Editor’s Note: April 04, 2018

Is piracy in Africa really getting worse?

At its peak in 2010 – 2011 piracy off Africa’s East coast was costing the global economy billions of dollars a year, and made enough headlines to prompt a Hollywood movie starring Tom Hanks.

Following a massive international effort to better police the region things have gone relatively quiet in recent years.

This may be changing. In East Africa attacks spiked in 2017 and in West Africa alone there have been close to 50 reported incidents already this year. This is despite a plunge in incidents globally from 445 in 2010 to 180 last year.

So is piracy in Africa getting worse? 

Going the numbers the answer is yet, but the problem is more national than regional. In East Africa it’s is primarily a Somali affair, while Nigerian pirates rule the seas of the Gulf of Guinea.

In both cases criminality on the sea is being driven by dynamics on land. In Somalia a weak state, drought and illegal fishing have contributed to its rise. In Nigeria it is closely linked to disenfranchisement and militancy in its oil-rich and restive South East.

While better policing can help contain the impact of this on global shipping and trade, any long-term response will need to address this.

From The Continent

South Africa’s Sagarmatha Technologies, owns newspapers, online shopping and classified platforms, is targeting a $4bn valuation in the country’s first e-commerce IPO.Capital markets are expecting a boost as investors bet on president Cyril Ramaphosa revitalising the economy. More: Reuters

Ghana is planning to sell stakes in three thermal power plants to cut state-owned company debt and boost electricity production. The partial privatization plan comes on the back of years of power outages that have stifled growth and investment. More: Bloomberg

The Daily Stat

32.04m bpd

OPEC’s combined crude production output in March, the lowest in a year due to Venezuela’s reduced capacity. More: Bloomberg

The Global Perspective

US chocolate maker Hershey aims to spend $500m by 2030 in a sustainability drive which will begin in the world’s top cocoa producers Ivory Coast and Ghana. Africa produces 75% of the world’s cocoa but has a negligible share of the global chocolate industry. More: Bloomberg

Cradle Arc, a London-listed copper producer, is increasing output to 1200 tonnes per year at a Botswana mine after scaling back operations during a commodity downturn. Copper prices have risen by more than 50% since the start of 2016. More: Reuters

The Daily Follow

Microsoft 4 Afrika @4Afrika: Microsoft initiative to support entrepreneurs and information technology on the continent