Ecobank Group Research Reveals Three Key Emerging Trends for Africa

The 2017 version of Ecobank Research’s Fixed Income, Currency and Commodities (FICC) Guidebook, which provides expert knowledge and analysis on African markets for investors and businesses, was launched today at AfricaFICC.

EcoBank
EcoBank

A press statement issued Thursday by the APO Group for Ecobank and copied to West African Journal Magazine says, indicating a positive outlook for the continent, three key trends are forecast to take hold during the next 12 months. and include economic rebound in sub-Saharan Africa driven by a recovery in the region’s economic heavyweights, Nigeria and South Africa, and ongoing growth in the top performers, Ethiopia, Côte d’Ivoire and (more recently) Ghana.

  • Growth will be driven by a rise in oil production (notably in Ghana, Republic of Congo, Nigeria and Angola), strengthening infrastructure investment across West and East Africa, and improved weather conditions which bode well for crops.
  • Strengthening economic activity, plus a moderate improvement in oil and mineral prices, will help narrow the current account deficit, but pressure on SSA currencies will remain.
Oil Drilling
Oil Drilling

The second emerging trend points to West Africa’s gas sector becoming a hive of activity in 2018 from Senegal to Angola, with the development of gas pipelines, floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) platforms and major gas field projects.

  • Governments in the Gulf of Guinea and across West Africa have ramped up efforts to secure gas supply in order to boost domestic power generation and diversify their revenues away from crude oil.
  • Deregulating the gas market and allowing market-driven gas prices will be key to unlocking further gas infrastructure investment across the region.
Africa mobile users
Mobile Phone Users

The third trend suggests Fintech innovation in Africa picking up speed in 2018  buoyed by a new generation of Africans who are ‘digital natives’. The proliferation of tech hubs across Africa (notably in South Africa, Kenya, Rwanda, Nigeria, Ghana and Côte d’Ivoire) will nurture the next wave of African start-ups and help connect them with investors, the release said.

  • Digital innovation in SSA is being driven by the explosion in mobile phone usage, enabling African consumers to leapfrog existing business models and technologies.
  • African Fintech firms are increasingly driving this innovation, deploying digital tools to build credit profiles for the previously ‘unbankable’, providing electricity to rural households that were previously off the grid, even using artificial intelligence to diagnose health problems remotely.

Incorporated in Lomé, Togo, in 1988 Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (‘ETI’) the parent company of Ecobank is the leading independent pan-African banking group. It currently has a presence in 36 African countries, namely: Angola, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo (Brazzaville), Congo (Democratic Republic), Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Sierra Leone, South Africa, South Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Group employs over 20,000 people in 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices.

Ecobank is a full-service bank providing wholesale, retail, investment and transaction banking services and products to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organizations, medium, small and micro businesses and individuals.

 

 

Zimbabwe: “Allies” of Grace Mugabe Picked Up By Military

President Mugabe Meets Army Chief and Mediators at State House
President Mugabe Meets Army Chief and Mediators at State House
Pres Mugabe Meets Army Chief Chiwenga
Pres Mugabe Meets Army Chief Chiwenga

Harare – News reports say two leaders of Zanu-PF’s Generation 40 (G40) faction – Political Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere and Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo have reportedly been arrested by the Zimbabwean military.

Zim Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo
Zim Higher Education Minister Jonathan Moyo

Kasukuwere and Moyo  were reportedly picked up from President Robert Mugabe’s Borrowdale mansion. They had been seeking refuge there since the military stepped in Wednesday.

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The Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) on Wednesday announced that it had taken over the country and was keeping Mugabe and his family under guard at his home as the military was getting rid of the “criminals” around the nonagenarian.

Saviour-Kasukuwere
Political Commissar Saviour Kasukuwere

On Monday, the Zimabwe Defence Forces warned President Mugabe against the purge of party veterans, adding that it would step in if it continued.

Reports by multiple outlets say that the military is picking up ministers and members of the party who are allied to First Lady Grace Mugabe who was maneuvering to position herself to succeed the elderly Mugabe.

The G 40 faction is said to have engineered the dismissal of former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

President Alpha Conde
AU Chair President Alpha Conde

In an interview with the AFP in Paris, the African Union (AU) Chair President Apha Conde of Guinea rejected any attempt at the unconstitutional removal of President Mugabe, saying “We demand respect for the constitution, a return to the constitutional order and we will never accept the military coup d’état.”

“We know there are internal problems. They need to be resolved politically by the Zanu-PF party and not with an intervention by the army,” according to Conde.

President Robert Mugabe is insisting he remains Zimbabwe’s only legitimate ruler, an intelligence source said on Thursday, and is resisting mediation by a Catholic priest to allow his exit.

President Mugabe had been given an opportunity to negotiate an exit that included state protection together with his family. He has been meeting with Army Chief Constantino Chiwenga and other mediators at State House on Thursday.

West African Journal Magazine and Wire Services

 

Angolan President Sacks Head Of The National Oil Company Isabel dos Santos

Angolan President Joao Lourenco dismissed Isabel dos Santos as chair of the state oil company Sonangol on Wednesday in a dramatic move against the family of the former president.

Angola President Joao Lourenco
Angola President Joao Lourenco

The daughter of Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled Angola for 38 years until stepping down in September, was replaced by Carlos Saturnino, the president’s office said in a statement.

Saturnino, an oil veteran who was fired by Isabel from Sonangol last year, was most recently Secretary of State for Oil.

Isabel-dos-Santos
Isabel dos Santos

A spokesperson for Isabel dos Santos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Lourenco also replaced six other board members, appointing Sebastião Pai Querido Gaspar Martins, Luís Ferreira do Nascimento José Maria, Carlos Eduardo Ferraz de Carvalho Pinto, Rosário Fernando Isaac, Baltazar Agostinho Gonçalves Miguel, Alice Marisa Leão Sopas Pinto da Cruz as executive directors.

José Gime and André Lelo were reappointed as non-executive directors.

Among those dismissed were Sarju Raikundalia, a senior PWC executive who was brought in to clean up Sonangol’s finances, and Eunice Carvalho, who previously worked for Chevron and was leading a restructuring at Angola’s biggest and most important company.

Reuters

U.S. Embassy Statement on Liberia’s Electoral Process

(Monrovia, November 15, 2017) — The U.S. Embassy in Monrovia was inspired by 1.5 million Liberians who expressed their commitment to and faith in democracy by voting in the October 10 elections.  The U.S. Embassy underscores the importance of a peaceful transfer of power to a new democratically-elected president in January, as reflected in Liberia’s Constitution.

US Flag
US Flag

The U.S. Embassy has confidence in the integrity of the October elections.  No accredited Liberian, regional, or international observation group suggested [link] that the cumulative anomalies observed reflect systemic issues sufficient to undermine the fundamental integrity of the electoral process.

Where issues were identified in the first round of voting, we urge the National Elections Commission (NEC) to undertake corrective actions before, during, and after the runoff election.  The U.S. Embassy urges the top two finishers, who collectively received the support of two-thirds of Liberian voters, to focus on constructively engaging each other and voters as they prepare to compete in the runoff.

We appreciate that parties are availing themselves of the legal right to dispute resolution.  We note, however, that with rights come responsibilities.  Disputes and litigation should be initiated and conducted in good faith by the claimants, the NEC, and if needed, the Supreme Court, in an expeditious manner to permit the timely conclusion of Liberia’s electoral process and a peaceful transition.

Liberian Politicians
Liberian Politicians

Liberia’s political leaders should take their cue from the citizens who waited patiently to vote and did so with respect for their fellow citizens, regardless of political views.  Efforts by any actors to impede the expressed will of Liberia’s people for personal ambition could risk goodwill and future investments in Liberia by international partners.

The Liberian people and the international community have worked too hard and invested too much to watch Liberia’s progress stall.  The United States remains committed to Liberia’s future and encourages Liberians to conclude the presidential electoral process as soon as possible to allow Liberia’s democratic and economic progress to continue.

Press Statement from the U.S. Embassy in Monrovia

Joint Statement by the European Union Delegation to Liberia and the Embassies of EU Member States present in Liberia (France, Germany, Sweden and the United Kingdom)

As close partners of Liberia the European Union and its Member States have been and continue to follow the 2017 Presidential and House of Representative elections with high interest.

WFL_074
EU Flag

Peace and security, together with democracy, good governance and human rights, are some of the shared values at the heart of the EU-Africa partnership. We congratulate both the Liberian people and Liberian political parties for the commitment they have shown to these values through the peaceful conduct of the electoral process so far, including through the use of the appropriate legal mechanisms to address any concerns.

Map of Liberia
Map of Liberia

Over the last twelve years the European Union has worked closely with Liberia to support both post-conflict reconstruction and long term development.  We would like to stress the importance of a smooth democratic transition for Liberia’s stability and economic growth.  We therefore encourage all concerned to work constructively and in good faith to conclude the current complaints process without unnecessary delay, so that the electoral process can be completed in accordance with Constitutional timelines regarding the assumption of power by the next administration.

The European Union is looking forward to continuing our cooperation with Liberia’s new President and new government.  The Liberian people demonstrated their commitment to democracy through the high turnout of voters on 10 October who cast their ballots in a peaceful atmosphere.  It is now the responsibility of all stakeholders to ensure that the electoral process continues in a manner which respects the will of the people, thereby putting Liberia’s interests first. We trust that this will continue to be the case.

Press Statement of EU Delegation to Liberia

Guinea’s Defence Minister Urges Fight Against Radicalism

Guinea’s Minister of National Defense Mohamed Diané Tuesday in Dakar urged “tackling the seeds of radicalization, if we want to eradicate terrorism. ”

Guinea Defense Minister Dr. Mohamed Diane
Guinea Defense Minister Dr. Mohamed Diane

“Social inequality, poverty and underemployment of youth are the seeds of terrorism that need to be addressed. If we win the battle for the development and equitable distribution of our resources, we will win this battle imposed on us by terrorists,” Diané said.

The website Journal du Cameroun reports that Minister Diane was speaking during a panel discussion on “terrorism and violent extremism”, on the second and final day of the 4th edition of the Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa.

The Guinean minister added that the response against terrorism must be adapted to the situation on the ground.

“We must also fight for drying up the sources of terrorism financing,” he went on, adding that Guinea has, thanks to the support from Morocco, trained 500 imams and preachers to combat radicalization.

According to MINUSMA head Mahamat Saleh Annadif, terrorism is a challenge for Africa and the world, and everyone agrees that it needs a global response.

“In doing so, it is important to look at its real causes of social injustice, underdevelopment, poverty and unemployment. Prevention is extremely important in the fight against terrorism,” he said at the forum.

According to the organizers, this 4th edition has registered nearly 700 participants, comprising regional and international actors, political and military authorities, experts and academics, diplomats, representatives of international organizations, civil society and the private sector.

Forum du Darkar
Forum du Darkar

The two-day meeting focused on the need for integrated approaches, promoting exchanges, sharing experiences, synergies at the national, sub-regional, regional or regional level.

The Dakar International Forum on Peace and Security in Africa was born at the Elysée Summit on Peace and Security in Africa held in 2013 in Paris, where African heads of state planned to deepen reflection on the framework of the Forum.

The holding of a high-level panel, shortly after Monday’s opening ceremony, is major innovation of the 2017 edition, which is being held at the Abdou Diouf International Conference Centre in Diamniado just outside Dakar.

Breaking News: Zimbabwe Army Detains President Mugabe

Zimbabwe Military Officer
Zimbabwe Military Spokesperson

UPDATE: Wednesday

According to multiple news sources, President Robert Mugabe is confined to his home and is safe. President Jacob Zuma of South Africa has spoken to him by telephone.

The military continues to strengthen it’s grip in key areas around the capital with reports that it now controls the airport and police depots around Harare.

Unconfirmed but multiple reports say that the ousted Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who fled to South African last week after his firing by Mugabe is expected to return to head an interim government. The ruling Zanu PF says he is now the head of the party.

The military has reportedly detained some members of the Police.

Zimbabwean Military detaining Police in Harare

The UK, Canada and US are all urging their citizens in Zimbabwe to stay indoors.

Although the military continues to deny that it’s operations are a military coup to end the nearly four decades rule of Mugabe, the situation on the ground says otherwise.

Pres Robert G. Mugabe
Pres Robert G. Mugabe

South African President Jacob Zuma has announced that, due to the seriousness of the situation, his country will mediate in the crisis and is sending his defense and security minister to Zimbabwe.

President Zuma is calling on the Zimbabwean military to respect the country’s constitution South Africa has always supported the Mugabe regime and maintains significant military and economic clout in the region.

STATEMENT ON THE SITUATION IN ZIMBABWE FROM THE SOUTH AFRICAN PRESIDENCY READS AS FOLLOWS:

President Jacob Zuma, in his capacity as chair of SADC (the Southern African Development Community), is sending special envoys to Zimbabwe and Angola in light of the unfolding situation in the Republic of Zimbabwe.

The president is sending the minister of defence and military veterans, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula and the minister of state security, Adv Bongani Bongo, to Zimbabwe to meet Robert Mugabe and the Zimbabwean Defence Force.

President Zuma spoke to President Robert Mugabe earlier today, who indicated that he was confined to his home, but said that he was fine. South Africa is also in contact with the ZDF.

The special envoys will also be sent to the Republic of Angola to see President João Lourenço, chair of the SADC organ on politics, defence and security, to brief him on the situation.

President Zuma has reiterated his call for calm and restraint and for the ZDF to ensure that peace and stability are not undermined in Zimbabwe.

SADC will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Appearing in Parliament Wednesday, the Guardian website quotes Prime Minister Theresa May  as saying the situation in Zimbabwe was still fluid and urged restraint on both sides. Prime Minister May is calling for the avoidance of violence, and said the primary concern was for British nationals in Zimbabwe.

International news outlets are quoting reports that First Lady Grace Mugabe is out of the country in Namibia. This is yet to be confirmed.

 

Tuesday:

West African Journal Magazine is monitoring the situation in Zimbabwe and can report that the military has just issued a statement saying it intends to address the human security threats to Zimbabwe and urged other security agencies to cooperate for the good of the country.

The military says President Mugabe and his family are said to be safe but that they are targeting “criminals” around him.

The army spokesperson said the military operation was not a take over.

Earlier, the BBC and France 24 reported that soldiers have taken over the headquarters of Zimbabwe’s national broadcaster, ZBC, amid a growing political crisis.

The US State Department is advising it’s citizens in Zimbabwe to “shelter in” due to the political situation. The UK embassy also issued an advisory to British citizens to also stay home/indoors

Zimbabwe
Map of Zimbabwe

Explosions have also been reported in the capital, Harare, but the cause is unclear.

Very little official information is filtering out of Zimbabwe on the situation there tonight.

Former Finance Minister Tendai Biti posted on Twitter a short while ago that “something is definitely happening. This might be the elusive tipping point.”

West African Journal Magazine will continue to monitor news on developments in Zimbabwe.