The ups and downs of business In Africa 2018

26Dec 2018
By Financial Times Reporter
Dar es Salaam
Financial Times
The ups and downs of business In Africa 2018

2018 started off with all eyes on Zimbabwe, particuarly since its change in government leadership in November 2017, when President Emmerson Mnangagwa took power from from former president Robert Mugabe – a move that no one except Mugabe calls a coup.

So now attention turns to the economy, which is struggling. While Zimbabwe grapples with this Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania are loudly objecting to America's forcing Africans to wear hand-me-downs, better known as secondhand clothing. While this is happening several organisations have decided to stop celebrities, mainly white "saviours" to rake in millions for their charity drives and use local African celebrities instead...

While this was happening, a massive bird landed in Tanzania , while Aliko Dangote was named Africa's richest man AND wait for it, one of the most influential people in the world. Ethiopian Airlines is named the most successful airline in Africa, a title once held and long lost by struggling South African Airways.

Then tumbling from her pedestal as Africa's richest woman, Angola's Isabel dos Santos lost lucrative oil contracts after President João Lourenço the leader who replaced her father, former president Jose dos Santos, nullified them. This could not have been part of her father's plan...

Southern Africa is told it needs to consider harnessing natural gas for energy, while Silas Adekunle of Nigeria becomes the best robotics engineer in the world, after developing a gaming robot. All this as Ethiopia looks at easing its water crisis but hits a snag again and China intends helping Tanzania to help the world go nuts for their cashews!

1. January 2018
The Time to Invest in Zimbabwe Is Now – Famous last words as Zimbabwe went through a turbulent 2018 with the biggest shake-up coming from the ouster of Robert Mugabe, the longest serving African president in history with over 30 years at the helm, in late 2017. His Zanu-PF party rival Emmerson Mnangagwa quickly took the reins and despite various attempts to kickstart the economy, the country is still struggling to convince investors that it is open for business and is a worthwhile investment.

The Chinese government has not been put off though, throwing millions of dollars into various sectors including health, although this sector is ailing with lack of medicines, equipment and striking doctors. The country has also to decide on what currency reigns supreme here – the US dollar, the South African Rand or the Chinese Yuan. The cost of living in the country has also skyrocketed seeing that the U.S. dollar is the currency of choice at the moment.

2. February 2018
There is a saying that clothes maketh the man – Well it seems that big business in the US is secondhand clothes which they see fit to pass off to us "poor" Africans.
The US government bullying is the order of the day if Africa decides to stand up and say enough!
So here it is – Uganda, Ethiopia and Tanzania finally decided to do just that and what happens? The US decides to warn them that they were in violation of a 2019 African Growth and Opportunity Act. So what does that do for the local manufacturing sector one wonders

3. March 2018
So "white saviours" will no longer be used by aid organisations to raise funds but will rather be represented by homegrown African heroes. While the idea is good one wonders how far and how much money will actually be raised – which begs the question – is it about the cause or about the celebrity that the money is given in the first place?

4. April 2018
Is it a bird, is it a plane – Well in the case of the Tanzanians who saw it, it was a plane – in fact the biggest darn plane they had ever seen landing at the Dar es Salaam airport – the jet EK 701 was diverted from its usual route between Dubai and Mauritius due to bad weather. It was the first time an aircraft of that size landed in Tanzania and all because of a "call of nature".

5. May 2018
So Aliko Dangote has been named Africa's richest man for the umpteenth time. This business tycoon has made his fortune largely through cement manufacturing. He has now been named as one of the most influential people in the world and ranked 66th. Not bad for a man who started out selling vegetables for a living.

6. June 2018
Ethiopian Airlines is the most successful and voted the best African Airline for over threeyears in a row. This airline's meteoric rise has been raking in a bunch of accolages and is growing in stature among its international competitors.

7. July 2018
Oh how the "mighty" has fallen - Once Africa's richest woman, Angola's Isabel dos Santos has seen her fortunes dwindle with the sweep of President João Lourenço's pen as he cancelled four oil contracts worth over $22 billion. Ironically, President Louceno was chosen by her father former president Joachim Dos Santos to replace him.

8. August 2018
Southern Africa's energy challenges can be eased by the harnessing of natural gas that could improve the energy situation in the region, and contribute to the regional energy mix, which is dominated by coal, governments have been told. Southern Africa has some of the largest deposits of natural gas in the world.

9. September 2018
I AM NOT A ROBOT...Nigeria's 26-year-old Silas Adekunle is the world's highest paid Robotics Engineer, credited for building the world's first gaming robot and has just become the highest paid in the field. He has signed a new deal with the world's reputable software manufacturers, Apple Inc.

10. October 2018
Water, Water! Although Ethiopia has marketed the dam as the most successful homegrown infrastructure project in the region, largely because it is being funded from local resources, a critical assessment by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has lifted the lid on the challenges facing the project and cast doubt over its completion,

11. November 2018
Going Nuts! The Tanzania cashew nuts industry will soon be processing 5,000 tonnes of cashew nuts per year with help from a Chinese firm.