Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse

Pulse #4 - The intra-trade moment - agriculture exports at risk, tourism on hold, Ghana car import ban, plus Sahel - the new Syria

The Data Room

Job security and ability to live on savings, for middle-income consumers

A recent survey of middle-income consumers in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa found that job security is a concern for more than 80% of households, with 65-70% having less than 4 months’ worth of savings to live on, and about 25% having less than a month’s worth.
Numbers in the Spotlight

($5.2 bn) IMF financing package has been given to Egypt to alleviate the economic impact of COVID-19

($3.6 bn) is the value of OPEC producer, Algeria’s solar power project

(650-670 mn) people in Africa are currently facing food insecurity (roughly half of the population)

($143 mn) will be lost in customs revenue in the first 3 yrs, due to Ghana’s car import ban

(27 mn) people could be pushed into extreme poverty by COVID-19

(1 mn) test kits are being purchased by Africa CDC and Mastercard Foundation for use across the Continent

177,953 cases
of COVID-19 confirmed in Africa (as of last week) 

of adults are now financially included in Rwanda

of west Africa’s electricity demand could be met by combining hydro-power plants with solar and wind projects

of Africa's favourite brands are African

On The Continent This Week
Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade
Against the backdrop of becoming Africa’s third largest economy this week, Kenya saw its total trade volume decline by nearly $370 mn in April. Whilst a dispute with Tanzania over COVID-19 clearance certificates is partially to blame, it is part of a bigger trend impacting job and food security across the Continent. For example African agriculture exports to the rest of the world represent $40 bn a year with 80% destined to countries heavily impacted by COVID. With agriculture representing 23% of Africa’s GDP, and 60% of the working population, the livelihoods of up to 40 mn people are likely to be affected in the short-term alone - a call to action for greater intra-regional dependence and repurposing of import spend.

High value skills development and talent repatriation

The Nigerian government cut its education budget by 54%, joining other African countries cutting their education budgets in response to the pandemic. Africa’s education systems are already playing catchup, as 87% of children in SSA are considered ‘learning poor’ (i.e. unable to read and understand a simple text by age 10), and most African countries have no distant learning plan in place. This is perhaps bad timing, not just for Africa’s long term prosperity, but also its more immediate COVID response and recovery - as research argues that education has an immediate role to play in feeding the most vulnerable children, spreading health messages, preventing civil unrest, and in providing an economic boost (as salaries of education staff amount to 3% of Africa’s GDP - more than 3x the average financial package announced by African governments to fight the pandemic).

Access to financial services and products

Rwanda has achieved an adult financial inclusion rate of 93%, and is well on its way of achieving its target of 100% by 2024. Rwanda provides a case study of collaboration between the private and public sector, in a country where mobile money services were only introduced in 2010. Much can be learned from the Central Bank of Rwanda’s encouragement of the financial sector to learn and grow through innovation and experimentation, the Government's provision of digital literacy education to Savings and Credit Cooperatives (SACCOs), and the role of commercial banks in providing access to digital products and financial education.

End-to-end value chain capture

Ghana has banned the import of cars over 10 years old, and will provide import-duty rebates for companies that manufacture or assemble cars locally. Ghana is betting that the relocation of local assembly plans by international companies (such as Nissan and VW) and the knock-on effect on local industrial jobs (not to mention the improvements to public health and the environment) will outweigh the loss of $143 mn in customs revenue in the first 3 years. This should also be good news for African owned brands, which are often undercut by the availability of cheap, used imports.

Exporting culture & identity

South Africa’s Department of Tourism announced that international tourism won’t open until February 2021. This is a blow to Africa’s tourism industry which contributed 8.5% ($194 bn) of GDP in 2018, and was projected to grow to $262 bn by 2030. South Africa’s tourism sector is currently being kept afloat via a $11m relief fund, but 600,000 jobs remain at risk. There is more hope as Kasada Capital (backed by French hotel group Accor and the Qatar sovereign wealth fund) raised $500m to reboot Africa’s tourism in 10 African cities. With domestic and regional travel likely to open up across the world ahead of international tourism, is now the time for the Continent to invest in increasing intra-Africa tourism?

Baseline healthcare & disease protection

Additional funds to tackle COVID-19 were made available from public and donor sources this week, with Africa’s second hardest hit country, Egypt, receiving a $5.2 bn financing package from the IMF to help alleviate the economic impact, and Nigeria receiving $288.5 mn from the AfBD. A recent study provides a framework for how Africa can use such funds to strengthen their health systems via immediate response and long-term provisions, including accelerating health financing reforms to increase budgets and efficiency, building consumer-centric digital health ecosystems, institutionalising community healthcare workers and rapidly upskilling the broader healthcare workforce.

Scaleable energy access

OPEC member Algeria, plans to build a $3.6bn solar project. With 20% of GDP and 85% of total exports in Algeria coming from oil and gas, and the country halving its budget due to the oil price crash, Algeria hopes to diversify into renewable energy to meet both export and domestic power demand. West Africa also has a significant opportunity to expand its renewable energy output through regional collaboration. New research suggests that a ‘West African Power Pool’, that allows countries in the region to share their complementary renewable sources (with hydropower compensating for shortfalls in solar and wind power), would allow for 60% of West Africa’s current electricity demand to be met. 

Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

MainOne, West Africa’s leading connectivity and data center solution provider, will begin construction of a 4,047 sq meter data center in Ghana, as well as providing connectivity services to Burkina Faso. This underscores increased activity in the sector, and follows the recent acquisition of data centers from Standard bank by Africa Data Centres. With only 25% of African businesses believing their governments are capable of protecting their data, and increased concern of Africa’s vulnerability to misuse of data and misinformation (given the role of US tech giant in building internet infrastructure), should African governments be prioritising internet access and data security in their policies?

Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy

This week, France claimed it had killed the leader of al-Qaeda in north Africa, Abdelmalek Droukdel, in an operation in Mali. Jihadest militants in the Sahel (Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso) are reported to have killed 4,000 people last year, leaving 1 mn displaced. Whilst many will welcome France’s reported success, complications between the US and France squabbling over who is in charge, and a multitude of other players involved in what is an increasingly complex situation, leads us to question whether the Sahel is at risk of becoming Africa’s equivalent of Syria. Meanwhile the role of African nations remains unclear, highlighting the need for Africa countries to align their security and foreign policy objectives and reduce foreign dependency, which often comes bundled with broader economic implications.

Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership

Nigerian President Buhari has nominated Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala as Director General of the World Trade Organisation, adding another female to the rota of potential candidates as the WTO’s first African leader. Although we’re seeing movement in top level representation of females, there seems to be a disconnect with how it filters down to policy affecting women and gender equality. For example, Uganda is experiencing a new wave of feminism spreading via social media, whilst Nigerians are taking to the stress to protest against to the rape and murder of 22 year old Vera Uwaila Omosuwa in a church. An estimated 2 mn Nigerian females are sexually assaulted annually, with few cases reported or prosecuted, and only 1 of Nigeria’s 36 states having ratified the Federal Government’s 5 year old Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Act.

Baseline infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities

Nigeria Government has declared telecoms facilities as ‘Critical National Infrastructure’, because of the fundamental role the sector plays in ensuring security and in the delivery of other essential services. This means telecoms infrastructure will receive protection against vandalism, theft and more. With the Nigeria Communications Commission saying that all challenges hindering the deployment of broadband infrastructure have been addressed, we hope to see the kick-starting of broadband infrastructure projects across the country.

Upgrade Your Life

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

  1. Citi’s free institutional banking virtual internship program
  2. Warwick Business School - Succeeding Through Change - free online courses, webinars, podcast
  3. 6 African book launches you may have missed during lock-down
  4. 8 must-read African novels to get you through lock-down
  5. Bill Gates - 5 summer books and other things to do at home
  6. How to solve big problems, by looking for small wins
  7. The 80/20 Rule and how it can change your life
  8. Free Machine Learning course from Stanford
  9. TED Talks on racism in America
  10. Books, films and podcasts about racism
History Class

What's behind the upsurge in violence in the Sahel?

Faces of Africa - Jomo Kenyatta: The Founding Father of Kenya


Did we miss anything?

Thank you for reading Movemeback Pulse, your weekly check of actionable insight. Movemeback Pulse is made up of insights that relate to 'The Continent 500 Transformation Goals' - developed to drive focus on a continent-wide business plan to create the next 500 million jobs by 2035. Want to understand more about the 'The Continent 500 Transformation Goals'? Do you have suggestions on themes / goals that are missing? Get in touch!

Please do share any feedback and suggestion with us on how we can make this better for you. If you have a something you would like to share with the Movemeback community please get in touch so we can include in this or another one of our regular Member publications: