Robert Hamill (left), Partner & Sam Webster (right), Senior Associate, Mayer Brown, say that this 2016 will be critical for M&A; activity in the energy sector following the turbulence of 2015
The World Bank released the Africa’s Pulse report on April 11, in which the multilateral organisation outlined salient economic vulnerabilities and provided strategies for unlocking inclusive, sustainable growth. The report focuses primarily on the economic growth and policy challenges presented by the terms of trade shock posed by the commodity price slump. The large shock to the terms of trade undermined the strength of local currency units (which added greatly to consumer price inflation pressures and inflated the real debt burden), and weakened policy buffers. The resultant increase in external fragility weakened fiscal positions, set off a flurry of credit rating downgrades and increased the probability of balance of payments crises.
The most significant development in the financial services industry in the US and the UK in recent times has been the emergence of robo-advisors – internet-based systems which, through a series of questions, lead investors to an appropriate mix of investments suited to their personal circumstances.
Recent US airstrikes in Libya and Tunisia underline a growing concern that ISIS is deepening its reach across northern Africa. Increasingly, Libya is becoming the main target of the group, but why? And what are the national and regional consequences?
SAVCA, the South African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association, held a successful annual conference at Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch, on 17 and 18 February 2016. Close on 400 delegates came together to navel-gaze both the South African and broader African private equity environment, and it is worthwhile trying to tease out some themes and trends for the year ahead.
It's said that the shift from rural to urban population is the most significant phenomenon since independence in most African countries. Lagos is reported to have recently joined the ranks of the world’s megacities, which is Africa’s second after Cairo, while Kinshasa is also rapidly approaching mega city status.
The announcement by Barclays Plc that it will sell down its stake in the Johannesburg-listed Barclays Group Africa serves as a blow to the “Africa Rising” narrative. The upbeat story on the back of strong economic growth has been widely told and well received over the past decade. However, amidst a slump in global commodity prices and slower growth key trading partner China, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) Africa is facing many challenges in 2016.
Private equity investments have not been embraced by South African retirement funds which have less than 1% of their portfolios invested in private equity. The low investment in private equity comes despite its 4 to 5% outperformance of equity investments and its ability to catalyse and develop new businesses and expand existing ones, while investing in schools, housing and power, all of which contribute to the South African economy.
With all eyes on Minister Pravin Gordhan as he prepares for his Budget Speech later this month, one thing that is certain is that 2016 is going to be a tough year for South African consumers. A looming ratings downgrade, the falling rand and rising inflation means that Treasury will have to hike taxes even more significantly this year than in the previous few years, and much of this burden will land on consumers’ shoulders.
The rise of the the Chinese currency, the renminbi (RMB) gives emerging markets an important alternative when it comes to currency investment and hedging.
Libya’s oil sector faces a host of challenges. The failure of the Tripoli-based GNC and Tobruk governments to reach a unity peace deal last month is pushing the country into deeper political chaos, while the expanding presence of the Islamic State is threatening an already fragile security situation
The Nigerian insurance industry represents a good opportunity for investors and it has attracted relatively large amounts of foreign private investment in recent years. The industry does, however, have some challenges to overcome. Similar to other financial industries such as banking and pensions, good governance and consumer education is needed to enable the industry to reach its full potential.
President Nkurunziza is likely to continue to perpetuate political instability through repressive conduct, in order to hold on to power. This will negatively impact East Africa’s economic prospects.
The growth of the pension funds, insurance and mutual fund industry together with the rollout of more sophisticated trading and settlement infrastructure is accelerating the overall development of capital markets in Africa, says Hari Chaitanya, Head of Investor Services Product Management, Transactional Products and Services at Standard Bank.