Editor’s Note: March 28, 2018

African trade is getting a maritime boost

For decades African ports – with notable exceptions like Durban in South Africa – have been notorious for inefficiency, corruption and dated equipment. The average “dwell time”, the amount of time it takes to clear cargo, is 20 days in sub-Saharan Africa – the highest globally. This has earned them the nickname of the “bottlenecks”.

Thanks to a flurry of investment into the sector this looks set to change. In the last few weeks alone multiple high profile projects have been announced.

Dubai’s DP World  is investing in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s first deep-sea port, following an investment into Somaliland Berbera port last year. Djibouti has just announced plans for a new $660m container terminal at its bustling port with France’s CMA CGM. Sudan meanwhile has launched a $4bn project with Qatar to revive the Ottoman-era port of Suakin.

This comes on top of a string of other new port developments and upgrade projects across the continent, from Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania to Abidjan in Côte d’Ivoire. 

The trend reflects growing trade levels, particularly with Asia, and could be a boon for growth and investment on the continent. Seaports account for 90% of Africa’s imports and exports.

From The Continent

Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, has elected Abiy Ahmed as its new chairman, who is expected to become the country’s new prime minister. Ahmed is from Ethiopia’s biggest but politically marginalized ethnic group, the Oromo, which has been a leading force behind pressure to open the country’s political system. More: Al Jazeera


South African retailer Massmart has announced plans to build 20 new stores outside its home market in the next three years as part of a pan-African expansion drive. The company is 51% owned by Walmart, which invested $2.4bn in 2012 to tap into rising consumer demand in Africa. More: Reuters

The Daily Stat

130m

The number of subscribers french mobile operator Orange, on an expansion drive in Africa, currently has across the continent. More: Reuters

The Global Perspective

Singapore-based agribusiness giant Olam is mulling an investment into fish farming in Africa to tap into rising domestic demand. The company is conducting a feasibility study in West Africa according to COO Shekhar Anantharaman. More: Bloomberg 

A $1bn deal between US private equity firm Milost Global and Nigeria’s Unity Bank has collapsed following alleged threats the firm would be chased out of the country if it proceedsThe incident is likely to reflect poorly on Nigeria, which is trying to shake a reputation for being a difficult place to do business. More: Bloomberg

The Daily Follow

Kanayo Nwanze @knwanze: The former president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, and first recipient of the African food prize.