Month: May 2011

France, Britain to deploy attack helicopters to Libya

Both France and the U.K will send attack helicopters to help fight off Qaddafi’s forces in support of the rebels cause in Libya.

Here is the British Army showing off its Apache helicopter force.

The helicopters, a weapon that has yet to be used by NATO in enforcing the no-fly-zone, will no doubt help strike Qaddafi’s military assets hidden in urban areas while avoiding civilian casualties.  Given that the rebels were under armed, disorganized as a fighting force, and needed close air support when taking on Qaddafi’s forces, this is a welcome addition to their side.  Although it would have made a big difference if they were deployed during the first days when the no-fly-zone was being enforced, it is better late than never.

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Economic growth has tripled African middle class

The number of people in the African middle class has substantially grown over the decades due to good economic growth.

Strong economic growth and a move towards a stable, salaried job culture and away from traditional agricultural activities has caused the number of middle class Africans to triple over the last 30 years to 313 million people says African Development Bank (AfDB)

The Bank Group in a report ‘The Middle of the Pyramid: Dynamics of the Middle Class in Africa’, however, warns that despite this phenomenon income inequality in Africa remains very high, and that the overall middle class figure includes large numbers of a ‘floating class’ whose hold on status is insecure.

In a statement announcing the report, the Bank said, “Over the decades, the numbers have steadily risen from approximately 111 million or 26% of the population in 1980 to around 151.4 million (27%) in 1990. The 2010 figure, however, shows a significant surge of 60% from the 2000 figure of 196 million or 27.2% of total population.

“The report defines middle class largely in terms of higher income relative to the average. That average is of course lower in Africa than in the west. The report notes: “the middle class is usually defined as individuals with annual income exceeding USD3,900 in purchasing power parity terms’.

“However, the report acknowledges that other factors come into play when defining who is middle class, saying: ‘other variables such as education, professions, aspirations, and lifestyle are also important features that help establish who is in the middle class’.

“Overall, it is economic growth that determines the rise of the middle class, but economic growth is in turn driven by social and economic factors. The report notes: ‘Africa’s middle class is strongest in countries that have a robust and growing private sector as many middle class individuals tend to be local entrepreneurs. In a number of African countries, a new middle class has emerged due to opportunities offered by the private sector’.

“Other determining factors include the establishment of stable, secure, well-paid jobs, and higher levels of tertiary education.

“Geographically, middle class levels vary a great deal across African countries. North Africa has the highest. Tunisia has the highest concentration at almost 90%, followed by Morocco at almost 85% and Egypt with almost 80%. But a significant number of these belong to the ‘floating’ category with a strong danger of falling into poverty due to economic shocks.

“Other countries with high percentages of the middle class include Gabon, Botswana, Namibia, Ghana, Cape Verde, Kenya and South Africa. Countries at the bottom end include Mozambique, Madagascar, Malawi, Rwanda, Burundi and Liberia.

“The report maintains the growth in the middle class is good news for the future prosperity of Africa, but also points out the continued high levels of income inequality on the continent. The continent has a extremely rich elite: ‘About 100,000 Africans had a net worth of USD800 billion in 2008, or about 60% of Africa’s GDP or 80% of sub-Saharan Africa’s’.”

This is further continuing what i’ve been saying and posting about.  Africa’s future looks very bright and promising, but it has to be managed well and competently.  That calls for good leadership both from the public sector and private sector.  This chance is too good to be wasted.

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Next James Bond film to be shot in South Africa?

Current James Bond actor Daniel Craig

According to news reports, the makers of the legendary movie series are searching for locations in South Africa to shoot some scenes for the film.

MI6 can reveal that director Sam Mendes and producer Barbara Broccoli are understood to be in South Africa prepping for production of the 23rd James Bond film.

Former England international cricketer Darren Gough spilled the beans as he sat next to the pair during a first class Virgin flight to Johannesburg earlier today. Gough said that they were travelling to scout locations for the film. Whether their location work is based just in South Africa is unclear. No James Bond actor has filmed scenes in the country before, although it was visited by villains Wint & Kidd in the 1971 outing “Diamonds Are Forever”.

South Africa has been a long-rumoured location for a future 007 adventure, with press reports routinely linking the nation to upcoming movies. At one time, “Casino Royale” (2006) was scheduled to shoot there, but plans switched before cameras rolled.

A great showcase opportunity for South Africa to show the world what it has to offer.

Bond 23 is due for release in November 2012.

Here are all the intro’s sequences since the first film.

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South Korea eyes Africa to increase export led growth

South Korea is seeking to boost its business presence in Africa by establishing three new business centres to support South Korean businesses and African importers following in China’s foot steps.

South Korea’s state-run trade agency said Wednesday it will open a new business center in Ethiopia this week, the first of three business-trade support centers to be set up in Africa this year.

The Korea Business Center (KBC) in Ethiopia will be opened Thursday (local time) in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, according to the Korea Trade-Investment Promotion Agency (KOTRA).
KOTRA will also open a KBC in Accra, the capital of Ghana, on Friday, followed by one in Douala, the largest city in Cameroon, in September.

The total number of South Korean business support centers in Africa will be brought to seven this year after the opening of the three KBCs.

“Africa had long been regarded as a subject of one-sided assistance and not a business partner due to years of civil wars, famine and diseases, but with a reduction of armed conflicts and strong economic growth that has stayed above an annual average of 5 percent since 2004 the region is now becoming a new trade partner,” KOTRA said.

KOTRA noted the African continent may become one of the world’s largest markets in the future with over 800 million people living in the 48 countries south of the Sahara Desert.

Africa’s imports jumped more than two-fold from US$154 billion in 2004 to $324 billion in 2008, recording annual growth of over 20 percent, it said.

In 2009, South Korea shipped $9.62 billion worth of products to African countries, only about 2 percent of its annual exports.

“Africa is also becoming very important as a future source of energy for our country as the region has the world’s third largest reserves of oil and the world’s fourth largest reserves of natural gas,” KOTRA said.

After seeing the growth and progress that China has made in Africa, South Korea is following in the same footsteps as its Asian neighbor by increasing its economic footprint on the continent.  This is mainly due for a need for new markets as demographically, growth at home and in Asia will slow down as more and more people age faster than anywhere else in the world, except for Europe.  Targeting a region that has economic upside, a growing middle class and young workers is the right recipe for South Korea to maintain stable growth.

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Mozambique bets big with new airport

Mozambique will build a new international airport to increase economic development and growth.

A new $102 million airport in Mozambique is to be built in the northern city Nacala to further expand infrastructure to attract tourists and investment, an official said Thursday.

Deputy Transport Minister Manuela Ribelo confirmed that construction has already started on the Nacala International Airport, which is bein built in place of a military base.

The airport is said to facilitate travel to a key city in the north of the country which is somehwat undeveloped. Housing Mozambique’s only deepwater port, Nacala will serve as an export centre for neighbouring countries such as Zambia and Malawi once a railway is built to connect them to the city.

Mozambique are currently focusing on improving infrastructure, with President Armando Guebuza opening a new passenger and cargo terminal at Vilankulo airport in the south of the country.

Close to the Indian Ocean Bazaruto Islands, Vilankulo is a popular city with tourists, prompting a $10m revamp of its airport. Its capacity has now trebled so it can accommodate 200,000 passengers a year according to local reports.

The country’s busiest airport, Maputo International Airport, was boosted by a $75m cash injection last year to accommodate 900,000 travellers annually, while a new domestic terminal is under construction there, too.

General aviation is often overlooked as a source of economic growth.  There is an old aviation saying that says:  “A mile of highway gets you one mile, but a mile of runway can take you anywhere'”.  Airports support business development in many ways like highways and railroads do.  Aviation activities bring business.  Aviation encourages business growth and expansion especially in areas where commercial airlines don’t have regularly scheduled flights.  Aviation is crucial to many companies because, through aviation, materials, workers and a wide variety of consumers are all within reach.

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According to new study, Africa is the birth of human language(s)

New research reveals that language originated in Africa and migrated across the world.  It originated in central and southern Africa before spreading across the globe, the research said.  A large study of the sounds that differentiate words, or phonemes, used in 504 human languages reveals that the dialects containing the most phonemes are spoken in Africa.

Human language originated in Africa, according to a newly completed University of Auckland study. The study results parallel and complement recent genetic and phenotype studies that support an African origin for Homo sapiens, or modern humans, strengthening the notion that the development of language was a key innovation that enabled modern humans to spread across the globe.

This is not surprising since Africa is the origin of man.

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Samsung to increase presence in Africa

South Korean electronics maker Samsung will increase its presence in Africa.  The South Korean company will build more assembly plants in Africa, set up a research and development (R&D) centers and aims to develop 10,000 electronics engineers in the continent by 2015.

Samsung Electronics Co aims to post US$10 billion in revenue by 2015 in Sub-Saharan Africa with its consumer electronics and mobile products built for the market, Yonhap News Agency reported the chief of the company’s African unit as saying Wednesday.

Samsung has been stepping up efforts to make inroads into the African market, which has a population of one billion with a growing number of middle-class people, as it searches for new revenue sources to counter sluggish demand in advanced markets. It created an African unit headquartered in South Africa in 2009.

“With products tailored to the African market, marketing activities and contributions to communities, Samsung Electronics will achieve US$10 billion revenue by 2015,” Park Gwang-gi, executive vice president and head of the company’s African unit, said at an event for press and buyers in Nairobi.

Samsung’s annual conference in the Kenyan capital, which runs through Monday, drew more than 1,000 buyers from 43 African countries, the company said.

Samsung introduced its strategies in the continent and showcased new products, including its premium Web-connected TVs, the Galaxy S2 smartphone, the Galaxy 10.1 tablet computer, laptops, digital cameras, washers, air conditioners and other home appliances designed for the local market.

Its air conditioners and flat-screen TVs for Africa are protected against unexpected power cuts and humidity, it said, while the batteries for its laptops can be recharged by solar power.

“Africa has huge growth potential,” Yoon Boo-keun, president of Samsung’s visual display division, told reporters in March ahead of his departure to South Africa.

The Korean company has been engaged in community work and sports sponsorship in Africa to promote its brand, it said. Last year, Samsung signed a four-year agreement to sponsor the African Cup of Nations and hired Didier Drogba, a star player of English football club Chelsea, as the company’s brand ambassador for Africa.

Samsung has provided support for educational programmes in the continent, including the Samsung Engineering Academy and Samsung Internet School, the company said.

The firm’s first African R&D centre will be situated in Nairobi, which it says will be used to develop products suited to the African market that serve to be unkind to electronics products through frequent power outages.

Samsung has extended its African footprint rapidly since 2009, when it operated in 15 countries as opposed to 42 by the end of 2010. There are now 80 distributors in Africa compared to 32 as well as doubling the number of service centres to 36.

The company is making all the rights moves and is clearly invested in for the long term, a wise choice since the middle class in Africa is expanding.

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South Africa plans on increasing number of tourists

Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk is aiming to increase the number of foreign tourists visiting South Africa to hit 15 million by the end of the decade.

South Africa will target emerging markets such as China as it aims to double the number of foreign tourists

South African Tourism Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk

visiting the country to 15 million a year by 2020, seeing the sector provide 500 billion rand ($74 billion) to the economy, a minister said on Wednesday. Tourism’s contribution to the economy has increased to 7.7 percent in 2010 from less than 5 percent when South Africa held its first democratic elections in 1994 at the end of white-minority apartheid rule.

“We will also aggressively pursue the long term growth opportunities in amongst others China, India, South America and our own continent,” Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the tourism minister told parliament during a budget vote. Tourism to Africa’s largest economy has been limited by its distance from major economic sectors and a persistently high crime rate that has frightened away visitors. Its successful hosting of the soccer World Cup in 2010 has helped improve its image overseas and increase the number of foreign visitors.

South Africa has always been a top tour and travel destination for quite some time.  Continue to see this as more countries particular Asian nations frequent not just South Africa but other African nations as well.  As purchasing power increases for those citizens throughout Asia, Africa will benefit from a new class of tourists compared to the usual American or European ones.

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Trade between U.S. and Morocco doubles

Two way trade between the U.S. and Morocco has doubled since 2006.  That year Morocco and the US entered into a Free Trade Agreement and bilateral trade between the two countries has since doubled, reaching $2.6 billion last year. More and more US companies are taking advantage of the growing economic opportunities thanks to the FTA (Free Trade Agreement) with Morocco the only African country that has an FTA with the US.

a delegation of US corporate leaders traveled to Morocco to explore the rapidly growing business and investment opportunities it has to offer across a variety of sectors. Representatives from nearly 20 US companies, including Lockheed Martin, Cisco Systems, FedEx, Raytheon, Motorola Solutions, and General Dynamics IT, met with private sector leaders and top Moroccan government officials at a time of tremendous bilateral growth between the US and Morocco, a key hub for accessing markets in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East…………….At the conclusion of the delegation’s visit to Morocco, LaMar Willis, General Dynamics IT VP of Strategic Program Development commented, “I think that the Moroccan government here is very progressive. Logistics-wise, Morocco is very strategically located—with good sea ports, airport infrastructure, and road investment. I think Morocco presents good opportunities and I would encourage US businesses to consider it. There is a very clear indication from the Moroccan government that they want US businesses and are willing to work with us.”……………………….Earlier this month, Bridgestone Corporation, the world’s largest tire and rubber company, opened a new tire sales facility in Casablanca, Morocco.  Bridgestone, which “aims to further strengthen its business in Morocco’s highly promising market,” called Morocco “a key region in which rapid economic expansion can be anticipated.”………..

” Morocco has witnessed in the last decade, substantial political, economic, social and legal reforms and has made considerable progress in enhancing the investment climate to attract foreign direct investment,” said Rabia El Alama, Executive Director of The Moroccan-American Chamber of Commerce in Casablanca. ” Morocco offers almost infinite opportunities for US businesses interested in using this country as a platform for production and export to other regional markets. Morocco is becoming a regional hub for key industries such as aeronautics, automobile, IT and off-shoring, as well as a distribution hub for North and Sub Saharan Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.”

Nothing cements a relationship between two countries quite like trade and economics.  This is a clear example of that and shows the need for other African nations to seek trade agreements with the U.S.

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Android applications arrive in South Africa

South Africans can finally buy and download paid-for applications from the Android Market.

South African Android users have reason to celebrate today with paid applications becoming available locally in Google’s official Market for Android devices.

It was revealed in March 2011 that the paid Android Market was expected in the second quarter of 2011 and it was announced at Google IO yesterday that 99 additional countries would be receiving buyer support, of which South Africa would be one.

Before the evening was out South Africa’s Android community had discovered that the ability to buy applications from the Android Market had already been enabled for users on local networks.

Google’s announcement comes hot on the heels of Microsoft unveiling their intent to support a handful of countries for app creation and app commerce.

Google is rapidly expanding its presence throughout all of Africa compared to its competitors.  The company is clearly making all the right moves.

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