An arrest warrant has been issued against the Chief Executive Officer of the largest mobile telecom network in Ghana MTN, Michael Ikpoki, together with two of his subordinates, Jemima Kotei, Customer Relations Executive, and John Hoffman, Chief Technical Officer, by an Accra Fast Track High Court.
The warrant was issued against the MTN boss based on the fact that he failed to appear in person in court in a case between MTN Ghana and Dr. Raymond Atuguba.
Ikpoki was expected to appear in court on Thursday to answer questions as to why MTN has not complied with the directives of the court to fix communication services for Dr Atuguba.
There are two standard methods of measuring the wealth of countries and how rich or poor its inhabitants are. The measure most often used is Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which represents the size of a country’s economy. The rankings below were published in Wikipedia from International Monetary Fund’s 2011 gross domestic product per capita (GDP per capita) report and reflecting the countries with the lowest purchasing power parity (PPP). Since 1970, there has been encouraging news emerging from developing countries.
According to the UN’s 2010 Human Development Report, life expectancy in developing countries has increased from 59 years in 1970 to 70 years in 2010. School enrollment climbed from 55% to 70% of all primary and secondary school-age children. Also, in the last forty years, per capita GDP doubled to more than ten thousand U.S. dollars. Poor countries are catching up with the wealthier countries, but not all countries are making fast progress.
For example, some countries in Sub-Sahara Africa have little or no progress, largely due to the HIV epidemic and civil wars.
The 10 Poorest African Countries:
#1. Congo, Democratic Republic of the
GDP Per Capita: $348 (As of 2011)
Not to be mixed with the neighboring Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has become the poorest country in the world as of 2010. Democratic Republic of the Congo was known as Zaire until 1997. Congo is the largest country in the world that has French as an official language – the population of D.R Congo is about six million larger than the population of France (71 million people in D.R Congo vs 65 million in France). The Second Congo War beginning in 1998 has devastated the country. The war that involves at least 7 foreign armies is the deadliest conflict in the world since World War II – by 2008 the Second Congo War and its aftermath had killed 5.4 million people.
GDP Per Capita: $456 (As of 2011)
Liberia is one of the few countries in Africa that have not been colonized by Europe. Instead, Liberia was founded and colonized by freed slaves from America. These slaves made up the elite of the country and they established a government that closely resembled that of the United States of America. In 1980 the president of Liberia was overthrown and a period of instability and civil war followed. After the killings of hundreds of thousands, a 2003 peace deal was led to democratic elections in 2005. Today, Liberia is recovering from the lingering effects of the civil war and related economic dislocation, with about 85% of the population lives below $1 a day.
GDP Per Capita: $487 (As of 2011)
The government of Zimbabwe released its largest bank note 100 trillion dollar bill issued on January 2009. In addition to the economic problems the life expectancy of Zimbabwe is the lowest in the world – 37 years for men and just 34 for women. One of the problems for the early deaths are the 20.1% of the population with HIV and AIDS. The health issues aren’t seeing any improvement.
GDP Per Capita: $615 (As of 2011)
Burundi is known for its tribal and civil wars. Burundi have never really had any peaceful time between the everlasting civil wars as a result its the fourth poorest country. Owing in part to its landlocked geography, poor legal system, lack of economic freedom, lack of access to education, and the proliferation of HIV and AIDS. Approximately 80% of Burundians live in poverty and according to the World Food Programme 57% of children under 5 years suffer from chronic malnutrition; 93% of Burundi’s exports revenues come from selling coffee.
GDP Per Capita: $735 (As of 2011)
Affected by the Italian colonizers of the 19th century. Eritrea’s advantage of controlling the sea route through the Suez Canal made the italians to colonized it just a year after the opening of the canal in 1869 and same reason the British conquered it in 1941. The present Eritrea’s economic conditions have not improved and real gross domestic product growth averaged 1.2 percent between 2005 and 2008; in 2009 GDP growth was estimated at 2.0 percent.
#6. Central African Republic
GDP Per Capita: $768 (As of 2011)
Despite its significant mineral resources; uranium reserves in Bakouma, crude oil, gold, diamonds, lumber, hydropower and its arable land, it remains one of the poorest countries in the world. Diamonds constitute the most important export of the Central Africans Republic, accounting for 40–55% of export revenues. The 2010 UNDP Human Development Report ranks CAR near the bottom of its Human Development Index (159th out of 162 countries) and unlikely to meet its MDG goals. The proportion of Central Africans living on $1 a day has decreased slightly to 62% but it needs to be half of that in order to reach the 2015 goal.
GDP Per Capita: $771 (As of 2011)
With over 80% of its land is covered by the giant desert of Sahara, Niger has a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in Parity Purchasing Power (PPP) terms of US$771 as of 2011, one of the lowest in Africa. Niger’s poverty is exacerbated by political instability, extreme vulnerability to exogenous shocks and inequality which affects girls, women and children disproportionately. In January 2000, Niger’s newly elected government inherited serious financial and economic problems including a virtually empty treasury and was qualified for enhanced debt relief under the International Monetary Fund program for Highly Indebted Poor Countries.
#8. Sierra Leone
GDP Per Capita: $849 (As of 2011)
A West African country with English as its official language, Sierra Leone has relied on mining, especially diamonds, for its economic base and home to the third largest natural harbour in the world where shipping from all over the globe berth at Freetown’s famous Queen Elizabeth II Quay. It is among the top diamond producing nations in the world, and mineral exports remain the main foreign currency earner and also among the largest producers of titanium and bauxite, and a major producer of gold. Despite this natural wealth, 70% of its people live in poverty. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond you should know that it is based on Sierra Leone.
GDP Per Capita: $860 (As of 2011)
Malawi has one of the lowest per capita incomes in the world, with 53% (2004) living under the poverty line. In December 2000, the IMF stopped aid disbursements due to corruption concerns, and many individual donors followed suit, resulting in an almost 80% drop in Malawi’s development budget. In 2006, Malawi was approved for relief under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) program. In December 2007, the US granted Malawi eligibility status to receive financial support within the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) initiative. Agriculture accounts for 35% of GDP, industry for 19% and services for the remaining 46%. In addition, some setbacks have been experienced, and Malawi has lost some of its ability to pay for imports due to a general shortage of foreign exchange, as investment fell 23% in 2009.
GDP Per Capita: $899 (As of 2011)
This small, sub-Saharan economy suffers from anemic economic growth and depends heavily on both commercial and subsistence agriculture, which provides employment for a significant share of the labor force. Cocoa, coffee, and cotton generate about 40% of export earnings with cotton being the most important cash crop. Togo is among the world’s largest producers of phosphate. Approximately one half of the population lives below the international poverty line of US$1.25 a day.
GDP (gross domestic product) is the sum of the gross value added by all resident producers in the economy plus any product taxes and minus any subsidies not included in the value of the products. It is calculated without deductions for depreciation of fabricated assets or for depletion and degradation of natural resources.
GDP PPP (purchasing power parity) is gross domestic product converted to international dollars using purchasing power parity rates. An international dollar has the same purchasing power over GDP as a U.S. dollar has in the United States. Purchasing power parities (PPPs) are the rates of currency conversion that eliminate the differences in price levels between countries.
GDP (PPP) per capita is GDP on a purchasing power parity basis divided by population. Please note: Whereas PPP estimates for OECD countries are quite reliable, PPP estimates for developing countries are often rough approximations..
This year (2012) Chinese President Hu Jintao opened the fifth China-Africa Cooperation Forum with the announcement that China will offer an additional US$20bn in loans to Africa over the next three years. This is double the amount that was offered at the 2009 forum.
In the past 10 years, Africa has seen a huge interest from Chinese investors who, in order to fuel their own growing economy and population, require access to the continent’s vast reserves of minerals and other resources.
The commodities boom has benefited resource-rich African countries. Daniel Tarling-Hunter, an economist at Euromonitor International, stated in a recent report that the Metals Index increased by 290% between June 2000 and February 2011.
“China’s demand for goods has been instrumental to these rising prices, the country imported more metalliferous ores and scrap metal in 2011 than the 10 largest importers behind it,” explained Tarling-Hunter. “Raw material-rich African countries such as Nigeria, Zambia and South Africa have benefited from this demand, supporting a real GDP growth rate in sub-Saharan Africa of 75.2% between 2001 and 2011.”
Tarling-Hunter also pointed out that Africa, the Middle East and Australasia are the only regions in the world that China runs a trade deficit with – worth over $59bn in 2011 – as China’s imports of raw materials exceed that of their exports to those regions.
China has also invested in energy security in order to support its long term growth. As oil is a major import for China, it has been investing in refinery projects across the African continent. Algeria, Sudan, Chad, Niger and Nigeria all have oil refinery projects funded by Chinese firms, with the Nigerian project worth $23bn alone, as indicated by Tarling-Hunter.
But Chinese investment is not limited to raw materials, with the country investing in various infrastructure projects around the continent, as well as in the African consumer. Between 2006 and 2011 sub-Saharan Africa saw a 19.3% increase in consumer expenditure in real terms. This has a lot to do with the growing African population, which exceeded one billion in 2010 and is expected to grow to 1.6 billion by 2030. In line with this is the rapidly growing middle class.
Heloise Smith, executive vice president of business development at Standard Bank, said in a recent KPMG panel conversation focused on transacting in Africa that the growing African population – that is increasingly affluent – is driving some of the trends seen in Africa, including investment in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector.
“There is a lot of debate as to how you define the African middle class and you can debate about what the definition is, but the fact is its growing and it is increasingly urbanising which makes it possible for the FMCG [companies] and other service providers to get economies of scale because you are increasingly going to have cities in excess of 10 million people on this continent over the next few decades,” said Smith.
China has embraced opportunities in the FMCG sector. According to Tarling-Hunter, low cost electronics are in demand in Africa, with the telecommunications market doing particularly well. “Lower costs of production and more aggressive investment strategies have allowed Chinese firms to flourish against western competition,” he said. “Huawei, a Chinese telecommunications firm, has invested $1.5bn in Africa since it entered the market in 1998, with its low cost smartphone offerings gaining market share on the continent.”
Chinese investment: a blessing or curse?
So why is there this murmur of distrust concerning all this investment coming in from China? There are a few major criticisms, the most popular being that China’s involvement in Africa is new colonialism. It is a concern that China’s infusion of funds could leave Africa in considerable debt, or reliant on Chinese investment in order to maintain their economies. This would impact the economic and political independence of African countries.
Source: Kate Dougla
FORBES recently published its annual list of the World’s Most Innovative Companies. For some reason, Africa was not represented on the list. So when FORBES writer Samantha Sharf did a story on the Ten Most Innovative Companies In America, I decided to make a list of Africa’s most innovative companies.
Admittedly, this is a subjective list, but I believe it to be quite accurate. Here are ten truly African companies, all leading in industries ranging from media and telecommunications to retail and restaurants and food & beverages. These ten companies continually reinvent themselves, setting industry standards and radically changing their sectors. These companies create, then recreate, then innovate. They exploit new ideas, products and services to produce dynamic and lucrative new businesses.
East Africa’s largest mobile telecommunications provider easily ranks as the most innovative company in sub-Saharan Africa. Reason: M-Pesa, Africa’s first SMS-based money transfer service. In 2007, Safaricom launched M-Pesa (M for mobile and Pesa- a Swahili word for money) which lets users deposit, transfer and withdraw funds via text message. A subscriber who wants to send money across simply visits a registered M-Pesa agent with the money and the phone number of the recipient. For a fee of a little over $1, the agent sets up a virtual account for the subscriber, credits the account with the money, and then sends the amount to the recipient’s account. A subscriber can send money even to a recipient on a different mobile network, who can cash it at any M-Pesa agent simply by presenting an ID and entering a secret code. Safaricom also pioneered a service which offers subscribers airtime on credit, introduced the payment of utility bills through the M-Pesa platform and also runs a robust customer loyalty award programe.
Industry: Food & Beverages
Since opening its first restaurant in 1987, Nandos has expanded to over a thousand locations in 30 countries on five continents. Its success secrets may well lie in its marketing: Nando’s’ numerous provocative yet witty commercials, such as an ad featuring a dimwitted busty blonde and another which depicted Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe reflecting on happy moments he enjoyed with fallen dictators such as Colonel Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein have made Nando’s’ flagship flame-grilled Peri-Peri chicken a hit among Africa’s young and hip. Nando’s meals are premised on traditional Mozambiquan-Portuguese dietary patterns and spices such as the ‘Pili Pili’. The company also manufactures a range of sauces which are sold in Nando’s restaurants and in supermarkets.
In 2010, Advertising Age magazine named Nando’s as one of the world’s top 30 hottest marketing brands. Nando’s also promises to allow anyone to eat free for life if they can prove they have been to all the Nando’s restaurants.
Industry: Media & Entertainment
East Africa’s largest media group is subtly transforming itself into an internet and financial services powerhouse. Between 2009 and now, the Nation Media group has launched N-Soko, a classifieds site which competes with Craigslist in Kenya, Twende Twende- Kenya’s first online travel site and Nation Hela, an international money transfer service which allows Kenyans in the Diaspora remit money to their families at home online.
The group’s flagship publication, Daily Nation is the highest-circulating newspaper in the East and Central African region. Daily circulation: 210,000. Its Business Daily newspaper is East Africa’s most popular business journal and its Television and radio stations consistently rank among the most popular among African viewers and listeners.
In 2011, Africa’s largest mobile telecoms operator introduced its MobileMoney Insurance solution, Mi-Life insurance which provides money in the event of death of the subscriber or the next of kin. The Premium payment for insurance is deducted from the subscriber’s MTN Mobile Money wallet once per month. The service is available to the network’s subscribers in Ghana. MTN also wins innovation points for its MTN InternetOnTV, a device that allows users to browse the web from their TV at 3G speeds and MTN Traveller, a mobile App that allows mobile users to browse for, and book accommodation and car rental services using their phones.
Zimbabwe’s dominant mobile telecommunications company boasts lucrative operations in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Burundi and Rwanda and even owns a 3G license in New Zealand. Now, Econet is looking to build Africa’s largest solar power company. Last November Econet launched the Econet Power Station- a revolutionary solar power device which will allow individuals and families across Africa to light up their homes, charge their mobile phones and generally utilize energy at a relatively inexpensive cost compared to current solar energy devices currently available in Africa. Also, Econet Wireless in South Africa recently introduced Carry Me Home- a death and repatriation insurance policy exclusively for Econet Call Home customers.
Industry: Media & Entertainment
Iroko TV did not invent Nollywood- Nigeria’s immensely popular movie industry, but the Nigerian-based company helped revolutionize and glamorize it. Iroko TV, which has been dubbed the ‘Netflix of Africa’, is the world’s largest digital distributor of African movies. Leveraging on an on-demand TV platform, Nollywood Lovers around the world can watch the latest Nigerian movies by paying a fee of only $5 a month. IrokoTV typically buys the digital rights to the movies from Producers and currently has a catalogue of over 5,000 films and over 500,000 registered users.
One of South Africa’s largest retailers, Woolworths sells everything from food and clothing to homeware and electronics. The retail giant is also an emerging player in South Africa’s financial services scene. Through a joint venture with Absa Bank, Woolworths offers financial services such as loans, debit cards and home insurance solutions to its customers. Woolworths also manufactures its own brand of everything from sliced bread to grape juices and ice cream.
South Africa’s pre-eminent fast moving consumer goods retailer has a portfolio of 450 stores in South Africa, Zambia, Mauritius and Mozambique and a staff strength of 45,000 people.
Pick n Pay was among the earliest retail outlets in sub-Saharan Africa to include financial services in its service offerings. Among other things, select Pick n Pay outlets offer credit facilities on large purchases (like appliances), free of deposit. Pick n Pay also has a thriving ticket resale service, a travel comparison site and lets customers play the lottery online. Also, in 2010, the South African retail giant became the first to offer customers wine bottled in the eco-friendly PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate).
Industry: Food & Beverages
East African Breweries is Kenya’s largest brewer. The Company produces, markets, distributes and sells an extensive portfolio of alcoholic beverages including its flagship beer brand, Tusker Beer and spirits such as Baileys, Smirnoff and Black Label. The Company also produces and distributes soft drinks such as Alvaro andMalta Guinness in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania.
Industry: Food & Beverages
Famous Brands is Africa’s leading quick service and casual restaurant company. Famous Brands develops, operates and franchises restaurants which prepare, package and sell a menu of priced food items. Some of the restaurants under Famous Brands’ wings include Debonairs Pizza, Wimpy, Steers and FishAways. As of the 2010, the company’s global footprint stood at 1,764 franchised restaurants spread across South Africa, 17 African countries and the United Kingdom.
What do you think about the list? Share your thoughts.
There was a buzz of excitement when revellers came together to share in a Coca-Cola campaign by stating "A Billion Reasons to Believe in Africa", at a local Lounge in Windhoek last week (5 September).
The ‘Billion Reasons to Believe in Africa’ campaign was launched in June to inspire Africans to see the positive side of the continent after Coca-Cola’s realization that Africa has been labelled the dark and hopeless continent beset by diseases, conflicts and poverty.
With the campaign Coca-Cola believes that Africans are weary of the portrayed image because the continent has phenomenal prospects to offer and endowed with people with great optimism.
One of the participants said; "Namibia is my hometown. I love Africa", "We are so fortunate to enjoy peace and tranquillity in Africa as other countries are experiencing wars," another said.
"African women are amazing, strong and hard working. Here is the home of superwomen," Veronica Blak said. Jeane Namhadi said that Africa is the only continent where you find a variety of cultures.
The ‘Billion Reasons to Believe in Africa’ campaign tour will kick off next month and the public at large will have the opportunity to share the reasons as to why they believe in Africa.
Coca-Cola is the world’s largest beverage company, producing and distributing soft drink brands like Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta, Sprite, Coca-Cola Zero, Bonaqua mineral water, sports drink Powerade, Minute Maid juice and Georgia Coffee.