John Campbell

Africa in Transition

Campbell tracks political and security developments across sub-Saharan Africa.

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Showing posts for "Business in Africa"

Rand Falls as Finance Minister Gordhan is Ordered Home

by John Campbell
South Africa's Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan (L) walks with his deputy, Mcebisi Jonas as they walk from their offices to a court hearing in Pretoria, South Africa, March 28,2017. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

On March 27, Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan and Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas were on an investor road show to the United Kingdom and the United States when they were abruptly ordered to return to South Africa by President Jacob Zuma. There was media speculation that Zuma was about to reshuffle his cabinet, removing from office the well-regarded finance minister and his deputy. (There is much speculation that former ESKOM CEO Brian Molefe will replace Gordhan.)The Rand (ZAR), South Africa’s currency, swooned, losing 3 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar. Foreign investor confidence in South Africa, which had been on the upswing, fell. Read more »

Digital Jobs in Africa: The Way Forward

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Entrepreneurs work on their projects at Nailab, a Kenyan firm that supports technology startups, behind the latest initiative, which targets entrepreneurs for their ideas on providing sex education through technology and social media in Nairobi, Kenya, July 4, 2016. (Reuters/Thomas Mukoya)

This is a guest post by Diptesh Soni, a consultant in the Johannesburg office of Dalberg Global Development Advisors. Diptesh is a former CFR Africa program intern.

Across the world, there is an inescapable sense that the machines are coming, and they’re going to take our jobs. This fear is not new. From the cotton gin, to the tractor, to the assembly line and beyond, jobs have, and will continue to face threats from technological advances. Read more »

Does Free Wi-Fi Improve Internet Accessibility in South Africa?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
South Africa's former president Nelson Mandela holds up a mobile phone as he addresses a conference on AIDS in London, October 21, 2003. (Reuters/Hugo Philpott)

This post originally appeared on the Council on Foreign Relations Net Politics Blog and is written by Chenai Chair and Broc Rademan, researchers at Research ICT Africa, a public-interest research organization that examines information and communication technology policy in Africa. You can find them @RIAnetwork. Read more »

What is the African Growth and Opportunity Act?

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
Representatives from various African nations gather at the opening session at the AGOA Forum during the US-Africa Leaders Summit in Washington, August 4, 2014. (Reuters/Gary Cameron)

This article was originally published on SSA Frontiers

On May 18, 2000, Congress signed the African Growth and Opportunity Act, commonly known as AGOA, into law. AGOA is a trade program meant to establish stronger commercial ties between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. The act establishes a preferential trade agreement between the U.S. and selected countries in the sub-Saharan region. Initially approved for fifteen years, AGOA was reauthorized for ten years on June 25, 2015, by the Obama administration. In its current form AGOA will last until September 30, 2025. Read more »

Mobile Phones, the Internet, and South Africa

by John Campbell
A worker walks past cell phone accessories at a Vodacom shop in Johannesburg February 4, 2015. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

The Institute of Race Relations’ (IRR) Centre for Risk Analysis has published a study that shows the dramatic increase in mobile phone usage in South Africa and its importance as a portal to internet usage. During the 2000-2014 period, fixed line subscriptions per one hundred people dropped by 38 percent while mobile phone subscriptions increased by 702 percent. The increase affected all races, but the growth is especially striking among ‘Coloured’ and ‘Indian’ South Africans. For Black South Africans it was 405.3 percent; for ‘Coloureds’ it was 763.6 percent; for ‘Indians’ it was 708.3 percent; for Whites it was 470.6 percent. The lower rate of increase among Blacks may reflect the higher levels of poverty among that demographic. Among whites, the lower level may reflect that many of them have long had access to land lines and to cell phones, resulting in a lower rate of usage growth. Read more »

Development of The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A general view of Ethiopia's Grand Renaissance Dam, as it undergoes construction, is seen during a media tour along the river Nile in Benishangul Gumuz Region, Guba Woreda, in Ethiopia, March 31, 2015. (Reuters/Tiksa Neger)

This is a guest post by Caila Glickman, volunteer intern for the Council on Foreign Relations’ department of Global Health. Caila is currently a pre-med student at Oberlin College studying chemistry and international relations. Her interests are in medicine, environmental science, and international law. Read more »

S&P Leaves South Africa’s Bond Rating Unchanged

by John Campbell
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma before speaking to members of the Twelve Apostles' Church in Christ at the Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban, South Africa, December 4, 2016. (Reuters/Rogan Ward)

Standard & Poor (S&P), the international credit rating agency, left its assessment of South Africa’s foreign-currency debt unchanged. It remains at the same level as Italy’s and India’s. However, it did lower South Africa’s local-currency rating, which remains above “junk.” On the S&P news, the South African currency, the Rand, rose 1.6 percent against the U.S. dollar, and yields of rand-denominated government bonds fell nine basis points to 9.02 percent. Read more »

Reduced Airline Service to Nigeria?

by John Campbell
Emirates Airlines aircrafts are seen at Dubai International Airport, United Arab Emirates, May 10, 2016. (Reuters/Ashraf Mohammad)

Quartz is reporting that Emirates airlines is considering pulling out of Nigeria. It is already cutting its twice-daily flights to Lagos and Abuja from Dubai to once a day to Lagos only, starting at the end of October. United Airlines ended its service from the United States to Nigeria in May. Domestic airlines are also facing difficulty. Quartz reports that Aero Contractors, Nigeria’s oldest airline and long regarded as its most reliable, has suspended operations. Quartz also reports that many domestic passengers have been stranded because local airlines have not been able to refuel their planes because of a shortage of jet fuel. Read more »

‘Bling’ and the Nigerian Political Class

by John Campbell
A Nigerian man looks at a vehicle by German car maker Porsche in Lagos, March 14, 2012. (Reuters/Monica Mark)

Nigeria is famous for the delight in display taken by the governing class and the rich. Hence, native dress for women and men is made of rich fabrics and bedecked with jewelry, residences often have gold-plated taps, and, at one point, the Hummer appeared to be the vehicle of choice. Read more »

Illegal Mining and the Role of “Zama Zamas” in South Africa

by Guest Blogger for John Campbell
A miner is seen underground at Lonmin Plc's Karee mine in Marikana, Rustenburg 100 km (62 miles) northwest of Johannesburg, March 5, 2013. (Reuters/Siphiwe Sibeko)

Nathan Birhanu is an intern for the Council on Foreign Relations Africa Studies program. He is a graduate of Fordham University’s Graduate Program in International Political Economy & Development.

In recent years, the mining industry has struggled to turn a profit due to a slowdown in demand from China’s economy and an oversupply from producers. South Africa’s mining companies, who export primarily platinum, iron ore, gold, coal, and manganese, have been heavily affected by the downturn. Read more »