Development SQ.

When will we have such News Headlines eminating from Africa

South Korea plans to convert all textbooks to digital, swap backpacks for tablets by 2015

At this rate seems like the African continent is doomed to linger on in the stone age Flintstones era ...sigh
By 2014, all of South Korea's elementary-level educational materials will be digitized, and by 2015, the entire school-age curriculum will be delivered on an array of computers, smart phones and tablets. While the country's education ministry is yet to announce the make or model of the devices it will purchase, it has revealed it will spend $2.4 billion buying the requisite tablets and digitizing material for them.

Some schools on the peninsula are already using textbooks displayed on notebook computers, but when it comes to choice of tablets, how likely is it that the government will choose the iPad or any other tablet other than those manufactured by South Korean electronics giant Samsung, such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab or some larger variant of it?

This move also re-ignites the age-old debate about whether or not students learn better from screens or printed material. Equally important, there's the issue of whether or not devices with smaller form factors are as effective as current textbooks, which tend to have significantly more area on each page.


1 Oando  Nigeria Petroleum
2 Kenol kobil
Kenya P Petroleum
3 African Petroleum 
Nigeria Petroleum
4 Dangote Group 
Nigeria Diversified (Construction)
5 United Bank for Africa
Nigeria Financial Services
6 Kenya Airways
Kenya Transport
7 Groupe Sifca
Côte D’Ivoire Diversified (Forestry)
8 Zenith International Bank
Nigeria Financial Services
9 First Bank Of Nigeria
Nigeria Financial Services
10 Conoil
Nigeria Petroleum
11 Oceanic Bank International Nigeria
Nigeria Financial Services
12 Ecobank Transnational Inc.
Togo Financial Services
13 Sonatel Mobiles
Senegal Telecoms
14 Guaranty Trust Bank 
Nigeria Financial Services
15 The Mauritius Commercial Bank
Mauritius Financial Services
16 Ireland Blyth
Mauritius Diversified (Construction)
17 UAC of Nigeria 
Nigeria Diversified (Financial Services)
18 Skye Bank 
Nigeria Financial Services
19 International Trading Oil and Commodities Corporation
Senegal Petroleum
20 Bank PHB 
Nigeria Financial Services
21 Cecagadis
Gabon Diversified (Retail)
22 Groupe Mon Loisir
Mauritius Diversified (n/a)
23 Eurofind Afrique 
Côte D’Ivoire Diversified (n/a)
24 Food and Allied Group of Companies
Mauritius Diversified (Agribusiness)
25 Diamond Bank
Nigeria Financial Services
26 Compagnie du Komo
Gabon Diversified (Industrial goods and services)
27 Rogers Group
Mauritius Diversified (Construction)
28 Access Bank
Nigeria Nigeria Financial Services
29 New Mauritius Hotels
Mauritius Tourism
30 Kenya Commercial Bank
Kenya  Financial Services

This report identifies and analyzes Sub-Saharan African MNCs, a class of companies that has yet to be widely recognized by the international business media, investment community or global multinational Corporations. Data was gathered from research on the top 30 Sub-Saharan MNCs and in-depth interviews with executives from those and additional high-growth African companies.
Executives provided insights on expansion strategies, suggestions to increase the development impact of MNCs and recommendations on how business executives can work with governments to improve the investment climate. The majority of executives interviewed are members of the Initiative for Global Development's Frontier 100 network, a group of leading African, U.S., European and Asian business executives working to increase investment and reduce poverty in Africa.

Insights from this report are targeted towards African and global companies looking to enter or expand in Sub-Saharan Africa, policymakers that can shape the business climate to encourage MNC expansion and international investors with an interest in the region.

Read more here: The Initiative for Global Development and Dalberg Global Advisors  Frontier 100 report "Pioneers on the Frontier: Sub-Saharan Africa's Multinational Corporations."

The Africa Competitiveness Report 2011
World Economic Forum, the World Bank and the African Development Bank

The Africa Competitiveness Report 2011, the third report jointly published by our organizations, comes out at a time when Africa’s recovery from the global economic crisis has been faster than it has in many other parts of the world. Indeed, Africa has seen what can be termed an “economic resurgence” over the past decade: between 2001 and 2010, gross domestic product growth on the continent averaged 5.2 percent annually—a rate also expected in 2011, and higher than the global average of 4.2 percent. Questions remain, however, as to how sustainable this growth will be over the longer term. Recent events in North Africa suggest that much remains to be done to place Africa’s economic development on a more solid footing.

The Africa Competitiveness Report highlights areas where we need urgent policy action and investment to ensure that Africa sustains its economic recovery and continues to grow in the future. It maps out the continent’s policy challenges and presents a unified vision, shared by all our organizations, of the areas requiring critical attention. The Report can serve as a useful tool for African decision makers in public and private spheres to measure the business climate potential for fostering sustainable growth and prosperity.

As such, we hope this year’s Report will stimulate discussion in both the private and public sectors on the issues at stake. The private sector can play a vital role in the process of reform. As essential stakeholders, businesses can support and advocate both for reforms that enhance competitiveness and for initiatives that create jobs. Governments will want to emphasize a sound business climate as a catalyst for long-term shared growth and prosperity.

The Africa Competitiveness Report focuses on harnessing Africa’s underutilized resources: skills, female entrepreneurship, and natural and cultural resources. The Report also contains in-depth assessments of the state of competitiveness, the impact of foreign direct investment on the continent, and the trade performance of the region, including the potential of increased productivity growth in agriculture and agribusiness. Its final sections provide detailed competitiveness profiles for several African countries.

To grow further and be globally competitive, Africa needs to put in place the conditions for a vibrant private sector. The time is propitious to support reform and to help Africa improve its competitiveness and growth prospects. In today’s interconnected world, Africa’s prosperity is important to all of us, both as a source of global growth and to promote an inclusive and sustainable globalization.

Read more here

Ernst & Young's 2011- Africa attractiveness survey
It's Time For Africa!!!

Africa is on the rise. While Africa’s challenges are well documented, there is an increasing recognition that the continent is on an upward trajectory, economically, politically and socially.
The results of our first Africa attractiveness survey  highlight what over 500 business leaders had to say about Africa's growth story, the latest foreign direct investment (FDI) trends and the region’s growth potential. FDI flows have increased strongly in the past decade, investor perceptions of Africa are ever improving and the outlook is positive, with capital inflows forecast to reach US$150b by 2015.

Read more here

The World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development

More than 1.5 billion people live in countries affected by violent conflict. The World Development Report 2011: Conflict, Security, and Development examines the changing nature of violence in the 21st century, and underlines the negative impact of repeated cycles of violence on a country or region’s development prospects. Preventing violence and building peaceful states that respond to the aspirations of their citizens requires strong leadership and concerted national and international efforts.

Read more here

UNCTAD – Foreign Direct Investment in LDCs: Lessons Learned from the Decade 2001–2010 and the Way Forward

On the eve of the Fourth United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-IV), to be held on 9-13 May in Istanbul, Turkey, UNCTAD released the report “Foreign Direct Investment in LDCs: Lessons Learned from the Decade 2001–2010 and the Way Forward.” This report features FDI trends in the world’s 48 least developed countries (LDCs) during the decade 2001-2010; key observations on FDI impacts and shortcomings; investment profiles of the 48 LDCs; and a plan of action to improve investment in LDCs.

The report demonstrates that, in the last decade, foreign direct investment (FDI) has contributed to capital formation, pro-poor growth, and sustainable development in many least developed countries (LDCs). However, according to the report, these contributions have not been clear cut as many LDCs continue to face challenges in attracting and benefitting from FDI. Although the share of global foreign investment flows to LDCs have effectively doubled during the decade, FDI’s real contribution to the development of LDCs could have been larger if these investments had focussed on employment creation and the development of productive capacities [1] within LDCs, rather than on supporting export-oriented production enclaves or natural-resource extraction that provide only limited opportunities in terms of employment, production, technological innovation, or collaboration between foreign and local firms.

The report further finds that LDCs remain at the margin of global value chains as they do not have the ability to produce specialized goods or services at a demanding level of quality and quantity, and within tight timelines. Also regional disparities remain a concern.

Building on the premise that FDI will never substitute national investment and on the observation that no country in the world has ever succeeded to develop without building indigenous productive capacities through capital accumulation, skills development and innovation, as well as on the observation that LDCs have significant untapped potential to attract beneficial FDI, the report presents a plan of action to enhance investments in LDCs.

The plan of action calls for the strengthening of public-private infrastructure development by developing new partnerships between LDC governments and other development partners. To enhance this process, LDC governments should carefully liberalize infrastructure sectors to allow for private investments; and at the same time, establish well-crafted and stable regulatory frameworks to protect national interests and ensure competitive outcomes. Development partners, on the other hand, should consider the establishment of an LDC infrastructure development fund specifically aimed at supporting public-private infrastructure development projects.

The action plan also calls for partnerships to build skills for productive capacities. To this end, the report advises LDC governments to invest more in education; and to adopt immigration and work permit policies to facilitate the hiring of foreign employees in those areas, where local capacity is insufficiently developed. On their part, developed partners could set up an aid-for-productive capacity fund to support technical and vocational training and education and entrepreneurship in LDC, the report notes.

To create conditions that enable firms of all sizes to capture LDC opportunities is another main recommendation of the report’s action plan. It states “Governments in LDCs and development partners should step up efforts to encourage small- and medium-scale international investors to tap into under-exploited business opportunities and contribute to economic diversification and cluster development. They should also better promote the types of FDI that offer a good match with LDCs needs and opportunities.”

The action plan also features the need for key stakeholders to foster local business and ease access to finance, as well as to start the next wave of regulatory and institutional reforms.

For a complete overview of recommendations, please download the full report.
World Bank African Diaspora Program 

The ADP seeks to further enable and enhance the human and financial capital contributions of African Diasporas to the economic development of their home countries. The program was launched in September 2007 and focuses on strengthening policy, financial, and human capital development in Africa through a portfolio of activities and support in partnership with the African Union (AU), partner countries, partner donors, and African Diaspora Professional Networks and Hometown Associations. The ADP will support development efforts through interventions such as: 

  • Policy—working with partner country governments to obtain improvements in the enabling policy and institutional environments for engaging their Diaspora in economic and social development activities. 
  • Financial—working with the AU, partner countries, and partner donors to understand better the flow of remittances, including issues related to the costs of, and approaches to the leveraging and securitization of remittances for development. 
  • Human—working with partner countries, Diaspora Professional Networks and Hometown Associations, and other donors to increase knowledge sharing and transfer (brain gain) between the Diaspora and their home countries, and to undertake human capital development projects for higher education, health, social protection and other sectors through community-driven development approaches and community development institutions. 

Read more here

Southern African Power Pool (SAPP)

The Southern African Power Pool (SAPP) was created with the primary aim to provide reliable and economical electricity to supply to the consumers of each of the SAPP members, consistent with reasonable utilisation of natural resources and the effect on the environment.

Co-operation in the electricity sector is not a new phenomenon in the Southern African region; it has taken place at policy, planning and operational levels and involved governments, power utilities and financial agencies over a period of several decades. To formalise this interaction, several of the utilities in the region came together under the auspices of SADC to formulate the SAPP.

The members of the SAPP have undertaken to create a common market for electricity in the SADC region and to let their customers benefit from the advantages associated with this market

All utilities participating in SAPP have equal rights and obligations, and have agreed to act in solidarity without taking advantage of one another. Members have undertaken to share information and knowledge, be politically neutral, develop common planning and operating criteria and procedures and to accept wheeling on behalf of other members when this is technically feasible. 

 The ‘Business’ of International Aid –  Jonathan Starr Founder Abaarso Tech Somaliland

What if Marriott operated without any revenue, room-rate or other meaningful customer-usage data from its individual hotels? Suppose it remitted money to cover salaries and other expenses, without knowing if any of it was producing a product for which customers were willing to pay. Imagine further that Marriott asked only for self-graded quarterly “report cards” from its managers, and that, as its only act of supervision, it simply audited its hotels’ expenditures.
You don’t need to run a Fortune 500 company to know how quickly such a system would run amok. Absent accountability, managers and staff would have no incentive to provide a reasonable service. They’d have to be somewhat honorable to even bother showing up to work. In short order we’d find employees buying $10,000 worth of furniture for $20,000 and splitting the difference with the vendor. Come audit time: $20,000 expense item, $20,000 vendor receipt, “check and check, all looks clean here.”

If you think that no business would operate this way, then you’re evidently not familiar with the “business” of international aid. International non government organizations get their funding from governments and other donors, not the men, women and children they are supposed to be serving. Without revenue or other quality customer-satisfaction metrics, NGO executives and donors have no way of measuring whether employees on the ground are providing a product of value to their impoverished “customers.”

They then take a bad situation and make it completely unworkable by routinely paying beneficiaries to avail themselves of NGO services. Having bought their customers, NGOs send home reports about the great attendance that led to successfully training X-number of people on fishing/farming/water/waste/health. It would be as if Marriott paid guests $50 per night to stay in its hotels and then bragged about its occupancy rates. If the poorest people in the world require payment to take your services, what does that say about your services?
Because NGOs lack the ultimate customer-feedback metric of revenue, one would expect them to achieve accountability through oversight by executives on the ground with operations in a single geographic market. Sticking to one geographic market makes sense on many levels since there are no economy-of-scale advantages to being a multinational NGO (no bulk purchases, no manufacturing, no branding advantage) and all kinds of economies of scale (foremost the lack of accountability). So why do countless NGOs operate as multinationals in dozens of countries with their executives sited in Washington, New York, London, Addis Ababa, Nairobi and Geneva? The obvious answer is that like everyone else, these executives respond to incentives, and what works on the ground isn’t what pays their salaries. John Smith, NGO administrator, maximizes his personal value by going multinational while staying proximate to his donors, never mind the damage that model inflicts on the poor communities he purports to serve.
It doesn’t have to be like this.
A few years ago I quit a career in finance and dedicated 100% of my time to improving education in Somaliland, my uncle’s home country. Happily ignorant of the aid industry’s modus operandi, I designed the Somaliland non-profit organization, Abaarso Tech, to be run like a business with the Somali people as both shareholders and customers.
I began with the precept that our employees’ principal form of compensation would be pride in a worthy deed well done. Not only is generous pay unnecessary for success in development work, it is counterproductive. With low accountability, highly compensated individuals will choose the path of longest-term funding over good solutions (I suspect one case in point are NGOs in Haiti, which deploy money notoriously slowly). So I donated a large portion of my savings and promised not to take any salary. Having led by example, I was able to recruit like-minded individuals also willing to make financial sacrifices for equity in something special.
Turn a deaf ear to the aid agencies that tell you they cannot recruit quality employees without compensation packages that are far larger than what they could make in the for-profit world; the pay is essentially tax-free and NGOs already cover virtually everything, including room and board and all kinds of paid vacations. In Abaarso Tech’s short history our teachers have included Ivy League graduates, a Ph.D. in physics, a Ph.D. in chemistry and nearly 20 well-trained, native English-speaking American, Canadian or British teachers. Our $3,000 annual salary basically pays interest on their college loans with enough left over for the occasional can of Pringles. Our staff works 70-hour weeks because they are motivated by the mission’s goal and feel ownership for its success.
Managing a single geographic market with executives on the ground, highly efficient costs and properly motivated employees was a good start. But our nonprofit still needed to offer programs that the Somali people would value. Somaliland is one of the poorest nations in the world, but that doesn’t mean Somalis won’t scrape together what they have to buy something good. Just 20 months after landing here, Abaarso Tech has 100 students in its secondary boarding school, 100 in adult English classes, 20 in the undergraduate School of Finance, 50 in primary-school tutoring and 30 in the graduate business courses. Almost all of those 300 enrollees find a way to pay something towards their education. One of our top boarding-school students cannot afford much, but his family still brings us a bag of fruit each term as their way of saying “thank you.” On the other extreme, we have a couple of wealthy British Somalis who left U.K. private school to join our boarding school at a tuition of $5,000 a year. Our program is a living repudiation of the notion that development beneficiaries need be paid to accept the services of their benefactors. Today, our program’s net operating loss is approximately equivalent to the compensation package of a typical NGO worker.
Which brings me to a second question for the taxpayers and donors who, over the past few years, have provided hundreds of millions of dollars of aid to Somaliland: Even accepting that our boarding school and finance program would have been too sophisticated for a typical development agency, why, after spending all that money and far more time on the ground, has no other NGO thought to provide native English-speaking teachers for adult English courses? We just started the program in January, charging $200 for three months of classes, and our phones won’t stop ringing with Somalis who want to pay to learn proper English. This isn’t brain surgery; it is just listening to what the customers are asking for and finding a way to provide it at a reasonable cost. It is exactly what Marriott does every day.
Somalis are good people who could use well-spent aid money to rebuild their country from an awful civil war (which was in part caused and funded by Western food aid—see Michael Maren’s 1997 book, “The Road to Hell”). However, until we take the perverse incentives out of the international NGO business, and only provide funding to those organizations whose executives are on the ground overseeing the otherwise unmanageable, the bulk of the money spent on international aid will, at best, be wasted.

By Jonathan Starr
Mr. Starr is a former financial executive and co-founder and managing director of Abaarso Tech, based in the Maroodi Jeex region of Somaliland.

Read more here

Making Health Progress: Clinic for Neurophysiology in Hargeisa
Essa Kayd, a chief neurodiagnostic specialist of Somaliland origin based in Boston, U.S. announced he will be opening a state of the art Clinic for neurophysiology in Somaliland’s capital, Hargeisa. The clinic will be a joint investment between Kayd and Ethiopia’s leading neurologist Dr. Sisay Gizaw from Addis Ababa Medical School. Kayd received his education in Ottawa University and Harvard Medical School. Mr. Kayd is the chief Neurodiagnostic at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Harvard Medical School in Boston. He occasionally travels to Africa to offer his time; gives training to leading doctors in the continent. He is also trains physicians at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Medical School. Brigham and Women’s Medical Hospital is ranked one of the top hospitals in the US by U.S. News & World Report Top Hospitals. He has been helping Addis Ababa’s main hospital for the past several months, where he noticed most of their patients were Somalis who had travelled miles for the treatment. He opened his first clinic in Addis Ababa early this year and plans to open one in Hargeisa in early April. Before they open their clinic, the two doctors will be offering three day neurodiagnostics training at Edna Adan Hospital in Hargeisa. Interested individuals are advised to call Edna Hospital or contact Dr Essa Kayd Email: or Tel: 1-617-304-1270

 Millennium Villages Project continues to systematically overstate its effects
The Millennium Villages Project (MVP) is an experimental anti-poverty intervention in villages across Africa. In October, we released evidence that the Project’s official publications were overstating its real effects, and we offered suggestions on improving its impact evaluation. On Tuesday the MVP, whose leadership and staff are aware of our work, continued to greatly overstate its impact.

 Read more here  World Bank Blog on Africa

Capacities to deliver remains weak in Africa limiting development efforts

 A report by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF) launched in Kigali last week at celebrations to mark 20 years of ACBF, the Africa Capacity Indicators Report (ACIR), finds that adequate country capacity remains a hindrance to progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), implementing poverty reduction strategies and optimising aid effectiveness. The inaugural report published under the theme “Capacity Development in Fragile States” gauges the status of capacity in 34 countries on the continent. The ACI has four dimensions including policy environment, processes for implementation; development results at country level and capacity development outcomes. Fifty six per cent of the countries are at low level, 38 per cent are at medium while 6 per cent are at very low level of capacity development respectively.

The African Capacity Building Foundation

Educating Tanzania's Tomorrow

Shanta Devarajan interviews Rakesh Rajani from Sense Film Production on Vimeo.

Twaweza a Tanzanian based non profit organization recently released a health check report on the education sector in Tanzania. Despite efforts to increase enrollment in primary and secondary schools and  increased government budgetary spending, the quality of the education rendered still possess a big challenge.

The reports seeks to establish what have these massive efforts and investments yielded? To what extent have these achievements translated into concrete improvements in children’s competencies?  Are our children learning?

Key findings:

  • One in five primary school leavers cannot read Standard 2 level Kiswahili even though Kiswahili is the national language widely spoken across the country.
  • Half the children who complete primary school cannot read in English
  • Girls performed better than boys in all subjects tested, although the differences are very small.
  • Urban based children perform better than rural based children
  • Children whose mothers attended secondary school perform dramatically better than other children.
  • Only 7 in 10 primary school leavers can do Standard 2 level Mathematics

For more on the Annual Learning Assessment Report Tanzania 2010


Umzi Wethu is a South African based youth training academy that provides vocational training and motivates youth displaced by HIV/AIDS and poverty by using the power of the wilderness, promoting personal wellness in a nurturing home context, providing credible training, and securing sustainable job placements in hospitality and eco-tourism establishments - while extending the program's social outreach to others.

Andrew Muir, 2008 Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureate
The publicity generated by the Rolex Award has been instrumental in helping raise an estimated additional US$1 million in funding!!! 

Umzi Wethu was founded by  conservationist Andrew Muir who is determined to use nature to solve the region’s biggest challenge.The training model employed by Umzi Wethu  includes mentorship, counselling and support, and these key elements continue long after the actual vocational training has been completed: “We are dealing with youths who are facing serious social issues,” he explains. “Most have lost one parent, if not both, and have therefore been through tremendous trauma. How can you train for a job until you have worked through some of the trauma, had a chance to heal some of the pain? We can’t just give them job training; we need to care for the whole individual if there is to be any real hope of them holding down a job for an extended period of time.”

Sub Saharan Africa is home to 80% of the worlds orphans.  

Economic  Report on Africa 2010
Promoting High Level Sustainable Growth to Reduce Unemployment in Africa
 By the Economic Commission for Africa 

Africa achieved relatively high growth rates in the first decade of the twenty first century, culminating in a continent-wide average growth rate of 6.1 per cent in 2007. Although rates varied across the continent, this relatively fast growth was generally shared, with several countries experiencing growth rates that exceeded their population growth rates, thus leading to increases in per capita income. This rapid growth was generally due to increased investment financed by high commodity prices, resource extraction, foreign direct investment (FDI) and inflows of other foreign resources, as well as macroeconomic stability and better economic management.
This relatively rapid growth was however, not accompanied by growth in employment, as the rates of unemployment and underemployment increased in most African countries. Unemployment rates remained in double digits in a large number of African countries. The 2008 global financial and economic crises exacerbated the unemployment problem through their impacts on growth, export earnings, government revenues and foreign capital inflows into Africa.


Long-term strategies involve investment that will transform the structure of African economies from reliance on low-employment-generation natural resource extraction to high-employment labour-intensive manufacturing, agro-industry and service provision. In addition to changing the pattern of investment and production, it will also require not only an increase in the quantity of human capital, but a change in the type of human capital that will be provided. Factor markets will have to be reformed to encourage the use of labour-intensive production techniques, in contrast to current policies which favour capital-intensive techniques. There is a need to pay special attention to vulnerable groups, such as women and young people, with special targeted employment interventions.
Moreover, African countries need to pay attention to policies that increase growth in total factor productivity. These policies may include improved economic and political management as well as political stability, technology transfer and investment in research and development. Finally, Africa cannot continue to rely on the international community to finance its development agenda. It is therefore important for African countries to boost their efforts to increase the mobilization of domestic resources to finance African development through innovative programmes. Increasing the savings rate to the levels attained by East Asian countries, will generate substantial revenue to finance development in Africa. Financing development from domestic resources will not only reduce the volatility inherent in African development, but will also make Africans “masters of their destinies”.

Full report here:
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