Archives: Africa

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Investing in solar energy

Solar energy is a very good and important investment in sub-Saharan Africa. The energy is cheap, clean and relatively easy to install. It is also very beneficial to consumers.  As Andy Herscowitz, the coordinator for Power Africa notes, individuals do not have to rely on an electricity grid that can be unreliable, and once they … Continue Reading

Japan and Africa: Turning a New Page

Is Africa becoming a strategic priority for Japan? The Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD VI), held in Nairobi, Kenya August 27-28, suggests that Japan is looking at Africa differently than in the past. For one, the five previous TICADs have been held in Japan; this is the first to be convened on … Continue Reading

A summary of Congressional hearings on U.S. sanctions in Sub-Saharan Africa

This past June, the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Africa and Global Health Policy held a hearing to discuss U.S. sanctions in Sub-Saharan Africa. The United States, the European Union, and the United Nations impose far more sanctions on Sub-Saharan African targets than on any other region, and these sanction regimes have been changing over … Continue Reading

As Europe divides, Africa unites with common African Union e-passport

In 2015, African Union (AU) Commissioner for Political Affairs, Dr. Aisha Abdullahi, indicated that a plan was underway to implement a single African passport. After recent announcements that the AU passport would be unveiled at the AU Summit in Kigali this month, the long-awaited continental e-passport has finally been revealed. The first recipients of the … Continue Reading

Nigeria floats the naira

On May 25th, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, made the long-awaited announcement that the country would no longer peg the naira at N197 to the dollar. This change went into effect on Monday, which was the first time in recent history that the naira’s value was determined by market … Continue Reading

Zimbabwe’s Economic Reform Challenges

Ten months ago, on August 26, 2015, Zimbabwe’s 92-year old leader, Robert Mugabe announced a 10-point plan to revitalize economic growth. Since then, the government has taken steps that signal the intention to transform a moribund economy. But the question is whether a Mugabe-led government can be successful in restoring growth and confidence in a … 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

Intra-African travel is about to become easier, safer and more open

Intra-African travel — which is critical to unlocking the region’s tourism potential — is set to become easier, safer and more open. Easier — Open Skies Agreement between Ethiopia and Rwanda. Ethiopia and Rwanda signed an aviation agreement that will allow their respective national carriers — Ethiopia Airlines and RwandAir — to operate in the … Continue Reading

Lessons for Nigeria from the US Buy American Act

Over the past few weeks, there has been a growing movement to promote local production and consumption in Nigeria as a way to address some of the economy’s woes.  One of the leading proposals is to amend the domestic Procurement Act along the lines of the US Buy American Act (BAA), the domestic preference law … 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

Zimbabwe (re-)opens to the West

Zimbabwe, in an economic quagmire for nearly two decades, has begun to implement economic reforms that, if continued, could help the nation improve the quality of life for the majority of its citizens. This nascent reform movement also suggests that government leaders have realized that its current singular reliance on China will not solve the … 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

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

Ghana Set to Ban Non-Degradable Plastics

According to news reports, the Ghanaian Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovations will “sanction a directive in two weeks” banning the production and importation of non-degradable plastic products. Like many countries, Ghana’s rapid development has put significant pressure on sanitation management systems in the country’s urban centers.  However, the issue became a national priority … Continue Reading
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