Commercial News from Africa

Executive summary: Financial services in Africa are coming of age and some markets are approaching a tipping point. After decades outside the global financial mainstream, Africa is now becoming one of the world's fastest-growing emerging markets and an increasingly sought-after investment destination. The basis for this dramatic reassessment is clear: African economies are expanding on the back of commodities, trade, foreign investment and increasing consumer affluence is further fuelling the demand for goods and services. In developed markets, economic growth is inextricably linked with the banking sector - banking boosts economic activity. Several countries across Africa are already well-established and some are nearing a tipping point in terms of rapid growth. Firms seizing these opportunities will be in a position to establish a lasting competitive advantage in the longer term.

Kenya’s push to lower interest rates expected to boost equities.  The Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE) is gearing up for increased activity as the Government considers ambitious measures aimed at lowering interest rates to single digits. The market expects that if the measures are implemented, they could lead to significant investor flight from the bond market to the NSE.

Vodacom to offer services to Tanzania's rural population. Vodacom Tanzania has been selected as one of the Communications Service Providers (CSPs) to offer telecommunications services in select rural and urban underserved areas in the country. The company has won a tender to provide telecom services to a total of 466 Villages in 73 wards with a total population of approximately 1,000,000 people.

US$530 million invested in rural electrification already. Over the last five years the Mozambican government has invested US$530 million in rural electrification. In the last five years 7,500 kilometres of electricity transmission lines were built - 1,471 kilometres in high voltage, 5,375 in medium voltage and about 1,000 in low voltage. Mozambique now has the third highest electrification rate in the SADC region, surpassed only by South Africa and Mauritius. Mozambique needs to invest a further US$2.4 billion in electrification so that power reaches the other 60 per cent of the population.