Pulse #8 - South Africa's GDPR moment, Ghana's cocoa industry boost, Gambia advances on solar ambitions
The Data Room
44% of Africa's financial wealth is held offshore, with the continent losing €17bn in tax revenues annually. Still, African countries are advancing in tackling tax evasion and money laundering, according to the latest AfDB Tax Transparency in Africa report.
Numbers in the Spotlight
($79.5bn) is the size of Nigeria’s public debt, a 15% increase from last year
($200mn) in loan disbursements have been given to Ghana by AfBD to boost cocoa productivity
deaths due to malaria are anticipated this year in Africa (double last year's deaths)
engineers could benefit from Andela’s new remote training model (double their old model)
The continent’s mobile money giant and largest digital payments hub, MFS Africa has acquired Beyonic, an enterprise that offers digital payment services suite to SMEs. With the acquisition, the SMEs have an opportunity to extend their business outside their home countries and leverage on the partnership between MFS Africa and Visa to facilitate further intra-continental trade and upscale global growth. This kinds of activity may support the regionalism and enhanced intra-African trade envisioned by AfCFTA, that was to be implemented on 1st July 2020 - raising further questions over the AU’s decision to delay it.
Exporting culture & identity
The African Cup of Nations (AFCON), the continent’s biggest football championship has been postponed to January 2022, due to COVID-19. With over 60% increased viewership in the 2019 AFCON tournament, the love and support for the sport was only expected to grow. However, many African players are emigrating to European countries and changing nationality because of lack of opportunities for career development back home - e.g. 70% of France’s 2018 FIFA winning team were of African or Muslim descent. With 65% of racist incidents reported in England in the 2018-2019 season targeting African players, is it time for Africa to develop and build its own talent?
Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy
Ghana’s Cocoa Board received it's first disbursement of $200mn from AfDB of a total $600mn syndicated loan to boost cocoa productivity in the world’s second largest producer of the commodity. With the country supplying almost one-fifths of the cocoa beans used in the $100bn chocolate industry, revenues of just $2bn a year point to challenges faced by cocoa farmers. To accelerate combating issues such as child labour, poor incomes, deforestation and supply chain traceability, the German Initiative on Sustainable Cocoa, the Swiss Platform for Sustainable Cocoa and Belgian Beyond Chocolate have signed an MOU with the Ghanaian government.
High value skills development and talent repatriation
Andela is changing its business model by going completely remote, extending its African talent pool to more than 500,000 engineers, and doubling its reach through its earlier model. With the growth of the ‘gig economy’, the exponential rise in digital platforms in Africa (employing nearly 5mn people) and digital commerce estimated to benefit at least 80mn young Africans workers by 2030, expect more gig workers on the continent – an opportunity exists for African governments to nurture and support home-grown gig talent.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a game changer for digital financial services, says IMF, reporting that digital financial inclusion is on the rise, with Ghana, Kenya and Uganda, leading in Africa. This week, McKinsey outlined how banks across Africa can take advantage of the opportunity to digitise consumer and wholesale lending, via an approach that includes implementing digital credit scoring, automated “know-your-customer” processes and fintech partnerships. However, whilst digital financial services could support an inclusive post-COVID recovery, benefiting low income households and SMEs, it could also accelerate pre-existing risks of financial exclusion, if unequal access to digital infrastructure is not addressed.