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African Business 2020 edition

  • Text
  • Agenda
  • Business
  • Invest
  • Union
  • Industry
  • Sustainable
  • Development
  • Regions
  • Trends
  • Sectors
  • Afcfta
  • Trade
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  • Africa
  • Global
  • Continent
  • Projects
  • Economic
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A unique guide to business and investment in Africa. Global Africa Network is proud to launch this inaugural edition of African Business 2020 at a time of energetic planning for a prosperous future for the continent. The African Union’s Agenda 2063 is much more than a document about a hoped-for future, it contains concrete goals and deliverables. The Programme for Infrastructure Development in Africa (PIDA) and the development finance institution, the African Development Bank (AfDB) are already rolling out valuable projects that are changing the reality on the ground in vital areas of the African economy. Perhaps the most significant event of recent times is the signing by African leaders of the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA) which will bring together all 55 member states of the African Union and cover a market of more than 1.2-billion people. African Business 2020 has articles on all of these recent trends, plus overviews of the key economic sectors and regional and country profiles. In 2019 Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed received the Nobel Peace Prize for peace-making efforts in his region. The economic dividends of peace are beginning to be felt. In 2020 South African President Cyril Ramaphosa assumed the mantle of AU Chairperson. He brings to the role considerable experience in conflict management, constitution-writing and seeking consensus. Global Africa Network is a proudly African company which has been producing region-specific business and investment guides since 2004, including South African Business and Nigerian Business, in addition to its online investment promotion platform

OVERVIEW Information and

OVERVIEW Information and Communications Technology Africans are getting connected. Under UN Sustainable Development Goal 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure) there is a call for “affordable, universal Internet access by the year 2020 to improve socio-economic development”. The African Union’s Agenda 2063 outlines a number of outcomes it wants to see by the time its agenda is implemented. One of them reads as follows: electricity supply and Internet connectivity will be up by 50%. These are ambitious goals, but technological advances mean that Africa is in a position to leapfrog over old methods. There are already a great number of Africans connected via smartphones or computers, but more still needs to be done. In 2018 there were 456-million mobile phone subscribers. The number is expected to grow to 535-million by 2020. Tanzania has 6.4-million users of the M-Pesa mobile phone payment system. Senegal expects to achieve a 95.3% mobile phone penetration rate in 2021. The broadband working group of the World Bank, reporting in 2019, stated that less than a third of Africa’s population has access to broadband connectivity. If the goal of achieving universal, affordable, and good quality Internet access by 2030 is to be achieved, an investment of 0-billion would be required. The number of broadband connections in Africa crossed the 400-million mark in 2018 (which was nearly 20 times more than in 2010) but the regional average broadband penetration was only 25%. Sector Insight A Kenyan company is offering free WiFi. Mobile broadband coverage in Africa is still at 70% of the population. Key areas identified by African ICT ministers at a meeting organised by the International Telecommunications Union are infrastructure, investment, digital transformation (including digital platforms and services), digital skills and entrepreneurship, cybersecurity, a common digital market and policy and regulation. Smart Africa is an initiative backed by all the leaders of the AU to promote and expand the telecommunications potential of the continent. Examples of projects under the Smart AFRICAN BUSINESS 2020 64

OVERVIEW Africa banner are data centres (Djibouti), innovation and entrepreneurship programmes (Egypt), e-payments (Ghana), cyber security (Ivory Coast) and smart energy and the blue economy (Togo). Several countries’ overall GDP growth has been boosted by the telecommunications sector: Benin (10.6%) and Gabon (18%) are examples and Ethiopia is expected to see a spike when parts of its telecommunications network are privatised. Mobile operator association GSMA expects mobile phone and data usage to grow in Africa at a compound rate of 4.5% to 2024. The high price of data in most African countries is a serious obstacle to the development and deepening of the sector. Infrastructure An extensive network of undersea cables links Africa to other parts of the world. New cables along both the east and west coasts have been undertaken in recent years or are under consideration. The planned Djibouti Africa Regional Express (DARE) submarine fibre optic cable system is expected to cost -million while the South Atlantic Cable System (SACS) connected Angola to Brazil in 2018. The World Bank invested 0-million into the Regional Communication Infrastructure Program to improve communication lines in Africa, which expanded capacity in the Sub-Saharan region from just 80Gbps in 2008 to 15.7Tbps in 2012. An extension of a submarine cable to Ivory Coast was celebrated in 2019. Private company MainOne laid an open-access submarine cable with broadband to West Africa in 2010. Landing stations along the coast of the West Coast helped to make the Internet widely available all the way to Nigeria. Branching stations were later added at Senegal and now Ivory Coast has its own. MainOne launched a data centre in Abidjan but the cable is carrier-neutral so other services can use it. The electronics on the cable have also been upgraded. Satellites are a critical part of the telecommunications network of Africa. Content and data providers typically use satellite services where no fibre network is available. SES Africa has a fleet of satellites that orbit four times closer to earth than other models. Vodacom Business Nigeria is partnering with Intelsat to offer more to its customers in the enterprise and Internet of Things sectors. Several African countries are participating in the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope project. Based in South Africa, SKA’s Africa programme will see the creation of the AVN (the African Very-Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) network). The other participating countries are Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mozambique and Zambia. The Overseas Private Investment Corporation, a self-sustaining US government agency, has a three-year plan (Connect Africa) to invest -billion on projects that include telecommunications and Internet access. Startups A Kenyan company has found a way to offer WiFi for free. BRCK has 700 000 active unique visitors per month and operates out of 2 700 sites in East Africa. It has its own operating system, Moja, and is robust enough to be installed in taxis. In reporting on the introduction of BRCK to South Africa, TimesLive quoted World Wide Worx MD Arthur Goldstuck saying, “Between 25% and 33% of SA smartphone owners don’t use cellular data with their devices because they can’t afford to.” Founders Factory Africa is supporting tech startups across Africa. The plan is to assist with the launch of 140 small businesses between 2019 and 2025. Standard Bank, which has a presence in 22 African countries, has invested in Founders Factory Africa and may be able to help individual entrepreneurs expand their businesses through local knowledge and access to markets. ■ Online Resources Connect Africa: International Telecommunication Union: Research ICT Africa: Smart Africa: West African Telecommunications Regulatory Assembly: 65 AFRICAN BUSINESS 2020

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