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The African Union Has A New Chair And Here Is Where His Primary Focus Will Be

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The new African Union Chair receives the baton from his predecessor

President Kagame of Rwanda hands over the baton to President el-Sisi of Egypt

The African Union held its 32nd Summit on February 10, 2019. At the Summit, Member States elected President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt as the new AU chair.

El-sisi takes over from President Paul Kagame of Rwanda. The new AU Chair addressed the Summit after the elections, setting his agenda for the African continent.

El-Sisi’s Profile

El-Sisi is the current president of Egypt–serving his second term after his re-election in 2018. El-Sisi is a graduate of the Egyptian Military Academy. After years in service, el-Sisi rose to the position of the director of military intelligence in 2010. Ultimately, he became Defense Minister and Commander in Chief when Mohamed Morsi was ousted.

In 2018, Forbes ranked el-Sisi at number 45 in the list of most powerful people in the world. The new African Union Chair has managed to restore Egypt to stability. As a result, this achievement saw his approval rating rise. Consequently, in the 2018 election, el-Sisi was re-elected with 97 percent of the vote.

El-Sisi’s Tasks as New AU Chair

Key on President el-Sisi’s agenda is the fight against terrorism on the continent. In his address at the Summit, the new African Union Chair stated that terrorism is one of the critical problems facing Africa. In addition, el-Sisi stated that the bloc will prioritize ‘preventive diplomacy’ and mediation in promoting peace in the continent.

El-Sisi’s new tasks differ from that of his predecessor. Whereas President Kagame focused on creating a free-trade zone that spans across the continent, eL-Sisi is putting his focus on fighting terrorism. However, there is a common agenda. Like his predecessor, el-Sisi will be required to align his approaches with the AU Agenda 2063.

The African Union Chair Position

The African Union Chair position is a ceremonial position that rotates within the five regions of the continent. As such, a succeeding Chair cannot come from the same region with current Chair.

In order for a candidate to win, he/she must garner the support of at least two-thirds of member states—or through consensus. President Thabo Mbeki was the inaugural Chair of the AU in 2002.

Term Limit

The African Union chair serves for one year. After that, member states elect a different Chair from a different region. The five regions of the AU include–Central, West, East, Southern, and North.

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa has been announced as AU Chair for the year 2020. This means the AU leadership will be shifting from the North to the Southern region.

South Africa will have national elections on 8 May, 2019. As such, Ramaphosa will become Chair of AU in 2020 if he wins the South Africa elections and remains president—The AU chair position is held by a sitting president.

AU Commission

The AU commission is the Secretariat of the African Union. A Chairman leads the Commission, assisted by a deputy Chair. Additional members are the commissioners.

The Chair of the Commission chairs all meetings of the Commission. The position of AU Chair, therefore, is different from that of AU Commission chair.

 

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Business and Development

Rwanda’s Rise 2.5 Decades After The Devastating Genocide

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Kigali, the capital of Rwanda

Kigali, Rwanda’s capital

Rwanda is emerging as an economic powerhouse in East Africa just 2.5 decades after a very dark and devastating genocide. So good is the economic progress that the country has reduced its reliance on foreign donations. Currently, Rwanda domestically funds 84 percent of its budget. Two decades ago, the country could afford to fund only 36 percent of its budget.

Indicators

In addition to the reduced reliance on foreign aid, several indicators demonstrate Rwanda’s rapid growth. Major indicators are the rate of growth, decline in inequality, diversification, and decline in rates of poverty.

Growth Rate

Between 2001 and 2014, the average economic growth was 8 percent. The IMF projected Rwanda’s economic growth at 7.2 percent in 2018. The projections were based on favorable rains and strong industrial activity. In the first quarter of 2018, Rwanda registered a 10.6 percent growth in economy.

Equality in Rwanda

The country’s growth is also characterized by a decline in rates of inequality. The decline is largely due to improved healthcare, school enrollment, literacy, and life expectancy.

Greater equality is exhibited in the country’s parliament, where women make up 68 percent of parliament. This is one of the highest rates globally, putting Rwanda up in the ranks of countries with highest female representation in parliament.

Diversification

Farming is an important sector in Rwanda’s economy. A majority of the population still live in rural areas and depend on subsistence farming. The government plans to shifts this focus to include more economic and investment opportunities. Specifically, the country is moving towards becoming more of a service-oriented and knowledge-based economy.

Decline in Poverty

The economic growth has translated into reducing poverty levels across the country. In 2005, 57 percent of Rwandese lived below the poverty line. By 2010, this number had reduced to 45 percent. In 2017, the poverty level was registered at 38.2 percent, according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda.

Kagame’s Transformative Leadership

At the centre of the country’s rapid growth is President Paul Kagame. Kagame adopted and pursued policies that have transformed Rwanda to a prospective middle economy. The President continues to implement development plans for the country, as outlined in the country’s vision 2020. Also, under Kagame, Rwanda’s ease of doing business has significantly improved.

Vision 2020

Vision 2020 is Rwanda’s blueprint to continued economic progress. The vision is based on several pillars that include good governance, human resource development, infrastructure development, and private sector-led development. Other pillars are regional and international integration and market-oriented agriculture. With only one year left on the Plan, the government is still optimistic it will hit the targets.

Rwanda will be moving from Vision 2020 to Vision 2050, which heightens the growth prospects of the country by targeting a high income economy status by 2050. In order to reach this target, the country needs to achieve an average growth rate of 10 percent.

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Business and Development

This Pan African, Mentor-Driven And Corporate-Backed Accelerator Is Rewarding the 10 Most Promising Startups in Africa 2019

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The process of selecting 10 most promising startups in Africa 2019 is soon starting. A Pan African, mentor-driven and corporate-backed accelerator, aimed at empowering innovators is looking for the best startups in Africa to support so they can grow and realize their potential. Have you heard of Startupbootcamp Afritech 2019 Fasttrack Tour? This is a tour that will involve pitching events, mentoring and networking as well as hackathons in select cities in Africa.  These tour activities are lined up in order to ensure that the selected startups in Africa 2019 taste the goodies that the corporate giants can provide.

Startupbootcamp AfriTech Accelerator

Startupbootcamp AfriTech is the accelerator behind this exciting opportunity for startups. The team has assembled a powerful squad of sponsors in order to make sure that the selected startups reap maximum benefits. These sponsors include PWC, BNP, RCS, Nedbank, Paribas and Old Mutual. In this way, the accelerator empowers these innovative and promising startups in Africa in order to connect them with the best corporate players on the continent. Pan African, mentor-driven and corporate-backed accelerator, aimed at empowering innovators

Philip Kiracofe, Sebekedi Motlhabane Koloi and Zachariah George make the team behind this South African Startup accelerator. In order to make this opportunity best fitting to startups, the team will visit 15 countries in Africa. There will be 19 events in total so that each selected city gets the best attention. During these events, 10 most promising startups in Africa 2019 will be selected for rewards. In addition to startups, the accelerator is also inviting the corporate world, investors, mentors and other thought leaders to join in the events.

The program is already underway and will end on 22nd May. The 10 selected most promising startups in Africa will have various rewards lined up for grabs. Why should your startup apply and strive to be among the selected few? You should apply because the 10 selected most promising tech startups in Africa will get an opportunity to present their ideas to the accelerator team and fellow innovators. Additionally, you will also get an opportunity to get mentor feedback and network with the corporate world. You will also get to know more about this accelerator program.

What Awaits The 10 Most Promising Startups in Africa 2019?

The selected 10 most promising startups in Africa will receive the following:

  • Be invited to present their innovative ideas to the Startupbootcamp team and fellow entrepreneurs
  • Have the opportunity to receive mentor feedback, network with corporates and learn more about the Cape Town-based Startupbootcamp accelerator program
  • Get in the accelerator program watch list in order to get a better chance to get into the program or get opportunities to do pilots with corporate sponsors.
  • Get exposure to worldwide entrepreneurship and business opportunities in order to develop.
  • Meet with the industry best executives in order to learn even more.

Countries, Cities, and Dates for the Events

Select your nearest city and the best date for your startup in order to submit an application. Additionally, the earlier a startup applies,  the better the chances it will have to become one of the 10 most promising startups in Africa.

For a startup to be among the 10 most promising startups in Africa, it will need to be in at least one of the following sectors;

  • Water, sanitation, and hygiene
  • Transport and logistics
  • Retail and wholesale
  • Leisure and travel
  • Information Communication Technology
  • Healthcare
  • Financial services
  • Education
  • Creative, media and entertainment
  • Construction and manufacturing
  • Clean technology and energy
  • Business services
  • Agribusiness

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Business and Development

This Is The Most Attractive Country For Investment In Africa For The Second Time In A Row

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Are you looking for the best country for investment in Africa? Look no further because the Rand Merchant Bank (RMB) in South Africa has released a new study report.  It shows exactly where you should be thinking about for 2019. However, the study shows that the most attractive country for investment in Africa is not in the south of the continent.

According to this report by RMB, Where to Invest in Africa 2019, the business and investment environments in the continent has improved since 2017. However, the report singles out a few hurdles that continue to hinder more accelerated development in Africa. These issues include frail governance, reduced access to financing services, problems of infrastructure, rampant corruption in some countries as well as political unrests in some places. But generally, Africa, according to the report, has made important milestones that seek to attract and retain both local and foreign investments in the continent.

Investment Attractiveness Index for Most Attractive Investment Destination

The RMB uses an appropriate Investment Attractiveness index in order to make an assessment and rank the country. The index takes a look at the operating circumstances and economic environments of a country to gauge its potential to attract and retain local, international, and foreign investments. And Viola! Just like that and for the second year in a row, Egypt is the most attractive investment destination in Africa for 2019.

As expected, Egypt got a run for its money from the usual archrivals in the continent. Coming in second position from Cairo all the way down to Cape Town, was South Africa. But following closely in third position was Morocco, while Ethiopia and Kenya came in that order to complete the list of the top five most attractive investment destinations in Africa.

Why Is Egypt the Most Attractive Country of Investment in Africa?

The RMB report associates Egypt’s top rank in Africa with very important milestones. In order to have Egypt as the best, the report singles out the following reasons;

  • A diversified economic environment.
  • Escalating consumer market,
  • Growing availability of hard currency.
  • Stability in exchange rates.
  • Stable improvement in business and investment environments, predominantly in investment-related legal reforms.

Additionally, Egypt is the largest beneficiary of direct foreign investment in Africa. It also has the largest consumer market not only in North Africa, but also in the Middle East.

“Egypt’s economic gain keeps on dominating that of South Africa,” the report says “as South Africa’s growth projections and the size of its economy are lower than those of Egypt and this weighed down its investment ranking.”

Top Ten Countries for Investment in Africa

In addition to the top five most attractive investment destinations in the continent, other usual contenders in African development were named. In a consecutive order from fifth to ten position, the countries are as follows;

  1. Egypt
  2. South Africa
  3. Morocco
  4. Ethiopia
  5. Kenya
  6. Rwanda
  7. Tanzania
  8. Nigeria
  9. Ghana
  10. Ivory Coast

Countries with the Easiest Business and Investment Environments

Mauritius

The country that has the easiest business environment is Mauritius. This is followed by Rwanda while Botswana comes in third. In order to complete the best five countries where doing business is the easiest, the list includes South Africa and Seychelles in that order.

In conclusion, Egypt, Nigeria, and South Africa are the 2018’s three most dominant countries in Africa in terms of GDP. The combined market in these three countries makes up almost half of the approximated $7 trillion market in Africa. In order to maintain this investment attractiveness, Africa expects to improve individual business operating environments.

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