Archive for the ‘Africa’ Category

Africa beckons

May 14, 2009

Cockatoo members are currently involved in follow-up to the visit by the UAE delegation. It prompted a member to raise some very interesting ‘What if’ questions.

 My partner is currently based in Nigeria which I also visit (apart from the Gulf) and, believe me, that is an area where plenty of opportunities exist for an enterprising nation. They have lots of gas and oil reserves and other minerals, with the Chinese very visible in Nigeria sewing up contracts for these natural resources. However the Chinese don’t build back local infrastructure like the western nations, so the Africans are looking for other partners – but money really talks in Africa.

 France seems to be the major source of quality food imports. Quality food is in really short supply and there is major demand. A plane from France lands in Lagos once each week to supply one Victoria Island market, with all the stock sold by day’s end for very high prices e.g. $30 for 500g of ice cream – rich Nigerians and expats willing to pay. In the supermarket, I saw dairy from Ireland, soap powder and biscuits from USA, but nothing from OZ. All the meat/fresh produce seems to be from France. Surely we could undercut?

 Demand for education and skills training is endless and they also need help with managing their infrastructure, setting up regulatory frameworks, logistics/governance programs etc. Africa is emerging. All we see in the media is a constant supply of ‘poor babies stories’ but there are many versions of Africa so opportunities abound. Nigeria has so much oil, gas, mineral wealth not to mention the vast quantity of Aid money which is such an enormous industry one can’t see it ending anytime soon. Contracts in the millions of dollars are freely exchanged. It is all a matter of connecting with the right person in government. Yes there are issues and deals for trade/Aid, but even with that it is a market we shouldn’t ignore.

 Contributed by Fionnuala Livingston, Port Macquarie NSW


Africa – from Caterpillar to Cocoon

October 17, 2008


At a recent Wharton School conference on Africa’s economic future, speakers referred to Africa’s past performance as akin to a “caterpillar” i.e. slow moving and easy to step on.

Today, Africa’s economy is in a “cocoon” phase – transforming from a resource-based economy to one based on innovation and private sector growth. Africa has enjoyed per capital income growth of 4.6% annually since 2002. But it requires changes in how it does business – groom management talent, recruit others to work in the region, do a better job of linking to global markets, and communicate its investment opportunities.

Go to “Africa’s ‘Cocoon” Phase: Can Private Investors and Entrepreneurs Transform the Continent?” Source: NDOE.

Clusters and Zones on radar in Algeria

September 22, 2008

The Algerian Government is considering the creation of a competitiveness cluster in the region of Cap Djinet.


The agenda is led by the group Cevital. The National Agency for the Development of investment will soon submit it to the National Council of Investments.


The aim is to develop partnerships with foreign companies in steel, aluminium, automotive, chemical/petrochemical and paints. The agenda might involve an Integrated Activities Zone where companies, universities and technological partners could work in synergy.


Source: SPL Info


Artisans in Africa

October 16, 2007

Following on from our dialogue with Indonesian officials about JVs in artisan work in third world countries, we sought advice from Graeme Simmons, a longstanding travel and lifestyle writer. He reports as follows: 

A good example I know of is Zambia, where some amazing crafts are being produced. However, business development is hampered by the unavailability of mortgage finance – Africans have no traditional system of land titles, so find it very difficult to get bank finance. Just lately, “microfinance” and “small scale development” are the buzz words in Zambia, with a number of lending institutions trying to get around the “no land titles” problem. 

With regard to marketing indigenous crafts to the West, it is vital to ensure that the sales proceeds get back to the people. Otherwise you get the situation that applies with some Aboriginal paintings, where the artist gets a small fee for a piece that will later fetch thousands of dollars in a top gallery in New York. One way around this might be to introduce training programs in marketing, and to develop joint ventures between local artisan communities and reputable galleries in the global cities.’ 

Contributed by


African aquaculture – small, but growing rapidly

October 15, 2007

The Growfish newsletter is a beauty, and a recent edition highlights a significant development agenda. It has a story by Erik Hempel (INFOSA – via Eurofish magazine) about the increasing interest in aquaculture in Africa.

Aquaculture production in Africa only amounts to 570,000 tonnes annually – but it is now growing. For example, Egypt’s production has risen 500% in less than 10 years. Other potential hot spots are Congo DR, Nigeria, Madagascar, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Investments in African aquaculture can be divided into two groups:
§          Community-based projects – small, financed by aid agencies and national governments.

§          Commercial investments – larger scale, mainly export oriented. Usually foreign capital involved – joint venture with local investors.

Many markets are able to pay good prices. For many operations the local, African markets represent a better option in terms of profitability. What is needed is the development of distribution systems, and to some extent cold chains. Corruption and lack of infrastructure in some areas are major obstacles. Also lack of feed, knowledge and finance – caused mainly by the lack of experience on the part of financial institutions in the region.

Both development banks and commercial banks are reluctant to finance aquaculture projects because they do not know the sector. However, the investors must also take part of the blame – they don’t know how to present their projects to financial institutions. (The article suggests to us that foreign banks with aquaculture expertise, together with aquaculture consultants and aid agencies could play a really constructive role. Over to you, Cockatoo members! 

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