The rapidly developing economies of Africa have caught the eye of numerous property investors, according to the Knight Frank Report 2015. The continent is no longer viewed as a region of economic and industrial hardship, but as one of opportunity and potential prosperity.
Following almost a century of commercial inertia, Africa’s economy began to accelerate at the start of the 21 st century. Since 2000, the continent has averaged growth of over 5% per annum, the Sub-Saharan region averaging almost 6%. The larger emerging economies of this region – Kenya, Angola, Nigeria and Ethiopia – have been the key drivers behind this growth, which is expected to continue due to the diversifying of economies.
Though investing in Africa may still be considered risky, the following reasons demonstrate why future investment and property development in the continent may not be as uncertain as before:
The demographic boom and resulting demand for real estate
Africa’s rapidly rising population is set to quadruple to more than four billion by 2100, according to the UN. The populations of Lagos, Kinshasa and Luanda are predicted to grow more by 70% much sooner, while those of Dar es Salaam, Kampala and Lusaka are expected to double. This ‘boom’ has created a demand for residential property, ranging from mass-market housing to luxury property.
With the rise of the middle class, increasing numbers of multinational companies and retailors are seeking offices in African cities, generating demand for high-quality real estate, particularly in key regional hubs such as Lago and Nairobi. An example is Accra Mall: opened in 2008 in Ghana, its success has encouraged further development with the larger West Hills Mall opening in 2014.
Sub-Saharan property investment as a launchpad into Africa
Compared to global standards, most African property investment markets are small. The exception is South Africa, from which capital has flowed into the rest of the Sub-Saharan region as a growing number of funds have been established by South African investors and developers targeting the rest of the continent.
Striving to advance – and succeeding
Though Africa remains a complex place to do business, a number of countries are making great strides to improve laws and regulations that will encourage and facilitate development. Rwanda, for instance, now stands in the World Bank’s top 50 countries in which to invest, ranked above some Western European nations.
It is true that investment in Africa’s markets requires careful navigation at this stage, but there are many rewarding opportunities across the continent for the development of well-located and planned properties that suit local demands. This will only increase as the economies and populations of Africa grow in global significance.
Source reference: Knight Frank Africa 2015 report.
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“In a world that is ever more digitally connected, each of us has the power and responsibility to inspire our fellow human beings to act to help others and create a more humane world.” Secretary-General of the United Nation, Ban Ki-moon.
Around the world, humanitarian action is saving lives every day. Today over 100 million women, men and children need daily life-saving humanitarian assistance just to survive each day.
World Humanitarian Day is a time to recognise those who face danger and adversity in order to help others. This day is about celebrating those humanitarians around the world.
To raise awareness of humanitarian needs, the UN and partners launched the #ShareHumanity digital campaign ahead of this year’s World Humanitarian Day which falls today on 19 August. This year’s campaign aims to inspire people globally to support life-saving humanitarian efforts. Using the hashtag #ShareHumanity they are asking people to participate by donating their social media channels to share inspiring stories from around the world.
Standard Bank Group supports World Humanitarian day and encourages all Africans to embrace the spirit of Ubuntu and to remember to help others and create a more humane world.
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Africa is the world’s most diverse continent – there are more ethnic groups living on the continent than anywhere else on earth. Many were separated into different countries by the arbitrary drawing of colonial boundaries. Although this has been said to be the source of much conflict and strife, it is also a source of strength and innovation. Here are fifteen things you probably didn’t know about Africa’s borders, and the resilient communities that straddle them:
Nearly half (44%) of Africa’s borders are straight lines or follow lines of latitude or longitude, which was the simplest way for colonial powers to demarcate their areas of influence
At least 177 ethnic groups are split in more than one country; four in ten Africans belongs to a community that has kin across the border.
Africa is so diverse that if each ethnic group was to have its own country – like was the case in Europe, Germany was for the Germans, France for the French etc. – we would have more than 2,000 countries. That’s ten times more than all the countries in the world today
One study showed that having a split ethnic group increases the risk of conflict in a country; since independence, around 20% of civil wars have a secessionist undertone, with a partitioned community wanting to join up with their kin across the border, or create their own state
The official data shows that formal trade between African countries makes up just 11% of the continent’s total trade, compared to 22% in Latin America and 50% in Asia
Formal trade between countries and between sub-regions is typically hampered by supply and demand factors on the one hand (e.g. import quotas and anti-dumping regulations), and technical barriers to trade, such as standards, phytosanitary measures and rules of origin regulations. Poor infrastructure and connectivity is also a major barrier to trade
Still, border communities are also incredibly enterprising, in making the most of the situation they find themselves in, and leveraging their mobility and ease of communication across borders to trade. Informal cross-border trade represents 43% of the official GDP of the continent. That’s almost equivalent to the entire formal sector – that is, all of the value created in Africa’s offices and factories, only that it’s largely off the official books
The types of products traded informally are mainly agricultural and unprocessed goods, as well as bulky intermediate products such as cement and fertiliser. In West Africa, they include cotton fiber, cement, vegetable oils, petroleum products, fertilisers, and pesticides. In East Africa, it’s mostly livestock, veterinary drugs, milk and dairy products, chickens, grains, clothing and electronic goods
One report from USAID estimates that there are about three million informal cross border traders in West Africa, who each conduct an annual average of $20,000 in transactions
Informal exports that find their way into the wider West African region from Nigeria are estimated to be worth between $1.5 and $1.9 billion every year, and 15% of Nigeria’s imports enter Ghana informally. Informal cross border trade is estimated to range from 20% of GDP in Nigeria to 75% in Benin
Cross-border trading has a long history in Africa. Lagos’ “Tinubu Square” was labeled after a famous Yoruba informal cross border trader by the name of Madam Efunroye Tinubu. Madam Tinubu owed her economic success and fame to massive, cross regional informal trading in salts and arms during the British colonial era. However, Madam Tinubu’s fame pales in comparison to the modern day women informal cross border traders of Togo known as the “Nana-Benz”. Then, as now, these women conduct their businesses on the regional and even international stage, drawing on a long history of trading experience as informal cross border traders.
Livestock are some of the most extensively traded commodities across borders, In the Horn of Africa, cross-border trade in camels, cattle, sheep and goats through Ethiopia/ Djibouti, South Sudan/ northwestern Kenya and eastern Uganda/ northwestern Kenya is estimated to be worth more than $5million every year; informal trade represents 85% of the total trade in livestock in the region
In 2006, the value of Ugandan informal exports to its five neighboring countries – Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, DR Congo and Sudan stood at an impressive $223.89 million, corresponding to around 83% of official exports to these countries over the same period.
Although most informal cross-border trade is characterised smuggling (thus denying governments tax revenues), the official procedures to comply with formal imports and exports of goods is incredibly tedious – so much so that it can be virtually impossible to comply, particularly if you are trading in perishable goods.
One study from the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (UNECA) showed that in most African countries, there are two sets of documents to be filled on either side of a border, which means that that average customs transaction involves at least 40 documents, 200 data points (30 of which are repeated at least 30 times), and the rekeying of 60-70% of all data at least once.
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This morning we released our interim results for 2015. The Group delivered solid growth in Africa during the first half of the year despite economic challenges facing sub-Saharan Africa.
Group headline earnings increased by 27% to R10 529 million and headline earnings per share (HEPS) increased by 27% to 651 cents.
Results highlights for the six months to 30 June 2015:
Total dividend per ordinary share: 303 cents per share, up 17% from 1H14
Tier 1 capital adequacy ratio: 13.7% (1H14: 12.7%)
Net asset value (NAV) per share: Increased by 6%
Return on equity (ROE): increased to 15.1% from 12.7%
Cost to income ratio: 56.7% from 55.3%
Credit loss ratio: declined to 0.99% from 1.13%
Global growth of 2.2% in the first quarter of 2015 underperformed the International Monetary Fund expectations set at the beginning of the year. The economic recovery in the Eurozone seems broadly on track, while in South Africa, the lower oil price has temporarily lowered inflation but electricity shortages, accompanied by subdued consumer and business confidence, restricted economic growth to 2.1%.
Overall, although economic growth has subsided slightly from the 5% achieved in 2014, sub-Saharan Africa remains one of the world’s fastest growing regions.
Global growth of 3.3% is expected in 2015 and South Africa’s economic growth outlook remains around 2% for 2015 and 2016.
Our Group Chief Executive Sim Tshabalala reaffirmed the Group’s strong position at the results presentation and said in spite of the evident economic challenges Standard Bank Group remains committed to making progress, delivering value and equity to our customers and shareholders. We will continue to leverage our brand, market positioning and talented staff to better service our clients and customers across Africa.
More details of Standard Bank Group’s results can be found at www.standardbank.com/reporting
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Today, 12 August, we celebrate International Youth Day. The aim of this day is to open up a space for youth to share their stories, ideas and events.
Youth around the world have been encouraged to share their messages and photos about what this year’s theme of “civic engagement” means to them by tweeting #InternationalYouthDay.
The key message of this year’s campaign is that the youth should take control and contribute to building and designing their future.
By 2020, 75% of all people on the African continent will by 20 years old. The future belongs to the youth. We encourage them to strive for more, to think freely and to find new ways to Never Stop Moving Forward.
Follow the conversation online using #InternationalYouthDay or tweet us to share what Youth Day means to you.
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Africa’s wealthy are growing fast but the question remains, will the next generation be able to hang onto the family fortune? The next transfer of wealth from the current generation to the next is expected to be biggest transfer of wealth in history.
The Pershing Report stated that Generation Y investors will inherit more than US $41trillion in assets by 2052.
Already, the number of wealthy, those with a net worth of more than R 12 million (USD1million) has increased from 76 385 since 2004 to 168 815 people in 2015.
The number of ultra-wealthy Africans is predicted to grow to more than 88 000 by 2025.
Many believe that the new generation is more likely to spend money on consumer goods than be concerned with investment strategies. The answer to preserving and growing wealth will rest on educating the next generation of African’s with the skills to help them develop and manage wealth in the future.
To ensure this happens for their clients, Standard Bank Wealth and Investment launched their ‘Future Leaders Academy’ in 2014 for young people between the ages of 18 and 24. Since then, this initiative has been expanded to cover preteens (Junior Leaders Academy), teenagers, aged between 13 and 17 (Young Leaders Academy) and women, (Women’s Wealth Academy).
The importance of building a foundation for preserving and growing family wealth becomes obvious when statistics show that 70 per cent of these families will lose their wealth by the following generation and 90 per cent will lose it all by the third generation. Frightening figures highlight the need to pass down financial planning and wealth management skills.
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For the first time ever, over 3000 athletes descended upon Durban, South Africa for the inaugural Standard Bank IRONMAN® 70.3 triathlon on Sunday, 2 August 2015. The race was a gruelling 113km that saw the athletes take on the sun - kissed Durban weather. This was a new venue which increased the anticipation for the athletes on what it would be like to complete the 70.3 race in a new environment. The water, weather and routes where different, even the pace was faster. But for our athletes, there is no such thing as an undefeated challenge. It was an exhilarating experience which saw Durban come alive, and our athletes continue winning.
Stuart Marais from South Africa achieved a victory yet again, breaking the tape at (04:00:07); this is a huge accomplishment ahead of his second spot earlier this year at the Standard Bank IRONMAN 70.3 East London. Michael Davidson from South Africa saw his victory at second place finishing his race at (04:10:20); with third place going to Rudolf Naude also from South Africa (04:14:24).
Parys Edwards from Great Britain was the female lead and finally took her winning title at (04:28:41) after her third position earlier this year at the Standard Bank IRONMAN 70.3 East London, with Andrea Steyn from South Africa succeeding to the second spot at (04:32:40), and Lucie Zelenkova Reed from Czech Republic finishing the race with a big smile and cheerful for her third position finishing at (04:38:00).
Durban was flooded with over 10 000 spectators who were in awe of the magnitude of the event. All spectators were eager to be part of the journey of taking over Durban with Standard Bank rolling out the red carpet to host and entertain athletes and spectators. It is safe to say that this has been one of the best Standard Bank IRONMAN races in 2015.
Congratulations to all the athletes! We salute your perseverance and commitment to Never Stop Moving Forward. Huge thank you to the athletes’ loved ones, families and supporters along with the Standard Bank volunteers who made the day such a success. The next Standard Bank IRONMAN will take place on 22 August 2015 in Bela Bela, Limpopo.
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It has been a long time coming, three years in the works and finally; we have a few days to go before Standard Bank IRONMAN® 70.3 takes over Durban, known as one of the best host cities in South Africa.
Standard Bank IRONMAN® has been steadily making its mark as one of the best triathlons in South Africa, and rapidly taking over the triathlon world. The undeniable dedication from the athletes is inspiring and the undying support from the fans is electrifying. This is a true indication of how Standard Bank and IRONMAN® has taken triathlon in South Africa to another level.
With Raynard Tissink providing valuable tips to athletes in preparation for their race, and the triathlon community showing their appreciation and support of the sponsorship, it is only fitting to say that we are all counting down the days until the race on 2 August 2015, where athletes will complete the 113km race, which consist of a 1.9-km swim, a 90.1-km bike and a 21.1-km run.
Standard Bank will also be adding something a little more exciting as part of the Durban race by running a social media campaign starting on race day, which will be a call to action for spectators and athletes to share their story of how they Never Stop Moving Forward. We hope that the IRONMAN® athletes will help to inspire us all to keep going, exceeding in all that we set our minds to do.
See you at the finish line!
To follow the Standard Bank IRONMAN® news updates , as well as the Never Stop Moving Forward newsfeeds follow us on Twitter @SBGroup and on Instagram at StandardBankGrp. Join the conversation using #SBIronman and #IM703Durban.
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Many know that the African continent is the world’s oldest populated area with over 50 countries but here are some interesting facts about Africa that you probably didn’t know about.
Africa is the world’s second largest continent covering about over 30 million square kilometers
The Sahara is the largest desert in the world and is bigger than the continental USA
Timbuktu, Mali is home of one of the oldest universities in the world, established in 982 CE.
Ethiopia is the only African country with its own alphabet. It’s also the world’s oldest living alphabets – Ethiopic – and probably one of the longest with its 345 letters.
Sudan has more than 200 pyramids, double the number found in Egypt.
Africa is the world’s hottest continent with deserts and drylands covering 60% of land surface area (e.g. Kalahari, Sahara and Namib).
Africa has approximately 30% of the earth’s remaining mineral resources.
The continent has the largest reserves of precious metals with over 40% of the gold reserves, over 60% of the cobalt, and 90% of the platinum reserves.
Almost half of the gold ever mined on Earth has come from a single place – Witwatersrand, South Africa.
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It’s race week – and excitement is in the air as athletes prepare to head down to the Standard Bank IRONMAN® Durban 70.3 event on 2 August in South Africa.
The sun kissed beaches along Durban, South Africa's Golden Mile will be flooded with 3000 athletes eager and nervous to be a part of this inaugural event.
The race village is located around the Sun Coast Casino, where athletes can visit the expo and stock up on any last minute necessities. As tempting as it is to buy new products, now is not the time to be testing anything different. Stick with what you have trained on and with what you know works for you.
Try not to get too caught up in the pre-race festivities and try avoid being on your legs for too long. Resting your legs in these last few days is vital to ensure that you are fresh and ready on race morning.
There is an official swim training session at the swim start on Saturday morning. This provides an opportunity for out of towners to get in a sea swim before race day. The Durban surf can be quite challenging, so it is advisable to familiarize yourself as much as possible with the swim route before race morning.
Check your entry - are there any beach drops; how far in can you run before these drops. As waves always come in sets, it’s worth taking note of the pattern of the waves - roughly how many waves do you need to get through before getting out to the back-line. Take note of how many buoys you will swim past and the buildings along the shore so that you can gauge your progress on race day, and practise surfing the waves back out to shore.
The swim will be the most challenging leg of the race for most newcomers to the sport, so some practise in the waves the day before will help calm your nervous and prepare you for race morning.
The bike course is fast with a smooth road surface and undulating hills. If you have the time, try to drive the route before race day so that you know what to expect. With August being the windy month, there is a good possibility that wind will be a factor.
Remember your nutrition on the bike. A gel and bottle of electrolyte/energy drink hourly is recommended. Again, stick to the nutrition you have been using in training.
The run is on the beach front promenade and it is fast and flat. Start the run easy as your legs will feel heavy off the bike. As your legs adjust to running, you can start picking up the pace especially in the last few km. Coca Cola is great for giving you a boost in the latter part of the race.
This is sure to be an unforgettable race experience, so have some fun, enjoy your day and Never Stop Moving Forward.
Follow all the excitement on Twitter by follwoing @SBGroup and on Instagram at StandardbankGrp.
Join the conversation using #SBIronman and #IM703Durban.
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Our InstantMoney payment solution has made its way to Botswana and Uganda with many other African countries to follow soon. The InstantMoney service allows Standard Bank customers to send cash via our electronic channels to a recipient by using an access code from a text-message voucher system. InstantMoney is doing very well in South Africa, processing more than R6.5 billion in transfers within the country alone.
The great thing about InstantMoney is that the recipient doesn’t need to be a Standard bank customer and the cash can be withdrawn immediately at a Standard Bank ATM using the pin sent to them by the sender.
InstantMoney is our solution to a card-less form of cash withdrawal. You can send money to yourself, a friend or family member in a convenient and easy way. This solution reduces the amount of fraud or theft that comes with having to send money via third parties just because the recipient doesn’t have a bank account.
This technology makes perfect sense because sub-Saharan Africa’s mobile penetration rate is 70% and this represents a massive market that need easy-to-use but safe mobile solutions to banking, 24 hours a day. The InstantMoney service will roll out to Namibia by the end of the year with more countries in the bank’s network lined up for 2016.
The service would usually be used between two people but it has the potential to be used as a salary payment mechanism for small to medium sized businesses to make payments to employees or suppliers operating on the African continent.
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Saving is something that everyone should strive to do. It all starts by developing the habit and changing your thinking. Across Africa there are many different ways of thinking and therefore many different ways to save.
In South Africa and other African countries the most popular informal saving club is called a stokvel. A stokvel is a good way for people to help motivate each other to save. There are usually 12 or more members who each contribute a certain amount each month based on their income. Each month a different team member takes a turn to receive the money. For example if there are 12 people in your stokvel and each person contributes $500 a month, then once a year you will receive $6000. The motivation to save comes from the fact that other members will know if you haven’t paid your contribution for the month and there are also regular meetings to remind you how much money you will receive when it is your turn.
In Ghana, there are susu agents who deposit savings on their customers behalf at a bank in return for a fee and access to a loan facility. Susu is one of the oldest financial systems in Ghana and works in a similar way to a stokvel. Groups of people add regular amounts of money to a pool held by a susu collector. Each member of the group gets a turn to get the money at the end of the cycle which is usually 31 days. Unlike a normal bank, susu collectors come to your home to collect the daily, weekly or monthly contribution.
Whether you choose to save formally with a bank or informally by using a susu collector or joining a stokvel, the important thing is that you are saving. Find what works best for you and start today.
To get tips and info about how to save, read our Saving can be fun blog.
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We believe what Steve Jobs said about innovation being the distinguishing factor between a leader and a follower. In order for us to stay relevant we have to continue to innovate.
A few times a year we have an innovation hub that brings together our best internal developers, IT technicians and some industry experts to help us create the next big thing in banking. This innovation hub runs as a group competition and the winning team takes home a cash prize to help fund and develop their idea.
We recently launched a biometric log in system for our mobile banking app in South Africa using Apple ID touch. This is a first for South Africa, helping add to our digital solutions repertoire. This biometric ID touch system was the brainchild of last year’s innovation hub, proving just how important it is to have these hubs.
We believe in harnessing the power of our internal staff to create the latest banking innovation. The innovation hub is home to the place where we come up with the ideas to help move you forward.
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Mandela Day is all about making the world better. We are empowering our employees in South Africa to keep Moving Forward by providing them with various ways to spend their 67 minutes.
Books inspire, educate and entertain us but many children will never experience the joy of reading because they don’t have books. Our Group wide Book Drive encourages employees to collect books for children aged 5 to 9 and we will donate them to more than 200 Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres we already support.
A few books that have been collected so far.
Did you know that there are millions of people who go hungry every day? Our sandwich making initiative allows employees to make sandwiches for those less fortunate than ourselves and they will be distributed throughout the city by Meals on Wheels, a Johannesburg based charity.
Some friendly faces making sandwiches.
As the saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. By helping to plant a vegetable garden at a local library, employees will teach people on the streets how to grow their own food. Not only will they learn a new skill but they can turn it into income generation by growing and selling their produce.
Below are some of our employees getting into the spirit of things in the vegetable garden.
What are you doing to make every day a #MandelaDay?
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This week Starbucks announced it's venture into Southern Africa, signing a franchising deal with Taste Holdings. The coffee giant will develop outlets in South Africa and has also secured the rights to develop outlets in other African countries.
Starbucks currently sources a considerable amount of its global, high-quality coffee from nine African countries.
Considering Africa is the home of coffee and produces about 13% of the worlds supply, it is not surprising that Africans all over the continent love their coffee.
The two biggest coffee producers in Africa are Uganda and Ethiopia. According to the International Coffee Organisation, Uganda produced 40 million kilograms in 2014. Ethiopia produces large volumes of coffee beans every year, with 397 kilograms in 2014 alone. Ethiopia is the geographic home of Arabica coffee, the most popular beans worldwide.
Coffee is a large part of the country's economy, with over half of Ethiopia's foreign income resulting from coffee. It is also estimated that 15 million Ethiopian citizens are employed by the production of coffee.
The Kenyan coffee industry is also on the rise with local and national governments looking to open more production areas in abandoned farms in Northern Rift Valley, along the coast and Western Kenyan regions.
Coffee consumption within households is on the rise, as are the number of cafes in major cities. African countries across the continent have a variety of rituals, ceremonies and preparations all steeped in rich and ancient traditions involving coffee. This coupled with the trendy coffee culture in urban settings, will ensure coffee continues to be an important beverage to all Africans.
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July is Savings Month. Instead of force feeding yourself with complicated budgeting tips, turn saving into something fun. Here are a few tips to get you started:
1. Set a goal for yourself and decide what you want to use the money for. It will help you stick to the plan if you know what you are working towards. Perhaps a holiday or that new car. 2. Look at your spending habits and find ways to cut down costs. It could be as simple as not buying that extra cup of coffee or pair of shoes this month. 3. The only way to make it a habit is to make it a regular thing you do, so make sure you start saving some money each month. 4. As your income changes, remember that you can add more to your savings and help achieve your goal a little faster. 5. Always think savings. If you have a little money left over at the end of the month, save it. No need to spend till the last cent.
Saving should not be a scary task. Sometimes the hardest part is just getting started. Choose a day to start and commit to it. Remember, that you are saving for a better future. These simple tips will help you get started.
Follow the conversation using #SavingsMonth on Twitter for more tips.
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Africa is a region of remarkable diversity: 54 countries, more than 3,000 distinct ethnic groups, and more than 2,000 languages, it’s a heterogeneous place with numerous niche markets each with their own idiosyncrasies, making expansion by transnational businesses difficult.
For example, contrary to the classic consumer habits of the global middle class, traditional, “informal” retail options still dominate the landscape, even among the growing middle class. About 90% of commerce in Africa occurs at these informal retailers, such as at small independent stores, kiosks, and non-organised open-air markets.
Although much of the attention is on the big economies – such as Nigeria, Ethiopia and Angola – some smaller countries offer promising opportunities for businesses looking to gain a foothold in the continent.
Although it’s one of Africa’s smallest countries by land area, Rwanda punches above his weight in many ways. Rwanda has an efficient government and strong macroeconomic indicators that can support international retailers offering basic packaged goods, as well as financial service providers who can tap into the growing demand for savings and investment products.
And despite being landlocked, the country has invested intensively in improving infrastructure and logistics of doing business in the country, such as streamlining business registration, import and export procedures. In addition, Rwanda’s open door policy towards immigration, particularly from the region, has spurred economic growth and market opportunities.
Gabon has a population of just 2.2 million, but with a $19 billion economy it has a per capita income of $14,500, the third highest in Africa. Retail sales have grown about 13% annually in the past few years; though formal retail makes up only 3 to 4% of grocery retail, so there remain solid opportunities in Gabon despite the small population.
Foreign firms are active in the country’s three main sources of income and exports: petroleum, manganese, and timber. The government is seeking to accelerate investment and steer the economy towards higher value-added activities in order to reduce its oil dependency, building on policies such a ban on unprocessed timber exports.
Like Gabon, Congo-Brazzaville is largely dependent on oil exports, accounting for 80% of government revenues, but is looking to diversify by investing in infrastructure and manufacturing.
The annual growth rate of the economy is expected to reach 7.6% from 2014 to 2016, on the back of government's diversification policies and investments in infrastructure; stabilisation of oil production with the discovery of new deposits over the coming years; and the prospect of mining exports from iron ore and potash coming onstream.
The infrastructure challenge is great, but therein lies the opportunity – the country is still without a fully paved road to connect its distinct commercial and political capitals of Pointe Noire and Brazzaville, respectively, or a reliable railroad system to connect inland iron ore and timber resources in the north and west of the country to the port of Pointe Noire.
Copper exports make up the bulk of Zambia’s government revenue, but world copper prices have been on the downward trend for the past 12 months, putting a squeeze on public coffers.
But authorities are looking to unlock the country’s latent tourism potential – although tourism is a major export earner, it is still a largely underdeveloped sector and is a priority for diversification and growth in the country’s Sixth National Development Plan (2011-2015).
The country’s attractions hinge on its great watercourses—the Zambezi, Kafue, Luangwa, and Luapula that form part of the Great Rift Valley—and its pristine natural environment. There is opportunity for investment as the government looks to invest in infrastructure to support tourism, particularly roads, airports, communication networks, and visitor centres.
Although constrained by being landlocked, and having volatile growth year-on-year for the past decade, Burkina Faso has much potential particularly in agro-processing and livestock exports.
Burkina Faso is Africa’s top cotton producer, and the country’s world market share for cotton increased from 0.9% in 1980 to 3.2% in 2009. If productivity improves, there are opportunities to capture more value by moving up the value chain – such as by processing animal feed, cooking oil, biogas, medical and hygiene products, and textiles.
In addition, livestock has consistently been among the top 10 exports in the past decade, and there is an opportunity for the industrial production and exports of meat, milk and butter.
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With the Standard Bank Durban 70.3 and the 5150 Bela Bela events rapidly creeping up on us, your training and race preparation should be in full swing by now.
Whilst it’s not easy training through the dark and cold of winter, it is important to maintain consistency and stay focused on your goals.
With all the indoor gyms in South Africa, it’s easy to move your sessions indoors if the weather outside is playing havoc with your training schedule.
Whilst indoor bike sessions can be quite boring, there are many advantages:
There is constant resistance on the back wheel and therefore no time for free-wheeling.
An indoor turbo session can be tailored to meet your specific needs, abilities and fitness levels. So even if you are doing a group session, you can work at a level that is suitable for you and not have to worry about getting dropped.
There are no outdoor factors influencing or affecting your indoor trainer session, such as robots, wind or traffic. So sessions can be specific and can be repeated in the same controlled set up. Using power, rpm or heart rate allows you to monitor your intensities and progress.
The variety of sessions that you can do indoors is endless. Short sprints, longer tempo intervals, big gear repeats, time trials - or you can simply focus on pedalling technique by incorporating single-leg cycling drills.
You can do a different session every time you ride indoors. Variety relieves the monotony and boredom many associate with turbo use.
Another advantage of training indoors is the ability to use the treadmill for your run. When training indoors, you can also practise transition training and brick sessions, by hopping off your trainer and onto the treadmill.
Running on a treadmill provides a flat, cushioned surface which is easier on the ankle, knee and hip joints than running on the road.
With treadmills, you can design variable workouts by controlling the speed and elevation. You can also do uphill workouts without the muscle damage from downhill running. The first time you hop off your bike and onto the run should not be in a rush as it will hurt like crazy.
Once you have put in a couple of solid weeks of base training, it is vital to incorporate brick sessions into your training.
A brick usually refers to bike-run training, but you should also practise swim-bike sessions. Brick sessions don’t always need to be done hard and at speed.
Your legs will feel like jelly getting off the bike, so start easy so as to get used to the feeling of running off the bike. Even if it’s only 10 minutes initially, and as you get stronger and fitter, you can incorporate some longer and faster runs off the bike.
The same applies to the swim- bike brick. You will need to get used to the feeling of standing up after being horizontal in the swim, running to and hopping onto your bike, and switching from using predominantly your arms and upper body in the swim – to primarily your legs and lower body on the bike.
When you do these brick sessions, be sure to work on getting through your transition as quickly as possible so as to simulate race conditions.
In order to get the full effect of triathlon training, do some swim sessions in your wetsuit, and practise taking your wetsuit off, putting your helmet, sunglasses and shoes on and hopping onto your bike. Practise taking off your cycling shoes and helmet – changing into running shoes and starting the run.
All these sessions can be practised indoors if necessary in winter, in a safe and temperature controlled environment.
So whilst it may be cold, dark and wet outside – there is a variety of interesting and enjoyable sessions to be done indoors and therefore no excuse not to train.
Always remember to Never Stop Moving Forward.
Visit www.standardbank.co.za/ironman for more information.
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Last year we were challenged to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge. Our CE, Sim Tshabalala, made a concerted effort not to take part in this craze but rather chose to raise awareness about saving water. Standard Bank Group decided to buy JoJo tanks which are industrial grade plastic cylinder tanks which collect rain water. These tanks have a special lining which prevents algae and other bacteria from forming in the water so that it is safe to wash your hands and to drink.
Overall, just under R270 000 was donated by the bank and its staff to purchase JoJo tanks. 24 tanks were purchased, each holding 5000 litres of water and given to schools all over South Africa with the help of community upliftment and environmental organisation Wildlands.
The water at the schools will be used for general drinking water and also to irrigate the vegetable gardens that are used to feed the kids. In total these schools are home to 5000 leaners in poorer areas that don’t have easy access to water. Most households and schools in the area only have access to a communal water point. We are happy to be able to provide the kids with a dedicated water point that serves each school.
To find out more about our CSI and sustainability initiatives, please visit www.standardbank.com/sustainability
Watch below to see our CE, Sim Tshabalala, during his Ice Bucket challenge:
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We appreciate the contribution artists make to enriching all our lives and the role they play in society. Standard Bank Group is a supporter of the creative arts and always seeks to uphold the creative integrity of all artists.
Recently we have engaged in a content partnership agreement with M&G Africa. In such we have paid to be supplied with a variety of stories and images to be published on our blog. The images used on social media and on our blog was apart of this agreement. Standard Bank Group has paid for the use of stories and images for editorial purposes.
There was a mix-up around credits agreed to with this supplier. This has been addressed and we thank African Citizens @AfricanCityzens and their various content contributors.
We understand the value visual artists make and we would never want to deny them credit for their work. We have credited all images and will continue to do so for all future posts on social media and for our blog.
1. M&G Africa story on African Cityzens Visual Artists through Africa. Photographer: Joel Lukhovi
2. M&G Africa story on African Cityzens Visual Artists through Africa. Photographer: Sarah Waiswa
3. M&G Africa story on African Cityzens Visual Artists through Africa. Photographer: Sarah Waiswa
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We all work hard and deserve to enjoy the finer things in life but it is still important to rethink our saving and investment plans. Those who learn good savings habits from the start don’t have to worry about money and retirement in their later years.
Saving is hard for everyone which is why we are dubbing July as Savings Month. There is no better time to understand how important it is to save.
Putting money away for a rainy day doesn’t come naturally for most of us, so the key is to start small. Contributing what you can now will help you develop the habit. Over the next month we will provide information and tips about how best to develop these habits and explain the importance of saving and what it means for you.
Visit our blog again during the month and follow us on Facebook for more updates.
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Africa is our home. We have a unique energy, we are home to diverse people and we are ripe with opportunity.
A few people in Africa were unhappy about the way the media portary Africa so they decided to do something about it using pictures. The hashtag #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou trended for over a week and gave people across the continent a way to share their uplifting stories and images, debunking the stereotypes many people associate with Africa.
We are proud to be driving Africa's growth and moving her people forward. Have a look at the rest of our blog for some beautiful images in and around Africa.
Visit #TheAfricaTheMediaNeverShowsYou on Twitter to have a look at all the images from across Africa.
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The port in Maputo. The building in the background is Predio Trinta e Tres Andares the tallest building in Mozambique.
Photo credit: M&G Africa story on African Cityzens Visual Artists through Africa. Photographer: Sarah Waiswa
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At Standard Bank Group we use various online social platforms to add value to the lives of people. We invite you to join in and contribute to various conversations. We operate in various countries, offer a broad spectrum of financial solutions and have interests in many issues. As such, we use various online social platforms to host communities of interest.
At the highest level we have our communities that span nationalities. We call them “Global Communities”. We then have “Country Communities” and then “Specialist Communities”.
They each serve a slightly different purpose. Please do take some time to find and join in on the conversations in any one of these communities. Some of the countries in which we operate are not yet active in social but do feel free to chat to us via one of the Global Communities that may interest you.
Here is a quick guide to the various communities and profiles.
Standard Bank Group (Global)
Facebook: Standard Bank Group - www.facebook.com/standardbankgrp
Twitter: Standard Bank Group - http://twitter.com/sbgroup
Linkedin: Standard Bank Group - http://www.linkedin.com/company/standard-bank-grou p
YouTube: Standard Bank Group - http://www.youtube.com/user/StandardBankGroup
Pinterest: Standard Bank Group - http://www.pinterest.com/standardbank
Instagram: Standard Bank Group - standardbankgrp
Art and culture
We support the arts and cultural activities in various ways throughout Africa. Inspire and get inspired.
Twitter: Standard Bank Arts – www.twitter.com/StandardBankArt
Facebook: Standard Bank Arts - www.facebook.com/StandardBankArts
Whether you’re interested in developing a rewarding career in global corporate banking or personal, or in a specialist area like IT, risk or accounting, we may have a programme for you.
Standard Bank and its activities in South Africa - https://www.facebook.com/StandardBankSA andwww.twitter.com/standardbankza
Small business community: www.standardbank.co.za/bizconnect
For the youngsters: www.standardbank.co.za/studentachiever
For guidance or service queries: www.twitter.com/asksbsa
Online share trading: www.twitter.com/SBGtraderZA
Some social etiquette guidelines
We are passionate about contributing towards the positive progress of Africa and its people. We hope that you will find the information on this fan page inspiring and relevant to you as an African or an investor in Africa.
You are welcome to comment on posts and share our stories with your friends.
Some of our companies in different countries have their own fan pages that you may also choose to follow. You will find a list of where we operate and under which name (we also trade under the name “Stanbic” in some countries) at www.standardbank.com.
The products and services offered by each may vary so if you have a query relating to a product or service, you may get a better response from by following the fan page of the relevant company.
We will also share posts from third parties that we feel may be of interest to you. This means that posts appearing on this fan page may not necessarily represent the opinions of Standard Bank Group.
A few do and do nots for all to remember
It is important to us to keep this fan page up to a standard that is not offensive to our fans and that they remain relevant and safe. This means we need to stick to some rules in terms of usage, to ensure everyone can use and enjoy the page.
Ultimately, we reserve the right to remove any content if we feel that it is inappropriate and offensive. We may also rely on other users to help determine if it may need to be removed. Anyone who repeatedly breaks these rules may have their commenting privileges suspended and may be blocked from our communities.
You participate in any activities on this fan page at your own risk. You will need to take responsibility for comments under your profile name and use the information provided at your own risk. We take no responsibility for the content or opinions posted here by other people using any social media that we are involved with.
By following any on of our communities you give explicit permission to receive posts on your personal wall and other forms of communication, for example an event invitation.
Please don’t use a fan page to do or suggest anything illegal. Never ask others for their personal info on our platforms.
Be sure you keep your privacy setting up-to-date.
When posting comments don’t use offensive language. We will not tolerate any form of bad language, blasphemy and the like. Comments that are obscene, racist, abusive or sexually explicit will be deleted. The judgment of Standard Bank Group’s moderators on these issues will be final and no discussion will be had.
We will also delete comments that constitute hate speech; or speech designed to incite violence or hatred, or threats. These types of comments will not be accepted or tolerated.
We will also delete content we know to be false or misleading. Please note that any content that infringes or may infringe the intellectual property rights or privacy rights of any other person, will be deleted.
Content that breaches or would breach the security of another user’s account or that gains or would gain access to any other person's computer, software, data or otherwise threaten another person’s privacy, without the knowledge and consent of such person or otherwise contains destructive code will be deleted.
Please only use comments on existing threads to discuss the topic of the thread or post. If you want to talk about something else please start a new Wall post or thread.
Remember to converse with the community in an orderly manner. Avoid name-calling, criticism, personal attacks and other offensive tones. We will not tolerate bullying or attacking of other users. However we look forward to enjoying your productive and intelligent conversations. We will review and delete any posts aimed at individuals or groups deemed to be offensive or threatening. The judgment of our moderators will be final.
Don't post adverts, including links to external commercial sites or posts that promote your own business. This means not placing any spam on our pages.
Feel free to post informative links, just make sure you tell others what it is you're asking them to click on. Links posted with no explanation will be viewed as spam and removed. And don’t share links to offensive or inappropriate sites that might damage the user’s computers.
Be careful when clicking on links posted by other users, as you can’t be sure where they will take you. And unfortunately, we can’t take responsibility for the safety of external websites.
By participating in our social media platforms, you expressly grant Standard Bank Group or its subsidiaries permission to use, reproduce, prepare derivative works and distribute any posted material or submissions.
We will change these rules from time without notice and any changes will be immediately effective and binding.
Please do share any of the content via your social platforms but be sure to include the link to our original post. This is because some content on our sites may have copyright implications that you may not be aware of.
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Come the National Arts Festival and the small city of Grahamstown just about doubles in population, with people coming from near and afar to see for themselves what all the hype surrounding this magnificent event is.
One of the central attractions during the National Arts Festival is the Village Green, a market-like setup where consumables of various kinds are on offer, and where all ages will have something to be excited about. There are stalls selling all kinds of goods, from homemade clothing to cheese to CDs.
The food section of the Village Green is something to behold as well. All tastes and flavours are presented, including a vegan pastry stall, a freshly squeezed orange juice hut, a kudu meat stall, and a Chinese food stall. When walking around becomes too tiresome for some, festival goers can enjoy relaxing at the beer tent, and children can be entertained at the children’s theatre tent. For those who enjoy live music, a stage has been erected especially for the Festival, where several music acts perform each day. One of the more notable bands who have performed thus far at the Village Green were the touring band from Cape Town called The Nomadic Orchestra, whose style is a unique blend of Balkan and jazz.
While the Village Green stays abuzz throughout the day, art continues to flow around the rest of the city. I had the opportunity to see the magnificent dance production called Cargo: Precious, which was an imagined account of Saartjie Baartman’s first time at sea. Using large white sheets to create the movement of sea waters, atmospheric music and sound effects, and choreography of a haunting nature, Cargo: Precious inspired a standing ovation from its audience.
This year’s Standard Bank Young Artist for Jazz, Kyle Shepherd, performed his second of two shows on Tuesday night. The Kyle Shepherd Trio including Shane Cooper (bass) and Jonno Sweetman (drums) showcased music from Shepherd’s latest CD called Dream State. Shepherd uses sounds rooted in his Cape Town upbringing fused with complex rhythms and harmonies to create an atmosphere that is indeed dreamy.
It was then my turn to view what was a spectacle. The Guy Butler Theatre filled to its capacity to welcome three South African divas of our time, namely Gloria Bosman, Melanie Scholtz and Zanne Stapelberg. Performing alongside the Mzansi Youth Choir and musicians like Bokani Dyer, Concorde Nkabinde and Shannon Mowday, the trio dazzled the audience with numbers like My African Dream by Vicky Sampson, I Dreamed a Dream from Les Miserables and Dance Sum More by Mango Groove.
With the National Arts Festival in its completion, there were no signs of it petering out. On the contrary, the closing days were promising to be the most exciting of them all. It is therefore my advice to all, to stay until the very last second.
Written by Denzil de Klerk
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