South African manufacturing output rises 2.1% y/y in October

Johannesburg cityscape, taken at sunset, showing Hillbrow residential centre with the prominent Ponte flats and the communications tower. Getty Images Image used for illustrative purpose.

South Africa’s manufacturing output rose 2.1% year on year in October after falling by a revised 4.1% in September, statistics agency data showed on Tuesday, 12 December.
Factory production was down 0.2% month on month in October, after dropping by a revised 0.8% in September.

Ghana inflation slows to 26.4% y/y in November – statistics agency

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A man holds Ghana’s cedi notes in Accra July 3, 2007. Luc Gnago, Reuters

Ghana’s consumer inflation slowed to 26.4% year on year in November from 35.2% in October, the statistics service said on Thursday.

The cocoa, gold and oil-producing country facing its worst economic crisis in a generation is in talks with bilateral and commercial creditors to restructure its debts.

FG to implement new revenue formular in Q1 2024 — Nigeria

Nigerian Tribune

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Federal Government on Wednesday unveiled plans to commence the implementation of the new revenue-sharing formula in the first quarter of 2024.

The Chairman of the Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Muhammed Bello Shehu gave the indication during an interactive session on the 2024-2026 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP) held at the instance of the House of Committee on Finance, chaired by Hon James Faleke.

He said that he had briefed President Bola Tinubu about the expected changes.

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The chairman also noted that when approved, it will pass through the National Assembly for legislative action before its implementation.

”And I will assure this committee members that sometime next year, the commission will forward a new revenue allocation formula, first quarter to Mr. President and we believe that he will forward it to the National Assembly for you to do your job on this issue. That I can assure you sir and the members too,” Shehu said.

Shehu also revealed that between N3 to N6 trillion is being owed to the Federal Government by some agencies.

In his response, the Chairman of the House Committee on Finance, Faleke, said that he hopes the implementation comes quickly as “Where the Federal Government is having the lion’s share of revenue is not right.

“That’s why everybody is saying government, we have no money, no food, no this and that. As if it is the responsibility of the Federal Government to provide food.

“The Federal Government is just to create an enabling environment and good policies. If our Local Government system works well, we shouldn’t be having these impacts at all. I’m a product of Local Government and I know what I’m talking about.

“If our Local Government system works well, you don’t even know if the Federal Government exists or not. I’m sure we need to go back to that system.”

He also encouraged the chairman of the commission to bring the act setting up the Commission for amendment following an appeal by the chairman.

“The present Act does not give them the power, there’s no biting teeth and that’s why most agencies flaunt remittances.

“And so, I think you need to look into the act. We can look at it and amend it from our side. But we need to be aware that that act needs to be amended to make it more effective for better revenue for this country,” Faleke said.

SA secures $300mln loan for Energy Governance and Climate Resilience

Johannesburg cityscape with Nelson Mandela bridge going over the railway seen close up. Image used for illustrative purpose. Getty Images

The African Development Bank Group’s Board of Directors has sanctioned a $300m loan for South Africa, earmarked for the implementation of its Energy Governance and Climate Resilience Programme. This programme, devised in partnership with other development entities including the World Bank and KfW Development Bank, is set to propel SA’s energy transition.
It aims to stimulate economic growth by instigating structural reforms to restore energy security, encourage private sector involvement in the electricity market, and boost the operational efficiency of Eskom, the national power utility. These measures align with South Africa’s Energy Action Plan and the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan (JET IP) for 2023–2027.

The programme is expected to expedite mitigation and adaptation efforts by endorsing renewable energy generation and transitioning businesses to low-carbon activities. This shift will reduce the carbon footprint of the South African economy and enhance financing for green projects, aligning with South Africa’s updated Nationally Determined Contribution and its Long-term Low-Emissions Development Strategy.

It also aims to secure affordable energy for households and small businesses. It will empower the government to augment budget allocations for connecting electricity to underprivileged households and establish a mechanism to incentivise families and small to medium-sized businesses to invest in renewable energy.

The reform priorities discussed with the Government are intended to complement and synergise with existing support from the African Development Bank and other development finance institutions for the Just Energy Transition.

Ensure affected communities are not left behind

Through a $629,800 grant with co-financing from the Climate Insurance Fund, the Bank will provide support to ensure affected communities are not left behind, crowd in more women as decision-makers and support young entrepreneurs, especially women, to build skills and create jobs for the green economy.

South Africa’s country’s Energy Governance and Climate Resilience Programme aligns with the African Development Bank’s ‘High 5’ strategic priorities, especially “Light up and Power Africa”, “Industrialise Africa”, and “Improve the quality of life for the people of Africa”.

Welcoming the operation, Leila Mokaddem, AfDB director general for Southern Africa, noted the Bank’s long-term support to South Africa’s energy sector. Energy has the largest share of the Bank’s portfolio at 43.4%.

The programme complements this support and aligns with the recently approved Country Strategy Paper (CSP) for South Africa, which recognises the centrality of Energy reforms to achieve economic growth and improve business confidence.

Nigeria needs to curb inflation, stabilize forex to boost growth, says World Bank

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The Victoria Island waterfront is seen from the Ikoyi neighbourhood in Lagos June 3, 2014. REUTERS/Joe Penney
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Nigeria still needs to control inflation and stabilise its foreign exchange market following currency reforms and the removal of a petrol subsidy, the World Bank said on Wednesday, to boost economic growth.

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu has embarked on the country’s biggest reforms in decades, including scrapping the popular but expensive petrol subsidy, unifying the country’s multiple exchange rates and putting measures in place to double tax revenue.

World Bank lead economist for Nigeria Alex Sienaert said during a presentation in the capital Abuja that the government still had work to do.

Siernaet said Nigeria should tighten monetary policy and phase out so-called ways and means borrowing and the development finance initiatives by the central bank, part of a series of unorthodox policies used by former central bank Governor Godwin Emefiele.

New central bank Governor Olawale Cardoso has already begun rolling back Emefiele’s policies.

He has adopted an inflation-targeting policy, ended all direct interventionist programmes, which he said blurred the lines with monetary policy, and begun clearing foreign exchange backlogs, estimated at $7 billion, that were owed to banks.

“We will be using inflation-targeting and we will ensure that the use of monetary policy actually cascades down and has an impact,” Cardoso said in response to Siernaet’s call.

South African business confidence index rises in November

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South African business confidence rose in November, as tourism and merchandise import volumes improved in month-on-month terms, data showed on Wednesday.

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI) Business Confidence Index increased to 111.5 points in November from 108.6 in October.

Despite November’s increase, SACCI said in a statement that lingering economic challenges continued to drag on sentiment.

It pointed to fewer new vehicle sales, a volatile rand exchange rate and high real financing costs among factors negatively affecting business confidence in November compared to a year ago.

“The latest BCI suggests that the business climate and economic conditions didn’t provide the spark for increased confidence over the medium term,” SACCI added.

How Africa is becoming a global business giant

Africa Business

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If you ask people around the world which countries and continents are global leaders in business, most likely you’ll hear the United States, China, and European countries come up. However, a shift appears to be happening: Africa is starting to emerge as a real player in world commerce.

Because of its natural resources, younger population, and growing middle class, Africa is becoming an attractive option for investors and corporations. This article will explore some of the ways Africa is raising its profile in global business.

From hosting more summits and conferences to entrepreneurship and innovation, foreign direct investment, and regional integration, Africa is demonstrating a potential to drive economic growth and shape the future of the global economy.

Access to Worldwide Conferences/Meetings

Nobody will claim that Covid-19 was good for the planet. However, as happened during other unfortunate events in history, people learned to innovate and adapt, and managed to achieve progress nonetheless.

An example is the amount of medicine and technological advances that occurred during World War II. Nobody will ever say that war was a high point in world history. However, without it, we might not have discovered penicillin or sulfa drugs for many years thereafter.

The same might be said about Covid-19 and virtual meetings. Although Zoom and other video platforms existed well before the pandemic, when people had no option but to meet online it finally became mainstream.

Yes, this probably would have transpired eventually, but the pandemic definitely sped up the potential for international meetings to occur without having to meet in person.

Historically, Africa as a continent has not played a substantial role in national and international business gatherings. Now that many meetings and conferences are conducted virtually, access for African businesses to attend and host has never been more practical.

Many of the other advances discussed below may directly correlate with virtual meetings that have made connections so much easier.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

Entrepreneurs are thriving in Africa. Many individuals have started businesses there. This entrepreneurial spirit has driven innovation across many fields, including technology, agriculture, healthcare, and renewable energy.

As a result, Africa is witnessing the emergence of successful startups and homegrown proposals that are not only solving local challenges but attracting attention on the global stage.

Foreign Direct Investment

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Africa has risen in recent years. African nations attract significant FDI inflows worldwide with their natural resources, which has expanded consumer markets and improved business environments. In 2021, Africa saw $83 billion in FDI.

National and local governments are bringing in policies to encourage FDI and create a business climate by offering incentives and tax breaks. As the continent continues to attract foreign investors, it will strengthen its position in the global business arena, fostering economic growth and promoting sustainable development.

Regional Integration

Regional integration is playing a pivotal role in Africa’s involvement in commerce. African countries increasingly recognize the benefits of working together and fostering intra-African trade.

Initiatives such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) aim to create a single broad market, promote the free movement of goods and services, and facilitate cross-border investments.

Africa is unlocking new business opportunities to expand individual countries’ operations across borders by eliminating trade barriers, harmonizing regulations, and enhancing regional infrastructure. One example of this is the number of ports on the western coastline of Northern Africa.

Historically, local and national economies struggled to maintain and run effective ports, but these are flourishing now that adjacent nations are contributing.

Infrastructure Development

Investments in infrastructure development are also transforming Africa’s business landscape. Governments and international partners are investing in transportation networks, energy projects, digital connectivity, and industrial zones.

Improved infrastructure facilitates the movement of goods and people, reduces transportation costs, and enhances overall business efficiency. Infrastructure development also creates employment opportunities, stimulates economic activities, and attracts domestic and foreign investments.

Projects such as ports, airports, railways, and power-generation facilities are crucial for Africa’s integration into global supply chains and its ability to attract multinational corporate partners. Cairo has seen a 23% increase in airline passenger traffic since 2019, and many other countries have begun to welcome more international travel.


Business across the planet is rapidly evolving. The traditional powerhouse nations will continue to dominate business, but other markets can take a seat at the table.

Africa is already showing it is ready to take advantage of the opportunity. The question becomes: How far can they go?

Investing in Innovation Africa announces its second call for applications to support African startups in healthcare supply chains

Africa Business

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Applications are open for early and growth-stage health tech innovators

Investing in Innovation Africa (i3), a pan-African initiative for start-ups building the future of healthcare supply chains, is calling for leading innovators to join its second cohort. Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and sponsored by AmerisourceBergen, Merck Sharpe & Dohme (MSD), Microsoft and Chemonics, i3 is supporting the commercialization of 60 promising early- and growth-stage companies. The programme connects African-led supply chain innovators to donors, industry, and government partners, to power start-ups’ growth and impact. Selected start-ups receive targeted introductions to customers to support commercialization and impact, a $50,000 grant, and tailored investment readiness support. i3 is particularly focused on selecting women-led companies and those operating in Francophone regions.

The first cohort, selected in September 2022, featured 31 innovators enhancing access to health products across more than 24,000 hospitals, clinics, and pharmacies in 26 African countries. To date, the i3 program has facilitated 200+ introductions between the cohort, the sponsors, and potential partners such as USAID, The Global Fund, Benshi.aI, i+Solutions, Chemonics, John Snow Inc., FHI360, Madiro Foundation, government representatives from Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, representatives from Ekiti and Lagos state, and more. i3 has featured cohort companies on CNBC Africa, at the World Cup, the Africa Health Agenda International Conference, the forthcoming Africa CEO forum, and more. More than 17 innovators have secured partnerships and pilot projects to date.

Applications for the second cohort are open now until June 26th. Selected start-ups will be announced on September 14th. i3 continues to be inspired by the progress and potential of African innovators in healthcare supply chains, and is coordinated by Salient Advisory, Southbridge A&I and Solina Center for Research and Development (SCIDaR). Leading regional tech hubs – CcHUB (Co creation Hub), Startupbootcamp Afritech, Villgro Africa, and IMPACT Lab, spearhead cohort selection and investment readiness support.

For more information and to apply, please visit the programme’s website at Join us in our mission to create a more inclusive and innovative ecosystem for health-tech start-ups in Africa.

Yusuf Rasool, Director, Sustainable Access Solutions, Global Market Access, at MSD commented:

“Expanding access to medicines requires a new way of thinking that taps into the incredible talent we have across the continent. We can find African solutions for African challenges by bringing together government, industry, and donors to create the scaffolding for entrepreneurs to succeed. MSD is proud to partner with i3 to find, meet and partner with the next generation of African health care companies that are finding innovative ways to solve tomorrow’s healthcare challenges today.”

Kieran Daly, Director, Global Health Agencies and Funds, at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation also commented:

“i3 intends to jump-start a new way of doing business across aid, industry, and government partners to support local innovation – starting with health care supply chains. With our partners, we’re building a network across the African continent to help structure commercialization support for start-ups, to accelerate their growth and public health impact. We believe local, data-driven innovators closest to the delivery challenges are critical to building the resilient, agile, and responsive supply chains we need.”

Solar remains the sustainable solution to SA’s energy crisis

Aerial view of solar power station and solar energy panels. Image used for illustrative purpose.
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For over a decade and a half, South Africa has grappled with a crippling energy crisis. The scarcity of power has compelled many households to seek alternatives, such as installing battery backup systems, to mitigate the effects of Eskom’s insufficient generating capacity. These measures have proven invaluable in helping South Africans navigate frequent power outages, enabling businesses to continue operations and households to maintain normalcy. However, it’s crucial to recognise that relying solely on battery backup systems does not address the root issue: the country’s severe electricity generation capacity deficit.
Battery backup systems, while providing temporary respite during power outages, still depend on Eskom for recharging. This inadvertently exacerbates the strain on an already overburdened power grid. To genuinely alleviate Eskom’s burden and address the energy shortfall, it’s imperative for households to generate electricity independently. The most effective way to accomplish this is through the adoption of solar power.

Solar power offers a decentralised solution to South Africa’s energy crisis. By installing solar panels, households can produce their own electricity, reducing their dependence on Eskom and easing the pressure on the national grid. This decentralised approach empowers individuals to take control of their energy generation, making a meaningful contribution to the overall energy landscape.

Using solar energy to charge batteries actively helps to address the national energy shortage. By harnessing sunlight as a plentiful and renewable resource, households and municipalities can reduce their reliance on Eskom’s power sources, such as nuclear and coal plants. This, in turn, eases the strain on Eskom and reduces the need for loadshedding.

Battery backups put strain on local network

When using battery backup systems, it’s important to consider their potential impact on power consumption and the strain they can place on the local power network. After a power outage, when the electricity comes back on, the batteries immediately start recharging while the household is also drawing power from the grid.

This double power consumption may exceed the capacity of local electrical networks causing them to trip or – in a worst-case scenario – damage them. This then requires the local municipality to send personnel to restart or repair the substation, leading to further prolonged power outages for all the power users in the same area.

To tackle this issue, homeowners have a few choices. They can use technology to control their inverter so that it doesn’t immediately draw power from the grid to recharge the batteries as soon as the loadshedding period ends, but rather waits for an hour or so.

Correctly configured, this still gives ample time for the batteries to recharge before the next round of loadshedding, without putting additional strain on the grid right when the electricity is restored.

Solar is still the best option

However, the best option is to recharge the batteries using solar energy, reducing the dependence on Eskom’s power entirely. This method recharges the batteries with power that has no impact on the grid, whilst still ensuring that the batteries are ready in time for the next outage.

Storing power also benefits Eskom. At times, Eskom may generate more power than the immediate demand requires. However, as the day progresses and demand increases, Eskom may struggle to meet the logistical equation of supply and demand.

By using battery storage, individuals can help bridge this gap by accessing stored power during peak demand periods, reducing strain on the grid and potentially lessening the need for loadshedding.

The key message remains clear: if individuals are not generating their own power through solar channels, they are not effectively helping to alleviate the power crisis faced by Eskom. Generating and storing power independently is crucial to reduce reliance on the grid and ensure a more sustainable energy future.

Tech trends shaping the future: The rise of AI in South African businesses

Artificial Intelligence processor unit. Getty Images Image used for illustrative purpose.

In the pulsating heart of South Africa’s business landscape, a transformative force is quietly making its mark – Artificial Intelligence (AI).

The increasing reliance on AI technologies is reshaping how businesses operate, enhancing productivity, facilitating informed decision-making, and driving efficiencies across diverse industries. This article explores the burgeoning importance of AI in South African businesses and, more specifically, how Asus devices are at the forefront of this technological revolution, incorporating AI capabilities to elevate performance and efficiency.

The pervasive impact of AI on business

As the global business landscape evolves, the impact of AI becomes increasingly pervasive. In South Africa, businesses are recognising the transformative potential of the technology, from automating routine tasks to unlocking new possibilities in data analysis, decision-making, and operational efficiency.

The adoption of AI in South African businesses is a dynamic landscape. From large enterprises to burgeoning startups, organisations are exploring AI to gain a competitive edge. Trends, challenges, and opportunities abound as businesses integrate them into their operations, seeking innovative solutions to address industry-specific challenges.

AI’s role in boosting productivity is undeniable. Across industries, businesses are witnessing tangible improvements as AI-powered technologies streamline processes, automate repetitive tasks, and enhance overall operational efficiency. From optimising supply chains to revolutionising customer service, AI is a catalyst for transformative change.

Then there’s decision-making, where AI emerges as a formidable ally. The ability of these algorithms to analyse vast datasets in real-time empowers businesses to make informed, data-driven decisions. This enhances decision-making processes and positions businesses to navigate complexities confidently.

The application of AI in South Africa extends beyond generic use cases. In healthcare, AI aids in diagnostics and treatment planning. In finance, it revolutionises fraud detection and risk assessment. Industries such as manufacturing and logistics benefit from AI-driven predictive maintenance and supply chain optimisation.

Asus devices and AI integration

Asus is not merely keeping pace with AI-driven innovation but actively driving it in other regions in the world. The company’s commitment to helping advance the development of AI reflects a dedication to staying ahead of technological trends.

Asus devices are not just tools; they result from innovation, designed to meet the evolving needs of businesses in South Africa and beyond.

With their powerful computing capabilities, Asus devices become enablers of industry-specific advancements.

AI and workforce collaboration

It plays a pivotal role in fostering collaboration within the workforce. Asus devices help facilitate seamless communication, collaboration, and knowledge sharing among employees. Geographical distances become inconsequential as AI-powered apps and technologies empower teams to work cohesively, enhancing productivity and creativity.

Data security and privacy concerns are paramount in the age of AI integration. Asus addresses these concerns head-on, implementing robust security measures in devices incorporating AI technologies.

Ensuring the confidentiality and integrity of sensitive information is a cornerstone of Asus’s commitment to providing secure and reliable solutions.

Asus, as a leader in business solutions

Asus plans to bring exciting business devices to South Africa in the next few years. This cements the company’s commitment to innovation and positions it as a reliable partner for businesses seeking cutting-edge solutions.

These devices go beyond conventional expectations, embodying the future of technology and setting benchmarks for others to follow.

As we gaze into the future, the trajectory of AI in South African businesses is poised for continued growth. In alignment with its commitment to innovation, Asus stands ready to support businesses on their AI journey.