Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse


Pulse #13 - Car assembly in Ghana, Kenya’s nuclear ambitions, concern for Africa’s ports, South Africa tackles femicide

The Data Room

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to many of the world's longest-serving heads of state. By early 2019, three African heads of state had been in power for more than three decades each: Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo in Equatorial Guinea, Paul Biya in Cameroon, and Yoweri Museveni in Uganda. However with sustained pressure from civil society groups and regional blocs, this trend is gradually reversing.

Numbers in the Spotlight
($120bn) could be lost to Africa’s GDP due to the effect of Covid-19 on tourism

($5bn) is the cost of Kenya’s commercial nuclear plant, on course to be operational in seven years

($4.8bn) will be the size of Morocco’s strategic investment fund to help economic recovery post Covid-19

($12mn) was ordered to be paid to residents of Owino Uhuru in Kenya, affected by lead poisoning

300,000 cars
is the annual potential of new car assembly in Ghana

1,022,084 cases
of Covid-19 confirmed in Africa (as of last week)

3 bills
have been approved by South Africa’s Cabinet, intended to curb gender-based violence
On The Continent This Week
Access to financial services and products
The UK has launched a ‘Tech for Growth’ program, to enhance the role technology can play in expanding access to financial services in emerging markets, starting with Africa. With the UK leaving the EU, and heralding their ‘Global Britain’ vision, this ‘scramble for Africa’ by increasing trading opportunities with Africa (particularly a unified one) may make sense for them. The opportunities this program will create for African business, and access to financial services to 57% of Sub-Saharan Africa's population that are financially excluded, remains to be seen. 

End-to-end value chain capture

Volkswagen has started assembling cars in Ghana, with capacity to assemble 300,000 a year. In May 2020, Ghana (where used cars make up 70% of vehicle imports) banned the importation of cars older than 10 years to encourage international companies to set up local plants and boost local manufacturing. Enhanced by an AfCFTA framework, Ghana could become an automotive hub for West Africa. Meanwhile Nigeria’s automotive policy, which could allow for the same, remains unsigned into law. Overall, SSA holds a potential market of 3-4mn new cars, partly dependent on African government regulation and price competitiveness via tax tariffs.

Scaleable energy access

Kenya has submitted impact studies for a $5bn commercial nuclear plant which should be operational in the next seven years. Nuclear power is said to be a means to clean, reliable and cost-effective energy but remains largely unexplored in Africa due to being infrastructure, capital and time intensive (taking 10-15 years to build). A forecast rise in Kenya’s power demand, reaching 22,000 megawatts by 2031 partly due to industrial expansion, is fueling the country’s ambition to diversify its electricity generation mix with nuclear power becoming its second largest energy source.

Exporting culture & identity

Many Africans appear unimpressed by Beyonce's 'Black is King' visual album for its monolithic, wakanda-esque depiction of the Continent. Meanwhile, a French mockumentary film, 'Tout simplement noir', (Simply Black), advertised as the comedy of the Summer, is being released across Africa. Whilst both films are a far cry from popular western narratives about Africa and black people, which have historically been afro-pessimistic, amplifying poverty, violence and disease, both also raise questions about the accuracy of the portrayal of African stories and the black-experience.

Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

MTN’s exit from the Middle East to focus on its home Continent comes amid an increasingly hostile environment that has left it vulnerable to legal battles, unpredictable politics and regulatory crackdowns. Challenges in securing the required regulatory approvals has led to the collapse of the highly anticipated Airtel Africa and Telkom Kenya merger in Kenya - that would have created a company large enough to go against Safaricom. With telecom infrastructure fundamental to the development of digital technologies (especially important with Covid-19), African governments can further support its development by creating enabling legal and regulatory frameworks.

Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership

As part of South Africa’s Women’s Month, the Cabinet has approved three bills intended to curb gender-based violence. Specifically - 9th August marks Women’s Day in South Africa - in remembrance of thousands of women who marched in Pretoria in 1956 to demand their right to freedom of movement. With reports that a woman is murdered once every 3 hours in South Africa, and calls for an end to ‘femicide’, President Ramaphosa has described gender-based violence as South Africa’s second pandemic.

Essential infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities

A mega-explosion at the port of Beirut, Lebanon has this week left over 150 people dead and more than 6,000 injured. Speculation that the blast was caused by hazardous, explosive chemicals destined for Mozambique has reignited concerns over the frequent shipping of toxic waste to African ports, dumped by international waste management companies. With some European countries and the US continuing to dump toxic waste in Africa despite international treaties prohibiting such export, the devastating blast in Beirut presents an important warning to Africa’s ports. 

Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade

African countries are turning to domestic and intra-continental tourism to survive the lack of international arrivals. This comes as a study estimates that Africa’s tourism, that indirectly employs 24.6mn people across the continent (6.8% of total employment), could lose up to $120bn and millions of jobs due to Covid-19 lockdowns. However lack of intra-continental connectivity and visa requirements remain a constraint, as Africans need visas to travel to 47% of other African countries (vs. only 35% for US nationals). The rolling out of the continental African passport allowing visa-free travel within African Union states (originally due this year) would support the ease of intra-Africa movement.

Baseline healthcare & disease protection

A recent ground-breaking UN study has shown that lead poisoning affects nearly 800mn children globally, with Africa the second worst-affected region after South Asia. Children under 5 years are at the greatest risk of suffering lifelong neurological, cognitive and physical damage and even death. When African governments, constitutionally mandated to protect their citizens, fail to enforce intervention measures, they risk law-suits like that against the Kenyan government, which was ordered to pay Ksh1.3bn ($12mn) to lead poisoning victims.

High value skills development and talent repatriation

To mark this year’s Nigeria Diaspora Day, observed on July 25, Nigeria’s President Buhari has challenged his diaspora to not abandon their country, but to be active in post-Covid-19 economic recovery efforts. Nigerian diasporans annual remittances exceed $25bn - approximately 6% of GDP. However, the number of Nigerian diasporans is unknown, with estimates ranging from 1.2mn (the official 2017 record), to 17mn. With Nigeria’s diasporans likely to be mostly semi-skilled, skilled and highly skilled professionals, Nigeria could be doing more to engage with its talent abroad beyond remittances.

Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy
Côte d’Ivoire’s president Ouattara has announced his third presidential bid, sparking resistance from a united opposition that his candidacy is unconstitutional. The move is similar to that of many African heads of state who have sought to be a ‘president for life’ - remaining in power for three or more terms or abolishing term limits, citing ‘force majeure’ and maintaining stability as reasons. SSA has some of the world’s longest serving heads of state - a major cause for anti-government protests. Ouattara’s decision risks plunging the country into political instability as the opposing groups fight his candidacy on the streets and in the courts.
Upgrade Your Life

Our selection of online courses, tools and offers to help you build your professional and personal repertoire.

  1. Harvard online course - AfricaLive! - Entrepreneurship in emerging economies
  2. 12 free online University classes on African American studies
  3. 5 must read fiction books by South Africa female authors
  4. A social distancing reading list from Brookings Africa Initiative
  5. Wired's ultimate summer reading list
  6. Harvard Business Review - Can you be too well connected?
  7. 8 science-backed ways to increase your hope, it's a skill we need right now
  8. The future of nonconformity
  9. TED talk - The difference between being ‘not racist’ and anti-racist
  10. Eight online exhibits to see right now on Black History, racism and protest
History Class
The story of President Thomas Sankara, who sought the emancipation and growth of his country and Africa, and gave Burkina Faso its name
The 1956 Women’s March in Pretoria, in resistance against South Africa's apartheid

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