Mombasa, Kenya                                                                                     @austin_merrill   

QUOTE OF THE WEEK                                                    Sunday, November 20th, 2016

"Africa is tired of being in the dark"-  Akinwumi Adesina
President of the African Development Bank, on unlocking Africa's renewable energy potential and lighting up the continent within the next ten years. Adesina outlined the bank's bold "light up and power" agenda on Wednesday, at the COP22 climate change conference in Marrakesh, Morocco.


The Dow Jones Africa Titans 50 Index closed on Friday at 478.56 points and fell by 6.92 points or 1.43%

Market Snapshot 


Major Regional Exchanges

South Africa FTSE/JSE All Share: 50,617.57 +612.75 (+1.23%)

Nigeria All Share: 25,599.79 -53.35 (-0.21%)

Egypt EGX30: 11,221.56 +224.18 (+2.04%)

Kenya NSE 20 Share: 3,283.77 +11.30 (+0.35%)



Africa is expected to surpass 1 billion mobile subscriptions by the end of 2016

    Source: OVUM



(Hint: It was a week of many firsts)

1.WHO secures funds for world's first malaria vaccine

Oh snap, for real?...  Yup! The malaria vaccine will be piloted across Africa in 2018. The rollout plan was announced by The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday, after $15 million in funding was approved for the first phase of the Global Malaria Program. An additional commitment of $37.1 million is expected to cover the first four years of the pilot program. The vaccine, known as RTS,S or Mosquirix, was developed by British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Don't get too excited just yet though. At the moment, the vaccine is only partially effective and still needs to be tweaked before wide-scale use can be expected.

What this means for mosquitoes... Be afraid. Be very afraid. According to UNICEF, malaria kills a child every 60 seconds in Africa. That's about 1,200 children every day and close to half a million deaths per year. With this new vaccine on the scene, Africa which is home to 90% of all cases, could be free of malaria by 2018. “The pilot deployment of this first-generation vaccine marks a milestone in the fight against malaria,” said Dr Pedro Alonso, director of the Global Malaria program. The vaccine will be tested in three sub-Saharan African countries. The World Health Organization is expected to name the selected countries  involved in the pilot program soon. 

The bottom line... The fight against malaria just got real. And we are pleased to announce that mosquitoes (and those pesky mosquito nets) are going down. On a final note, there's an African proverb which says, "If you think you are too small to make a difference, you haven't spent a night with a mosquito." Chai! Truer words were never spoken.


2.Private equity deals dry up on the continent

Back in the day... Private equity funds were spending big bucks in Africa. Just two years ago, an $8.1 billion investment spree by some of the large PE funds, led many investors to believe that Africa was the solution to their portfolio woes. Everybody and their mama was investing in Africa. From US giant KKR which invested $200 million in Ethiopia’s Afriflora to Carlyle who put money into Nigeria’s Diamond Bank.

What the heck happened?…  According to the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, the total value of PE deals in Africa was only $900 million in the first half of 2016. With commodity prices dropping like hot potatoes, many African economies have struggled to keep up with the change. In fact, big investors like Standard Chartered Private Equity and Carlyle, are now looking to downsize or sell-off their assets, following a number of disappointing deals. Why didn't anyone see this coming? Well in 2015, The Economist warned that “too much money is pouring into too few funds, chasing the few big deals on offer.” But of course nobody listened. 

The bottom line... Sometimes smaller is better. Even though big private equity deals in Africa are fading, smaller deals which actually benefit small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are on the rise. When you consider the fact that up to 84% of SMEs in Africa are either un-served or underserved in terms of access to capital, this is good news. All in favor of private equity funds focusing on the little guys (like this family-owned grocery chain) and growing smaller African companies into emerging forces to be reckoned with...say I.


3.Teenage girls to launch Africa's first private space satellite 

Boss ladies unite... Normally, you would expect a project like Africa’s first private space satellite to be handled by aerospace engineers. Instead, this pioneering project is about to be launched by a team of ambitious girls from Cape Town, South Africa. It all began a year ago, when The Meta Economic Development Organization (MEDO), in partnership with Morehead State University in Kentucky, US, organized a robotics hackathon to identify bright students. A total of 14 high school girls were eventually selected, to design and build payloads for a satellite that will scan Africa’s surface. The satellite is scheduled to launch in May 2017. If successful, MEDO will be the first private company in Africa to build a satellite and send it into space.

Behind the scenes… The girls are currently being trained by satellite engineers from Cape Peninsula University of Technology. Once in space, the satellite will collect information on agriculture and food security. Using data received from the satellite, the girls will then attempt to forecast problems Africa may face in the future and also provide possible solutions. For example: The best place to grow food or where to plant more trees on the continent.

The bottom line... Young African women are defying stereotypes.  By 2020, MEDO predicts that 80% of jobs will require science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills. However, less than 10% of young women in Africa are interested in pursuing university studies in STEM fields. MEDO's goal of inspiring African girls to learn STEM is inspiring. And in the words of one of the participants: "I want to show fellow girls that we don't need to sit around or limit ourselves. Any career is possible, even aerospace." Cheers to that!

 Source: CNN

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT                                             

McDonalds opened its first restaurant in South Africa in 1995. Today the American fast food retailer operates over 200 restaurants across the country. McDonalds CEO, Greg Solomon, reflects on the company's 21 years in SA.


BAOBAB FACT                                                

Tanzania has the cheapest mobile data rates in Africa. The amount of pocket change you need to afford 1GB of data is $0.89  in Tanzania, $2.80 in Egypt, $5.20 in Nigeria and $5.26 in South Africa. 

Submitted by Jamil A. (Dar es Salaam, Tanzania)
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Hope you have a super productive week ahead. Please send any news, comments, genetically modified mosquitoes and Tanzanian calling cards to Remember, "if it excites you and scares you at the same time, it might be a good thing to try...great things don't come from comfort zones."  

Till next time!


PS: Asante, Imela, Mia, Siyabonga and Thank you so much for subscribing :)

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