Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar                                                        @everydaymadagascar  

QUOTE OF THE WEEK                                                     Sunday, April 9th 2017

"Junk Status" - What two major credit rating agencies, S & P and Fitch, think of South Africa's foreign and local currency status. This week the Rainbow Nation was downgraded to sub-investment grade, following a cabinet reshuffle. 




Global Demand for Chocolate and Coffee is Hurting Africa's Forests


The next time you bite into a chocolate bar... Think of Africa. Although the continent produces nearly 70% of the world's cocoa, it barely accounts for 3% of global consumption. According to a new Stanford study, a growing demand for chocolate and coffee has led to severe deforestation in Africa. In fact every year, Africa loses 4 million hectares of forest land in order to satisfy the world's craving for caffeine and chocolate. Much of this farmland comes from chopping down tropical forests and planting commodity crops for export. It’s hard to imagine but in the 1980’s, about 80% of the rain forest in Ivory Coast was cut to make room for cocoa plantations.


What would Willy Wonka and the chocolate factory say... Candy is dandy, but chocolate is the bomb, let's move to the Congo Basin. Tropical forests along the Congo Basin (Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon) are most vulnerable to deforestation. Why? Because this region offers lots of land, few regulations and cheap labour. A dream come true for international companies looking to set up shop and invest in industrial plantations. 

The bottom line... Multinational companies are increasingly looking to Africa to expand production of cash crops. That's why last month, twelve of the world’s largest chocolate makers - including Mars, Hersheys, Ferrero and Nestle- joined forces to tackle deforestation in Ivory Coast and Ghana (where 60% of the world's cocoa comes from). The goal of this initiative is to encourage sustainable farming practices and take a stand against deforestation. Sweet!


WHAT'S TRENDING                                              

Grow your own bike
Our game-changer of the week is social entrepreneur, Kwabena Danso. Kwabena is the brains behind Booomers- a Ghana based company that transforms bamboos into bikes. Here's why we think booomers is hot:
The Questions

1. What does Booomers do?

KD: Booomers manufactures Bamboo bicycles. The business started out as an NGO in 2007. We were trying to improve rural communities and when we started with our NGO work, we were looking at something sustainable which had to support the communities. Along the line, we came up with the bamboo bicycle idea.

2. Does the NGO still exist? 

KD: Yes, the NGO still exists. It provides scholarships now. I started the NGO, with a group of students from the U.S. It was myself and five students from the University of Vermont and Tufts, and they came together with me and we formed the NGO. We started with library programs for the rural schools and then the scholarship program.

3. Why bicycles? 

KD: The world is going green. We’re also trying to encourage the fact that if we want to go green then we should also park our car, try to decongest. Bamboo bicycles have even more added advantages as they are more shock absorbent, it’s lighter than the normal bicycle- the steel bicycle. It’s also environmentally friendly and lasts longer because it doesn’t rust.

4. Who are your customers?

KD: We export about 95% of our products. Currently we’ve been exported to Germany, the U.S., Netherlands, Australia and the U.K. We are now trying to develop the African market for it.

5. What’s next for Booomers?

KD: We hope to build Booomers into a multi-billion company in the next 10 years. We are hoping to make it the center of excellence where several products from bamboo can be obtained and become the number one company in Africa with such a focus. This is our vision and our goal. 

6. What advice do you have for aspiring game-changers?

KD: It’s never an easy thing. It’s a tough but fulfilling journey. You need to have the passion and the commitment. Each one of us has the opportunity to affect the world and make a positive change but we cannot do so unless we make the commitment to do it. Even when others say something can’t be done, remember nothing is impossible.


BAOBAB MARKETS                                               

This week, several African markets closed on a positive note. Here's the weekly market performance on April 7, 2017.

Winners: Ghana, Morocco, Kenya, Mauritius, Tunisia, Uganda, Zimbabwe

Losers: BRVM, Tanzania, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Namibia, Rwanda

Dow Jones Africa Titans 50: 514.50 (+0.53%)



  • African private equity and venture capital conference: April 3-7 @ Abidjan, Ivory Coast
  • Africa innovate conference: MIT Sloan Africa Business Club. April 7-8 @ Cambridge, USA
  • Demo Africa tour: April 10-12 @ Lagos, Nigeria


Africa has 170 million facebook users, up 42% since 2015.

Have a fantastic week ahead. Please send your photos, comments and 100% certified dark chocolate to Remember, "Wisdom is like a baobab tree. No one person can embrace it, but a (digital) tribe can" - African Proverb.  

Till next time!

PS: Shout out to Yemi Alade and Selebobo, proudly repping Nigeria. And for all you new subscribers...

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