IOA Position Papers

Africa’s disaster response: Continent-wide coordination required

By James Hall

Analysis in Brief: The destruction of a major port city and loss of life in one of Africa’s biggest recorded storms may be the impetus to create a continental authority to manage disasters that arrive with greater power and frequency as a result of climate change.

The destruction Cyclone Idai wrought on the Southern African countries Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe in March 2019 claimed over 700 lives, obliterated Mozambique’s port city, Beira, and flooded 138,000 km²of crop land. Cholera became the immediate threat and diminished harvests are a mid-term eventuality. The response of the 13-state regional body, the Southern African Development Community (SADC), was very little given the scope of the calamity and when compared with the work and contributions of overseas aid organisations who immediately rushed in to assist. A SADC representative said the body was surprised by the cyclone’s power and was not prepared for the devastation unleashed.

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Towards Africa taking joint ownership of Artificial Intelligence

By Dr. Mary Carman[1] and Dr. Benjamin Rosman[2]

Analysis in brief: Africa has the potential to be an active agent in the development of emerging technologies around artificial intelligence (AI) and not simply a place where these technologies are implemented. But in order to do so, it is necessary to think critically about where research attention in Africa should be focused, as well as how to guide the various aspects of research in a way that is sensitive to capabilities and interests specific to African peoples.

Research and development into emerging technologies around artificial intelligence (AI) is thriving the world over. African countries too are developing the capacity to contribute to this growing field. Indeed, Africa has the potential to take joint ownership of AI and not just be a playground where these technologies from elsewhere are implemented. For instance, the first major international machine learning conference in Africa – the International Conference of Learning Representations (ICLR) – will be held in Ethiopia in 2020, representing the first major opportunity for African researchers to attend a large conference on home soil and dramatically increase interaction between African and international researchers. But in order to take ownership and maximise a role for Africa, we need to think critically about how to guide the various aspects of research in a way that is sensitive to African capabilities and interests.

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Health (in)security and migration: African lessons for a world in transition

By Annamarie Bindenagel Šehović

Analysis in Brief: Global health security lies at the intersection of Europe and Africa, between inherited state-based intervention and a new regional, global approach. Given this, it is vital to redefine health security and it is imperative that this new definition include cross-border populations. Likewise, knowledge exchange in both definitional scope and political and experimental approaches across Africa and beyond is an important contributor to health security in a globalised world.
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Assessment of South Africa’s SME landscape

Challenges, Opportunities, Risks and Next Steps

The South African government has prioritised small business development with the objective of creating 11 million jobs by 2030 to reduce the country’s chronic and high unemployment rate, and looking to SMEs to create these jobs and stimulate economic growth. This objective can only be achieved through the establishment of a supportive and enabling environment for the growth of small businesses.

SME SA in collaboration with In On Africa (IOA) has endeavored to assess the current environment in which SMEs operate through executing nationwide research on the sector. The aim of the research was to shed light on the challenges, opportunities and risks that need to be considered in the development of the SME sector to ensure the much needed growth and new employment opportunities in the country.

African stock exchanges hold the key to unlocking the continent’s economic growth and development

By Jacqueléne Coetzer

Analysis in brief:  Due to increased economic growth and development, largely as a result of improved political stability, African exchanges offer great investment value for both African and foreign investors.  Although there are still some difficulties to overcome to make African Exchanges more attractive to international investors, with the political will and dedicated efforts by governments and exchanges, these difficulties can be overcome.

Few people are aware of the business, economic and IT successes being achieved in Africa.  Mauritius is poised to become Africa’s first high-income economy within the next 10 years and there are a number of other African countries that are working actively to achieve the same.  The former-President of Botswana, Ian Khama, has famously remarked that Africa has the ability to solve its own problems and he was right.
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Shake up in African aviation stresses profitability

By James Hall

The following article is based on information obtained by the author while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for clients of IOA. Other IOA research is also referenced.

Economic liberalisation, giving African consumers wider choices and cheaper goods and services through greater competition, is taking its time in the commercial aviation sector. Most African nations are signatories to Open Skies treaties that, if implemented, will allow African airlines to pass through African air spaces and land at African airports without having to pay heavy taxes for the privilege. This would make inter-Africa flying cheaper for passengers and increase passenger and freight volumes, also giving a boost to the tourism sector. However, African governments are rather fond of their tax revenues and are not implementing these agreements.
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Youth Exchange Programmes in Africa

Impact Assessment and Recommended Practices Guide

Youth volunteering and exchange programmes are gaining currency as a means of supporting African development goals, including addressing youth unemployment, contributing to economic and social development, building human capacity and strengthening regional identity. As such, there has been increased interest from international agencies, the African Union, development actors and civil society organisations in promoting volunteering and youth exchange in African countries.

In mid-2017 the African-German Youth Initiative (AGYI), in collaboration with IOA, embarked on a large-scale research study to assess the impact of such youth exchange programmes in Africa. The aim of the research was to inform future strategies for youth development on the continent, and guide progress in strengthening North-South and South-South cooperation through youth exchanges. This report presents the key findings and strategic recommendations from the research.

Mining Trends Report 2018

Skills Development and Training Trends in the Mining Sector

In early 2017, IOA and MTS partnered to develop a first-of-its-kind mining sector trend report. The aim of the initiative was to provide a comparative assessment of the progress made within the South African mining sector over the last 5 years, and note the progression that has taken place within the sector over this period.

The report provides insights into the emerging trends of various government and private sector initiatives by assessing sample data drawn from the MTS Insite platform over 2012 and 2017, and covering 45 mining (inclusive of core contractor) companies in the country.

Africa’s energy crossroads: The market forces, coal and oil, are making way to renewable energies.

The following article is based on information obtained by the author while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for a client of IOA. Other IOA research is also referenced.

Africa’s energy landscape is changing, driven by new market imperatives and technological innovations. Vested interests seeking to preserve the dominance of old forms of energy may be resisting, but cannot hold back the tidal force of an evolving energy market place. Coal and oil are becoming dinosaurs, not just because they are literally composed of the remnants of prehistoric plants and animals, but because money is gradually moving toward renewable energies: geothermal, hydropower, solar and wind.
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GBR World Congress Report 2018

Global Business Roundtable

World Congress Report 2018

Stimulating intra-African trade has been a top discussion point over the last decade. The recently signed Continental Free Trade Area agreement between all 54 states will look to address key concerns in terms of trading within Africa. This agreement will also need to be taken into account within the context of evolving industries across the continent, but also specifically in countries such as Angola, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zambia.

IOA’s latest report, in partnership with the Global Business Roundtable, provides key insights on the shifting nature of trade agreements in Africa, the evolution and decentralisation within top sectors such as energy, mining, ICT and agriculture, and the relevant opportunities for small business growth in these focal areas.

Africa’s slow but sure movement toward value added economies

The following article is based on information obtained by the author while undertaking a comparative study on African nations’ competitive statuses for a client of IOA. Other IOA research is also referenced.

Is there an African economist who hasn’t advised against making an economy predominantly dependent on raw material exports? The governments of Africa mostly lack the political will to venture into value added manufacturing rather than shipping out natural resources in their unprocessed state. With investment in the value added chain, raw agricultural products and minerals have their profitability enhanced. Oil that can be refined for domestic consumption in oil-rich African countries is instead refined on other continents and shipped back at higher cost to African countries of origin. Instead, Nigeria, Africa’s largest oil producer, recently invited tenders for the importation of petroleum products.
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