- Last month ‘Africa’s’ first unicorn went public and listed on the NYSE
- Since their IPO, its been a host of controversy for Jumia the e-commerce company. Its African identity has been debated as many have questioned whether it should be labelled as African since its founders are French and the company is incorporated in Germany despite being headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria.
- More recently it has been accused of fraud by activist short-seller Citron Research. They have accused them of making false disclosures in its S1 filing.
Microsoft is investing in home-grown talent
- Microsoft will reportedly invest $100 million on software engineering talent by way of a software development centre initiative.
- The first development centres in Africa will open in Lagos and Nairobi.
- This follows a trend of large tech companies investing in African tech talent (Google, Amazon and Huawei have made similar moves and this is not Microsoft’s first investment in Africa)
- This could be positive for local young software engineers where there are limited lucrative opportunities.
Read more: https://news.microsoft.com/en-xm/features/furthering-our-investment-in-africa-microsoft-opens-first-africa-development-centre-in-kenya-and-nigeria/
Lagos named a “challenger” startup ecosystem in global report
- Lagos has been named as one of 12 “challenger” startup ecosystems in The annual Global Startup Ecosystem Report (GSER)
- On the startup ecosystems list, the top 5 were Silicon Valley, New York City, London, Beijing, and Boston, with no African cities featuring in this list.
Read more: http://disrupt-africa.com/2019/05/lagos-named-a-challenger-startup-ecosystem-in-global-report/
Focus: Free Trade Africa
What’s going on?
- The AfCTFA is The African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) is a planned free trade area, among 49 of the 55 African Union nations.
- It will cover a market of 1.2 billion people and a combined gross domestic product of $2.5 trillion—making it the world’s largest free trade area
- The agreement initially requires members to remove tariffs from 90% of goods, allowing free access to commodities, goods, and services across the continent
- So far 22 African nations (out of 55 member states of the African Union) have ratified the continent-wide Free trade agreement AfCFTA.
- Since the Gambia ratified in April, the free trade deal now has enough signatures to go into force.
What does this mean?
- This means that the AfCFTA now had the minimum amount of signatures it needs to go into operation.
- However, trade agreements are typically are slow and drawn out processes and the AfCFTA will probably be no different.
Why should I care?
- African leaders hope the agreement will eliminate current high tariffs, generate employment opportunities for a rapidly growing young workforce, and harmonise the work of already-existing regional economic communities.
- It could also enhance intra-African trade by 52.3% annually
- Challenges in implementation, Infrastructure as well as the potential effect on labour have been raised as concerns.
- It should be noted that Africa’s largest economy; Nigeria along with Benin and Eretria have not signed the agreement.
NYSE – New York Stock Exchange
IPO – Initial Public Offering. The process of offering shares in a private corporation to the public for the first time
Unicorn – A unicorn is a startup company with a value of over $1 billion.