The establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is both ambitious and impressive, not the least of which because it created a platform for 53 heads of state across a vast and diverse continent to agree on something. But whether or not it’s a game changer for intraregional trade – or the region’s financial markets – depends to a large extent on whether Africa’s leaders knuckle down and finally address far more practical barriers to growth and cross-border commerce.
When the economy suffers, real estate is often among the first sectors to feel the pinch – and South Africa, where growth has stagnated amidst a hitherto volatile political landscape, is no exception. As the country’s recent election outcome heralds renewed optimism in the economy, we speak with Dirkje Bouma, Group Treasurer at Growthpoint Properties Limited, one of the country’s leading real estate companies, about its approach to funding innovation and generating new revenue streams in a tough market.
26 Jun 2019
East Africa continues to be a world leader in the mobile banking space. Consumers across the region are now able to access an array of financial products through their smartphone, from online payment services to micro loans, enhancing financial inclusion for a largely underbanked population. Bonds & Loans speaks with Wayne Hennessy-Barrett, CEO of 4G Capital, a FinTech providing a combination of business training and unsecured instant access credit for working capital, about the company’s strategic vision, FinTech regulation, and partnering with banks.
20 Jun 2019
The last three years have been tough for Kenyan banks and corporates. The introduction of the interest rate cap in 2016 sapped liquidity, leaving many corporates deprived of financing. But the last few years have also seen the blossoming of new liquidity pools including private equity and mobile lenders, which are beginning to claw market share away from banks, according to CFOs and bankers who spoke with Bonds & Loans on a recent research trip to Nairobi.
In May, Kenya became the latest African sovereign to take advantage of relatively subdued global rates and tap international bond investors for fresh funding, but a closer look at debt sustainability metrics suggest the country, and some of its peers, may be slowly running out of room to borrow.
Ghana Cocoa Board (Cocobod), which oversees the production, processing and marketing of cocoa, shea nut and coffee from the world’s second largest producer, regularly turns to international markets to satiate its funding requirements. However, Cocobod’s recent USD300mn syndicated loan marks a milestone in the African corporate market due to its innovative sustainability-linked features.
In the world of emerging and frontier markets, there is rarely a dull moment. But while countries like Venezuela or Argentina continue grabbing headlines, one country in southern Africa is starting to creep ever so slowly into the limelight – and it’s not Mozambique.
The African nation’s first international bond, a EUR500mn 7-year Eurobond, saw Bénin tap the market on the same day as neighbouring Ghana at a time when global investors, buoyed by the Fed’s dovish mood swing, piled into high yield sovereign debt.
Since coming to power in April 2018, Abiy Ahmed Ali has set Ethiopia upon a new path towards liberalisation. Seeking to temper the established model of state-led growth, Abiy has sought to boost the economy through massive investment in infrastructure and manufacturing, as well as a sweeping programme of privatisation. But so far these policies have yet to bear fruit, and the spectre of political instability threatens to stall the reform process.
- As Egypt Woos Emerging Market Investors, Analysts Insist on Urgency of Further Reforms
- COUNTRY PROFILE: Rwanda Offers Africa a Role Model for Pro-Market Reforms
- When it Comes to Green Bonds in Nigeria, Access Bank “Can’t Go it Alone”
- CASE STUDY: Absa Group Issues Inaugural USD400mn Basel III Compliant Regulatory Capital Bond
- SWOT: As Liquidity Tightens, East African Borrowers Turn to DFIs, ECAs, and Short-Term Funding
12 Jul 2019