China’s use of soft power in Africa has served to strengthen relations with individual countries and the region as a whole. Yet, despite the initial altruistic appearance of many of Beijing’s Africa initiatives, China’s involvement in the African market does not necessarily bode well for the future of transparency.
Considered a key industry in Nigeria’s economy, the mobile telecoms sector has recently enjoyed a period of unprecedented growth. Yet, competition is fierce, and the mobile segment remains largely controlled by just four operators – all of whom have attracted allegations of fraudulent behaviour in an attempt to maintain their influential positions in the market.
The DRC’s national insurance company Société Nationale d'Assurances (SONAS) is alleged to be a lucrative source of income for President Joseph Kabila. While the country’s insurance sector has been formally liberalised, SONAS’s informal monopoly over the sector will remain in place for the foreseeable future.
Over the past decade China’s relationship with Africa has become much more complex, and can no longer be defined by the simple need to secure access to natural resources. Ultimately, Beijing’s engagement with Africa is believed to be a part of a long-term strategy to restore China to global prominence.
Ghana’s extensive renewable energy resources are attracting increased attention from investors around the world. However, despite a sizeable market offering that holds significant long-term growth prospects, Ghana’s renewable energy sector is still relatively underdeveloped, and continues to suffer from weak and unclear policies and regulations.
The liberalisation of the DRC’s insurance sector, spearheaded by legislation opening the market to international players, is attracting increased attention. However, despite a sizeable market offering that holds the promise of growth prospects, the country’s challenging operating environment may serve to deter potential investors. As with any regulatory overhaul, teething issues are expected.
Wildlife poaching and trafficking in Sub-Saharan Africa is a growing trend, facilitated by an environment characterised by corrupt officials and political elite, and well-established local and regional criminal networks. Apart for the obvious environmental and social costs, this illicit trade has a direct bearing on the reputation of foreign investors in the region.
As Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-corruption efforts continue to stall, concerns are increasing that his war against corruption has been reduced to a thinly veiled excuse to target members of the political opposition. To maintain the credibility of his public stance against corruption, Buhari cannot afford to spare corruption within his own administration.
Over the next weeks Shadow Governance Intel will be releasing analysis that looking at China’s evolving interests in Africa. This will culminate in the release of a Report (available in the Store) that explores China’s burgeoning relationship with the Continent. The report, available in early October, details China’s key commercial actors in Africa, highlighting the trajectory of the main trends in this complex relationship.
Sonangol’s complex relationship with the Presidential office has created a de facto parallel government. Over the years it has operated outwith the traditional remit of a national oil company, exercising undue political and economic influence to the benefit of a select few. However, a combination of low global oil prices and restructuring will likely serve to finally curb its influence.
Under pressure to maintain Ethiopia’s economic growth, the government is keen to attract increased investment in its nascent manufacturing sector. A growing consumer market, a stable economy, and a large and relatively cheap labour pool, is an equation that is bound to attract interest from companies across the globe.
Italian oil company Eni’s most significant natural gas discovery off the coast of Mozambique in 2011 has served to strengthen both economic and commercial relations between the two countries. With both keen to take advantage of the burgeoning relationship, Italian investments in Mozambique are only expected to increase over the coming years.