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Business Schools Come To Africa

Just another sign of Africa’s growing potential and financial power, business schools from the United State and Europe, are building campuses and actively seeking-recruiting African students. With low growth in their home markets due to over saturation and fierce competition in Asia, the only growth market is in Africa.

Universitá Cattolica del Sacro Cuore launched MBA program in Nairobi, Kenya in 2011, expanding to Accra, Ghana last year. They will be opening new program in Sierra Leone in the coming few months. U.S. based Webster University recently opened location this March in Accra, Ghana, after investing more than $3 million. “The business opportunity is huge” says president and chief executive officer of Germany’s Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. The school started masters degree in micro finance and MBA program with the Université Protestante au Congo. Duke University opened branch in South Africa in 2007.

China Europe International Business School created program for women entrepreneurs in Ghana in 2012, which it expanded to Nigeria in 2013 and began in Kenya this year. In July, Ivory Coast signed agreement with Paris based HEC to lead programs for hundreds of public and private sector executives.

As Africa grows, especially in the business sector, the need for experienced, qualified middle managers and corporate strategists will increase. These schools are looking to fill a coming growing need.

Morocco invests in wind energy

Morocco is going ahead with its investment in clean energy, wind to be exact. Joint project between Moroccan Nateva Holding and France’s GDF Suez. The country has invested $685 million in the Tarfaya project that began in early 2013 and will be operational starting in October. 88 turbines out of a total planned of 131 have been built, producing up to 300 mega watts at full capacity. The wind farm is part of a plan that aims to have 42% of the country’s energy consumption coming from renewable energy by 2020.

Ford, U.S. Based Car Company Eyes Africa For Expansion

With an ever growing consumer and middle class, people throughout Africa are earning more spending power and love for brand products. Ford seeing the huge market potential, is increasing its investment and presence in Africa. Africa is the last untapped big market for major corporations and Ford has announced 17 new vehicles designed for sub-Saharan Africa. The models, all to be introduced by 2016, draw on Ford’s car heritage and global vehicle architectures deigned for the African consumer in mind.

“Middle East and Africa is the final frontier for global automotive growth,” said Ford’s regional chief Jim Benintende. According to Ford’s projections, car sales are expected to grow by 40% in the coming decade in the region. Ford isn’t the only car manufacturer looking to expand in Africa. PSA Peugeot Citroen, which is French based, reopened closed planet in Nigeria. Chinese brands are also increasing their presence . GM, Toyota, Nissan, and Mercedes-Benz have all over the years paid more attention, increased investment in Africa, after seeing all it’s potential. Ford is making sure that they aren’t left in the slow lane trying to catch up with the competition.

Ghana builds first 4G Network

In partnership with French based technology company Alcatel-Lucent, Surfline Communications is developing first high speed 4G data network for Ghana. Over $100 million so far has been invested in building out the network that is currently in the capital and port city of Tema. Plans are to expand throughout the country in coming months and few years. Fast data networks such as these are becoming more crucial especially in e-commerce, investing, business, security and education.

President Obama to host U.S.-Africa Summit

President Obama has invited African leaders for a summit in Washington D.C. from August 4-6 next week. More than 200 business and political leaders from both the U.S. and Africa will be attending the summit which will focus on the continent’s development and the U.S. role in partnership and investment.

Obama invited all African nations that are currently in good standing with the United States or are not suspended from the African Union. Leaders from Egypt, Madagascar, Sudan and Zimbabwe will not be attending.  Egypt, is not eligible to attend as it is currently suspended from the African Union.  There will also be no invitation for Sudan, whose president, Omar al-Bashir, has been indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).  The United States has sanctions against the Zimbabwean government of Robert Mugabe and his key officials over human rights abuses, political intimidation of opposition parties and role back of democracy.

Guinea-Bissau and Madagascar will not be attending the summit as well. The U.S. has concerns over the subversion of democracy in both nations.

One notable inclusion is Kenya, where President Uhuru Kenyatta is currently awaiting a delayed trial at the ICC on charges related to violence after an election in 2007 that left 1,000 people dead.

A White House statement said the trip would “advance the administration’s focus on trade and investment in Africa, and highlight America’s commitment to Africa’s security, its democratic development, and its people.”

U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker when speaking to the Wall Street Journal, said deals worth billions of dollars would be reached at the meeting, adding that more money would be advanced to Africa for various development projects.

First Lady Michelle Obama, and former First Lady Laura Bush and the Bush Institute, will host a day-long spouses’ symposium at the Kennedy Center focused on the impact of investments in education, health, and public-private partnerships as well.

Throughout his years in office, President Obama has held numerous conferences and events focusing on building partnerships and investment for African nations. This upcoming summit is a continuation of that policy.

More information about the event can be found at the White House’s website.

China and Ethiopia sign deals

China’s premier Li Keqiang and Ethiopia’s prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn at a treaty signing ceremony in Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Ethiopia Sunday for the start of a four nation Africa tour (Nigeria, Angola and Kenya), his first visit to the continent since assuming his position a little over a year ago. Both nations signed 16 deals total which included legal accords covering diplomatic visa exemptions, cultural corporation and extradition, agreements on economic, trade and technical cooperation, loans and cooperation agreements for the construction of roads and industrial zones.

Chinese firms have invested heavily in Ethiopia in recent years with their worth swelling well over $1 billion in 2014, according to official figures.

Beijing is also a key partner in Ethiopia’s bid to expand infrastructure such as roads, railways and telecom services.

Huawei Technologies Co Ltd – the world’s second largest telecom equipment maker – and ZTE Corp are working to introduce a high-speed 4G broadband network in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and a 3G service throughout the country.

Officials said both firms have now signed an $80 million deal to lay optical ground cables to form a nationwide network.

This is the second major high level visit to Ethiopia after last years visit by President Xi Jinping.

China increases investment and aid to Africa

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang

In continuation of Chinese investment, engagement and cooperation in Africa, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang unveiled extra aid for Africa totaling at least $12 billion on Monday, and offered to share advance technology with the continent to help with development of high-speed rail,  boost collaboration in industry, finance, poverty reduction, ecological protection, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.  Speaking in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, Mr. Li also reaffirmed Beijing’s support for Africa’s infrastructure sector: “Infrastructure is the precondition to industrial development. China will actively participate in projects such as roads, railways, telecommunications and power in Africa”.

Li said that the new $12 billion credit line would be on top of the existing $20 billion already offered when former President Xi Jinping made loans of $20 billion to African nations from 2013-2015 when he visited in March 2013.

He also said China will discuss with the African Development Bank the prospect of establishing a joint fund to support infrastructure development.

China’s direct investment in Africa reached $25 billion at the end of last year. With Africa having four of the top 10 fastest growing economies in the world, expect more investment and commitment from not just Africa, but many other nations.

 

Piracy drill off Africa larger than ever

As piracy in the Gulf of Guinea off west Africa soars, professionals from over 20 nations are taking part in Obangame Express, a naval-exercise aimed at improving maritime safety and security in the region.

The issue of piracy and enforcement is one that needs to be tackled due to the fact that it’s a growing problem. This is mainly due to lack of ships and trained personnel which is required since large areas of water need to be patrolled and watched over. The more training done with various nations and navies, only helps in curbing the problem. More cooperation and training is needed, and such exercises will only help.

Big Men: The Story Of Oil In Africa

A new documentary highlighting African oil corruption in the Niger Delta is set to open across the U.S. this week in theaters.  It was filmed by Rachel Boyton in late 2006 as she was trekking through the oil-rich Niger Delta region of southern Nigeria and tells her chronicle of the petroleum-fueled pursuit of wealth and status in Africa. Below is the trailer to the film.

The central narrative of the film is that it takes place in Ghana, some 200 miles to the west. Boynton somehow convinced Dallas oilman James Musselman and his British-born colleague Brian Maxted–the chief executive officer and chief operating officer, respectively, of a privately held exploration company called Kosmos Energy–to let her shadow them with cameras and microphones as they drilled their way through layers of Ghanaian politics and bureaucracy, and the white-hot core of Wall Street, in order to reap the financial rewards of an amazing discovery. Kosmos had raised $825 million in private equity investment from Warburg Pincus and the Blackstone Group and located the country’s first known oil reserves: a multi-billion barrel, deep-sea deposit, 40 miles off the Ghanaian coast in the Atlantic Ocean and dubbed the Jubilee Field.

As to why oil executives would have a documentary film maker follow them around, Musselman explains that “Rachel is very persuasive, She was passionate about the story. I thought it was a good story that just got better, frankly, as time went on. We don’t enjoy great reputations a lot of the time. I thought this was a good story to show how in Ghana, we could transform the lives of a whole lot of people for the better. And I thought her contrast back to Nigeria was really good. I’d seen some of her previous work and I thought she’s gonna do a good job. It wouldn’t be any kind of expose’ or anything bad. I trusted her.”

I look forward to seeing this film myself.