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Huge Export, Trade Opportunities For Africa

Africa can capitalise on international trade wars by stepping up its export capabilities. African countries have a lot to gain from a US-China trade war, with opportunities for the Continent to step up their services and product export capabilities. This is according to Francois Fouche, advisor at Trade Research Advisory, part of the North-West University, who was speaking at the launch of the 2020 edition of Africa Trade Week in Johannesburg recently. “South Africa and the SADC region need to export,” Fouche said. “In South Africa alone, while in Q2 2019 there was a reasonable quarter on quarter growth, South Africa has not had a very impressive growth run prior to that.  We’re a very small and open economy, and we must participate more in the global market”.

But as this Newsletter has always pointed out, opportunities have to be funded, and funding is an issue.  With a month to go, 2019 is shaping up to be a blockbuster year for inward investment in Kenya. So far this year, the country has attracted 54 projects totalling US$2.9 billion in announced investments, according to fDi Markets, a Financial Times data service that tracks greenfield cross-border investment. Kenya is benefiting more than most of its neighbours because of its relative success in attracting IT investment. Some 63 foreign companies have made investments in the country in the software and IT sector since 2009. Last spring Microsoft opened an Africa development centre and Cisco, a supplier of networking equipment, set up an innovation hub. Both ventures are in Nairobi. Standard Chartered Bank also opened an innovation lab in its head office in the capital.

Meanwhile at this month’s Africa Investment Forum at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg some $40.1 billion in investment were raised, an increase on last year. Hundreds of delegates from many countries around the world got together to attract investment from foreign investors to boost business and fill a huge infrastructure gap. 56 deals worth $67.6 billion made it to the boardroom discussions at the Forum, a 44% increase on last year, of those, 52 made it to approval. The deals, from 25 countries, secured investor interest worth $40.1 billion – an increase on the $37.1 billion last year in the first forum.

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Alastair Tempest

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