[SA Business Week] Mixed fortunes for public and private sectors
The public and private sectors have this week recorded heightened activities with partnerships, trade and capital markets dominating headlines.
South Africa has this week deposited the instrument of ratification of the Agreement establishing the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA). The instrument of ratification was deposited on the margins of the 7th African Union Meeting of Ministers of Trade (AMOT) meeting in Cairo, Egypt, which got underway on Wednesday. This reality has been a progressive journey as in 2017, the country hosted the 11th bilateral meeting between Trade Ministers of the Southern African Customs Union (SACU) and the East African Community (EAC) to deliberate on tripartite Free Trade Area market access.
This week also came bearing some good news for Liquid Telecom. The telco reached an agreement with CDC Group, for $ 180m investment. This investment will enable Liquid Telecom to expand its high-speed broadband connectivity to some of the underserved communities across the African continent, including supporting Africa's thriving tech start-up ecosystem with high-speed internet and cloud-based services. Still in the week, Liquid Telecom announced to invest $400m in Egyptian network infrastructure in the next three years. It has also partnered with Kymeta in the past, to enhance communication in Africa remote areas. In October this year, it completed its acquisition of CEC Liquid Telecom in Zambia and also appointed new Regional CEO for Southern and East Africa. The telco was also awarded for Best Network Improvement at AfricaCom late last month.
In the stocks this week, following the release of the Regulatory Review Consultation Paper for public comment in September, the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) has been pleased with the market response and will release the proposed amendments to the JSE Listings Requirements for public consultation early in 2019. This year, JSE has been increasing its listing portfolio with major companies like Naspers, Vivo Energy, Raven Property Group, Grindrod Shipping coming on board. 4 Africa Exchange Proprietary Limited (4AX) confirmed this week that it is moving to a shortened trading times (T+0) settlement cycle, to further mitigation of settlement risk, enable investors to be able to buy and sell their securities at the end of the day, which will free up funds to take advantage of opportunities on 4AX in a timeous manner.
In investments, Actis, a growth markets investor, announced its agreement to the sale of Compuscan, a provider of credit information and analytics services, to Experian for ZAR3.72billion, approximately $36 million. Just last month, Experian launched a powerful new analytics solution across Africa, Middle East and Europe, regions to help businesses make faster, more reliable and better-informed decisions. Experian MicroAnalytics has developed a sustainable solution to provide billions of people with access to financial products, easily accessed through their mobile phones and in the month of June this year, it announced having surpassed a record of 5 billion credit offers to its emerging markets around the world.
Actis has also been doing extremely well as in 2015, it launched a pan-African renewable energy generation platform Lekela Power, to create a room for more sustainable energy across Africa. In 2017, Actis launched Honoris United Universities, the first pan-African private higher education network, to harness the collaborative intelligence and the pioneering efforts of the institutions to educate Africa’s next generations of leaders and professionals. The acquisition however, is subject to review by the competition regulator in South Africa.
A Ghanaian based assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services company Ernst & Young Ernst & Young partnered with South Africa's Motlanalo Chartered Accountants and Auditors this week, to grow skills. The aim of the partnership is to enable the parties to leverage Motlanalo’s skills and knowledge, in tandem with them gaining access to EY’s global network of resources, integrated teams and auditing expertise. In 2014, Ernst and Young organized a workshop in Ghana, which was aimed at providing and equipping the companies the requisite knowledge on the importance and risks associated with transfer pricing and in 2012, it won the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award' for its consistent contribution to the economic growth and development.
Startups in South Africa have been doing well and have garnered support and partnerships from major companies. For example, South African media conglomerate Naspers set up a R1.4bn ($96m) Naspers Foundry fund to invest into South African technology startups in November this year, AlphaCode, an initiative of Rand Merchant Investments (RMI), also invested R16m to identify a new generation of financial services startups and help them grow. In 2017, four South African BEE fintech startups were awarded R4-million in order to boost the development of fintech in South Africa. This week Startup Guide, the global guide for startup launched an innovation hub in Johannesburg at Wits University’s Tshimologong Precinct.
Tshimologong focuses on the incubation of digital entrepreneurs, commercialization of research and the development of high-level digital skills for students, working professionals and unemployed youth. In July this year, Tshimologong Digital Innovation Precinct launched a digital, audiovisual content hub to expand its activities to incorporate audiovisual content creation (animation, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, holograms, 360° video, web content, video games, applications, web series and music).