Foreign investors eye African consumers

first_img25 May 2011When the world’s biggest retail company, the US-based Walmart, announced in September 2010 a plan to buy South African retailer Massmart for a staggering US$4.2-billion, eyebrows were raised. Foreign investors in Africa have tended to put their money in the riches that lie beneath its soil, where the profits are higher.In fact, the steady growth of foreign direct investment (FDI) flows to the continent during most of the past decade has mostly been concentrated in extractive sectors, especially oil (see Africa Renewal, January 2005).Yet, much like Walmart, a growing number of major investors are now betting on the continent’s ultimate wealth, Africans themselves, according to the World Investment Report 2010 by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad).And for all the shock that Walmart’s foray into Africa initially prompted, when it announced in December that it was seeking to acquire only 51 percent of Massmart’s shares for $2.5-billion, the transaction was still second to the continent’s biggest business deal unrelated to natural resources. Late in March 2010, a record $10.7-billion transaction took place as Kuwait’s telecommunication company Zain sold its African assets to Bharti, an Indian competitor.Investors eye new sectorsOverall, the Unctad report notes, amidst a recent slump in FDI flows to Africa (see graph): “The services sector, led by the telecommunications industry, became the dominant FDI recipient.”Across the continent, new deals involving major foreign corporations are becoming a common occurrence in sectors previously considered unattractive to investment heavyweights. Nestle, a Swiss food company, announced plans to spend $1-billion by 2013 for acquisitions in various African countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria and Angola. Less than two years ago, Nestle’s main competitor, France’s Danone, bought the yoghurt and desserts division of Clover, South Africa’s leader in fresh cultured dairy products.Such developments call “for reassessment of FDI in Africa, as a different picture emerges,” the Unctad report argues. Potentially, development experts note, an increase in FDI flows to infrastructure, services and retail sales could have a far more positive impact on African economies. Unlike investments in the extractive industries, investments in consumer-oriented sectors often lead to the creation of many more jobs and stimulate consumer spending.Rise of the African middle classAfrica’s booming middle class, with its recently acquired purchasing power, is the main reason behind the new FDI trend on the continent. Various researches suggest that the number of Africans who can afford to buy more than the necessities of daily life is rising rapidly.A much-talked-about report by McKinsey, a US-headquartered multinational consulting firm, estimates that the continent is home to around 50-million middle-class households (defined as those with incomes of at least $20 000), as many as in India. (The report, entitled “Lions on the Move: The Progress and Potential of African Economies”, was published in June 2010.)One in every 10 Africans, says a different study by a French aid agency, is already a “solvent consumer” – one who can afford the latest smartphones, the newest computers and dinners at trendy restaurants.The rise of this middle class is linked to the strong economic performances recorded in many African countries since the end of the 1990s. Average economic growth has been around 5 percent a year, while the average inflation rate fell to 8 percent from an earlier high of 22 percent.From 2000 to 2010, six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies were in sub-Saharan Africa, reports The Economist, an authoritative London weekly. In fact, the publication argues that Africa is the site of “the surprising success story of the past decade,” high praise from a magazine that is generally not very enthusiastic about the continent.Strong and sustained growth rates – and not only in the oil-rich countries that benefited from booming demand from emerging economies – provided a platform from which numerous households moved upwards in income.And while growth in oil-producing countries usually did not result in massive job creation, growth in other countries did create some employment, in turn boosting domestic consumption. In South Africa, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, Africa’s four most advanced and diversified economies, domestic consumption became the largest contributor to growth in recent years, says the McKinsey report.Policies, peace and governanceAfrica’s improved economic performances are also a result of good economic policies and improved political contexts, maintained the World Bank in its report Africa Development Indicators 2007. In Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania, for example, business-friendly policies opened new markets to investors. Angola and Rwanda became fast-growing economies after long civil wars.Some also argue that a continental development plan has helped as well. The New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad), adopted by African leaders in 2001, “did help shape a new, more positive perception of Africa,” argues Patrick Osakwe, an economist with the UN Economic Commission for Africa and co-author of a study on FDI to Africa.By emphasising the importance of good governance, Osakwe told Africa Renewal, the plan illustrated a momentous shift in the way Africans seek to interact with the rest of the world.Expanding prosperityFor a continent so long regarded by outside observers as “hopeless,” the coming years will bring more good news, various analysts say. Africa weathered the global recession better than most regions of the world, and its recent economic performance is second only to that of Asia, according to several international institutions. Over the next five years, The Economist recently projected, “The average African economy will outpace its Asian counterpart.”Such promising prospects are central to Walmart’s expansion plans in Africa. Other major Western investors are likely to follow the US giant, analysts say. One reason is that the continent’s combined consumer spending is forecast to reach $1.4-trillion by 2020, up from $860-billion in 2008. Companies from emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil are already strengthening their positions in the region.As foreign investors rush to benefit from the rise of the new categories of African consumers, prosperity still remains elusive for too many other Africans. According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, 250-million people in Africa are undernourished.“To expand prosperity, African leaders need to invest in infrastructure and education, to diversify their economies, so that many more people can benefit from growth,” argues Osakwe.Others note that improving the standard of living of the poor not only makes business sense, but is also a political necessity, as suggested by the recent waves of protests across North Africa. Not addressing people’s economic rights, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay pointedly remarked this January, causes grievances “to fester and eventually erupt on a large scale.”This article was first published in Africa Renewal – produced by the Africa Section of the United Nations Department of Public Information, Africa Renewal provides up-to-date information and analysis of the major economic and development challenges facing Africa today.last_img read more

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Benjamin Logan FFA takes part in district soil judging

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest On September 27th students from the Benjamin Logan FFA Chapter competed in District Rural and Urban Soil Judging contest held in Delaware County. The Agricultural Soils CDE is an educational activity designed as a practical method of teaching students to evaluate land and soil and to make decisions when faced with soil related issues that affect agricultural production.Emma Wenger, LeAnn Regula, Peyton Derr, Kyleigh Neeld, and Hallie Anderson represented the Urban Soil team. Nathaniel Devine, Dalton Rockhold, Tanner Anspach, John Lowe, and Matt Black represented the Rural Soil team.last_img read more

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Bombay HC to hear Maratha quota petitions on December 10

first_imgThe Bombay High Court will hear petitions on 16% reservation to Marathas on December 10.A Division Bench of Chief Justice Naresh Patil and Justice M.S. Karnik was hearing a petition filed by Advocate Dr Jayanti Patil, founder of a body called – Indian Constitutionalists Counsel, which wants the reservation to be struck down as NEET forms have been issued and the recruitment for teachers has also begun. Senior Counsel VA Thorat said pending petitions at HC had opposed the reservation on the basis of 2014 Act but now the new Act has come in place.Advocate Sadavarte said in the present situation “there are around two lakh applicants in the State who annually apply for the engineering and the medical courses with the new reservation there will be only 32% seats left for the open category.”An intervention application filed by Dr. Kanchan Vadgaonkar opposing the PIL urges that reservation should be allowed. The court will hear both petitions on December 10.last_img read more

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Maná Named 2018 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year

first_imgNews Maná Named 2018 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year Twitter Facebook “It is a grand and unexpected recognition to an extensive career, a beautiful and passionate one that we continue to enjoy as if it were the first day.” said Fher on behalf of the band. “We are flattered that the most prestigious Latin music organization is recognizing us. Undoubtedly, it will be moving to hear our songs performed by talented colleagues and friends. We hope to continue using our voices and this honor to raise awareness about environmental concerns and human rights issues around the world.”Maná has won awards at the 38th GRAMMY Awards, 41st GRAMMY Awards, 42nd GRAMMY Awards, 45th GRAMMY Awards, 49th GRAMMY Awards and 54th GRAMMY Awards.Catching Up On Music News Powered By The Recording Academy Just Got Easier. Have A Google Home Device? “Talk To GRAMMYs”Read morecenter_img Email Maná Is Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year man%C3%A1-named-2018-latin-recording-academy-person-year The iconic GRAMMY and Latin GRAMMY-winning band will be honored for their artistic achievement and humanitarian contributions a day before the Latin GRAMMYs in Las Vegas Jennifer VelezGRAMMYs Sep 6, 2018 – 2:41 pm The Latin Recording Academy has announced Maná, the iconic Latin GRAMMY-winning pop-rock band, as the 2018 Latin Recording Academy Person Of The Year. The group is the first band to ever receive the honor. Maná, made up of Fher Olvera, Alex González, Sergio Vallín and Juan Calleros, is a six-time Latin GRAMMY and four-time GRAMMY winner. They will be recognized at a gala that will feature a tribute concert performed by their friends and other artists on Nov. 14 in Las Vegas, a day before the 2018 Latin GRAMMY Awards on Nov. 15.The band were essential in formulating Mexico’s ’90s rock scene and have become influential globally in Latin America and beyond for their fusion of pop, rock, bolero and other genres that continue to shape their sound. The band have also been advocates for social justice, global equality and environmental protection—they launched their philanthropic entity, Fundación Ecológica Selva Negra, which protects and preserves endangered species, has an educational component and helps develop community projects.”Maná (Fher, Alex, Sergio and Juan) is an iconic band with a profound social and environmental consciousness that has created captivating and vibrant music for over three decades,” said President/CEO of The Latin Recording Academy Gabriel Abaroa Jr.The Person Of The Year award honors musicians with an Ibero-American background for their musical achievements and humanitarian work.last_img read more

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Khaleda goes to HC challenging EC

first_imgBNP chairperson Khaleda Zia. Prothom Alo File PhotoBNP chairperson Khaleda Zia filed a writ petition with the High Court challenging the legality of the election commission’s decision that rejected all her three nominations for contesting the 30 December election, reports UNB.Lawyer Nowshad Jamin, on behalf of Khaleda Zia, filed the petition with the concerned High Court bench on Saturday morning.The bench of justice Syed Refaat Ahmed and justice Md Iqbal Kabir is likely to hear the petition on Tuesday, said lawyer Kaiser Kamal, a counsel of Khaleda Zia.Earlier on Saturday, the election commission upheld returning officers’ decisions cancelling the candidature of jailed BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia for forthcoming national election.On the basis of majority opinions of the five election commissioners, the commission pronounced its judgment turning down Khaleda’s petitions filed to it to get back her candidacy in Feni-1, Bogura-6 and 7 constituencies.The lawyers of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia on Wednesday filed appeals with the election commission against rejection of her nomination papers of three constituencies.On behalf of Khaleda Zia, lawyer Kaisar Kamal submitted the appeal for Feni-1 constituency while lawyer Nowshad Jamin for Bogura-6 and lawyer Masud Ahmed Talukder for Bogura-7 constituencies at Nirbachan Bhaban in the city.Earlier, the EC on Sunday (2 Dec) ditched Khaleda’s all the three nomination papers filed for contesting the polls from Feni-1, Bogura-6 and Bogura-7 seats for her conviction in two graft case.On 29 October, Khaleda was convicted and sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment by a special court in Dhaka in Zia Charitable Trust corruption case.Khaleda landed in jail after being sentenced to five years’ imprisonment in Zia Orphanage Trust case by the same court on 8 February. The High Court later on 30 October extended her jail terms in the case to 10 years.last_img read more

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After Harvey Houston ISD Other Districts Could Get Break on Recapture Bills

first_img X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Listen 00:00 /01:10 APStephanie Garcia, left, waits with her family at a high school gym to be evacuated as the outer bands of Hurricane Harvey begin to make landfall, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Harvey intensified into a hurricane Thursday and steered for the Texas coast with the potential for up to 3 feet of rain, 125 mph winds and 12-foot storm surges in what could be the fiercest hurricane to hit the United States in almost a dozen years.(AP Photo/Eric Gay)Before Harvey flooded much of the city, the Houston Independent School District owed almost $80 million in so-called Robin Hood money. It’s considered property wealthy and has to share money with property-poor school districts.It worried Superintendent Richard Carranza in the wake of the storm, when he roughly estimated the damage and manpower hours could cost HISD hundreds of millions of dollars.“This is important for us, that we look at the totality of what’s going to be flowing out, in terms of resources, for HISD and that we have that very structured conversation about how do we make the district whole, or at least somewhat whole,” Carranza said. Turns out wealthy districts like Houston can get a break on their bill after a natural disaster.Attorney David Thompson, who counsels school districts, said that they can apply some of the money owed to the state to disaster-related expenses that insurance or the Federal Emergency Management Agency won’t cover.“Frankly, it makes a lot of sense,” he said. “After a disaster, local property tax dollars that citizens are paying certainly should be used first to help recovery in their own community before simply being sent to Austin to be put in general revenue.”Thompson estimated Houston’s bill could be reduced by several million dollars. He added that the Texas Education Commissioner could also set up grant programs for districts that suffered damage from Harvey, but aren’t considered property wealthy. Sharelast_img read more

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Womens Leadership Luncheon

first_imgThree Washington-area residents who use their unique talents, resources and abilities to increase opportunities for women and girls will receive Visionary Awards at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation’s annual Leadership Luncheon Oct. 23 at the Grand Hyatt Washington. The luncheon’s theme is “Here. Now. For Her.” and builds on the national momentum for the economic advancement of women and girls. The Visionary Awards recipients are recognized for their commitment to advancing women and girls in the Washington region. For more information about the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, visit http://thewomensfoundation.org.last_img read more

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New Research From Psychological Science

first_imgWhen the Muses Strike: Creative Ideas of Physicists and Writers Routinely Occur During Mind WanderingShelly L. Gable, Elizabeth A. Hopper, and Jonathan W. Schooler Conceptually Rich, Perceptually Sparse: Object Representations in 6-Month-Old Infants’ Working MemoryMelissa M. Kibbe and Alan M. Leslie Read about the latest research published in Psychological Science: A Tight Spot: How Personality Moderates the Impact of Social Norms on Sojourner AdaptationNicolas Geeraert, Ren Li, Colleen Ward, Michele Gelfand, and Kali A. Demes How do contextual factors and personality traits affect how individuals adapt to a new culture when they temporarily move to a different country? To answer this question, Geeraert and colleagues analyzed data from a longitudinal acculturation project that measured young adults’ personality and cultural adaptation during and after a temporary move to a different country. These measures were collected on three occasions: 3 months before departure as well as 2 weeks and 5 months after arrival to the host country. Overall, participants who moved to a tight culture (i.e., one with strong norms and little tolerance for deviance) showed less adaptation than those who moved to a loose culture (i.e., one with less rigid norms), but participants originally from a tight culture showed more adaptation than those from a loose culture. Participants who scored higher on agreeableness and honesty-humility were less likely to feel the negative effects of cultural tightness or to return early to their home country. These results may help ensure a good fit between individuals’ personalities and their destination culture, which will increase the benefits of the rapid increase in international mobility. Do infants remember conceptual information about an object (e.g., the object is a ball) even when they do not remember perceptual information (e.g., the object is round and green)? This study indicates that they do. Six-month-old infants were familiarized with a yellow and red striped ball and a doll’s head with brown skin and eyes. The two objects were then hidden one at a time in separate locations. One of the objects then reappeared at the location where the first object was hidden; critically, this object could be the same one that had been hidden there or the other object. The experimenters measured the time that infants spent looking at this object. Infants looked longer when the object had been swapped, indicating that they remembered the hidden object’s conceptual information. This effect did not occur when the doll’s head was inverted and therefore not processed as a face. It also did not occur when the ball was swapped for a green ball with red polka dots or when the doll’s head was swapped for a doll’s head with pink skin and blue eyes, indicating that infants’ memory for the first object hidden relied on conceptual details (e.g., is the object a ball or a head?) but not on perceptual details (e.g., does the object have brown or blue eyes?). These results suggest that infants may encode the conceptual category of a hidden object, even when perceptual features are lost. Mind wandering, which involves thoughts that are both independent from the task at hand and different from one’s previous thoughts on the matter, can generate creative ideas experienced as “aha” moments, this study suggests. Every day for 1 or 2 weeks, physicists and writers listed their most important creative idea of the day, described what they were thinking and doing when the idea occurred, and rated the importance of the idea and whether it felt like an “aha” moment or not. Participants reported that about 20% of their most important ideas occurred when their minds were wandering, and these ideas were rated as being equally important and creative as the ideas formed while working on task. After 3 or 6 months, they rated all these previous ideas as slightly more creative but less important. Overall, ideas generated during mind wandering were more likely to be rated as “aha” moments, compared with ideas generated while working. Hence, profession-related ideas that occur outside of work when people are not thinking about the topic can be inventive and create sudden insights, showing a positive side of mind wandering.last_img read more

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