Hello Quartz Africa readers,
The potential of the textile industry in Africa remained untapped for a long time. For Dennis Matanda, president and CEO of Morgenthau Stirling, a consulting firm that matches potential investors in the US with entrepreneurs in Africa, the lack of long-term investment is the reason.
For example, the Caribbean countries have moved up the development ladder thanks to significant and sustained investment. The Caribbean Basin Initiative (CBI) was originally created in 1983 as a short-term stimulus plan. Since then, however, it has been renewed several times and has no expiry date. In 2020, CBI beneficiary countries shipped $5.1 billion worth of US imports, including $1.2 billion under tariff preferences (pdf). In Haiti, CBI has been credited with creating 54,000 garment factory jobs by 2020.
“In Uganda you can create over 30,000 jobs in the textile industry,” estimates Matanda. But the funds for this are running out. The US trade partnership established in 2000, the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), expires in 2025. It has been linked to creating more than 300,000 jobs in Africa and taking in around $300 billion in exports.
Matanda believes there is an opportunity to demand that the treaty become permanent in order to increase private sector investment in light industry, which in turn can help African countries move their economies up the manufacturing value chain.
“Government’s role should be to remove stumbling blocks. They should be committed to making AGOA permanent,” says Matanda.
—Ciku Kimeria, Africa Editor
What to look for in the Quartz Africa Member Letter
💡 The opportunity: Mobile money is growing at double-digit rates every year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. The Francophone populations of West Africa account for about 22% of the total number of active mobile money accounts on the continent, a relatively small proportion.
🤔 The challenge: The two biggest challenges are politics and funding. In many countries, regulatory authorities are still reluctant to grant licenses to startups in the fintech sector. Even once operational, companies may need permits to bring new products and services to market. Second, a huge volume of capital is needed to bring such startups public. Since there are already many fintechs on the market, it is difficult to convince investors to bet on similar products.
🌍 The road map: New competitors must develop products based on simple technology that can also be used by illiterate or non-technical people. Also, partnerships are key to growing and maintaining a business.
💰 Those involved: mobile money companies, users, legislators, governments.
Find out more about Wave, Francophone Africa’s first unicorn, in last week’s Quartz Africa Member Brief. To get the Member Brief delivered straight to your inbox (and save 40%), become a member today!
stories this week
The World Cup comes to Africa in high definition. For the first time, football fans in sub-Saharan Africa can follow all 64 matches in Qatar on their smartphones. Faustine Ngila reports on Showmax’s business strategy.
The infant death in The Gambia has been linked to an Indian manufacturer. Contaminated cough syrups linked to the deaths of 69 children this year were manufactured in India and shipped to the West African country by a US importer. As The Gambia demands justice, Alexander Onukwue writes about the scrutiny the two companies are now facing.
Kenya wants to use Tanzania’s gas resources to dominate the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) market in East Africa. The cost of cooking gas in Kenya is hurting households. The government plans to build a $1 billion 600km gas pipeline to make the raw material cheaper. Faustine Ngila reveals the other reason Kenya wants the project to go ahead.
Nigeria’s striking teachers are returning to class. The Nigerian University Lecturers’ Union made progress in negotiations with the government last week that have led to the suspension of their eight-month strike, Alexander Onukwue reports.
Tech startups in Egypt are driving solutions to climate change. Farmers face a multitude of challenges, but Agritech solutions take responsibility to fight climate change. Ahead of COP27, Tim McDonnell reports on the various startups making waves.
This podcast brings African voices to the debate about China’s presence on the continent. The Crane, a pro-China podcast, is attracting increasing numbers of listeners by criticizing Western countries and praising Chinese policies in Africa. Barret Bilali explains why this African perspective is important.
This platform could make Africa’s air travel cheaper. Faustine Ngila examines how a new New Distribution Capability (NDC) platform launched by air travel aggregator AfroAtlas and Lufthansa hopes to reduce the cost of changing travel dates and destinations.
Starsa Nigerian data company, raised $3.3 million in a round led by Mac VC and in those Serena Ventures, owned by tennis star Serena Williams. Stears started out as a publisher of news and analysis on Nigeria’s economy and business, but has set out to become a data provider with products for business and government.
MoKoa Kenyan furniture manufacturer, raised $6.5 million in a debt and equity round led by Talantona US-based mutual fund, and AlphaMundi Group. According to MoKo, its items are in over 370,000 Kenyan homes and aims to be in three new markets by 2025.
teldaan Egyptian fintech startup, raised $20 million in a round led by Sequoia Capitaland Global start-up capital (GRP). It’s a follow-up to the $5 million the company raised last year when it launched as a digital bank. The company now describes itself as a consumer money and payment app following approvals from the Egyptian central bank.
EUROPE’S HUNGER FOR ELECTRICITY MAKES DEVELOPING COUNTRIES HUNGER FOR ENERGY
Bangladesh’s massive blackout on October 4 was the latest example of the fallout from Europe’s mania for gas exploration.
Even before the outbreak of war, gas deliveries to Asia were diverted to Europe. Now, with the Russia-Ukraine conflict restricting supply, the richer European nations are getting access to whatever there is to gain, driving up the price and reducing the amount available to nations like Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
130 million: people affected by the power outage in Bangladesh
7: It took hours to restore power
60%: LNG price increase in one year
$40 billion: Pakistan awarded damages to Italian energy company Eni and Swiss commodities trader Gunvor for failure to deliver agreed LNG supplies.
Why good feedback is so hard to get
Free bags of chips and refreshments in the office might be a nice perk (at least for those in attendance), but what employees really crave is something less tangible: feedback.
We need feedback to know how we’re doing at work and also because we’re human. Most managers are never trained to provide feedback, and as one guest on our Work Reconsidered podcast explains, part of the reason it’s so hard to get is because jobs are “inherently psychologically unsafe.” But there are ways to fix that.
🎧 Listen to this week’s episode: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | stapler
Other things we liked
GSK is closing its manufacturing facility in Nairobi. Business Daily’s Kabui Mwangi examines the reason for the company’s move, which joins other drugmakers to exit the market.
Uganda imposed new internet restrictions. For the AP, Rodney Muhumuza explains how a new law criminalizing certain types of internet activity signed into law by President Yoweri Museveni could stifle free speech and kill investigative journalism.
Shell is investigating reports of oil theft in Nigeria. For Reuters, Libby George reports that a Shell pipeline that has been in operation for nine years has led to the theft of crude oil, prompting the company to launch a joint investigation.
Eight people were killed in South Africa. For News 24, Cebelihle Bhengu reports that eight unidentified men were gunned down in two shootings in unclear circumstances in Kwanobuhle in the Eastern Cape.
Apply for the Wole Soyinka Award. Nigerian journalists working in print, radio, television and online are invited to apply for the 2022 Wole Soyinka Investigative Reporting Award. (Oct 24)
Join the IBM PhD Scholarship. Do you love technology? Apply to the fully funded IBM Fellowship Award Program and help conduct global research on issues that matter to society. Nominees must be enrolled full-time in a PhD program during the two consecutive academic years of the award. (5 Nov)
🎵 This briefing was written while listening to “Naaa Meaan” by Nadia Nakai (Botswana).
This week’s short description led you to 🇰🇪, 🇳🇬, 🇪🇬, 🇬🇲, 🇧🇼 and 🇺🇬
Our best wishes for a productive and idea-filled week ahead. Please send any news, comments, suggestions, ideas, World Cup betting and thought-provoking podcasts to [email protected] Follow us on Twitter at @qzafrica for updates throughout the day.
If you received this email from a friend or colleague, you can do so Sign up here to receive the Quartz Africa Weekly Brief in your inbox each week. You can also Follow Quartz Africa on Facebook.