It was a long week on the international conference circuit for leaders flying from the continent to summits in London and Davos.
The week of events as captured by the African Business opened with the inaugural UK-Africa Investment Summit in London, where Boris Johnson pitched the UK as ‘the partner of choice for Africa’.
With African countries currently accounting for just 5 percent of UK global trade, London has a long way to go in convincing Africa of its virtues above suitors like the US, Russia and China.
As Brexit closes in, the UK is hammering out trade deals with African counterparts to replicate the terms enjoyed under the EU framework. The summit represented just a beginning in the new relationship, with a modest $8.5bn of new deals announced.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s finance minister Tito Mboweni, and presidents of DRC, Ghana and Senegal descended on the snowy Swiss Alps for the World Economic Forum’s annual jamboree. One notable absentee was Cyril Ramaphosa, who missed the awkward moment that the Edelman Trust Barometer named his the least trusted government in the world.
Africa’s richest fugitive: Things went from bad to worst for Isabel dos Santos this week as a trove of 715,000 leaked documents alleged that she milked the state to build her $2.1 billion fortune. By Wednesday, she had been charged with fraud, embezzlement and money laundering in Angola.
Fighting for survival: South African Airways suspended flights from Johannesburg to Munich and Cape Town on Tuesday after a critical state bailout was delayed. As it continues to fight liquidation after entering bankruptcy protection last month, the struggling airline said on Friday that it had saved enough cash to pay January wages.
Shrinking stakes: South African media conglomerate Naspers sold $1.66bn of its shares in tech spin-off Prosus, which holds a 30 percent stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Tencent. The firm sold 22m Prosus shares at €67.5 ($74.5) per share to institutional investors, reducing its Prosus holding to 72.5 percent.
Into the big league: Flutterwave, the US-based payments technology company that processes transactions for Uber and Booking.com., has raised $35m in a funding round. The new funding will be used to support its expansion across Francophone and North Africa and drive efforts to boost market share in existing markets.
Crowdfunding SDGs: A $500m investment platform has been launched to help achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. SDG500, supported by the UN and NGOs, will offer an exposure to six underlying funds and will use debt and equity to invest in the agriculture, finance, energy, education and healthcare sectors in Africa and beyond.
Investing for impact: CDC Group, the UK’s publicly owned impact investor, will invest a further £2 billion ($2.6 billion) into African businesses over the next two years, as it looks to double the size of its portfolio on the continent. The firm unveiled partnerships totalling nearly $400m at the UK-Africa Investment Summit on Monday. Funds will be used to provide African banks with greater liquidity to support SMEs, entrepreneurs and microbusinesses