Archives: Corporate and Investment

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Ross Outlines Trump’s Commercial Policy Toward Africa

Last week in a speech to the U.S.-Africa Business Summit sponsored by the Corporate Council on Africa, Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross signaled that there would be continuity in U.S. commercial policy to Africa. Ross struck a positive tone and noted that President Trump described Africa as a “place of opportunity” at the May G-7 … Continue Reading

Covington Opens a New Office in Johannesburg, Expanding the Project Finance Team

Covington will significantly expand its Project Development and Finance practice with the addition of Ben Donovan, Agnieszka Klich, Richard Keenan and David Miles, and the firm’s Middle East regional capabilities in corporate and dispute resolution matters with the addition of Jack Greenwald. With these additions, the firm will also open offices in Dubai and Johannesburg. … Continue Reading

Can Pension Funds Help Solve Africa’s Infrastructure Deficit?

Despite the global focus on growth trends in Africa, one trend has flown mostly below the radar: the increase in the number and size of pension funds. In addition to evidencing increased income security, the continent’s growing number of  pension funds could potentially be a new source of funding to address Africa’s  infrastructure deficit, estimated … Continue Reading

Six Things to Consider When Doing Business in Sub-Saharan Africa

Over the past two decades, Sub-Saharan Africa has caught the attention of an increasing number of investors who are looking for new and promising opportunities. While growth has slowed in some of the region’s oil exporting countries, the “Africa Rising” narrative continues due to the region’s youthful population of 1 billion people (70 percent are … Continue Reading

Commercializing Africa’s Rapid Urbanization

In a recent interview, Executive Director of the Nairobi-based United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) Dr. Joan Clos stated that “urbanization will be a big opportunity for Africa in the coming years.”  It comes as no surprise that harnessing the potential of Africa’s  urbanization will be a top agenda item at Habitat III, the major … Continue Reading

Diamond (Mines) Are Not Forever

In the last week of February, Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe announced that all privately owned diamond mines would be nationalized and taken over by the newly created state-owned Zimbabwe Consolidated Diamond Co. The move affected six primarily Chinese companies. This decision is in keeping with the larger nationalization plan for mines that the President announced … Continue Reading

No Holidays for African Currencies

As the currency crisis plaguing Sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 continued through the recent holidays, Nigerians have learned that they can have their naira, but they can’t spend it too. Nigerians saw several restrictions on foreign exchange (“forex”) put in place, limiting what they could do with their naira. Triggered by the dive in oil prices … Continue Reading

AfDB President Launches “New Deal on Energy in Africa”

New African Development Bank President Akinwumi Adesina chose last week’s World Economic Forum at Davos for the official launch of the Bank’s New Deal on Energy for Africa, along with a Transformative Partnership for Energy in Africa (TPEA).  While a candidate for the AfDB president position a year ago, Adesina placed energy at the top … Continue Reading

An End to the Never-Ending South African Poultry Dispute?

President Obama, on January 11, suspended the application of duty-free treatment to South Africa’s agricultural exports that come into the U.S. under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). The suspension will take effect on March 15 if South Africa does not lower tariffs on American poultry products before then. The development represents another twist … Continue Reading

Kenyan Government Disavows Controversial Local Ownership Requirement

The Kenyan government has suspended a controversial local ownership requirement in the new Companies Act 2015.  The confusion regarding how the provision made its way into the law is unsettling for foreign companies that are interested in one of the region’s top investment destinations. Regarded as an overdue modernization of Kenya’s company and insolvency laws, … Continue Reading

Zimbabwe (Re-)Opens to the West

Zimbabwe has begun to implement economic reforms that, if continued, could help the struggling nation improve the quality of life for the vast majority of its citizens. The nascent reform movement also suggests that government leaders have realized that reliance on China alone will not solve the country’s economic ills. The efforts by Finance Minister, … Continue Reading

Four Ways To Improve Existing U.S. Resources for Doing Business in Africa

During the recent meeting of the President’s Advisory Council on Doing Business in Africa (PAC-DBIA), Commerce Secretary Pritzker candidly admitted that the Obama Administration has been “grappling” with how to move forward on the proposed U.S.-Africa Infrastructure Center because the U.S. Commercial Service does not have the necessary resources and training to effect a proposal … Continue Reading

The SDGs, Business, and the Development Challenge

The most intriguing characterization of the new Sustainable Developments Goals (SDGs), endorsed by world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly on September 25, came from Amina Mohammed, assistant secretary-general of the United Nations and special advisor on Post-2015 Development Planning. During a panel discussion at the African Leadership Forum on September 24, Ms. Mohammed … Continue Reading

From the AGOA Forum in Gabon to the WTO Ministerial in Nairobi

For years, many observers treated Africa’s plans for regional integration with a healthy dose of skepticism. Though the skepticism remains, what has changed is the wide-spread acknowledgement and elevated importance of regional economic integration to grow Africa’s economies, create jobs for its rapidly growing youth population, and improve lives. Last month’s AGOA Forum, hosted by … Continue Reading

China, India and Japan Set to Host Major Summits To Further Strengthen Ties with Africa

In the midst of questions about how China’s economic health will impact Africa, the foreign ministers of China and South Africa have announced that the sixth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will be upgraded to a summit. Nearly a decade after the first China-Africa Leaders summit which was held in Beijing, this … Continue Reading

China Sneezes: Could Africans Benefit from a Devalued Yuan?

When China sneezes, does all of Africa catch a cold? Slower Chinese growth and a recently devalued currency will certainly impact Africa, whose largest trading partner is China. However, the impact of China’s recent currency devaluation will largely depend on country-specific factors. The Chinese government likely devalued its currency in August in part to combat … Continue Reading

Gabon To Host Back-to-Back African Investment Forums

Later this month, Gabon will host two major African investment forums: the AGOA Forum and the New York Forum AFRICA. Established by the African Growth and Opportunity Act, the AGOA Forum is an annual gathering that brings together high-level African and U.S. government officials to discuss strengthening economic ties between the U.S. and the continent. … Continue Reading

Nigeria (Again) Contemplates Mandatory Stock Exchange Listing Legislation

Nigerian government officials are once again contemplating legislation that would require certain private companies to list on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (“NSE”).  According to Speaker of the Nigerian House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, the listing requirement would apply to companies in the oil, gas and telecommunication sectors and is necessary “in order to deepen the … Continue Reading

Obama in Kenya: A Report from the Field and a Recap of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit

The nation of Kenya was gripped by a palpable sense of excitement and outsized expectations prior to President Obama’s arrival on Friday, July 24. On the day the president arrived, offices in Nairobi were closed, banks shut down early, and the city’s emptied streets were adorned with American flags and ubiquitous posters conveying the message, … Continue Reading

A Reauthorized U.S. Export-Import Bank is Central to U.S. Commercial Success in Africa

If the U.S. Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) is not reauthorized, U.S. efforts to deepen commercial ties to Africa will be significantly impeded. Not only would this put U.S. companies at a commercial disadvantage to companies from the European Union, China, Russia, India and elsewhere, it would impact negatively on the contribution that many American companies make … Continue Reading

Africa’s Middle Class: Not Hype But Challenging To Get Right

The expanding middle class has been one of the cornerstones of the “Africa rising” narrative.  Discussion of that topic has been particularly lively over the past few weeks.  From a private sector perspective, this debate presents an interesting lesson about doing business in Africa’s consumer goods sector. As an initial matter, it is important to … Continue Reading

Nigeria Sends Clear Signal of Getting Serious about Tax Enforcement

Over the past few years, Nigeria has reformed its transfer pricing regulations, introduced mechanisms to tackle tax evasion and pursued other revenue enhancing initiatives.  With revenue from petroleum taxes at its lowest point in fifteen years, the country is under even more pressure to increase its tax enforcement efforts.  At the same time, there have been reports … Continue Reading
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