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The economic growth rate in sub-Saharan Africa is projected to recover to 2.6% in 2017, following a net deceleration in 2016. According to the World Bank, the upturn in economic activity is expected to continue in 2018 and 2019, reflecting improvements in commodity prices, a pickup in global growth, and more supportive domestic conditions.

Those travelling to Sudan need to ensure they’ve downloaded all the apps they’ll require during their visit before leaving, as some popular apps are inaccessible in the northeastern African country.

Cryptocurrencies are gradually being discovered in Africa. In countries like South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Nigeria, there is a semblance of digital currencies, primarily bitcoin, taking roots. Blockchain or DLT (distributed ledger technology) can be seen as the solution for Africa’s current problems and future growth. Bitcoin, based on blockchain, could be the engine for African growth, and could fuel the continent’s great leap forward.

There are various examples of companies doing thriving business in Africa’s rural areas. Through innovative sales, marketing and distribution tactics, they are overcoming common rural challenges such as under-developed infrastructure and low purchasing power. This report examines some of the strategies companies have employed to capture the opportunities in the continent’s hinterlands.

More than 640 million Africans, or about 60% of the continent’s population, don’t have access to reliable and affordable grid-connected electricity, and are therefore dependent on energy sources such as kerosene, charcoal and diesel. Likewise, many businesses also suffer from poor power supply. For example, it is estimated that some 95% of the mobile tower sites in the continent’s off-grid regions run on inefficient diesel generators, which significantly drive up costs.

Former Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi didn’t like it when the African Union (AU) set tight deadlines that might never be achieved. At a debate about intra-African trade at the AU summit in January 2012, the late Zenawi berated the AU Commission for stating that a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) would be established by 2017. It was far too short a deadline for such a complicated and immensely difficult achievement, he said.

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Synopsis

The East African Community (EAC) is an economic bloc formed by Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. The countries have a history of cooperation dating back to the early 20th century. In the recent years, they have started various infrastructure projects to improve the connection between its members, ultimately decreasing the cost of doing business and making the bloc more attractive to trade with foreign countries.

Singapore is enjoying this opportunity, with investments in the African continent growing at a compound rate of 12% per year[1]; the city-state has traded more than US$400 million with the EAC alone in 2013. Singapore is currently involved in various businesses in the region, ranging from agriculture to digital logistics solutions, and is eager to expand its presence even more. This pace will increase as legal frameworks and institutions covering the whole EAC bloc gain strength and eliminate corruption in the region; and when basic infrastructure problems are solved and an easy flow of goods and services is reached in the region.

 

 

 

NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies

 

50 Nanyang Avenue
Singapore 639798

 

(65) 6513 8089