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Which Are Africa’s Most Tradable Countries? The Answer May Surprise You

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By Joel Popoola

Here’s an exploration of the best places in Africa to do business, and they are not necessarily the first countries you might think of.

When we talk about the best places in Africa to do business, all too often we focus exclusively on the continent’s most established economies – South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt and Kenya. And as a proud Nigerian I am as guilty as that as anyone!

Which is why new research into the most tradable countries in Africa is quite so interesting – some of the best places in the continent to do business are not necessarily the ones you’re thinking of.

The latest African Trade Barometer, produced by Standard Bank – one of Africa’s biggest – suggests that British businesses should in fact be taking a closer look at Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and even Angola.

The survey ranks nations on economic stability, governance, infrastructure and trade openness – using both quantitative data and a comprehensive survey of businesses of all sizes from across Africa.

Result show Namibia, Uganda and Angola competing with more established economies such as Ghana and South Africa when it comes to tradability, with Tanzania praised for its government support for trading activities – based around President Hassan’s efforts to engage world leaders and develop its international relations – Uganda for its export and import prospects, and Angola for its infrastructure and ease of trade with foreign markets. Angola’s booming chemicals and processing sector in particular seems to be taking advantage of global trading constraints.

Zambia is rated highly for its improved economic stability, no doubt the impact of a relatively new government’s approach to the economy – which has lead to 80% of businesses expecting their turnover to increase in the next year.

As a long-term believer in the link between good governance and business confidence and growth – and has developed the digital technology to improve the transparency and accountability of elected officials in Nigerian –  it is gratifying to see successful elections in Kenya, Angola and Zambia, and the change of president in Tanzania, have lead to improved business attitudes throughout these nations and their neighbours.

British businesses need to start thinking more about Africa – especially if they want to take advantage of the coming African Continental Free Trade Area. This will make Africa the largest free trade area in the world, a single market of over a billion consumers and a combined GDP of over US$3 trillion – although there is no shame about British businesses being in the dark about the agreement, the figures show that only 3% of Mozambique businesses are!

Even where tradability is less strong, there are opportunities for British business – power outages remain a severe infrastructural obstacle to trade – particularly in Nigeria, South Africa and Mozambique. But that means opportunities for British businesses to tackle these issues here and across the continent.

The results also show African businesses seeking to import fewer goods directly from China with the greatest decrease occurring in Angola, Mozambique and Namibia.

This is undoubtedly the result of China’s Zero Covid policy with which has seen ports and businesses shut down to stop the spread of the virus – leaving African traders looking elsewhere to avoid supply chain interruptions. Why not Britain?

The figures are not all good for Africa. The figures indicate that interest rate rises in the United States have increased borrowing across many African markets, negatively impacting business confidence – particularly in Ghana where a combination of inflation and poor liquidity has adversely impacted the country’s ability to import.

Nonetheless British businesses need to open their eyes to the potential of Africa – and look beyond the usual suspects.

The UK government has negotiated a number of free trade agreements with African countries and trading blocs since it left the European Union creating significant opportunities for African consumers and companies, not least in our 24 English speaking countries – and the International Monetary Fund has predicted that over the next five years, half of the world’s ten fastest growing economies will be in Africa.

Joel is  a software entrepreneur, and Chief Executive of political engagement app Rate Your Leader.

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Ban on Sales, Consumption of Sachet Alcoholic Drinks Still in Force, Says NAFDAC

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Director General of the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), Prof. Moji Adeyeye, has reaffirmed that the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages in the country is still in force.

Adeyeye announced this on Wednesday during a press briefing in Lagos.

She said: “The ban on sachet alcohol is a ministerial directive and the ban still remains until the ministers respond. The meeting last week Thursday is a continuation of the discussion.

“The outcome of the meeting is that the ministers should write a memo to the Speaker (of Reps) and the House (of Reps), and the Representative of the Speaker, Prof Jake Dan-Azumi then said we should continue the discussion after the recess of the House members in July. So, the discussion continues.”

The Deputy Spokesman for the House of Representatives, Philip Agbese, disclosed last Friday that the House and NAFDAC resolved to lift the ban on the sale and consumption of sachet alcoholic beverages.

Agbese said the resolution to temporarily lift the ban was reached after a meeting between the House Committee and NAFDAC officials.

He said the lifting of the ban would end when the economy fully recovers from its current strain.

On February 1, 2024, NAFDAC commenced the enforcement of the ban on the importation, manufacture, distribution, sale and use of alcoholic beverages in sachets, PET, and glass bottles of 200ml and below.

The NAFDAC DG said the decision was based on the recommendation of a high-powered committee of the Federal Ministry of Health, NAFDAC, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, and the industry represented by the Association of Food, Beverages and Tobacco Employers, Distillers and Blenders Association of Nigeria, in December 2018.

However, the move to enforce the ban has generated repeated protests by distillers and labour unions, who said the ban would cost 500,000 workers their jobs, and ruin N800bn investments.

Meanwhile, medical experts warned that lifting the ban on alcoholic beverages will lead to acute health complications, increased road traffic accidents, increased risk of abuse of alcohol, liver problems, heart-related problems, and cancers, among others.

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Court Denies Suspended DCP Abba Kyari Bail

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Justice Emeka Nwite of the Abuja Federal High Court has denied suspended Deputy Commissioner of Police, Abba Kyari, bail.

In his ruling, the judge held that Kyari’s bail is at the discretion of the court in line with section 161 (2) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act.

The judge ruled that Kyari had not shown any evidence to warrant the court granting him bail.

On May 22, the judge had granted the former boss of the Intelligence Response Team, IRT, temporary two-week bail to bury his mother.

However, the two weeks were extended by a week upon an application filed by Mr. Kyari for an extension of the bail.

On June 1, Kyari perfected the bail conditions and was released the same day.

At today’s proceedings, Justice Emeka Nwite refused to extend his earlier order but granted accelerated hearing in the case.

Kyari was detained following his arrest on February 14, 2022, by the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency for alleged involvement with an international drug cartel.

He, along with four members of the Police Intelligence Response Team—Sunday Ubia, Bawa James, Simon Agirigba, and John Nuhu—was arraigned on March 7, 2022.

Two suspected drug traffickers, Chibunna Umeibe and Emeka Ezenwanne, who were arrested at Akanu Ibiam International Airport in Enugu, were also charged.

While Kyari and the IRT members pleaded not guilty, Umeibe and Ezenwanne pleaded guilty and were convicted.

DailyPost

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Fubara Nominates, Swears-in 23 Caretaker Committee Chairmen

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Rivers State Governor, Siminalayi Fubara, is swearing in new caretaker chairmen for the 23 local government areas of the state.

The swearing-in took place at the Government House in Port Harcourt, amid tight security.

The first batch of 11 CTC chairmen took their oath of office first.

It comes a day after he forwarded the list to the state House of Assembly led by factional Speaker, Victor Jumbo.

Channels Television reported that the lawmakers had invited the nominees for screening as early as 8 am on Wednesday.

See the names of the caretaker chairmen nominated by Fubara below:

Abua/Odua LGA – Madigai Dickson

Ahoada East LGA – Happy Benneth

Ahoada West LGA – Mr. Daddy John Green

Akuku Toru LGa – Otonye Briggs

Andoni LGA – Reginald Ekaan

Asari Toru LGA – Orolosoma Amachree

Bonny LGA – Alabota Anengi Barasua

Degema LGA – Anthony Soberekon

Eleme LGA – Brain Gokpa

Emouha LGA – David Omereji

Etche LGA – John Otamiri

Gokana LGA – Kenneth Kpeden

Ikwerre LGA – Darlington Orji

Khana LGA – Marvin Yobana

Obia/Akpor LGA – Chijioke Ihunwo

Ogu/Bolo LGA – Evans Bipi

Okrika LGA – Princess Ogan

Omuma LGA – Promise Reginald

Opobo/Nkoro LGA – Enyiada Cookey-Gam

Oyigbo LGA – – Gogo Philip

Port Harcourt LGA – Ichemati Ezebunwo

Tai LGA – Matthew Dike

Channels Television

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