confidently and consistently". The new edition continues this bullishness, it's Executive Summary titled, "Africa's rise is real". Ersnet & Young focus on economic facts and dismiss any scepticism out of hand - this growth is consistent, it is diverse and it should be celebrated.

The story is not totally one-sided, however, as FDIs have decreased in the last year despite the ongoing rise in global esteem that the continent seems to be going through. Greenfield FDI projects were down 12% from 2012 - although, that is in a global context where all such projects were down 15%. There are other issues, too, such as the perception of conducting business in Africa. Again, despite Africa's rise, many foreign investors remain unwilling to do business there. As it states on page 5,

However, the big take away for us from this year’s survey is the stark and enduring perception gap between those respondents who are already doing business in Africa versus those that have not yet invested in the continent... those with no business presence in Africa are far more negative about Africa’s progress and prospects. Only 47% of these respondents believe Africa’s attractiveness  will improve over the next three years, and they rank Africa as the least attractive investment destination in the world."

As we recently highlighted, the potential of African business is being severely limited by the lack of proper communication about how much commercial potential there is. Developed Africa seeks to directly combat that so do check out our homepage for more.

The good news is that the percieved attractiveness of various sectors in Africa has improved allowing for more diverse business models. As stated on page 41,

There has been a marked shift in perceived sector attractiveness; resources remain top of the list, but not by far, with infrastructure and some of the service sectors gaining considerably in prominence"

Previously unheralded sectors like Education, ICT or Financial Services have become hugely more attractive, complimenting the long standing interest in commodities and energy related projects in the region. This is a terrific opportunity for entrepreneurs and established businesses alike to move into new and exciting ventures.

The survey ends with a section focused on how Africa can continue to grow in the next year. The first point this section makes is to stress the vital importance of FDIs to the region. These act as catalysts for intra-continental trade, improvements in infrastructure and job creation. Africa has the largest employable population in the world and will continue to grow with or without foreign investors. However, it will grow faster and more effectively with the injection of funds and the creation of international commercial partnerships.

The conclusion on page 64 puts it neatly,

Business has to be viewed as an essential partner in driving the growth and development agenda."

[Read the whole survey report here]

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Britain Leads in African Investments

by Developed Africa 10. July 2013 09:00

A perhaps surprising article in the South China Morning Post today (via @WhyDev) shows that Britain remains the main investor in Africa over the last ten years.

This is contrary to what you might expect considering the amount of articles reflecting the BRIC expansion into Africa.

Investors have become increasingly attracted to Africa, as it has begun to demonstrate strong economic growth, an emerging middle class, greater political stability and improved government balance sheets.

Britain was the top investor, with 437 deals worth US$30.5 billion since 2003, followed by France (141 deals worth US$30.47 billion) and China (49 deals worth US$20.8 billion), figures compiled by the international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer show.

The African Development Bank said that economic growth on the continent would hit 4.8 per cent this year and 5.3 per cent next year, led by West African commodity exporters such as Nigeria, Ghana and Ivory Coast.

China overtook the United States as Africa's largest trading partner in 2009, a report by the US Government Accountability Office in February showed."

[Read the whole article here]

In related news the Ernst & Young annual Attractiveness Survey of Africa was recently released. The report pushes the links between investment and long-term growth, an increasingly common view of the next step for development in Africa. This Survey is incredibly useful for anyone looking to do business in Africa - either as investors or as African businesses seeking investors.

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Lack of Information Halting Investment in Africa

by Developed Africa 9. July 2013 09:00

Developed Africa is designed to allow clear, concise information about commercial Opportunities in Africa. A new survey by FTI Consulting suggests that such a service is absolutely vital:

...on the eve of President Obama’s visit to Africa to bolster U.S. - African trade and political ties, eight of every ten, or 80 percent of institutional investors surveyed in the United States are largely unaware of investment opportunities on the continent."

As Obama's visit to Africa has now ended, some commentators have recognised the lack of attention paid to the continent by investors and may seek to heed Obama's call to "come on down" to Africa. As highlighted by FTI Consulting, their research suggests that communication might be the defining issue for investment in Africa,

Africa has the potential to be a destination of choice for U.S. institutional investors given its abundant natural resources, eco-tourism potential and favourable demographics. Many African countries already are capitalising on their various assets and have been identified as high-growth geographies by institutional investors. However, it is critical to sustained economic growth that key African messages are continually heard, expanded and understood so investors are aware of the investment opportunities in during a time of great global trade competition. Our research showed there still is work to be done in this regard.”

While there are some good examples of African business reporting in the mainstream press, services like Developed Africa are an exciting, interactive way of combating the issue of communicating business opportunities from African based commercial entities.

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The Best 'Charity' is Aid for Business

by Developed Africa 8. July 2013 09:00

Really interesting article from the founder of Standard Trust Bank in the Christian Science Monitor. Tony Elumelu writes about the way in which commercial investment has far reaching and long lasting impact in Africa, particularly in terms of job growth.

Experience teaches that connecting the private sector to economic development is the most effective way to build wealth and resources in local economies, and ensure sustainable development. Philanthropists, nonprofits, and nongovernmental organizations can help achieve this self-sufficiency if they harness their resources to create change in the private sector.

Donor funds flowing into Africa annually are many times the $5 million investment that started our bank, but have they created equivalent impact? Philanthropy and development aid can, and should, be components of Africa’s growth strategy. But perhaps it is time to rethink how that capital is deployed and to focus more on sustainable private sector solutions."

Initial investment for business ventures is a new area for development that needs more focus. That is not to say that aid and traditional development do not achieve a huge amount of good in many areas - health, emergency response, education. In fact, Elumelu calls for a hybrid model that seeks cooperation that best utilises the skills of both businesses and non-profits,

Private investors are willing to take risk, but are often wary of taking the full brunt of development risk in emerging regions. Philanthropic dollars can help in many ways, from co-investing with the private sector, to partially subsidizing operations until businesses can achieve profitability and sustainability, or subsidizing management training to help specific businesses gain the skill sets they need for growth."

[Read the whole article here]

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Categories: Aid | Business | Development Aid | Donors | Philanthropy

Infographic: African Top 5s

by Developed Africa 5. July 2013 09:00

Africa From Top To Bottom
Image source: www.master-of-finance.org

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Categories: Development | Economy | Health | Human Development | Human Rights | Security | Wealth

Remittances and the Power of the Diaspora

by Developed Africa 4. July 2013 09:00

The African diaspora is slowly becoming a major topic in international development as a recent piece on the World Bank blog shows. This article highlights the financial heft of the diaspora and how these finances could be better managed and invested to benefit the continent,

Remittances are the money that migrants send back to their home countries to sustain their families. In the case of Africa it is estimated that 120 million people benefited from the US$60 billion sent home by 30 million migrants in 2012. While most of these flows are used for consumption, they could have a greater development impact if a larger portion was saved in banks by recipients and channeled into productive investment such as microenterprise activities.

This link between remittances and financial inclusion was the main topic discussed in a Forum organized by the World Bank in Brussels on May 16th, bringing together representatives of francophone African countries and Diaspora communities with several development partners such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the African Union Commission (AUC), who with European Commission (EC) funding and World Bank implementation, are collaborating to address this issue with concrete action.

In effect, the occasion served to sensitize the audience to the creation of the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) as a specialized Institute at the AUC, whose broad objective is precisely to leverage remittances for social and economic development. As an African-led initiative, AIR aims to help countries manage remittance flows by providing them with technical assistance, capacity-building and research, as well as engaging in advocacy with the public and private sectors. With four African countries offering to host the Institute, the project is currently awaiting a decision by AU Member States on its location."

[Read the whole article here]

If you interested in finding out more about diaspora based development schemes, check out Project Diaspora (temporarily offline while they redevelop their website), the Africa-Europe Diaspora Platform or the World Bank's own African Diaspora Program.

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Categories: Diaspora | Remittances

No Child Left Offline

by Developed Africa 3. July 2013 09:00

In his successful run for the presidency of Kenya earlier this year, Uhuru Kenyatta has promised to deliver one laptop per child to those attending primary schools from January 2014. This scheme has been met with some scepticism, not least for the potential cost as this article from one of Kenya's largest daily newspapers put it,

However, given the cost implications, the ministry has proposed to roll out the project in three phases. According to the estimates tabled by [Education Secretary] Kaimenyi, each laptop will cost Sh28,000, a sum that may be out of reach of many parents in public schools whose children are covered by the project."

There are other criticisms out there. A recent excellent blog post by Will Mutua (co-founder for Nairobi's Open Academy) summed up the main areas of concern for such a scheme very succinctly,

Lack of Supporting Infrastructure: Many schools in rural areas have no access to electricity, some have dilapidated classrooms and other amenities, not to mention some extreme cases where learning does not even happen inside a classroom. What’s the point of giving these students laptops? Their schools have other more pressing needs.

Lack of Capacity: There are teachers who are computer-illiterate. What happens when computers break down, who will have the technical skills to troubleshoot these laptops?

Timing: It’s just not the right time for such an initiative. There are other pressing matters that can be dealt with instead of ‘throwing away’ money in an impractical project. How about jobs, healthcare etc.? And even if it is a matter of enhancing education – why not first hire more teachers, there’s clearly a shortage of them, or pay teachers better?"

It is interesting that such problems have been highlighted for a government project - if you didn't know what they were about you would be forgiven for guessing that Mutua was criticising a poorly planned charitable project. It lacks sustainability, it lacks a proper appreciation of local context, and seems to seek headlines more than anything else. These are all classic complaints of donor-driven development models.

Promoting computer literacy is a great project, particularly for Kenya as it looks to become the tech hub of Africa. Giving a laptop to every child is something that has been attempted before (see Mutua's article for some good examples of similar schemes in East Africa in recent years) but often falls on the tertiary aspects of promoting computer literacy - you can't just give the equipment, you have to support that equipment and its users as well. Governments and NGOs can start projects like this but it is through commercial partnerships that African nations can really build a lasting, economically functioning tech sector. The talent is there, schemes something like Kenyatta's one laptop per child can open up the opportunity - now it is up to business investors to bring those things together.

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Categories: Investment | Sustainability | Technology

Drugs in Africa: Imports are the problem

by Developed Africa 28. June 2013 09:00

The issue of drug imports to African countries from China was highlighted in an excellent article over on Think Africa Press recently.

Chinese manufacturing dominates much of the imports into Africa and has become the largest trade partner for the continent with deals totalling more than $160 billion in 2011. With many goods, poorly regulated production leads to faults and substandard products. This is usually an annoyance, with drugs it is much more serious than that. As the Think Africa Press article puts it:

Substandard drugs are usually impossible to distinguish from good drugs. They look the same, come in identical packaging, and are manufactured by the same companies that make the good quality drugs. In fact, in the same way we might come across a few shirts with minor defects amidst a pile of perfectly-made clothes, substandard drugs can often be found in and amidst supplies of otherwise good drugs."

 The big pharmaceutical industry in Africa has been somewhat beleaguered following high profile copyright cases that saw many of the world's largest drugs manufacturers losing emerging markets to cheaper or knock-off drugs. While this has made the cost of life saving treatments fall substantially, it has also allowed a far greater fluctuation in quality. A long running dispute surrounding the import of antiretrovirals (commonly known as ARVs) - used for the treatment of HIV/AIDS - is a good example of the difficult and often broken relationship between 'big pharma' and African governments.

With China filling this gap, the poor quality of drugs now coming into the continent is simply the latest downside to an on-going problem. The problem is the lack of pharmaceutical manufacturing within Africa.

In 2010, a factory in Uganda became the first in a 'least developed country' to be regarded as world class. Rather than import for either incredibly high prices or at the risk of flooding the market with substandard of defective drugs, African countries would be better served seeking investment for nascent drug manufacturing. In January 2013 saw the creation of a new body, the Federation of African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association (FAPMA), to lobby more strongly for a domestic alternative to imports. Tsingi Moyo, the spokesperson for FAPMA, stated:

Self-sufficiency in healthcare is important for economic growth, for that reason it is dangerous to be dependent on others. Hence the infrastructure problems of Africa should be addressed. This can only be done by directly confronting them rather than giving up and abdicating our future to others."

To move forward, investment in infrastructure in the continent should be sought, promoting mutually beneficial partnerships rather than repeating the pattern of trade and recrimination that seems to have dominated this issue for the last ten to fifteen years.

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Categories: Investment

Millenium Challenge Corporation to Leverage Private Sector

by Developed Africa 27. June 2013 09:00

The Millenium Challenge Corporation (MCC) was founded in 2002 with the intention of focusing on developing countries' economies, particularly keen to improve the capabilities of nascent private sector organisations. It is a US organisation that challenges existing aid models from donor countries all over the world.

In this interview, MCC CEO Daniel  Yohannes highlights why this model should be further embraced by the USA:

I think in the long term, what we are doing is creating a trade partner for America."

[See the original Devex post here]

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Categories: Economy

Obama in Africa: An opportunity overlooked too long

by Developed Africa 26. June 2013 09:00

Obama's upcoming trip to Senegal, Tanzaia and South Africa has garnered a fair amount of criticim in the USA due to its projected costs of $60 to $100 million. But this high cost has masked the massive potential both in terms of international relations and, more importantly, in the vast potential commercial returns of the continent. Obama has received a fair amount of criticism for lack of engagement with Africa in the last 5 years - as highlighted by the video above - which has allowed China to make huge political and commercial gains in their absence.

Harvard Business Review published an article on the trip highlighting these benefits:

Africa ranks second—behind emerging Asia—as the fastest growing region of the world. The IMF forecasts thatSub-Saharan Africa will grow at a rate of 5.4% this year, about 50% faster than Latin America, and infinitely more than Europe, which is currently expected to grow not at all or even contract. Also, Africa's growth is not from a small base. Africa today is a $2 trillion economy, roughly the same as Brazil or India (where few would say a presidential visit is wasted)"

An article on Bloomberg Businessweek  further stressed the potential for growth in economic cooperation with fast growing African states:

U.S. foreign direct investment to the whole region in 2011 amounted to just $3.1 billion, less than 10 percent of total FDI to Africa that year. The latest U.S. Trade Representative statistics suggest the stock of U.S. FDI in Tanzania was a pathetic $21 million. U.S. trade with the region as a whole was worth $94 billion—compared with $127 billion in China-Africa trade. America’s comparatively low economic engagement means the U.S. is missing out on trade and investment opportunities in a small but dynamic part of the global economy."

Clearly there is pressure from inside the USA and from African states for new ventures that Obama has so far largely ignored - he has previously made just one 24 hour visit to Ghana in 2009. This trip was low on any real substance and saw his administration lose favour for refusing to engage properly. This trip is Obama's chance to remedy that.

For more on potential trade opportunities between the USA and Africa take a look at this brief by the Center for Global Development.

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Categories: Foreign Direct Investment

Unpicking 0.7%: Investment was always the way forward

by Developed Africa 25. June 2013 09:00

For many years campaigners have fought to set the minimum level of aid spending in the UK at 0.7%. This target was promised by the Cameron government but has yet to be delivered leading many to criticise the current UK government. But where exactly does the figure 0.7% come from and why has it become such a focused target on third sector pressure?

Richard Thomas at African Arguments has recently written a fascinating piece on the history of this target. This particular aspect of the aid agenda stems from the Pearson Commission, a World Bank investigation into the history and future of aid led by Nobel Prize winner Lester Pearson. In 1969, the report 'Partners in Development' was released. As Thomas explains it, this report set out a new paradigm for aid:

Pearson concluded that initially 0.7% should be official (government) aid flows and that approximately 0.3% should come from the private sector. The first part of this formula (0.7%) was adopted by the UN and later by the major donor countries.  Pearson expected that this ratio of 2:1 (government: private) would, within two decades, be reversed. He felt that a more natural relationship was 0.3% from government funded aid flows and approximately 0.7% or more from the private sector. Reducing poverty in Africa and Asia depended on investment, trade, better health and education, adding value locally to primary products etc. Not, in other words giving developing countries fish (aid), but giving ‘them’ a fishing rod so that they could develop themselves.

Private investment would flow, they believed, when internal capacity and investment-friendly institutions had been developed – partly by aid. But it was necessary to begin with a front loaded ‘Marshall plan’ approach, hence the 0.7%. The long term need for 0.3% was to help build and sustain local capacity."

Private sector investment was always intended to become the major influence in development models. The huge amount of aid assistance currently offered is, as Thomas describes it, a misunderstanding of what Pearson recommended for long-term development in the Global South. Thomas argues that an enshrined governmental aid budget of 0.7% will almost inevitably fuel some of the major criticisms of aid - for instance, the problem of dependency and bad budgeting in recipient countries. See the TED talk below for a good example of this critique.

Unlike some critics, Thomas argues that cutting the aid budget isn't the answer; promoting greater private sector investment is.

The piece on African Arguments continues:

A new Paradigm for Aid and Development assistance is needed. The 0.7% model encourages donors to focus on quantity rather than quality and discourages the kinds of reforms which would engender sustainable growth. The Chinese alternative, which is just as exploitative as the western neo-liberal model, appeals to many African elites who are neither reformist nor pro-poor.

Pearson’s expectation that the educational and structural investments achieved by aid would trigger increasing investment and trade has, thanks to the Chinese, been realised (although probably not in ways he expected). But bulk or wholesale aid, whether 0.7 or 0.3, is no longer the key to African development. It could be argued that small scale initiatives which act as a catalyst (adjusting the ‘rules of the game’, removing log-jams, increasing the role and influence of civil society, improving the capacity to audit flows of funds etc) are both cheaper and much more useful to developing countries in the long run."

Governmental aid might serve a purpose but it is not the real solution to long-term development. The 0.7% debate should be diverted to reflect this - the UK government can and should fight for greater investment from British private sector organisations, bringing beneficial partnerships to everyone involved.

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Categories: Aid | Development | Investment

Japan Moves from Assistance to Investment

by Developed Africa 24. June 2013 09:00

An interesting read from over at African Arguments. It would seem that the Japanese government is going to be focusing on various African sectors in the future because of a better understanding of the potential commercial partnerships available on the continent. Here are a couple of choice extracts:

Japan’s relationship with African countries has previously been very ‘soft’ – based largely on development assistance – worthy, but to be honest, boring. This will, it seems, continue, but under the new mantra of ‘Abenomics’ (the economic doctrine of Prime Minister Abe) interaction with the continent will focus more on what benefit Japan can accrue from its investments...

Most notably this will focus on the energy sector – Japan is very interested in developing, and presumably reaping the energy benefits of, for example, Mozambique’s huge new natural gas finds. Tanzania and Angola were also listed as countries of interest in this regard."

[Read the whole post here]

Their briefing refers largely to opportunities in emerging extractive industries but also mentions interest in pharmaceutical ventures. The announcement has been recognised as a major shift in attitude from Japan, traditionally a large donor country to African states. It represents further interest in for-profit development in Africa by East Asian countries, led in the last decade by China.

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Categories: Development | For profit development

Pitching Africa in the City

by Developed Africa 21. June 2013 09:00

Last month Developed Africa joined African Peoples Advocacy at 'Pitching Africa in the City'.

 

Vox Africa covered the event, which was highlighting the opportunities for pitching African opportunities to institutions in the City of London. Ben Oguntala, CEO of Developed Africa, gave a presentation on overcoming the assumptions which undermine efforts to bring trade and investment to the continent. He was joined for a panel discussion by Chris Cleverly, CEO of Made in Africa Foundation, Sylvie Aboa-Bradwell, CEO of African Peoples Advocacy, and Justine Lutterodt, director of the Centre for Synchronous Leadership. The event was chaired by Henry Bonsu, director of Colourful Radio.

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Categories: Development | Investment

G8 Highlights Importance of Trade for Africa

by Developed Africa 20. June 2013 09:00

The recent G8 summit held in the UK saw Prime Minister David Cameron directly address the importance of industry in Africa.

Cameron announced new G8 partnerships with developing countries that would focus on ensuring that African states get the full benefit from commodity trading, notably from extractive industries, with hopes that new commitments will encourage much greater profits than the traditional aid model currently in place. A huge part of this project centres on transparency and the importance of clear information in business deals. Cameron wrote in a letter to other G8 leaders,

Too many developing countries are held back by corruption – and this can be reinforced or even encouraged by poor business practice and a lack of transparency from those that trade with them."

[Read the full letter here]

This is an encouraging signal as it clearly emphasises a business-led development strategy. It is particularly worthy as it comes from the Prime Minister of Britain, traditionally an aid focused country. We urge other G8 members to take up this new call for investment and partnership, not just handouts.

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Categories: Business | Industry | Investment | Trade | Transparency

Welcome to Developed Africa

by Developed Africa 19. June 2013 09:00

“A new, inclusive way of doing business in Africa,” Ben Oguntala, CEO of Developed Africa

This website is a new kind of resource for anybody interested in Africa. We foster partnerships between people with big ideas and those searching for new opportunities in a rapidly developing market. We believe that commercial engagement with and investment in African projects is the best way for the continent to develop. The problem is the information deficit that makes companies outside Africa hesitant to do business on the continent.

There are many myths and preconceptions about working in Africa. Much of this stems from the lack of easily accessible information on proposed projects. This website will make such information incredibly easy to search and digest. It also provides a platform for Opportunity Providers to gain a new platform for their ideas.

For too long, development in Africa has been dominated by Western-backed, donor-dominated non-profit models. While these mechanisms have achieved some successes, the development of commercial partnerships is the next step, allowing greater sustainability and initiatives that truly reflect the needs and desires of the people. The aid model creates a systematic imbalance between donors and recipients and a bias against the treatment of African opportunities as serious commercial projects. Developed Africa’s objective is to bring balance to the relationship between developed and developing countries by providing a platform on which all parties can engage as equals.

Please sign up if you have an idea for an Opportunity or are interested in browsing our database for new investment ideas. Check back regularly on the News tab for updates and discussions.

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Categories: Business | Development | Diaspora | Innovation | Investment | Opportunity updates