Editor’s Note; July 20, 2018
Has Africa learned its lesson on national airlines?
Nigeria has said it plans to relaunch its national carrier at the end of the year. The freshly branded Nigeria Air will need initial capital of up to $300m.
It’s Nigeria’s latest attempt to revive Nigerian Airways, which went bust in 2003. It joins a growing number of countries hoping to resurrect their defunct sovereign carriers, including Zambia, Ghana and Uganda.
It’s an endeavour that could end in tears, and heavy losses.
Commercial aviation is a notoriously difficult business, and sovereign carriers have the worst track record of all.
The world is replete with defunct or cash-strapped national airlines, which often turn into unsustainable vanity projects that soak public funds. In struggling South African Airways the continent has a good and current example.
There are signs that lessons have been learned.
Nigeria is planning a public-private sector partnership for Nigeria Air, and the government says it will own no more than 5% of the company.
Ethiopian Airlines, by far Africa’s most successful carrier, is being enlisted as a strategic partner. Ghana and Zambia are said to be in similar talks with the airline.
With any luck some of its managerial prowess, which has helped it become a globally competitive company, will rub off.
From The Continent
Egyptian investment bank EFG Hermes is acquiring Nigerian insurance broker Primera Africa, its first investment in the continent’s biggest economy. The deal is aimed at serving growing domestic and international investor appetite. More: Egypt Today
Ghana is introducing a new 35% income tax band for high personal income earners in a bid to shore up public finances. The new rate will apply to personal earnings of $2,100 and above. More: Reuters
The Daily Stat
The amount New Development Bank, also known as the BRICS Bank, plans to lend to South Africa this year. More: Bloomberg
The Global Perspective
Loon, a company owned by Google’s parent company Alphabet, has announced an agreement to deliver internet access in rural Kenya using high-altitude balloons. It is the company’s first commercial deal of its kind. More: ABC News
Chinese president Xi Jinping is starting a four-country Africa visit this week to South Africa, Senegal, Rwanda and Mauritius. The visit is part of his first overseas trip since beginning his second term as China’s president, highlighting Africa’s strategic significance to Beijing. More: CNN
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