IOA Position Papers

Mozambique’s energy sector caught in Southern Africa’s first terrorist insurgency

By James Hall

Analysis in brief: Southern Africa’s first terrorist insurgency is casting doubt on progress to commercially exploit Mozambique’s promising natural gas deposits. Mozambique’s government has been unable to thwart the terror attacks, offering little hope for relief to multinational energy giants at work in the country.

The reaction of two of the largest oil companies at work in Mozambique, Total and ExxonMobil, to the insurgency of Islamist militants in the country’s northern Cabo Delgado province has signalled their perception of where the conflict is headed. Meeting with government authorities, the company officials did not press for a cessastion of violence that was threatening their investments, but merely for the deployment of more troops to guard their operations. Some oil installations have already been attacked. By their request for security, the oil majors were admitting there was no immediate solution to the terror operations now five years old, or their faith that government has a plan or ability to suppress the insurrection. Rather, the oil firms want protection beyond what their private security companies can provide. Clearly, they believe Mozambique is being challenged by a long-term problem; one that the Southern African Development Community has finally admitted has regional repercussions. Ironically, through their unkept promises to the people of Cabo Delgado, the energy companies are also responsible for their unsettled security situation.

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Coronavirus reshaping the way African societies are looking at alcohol consumption

By James Hall

Analysis in brief: South Africa’s ban on the sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages came as a response to the Covid-19 outbreak. However, the immediate success the ban has produced in lowering deaths, injuries and domestic violence raises the obvious question of how to retain these benefits when the ban is lifted at the end of the crisis. Alcohol abuse in South Africa is just one social malady that may get the attention and remedial action it deserves as society re-examines itself in the wake of the historic pandemic.

South Africa is the bellwether of Sub-Saharan Africa. From providing a new model for African democracy in the post-Cold War era to showing how a diversified economy buttressed by cutting-edge technology and good transportation infrastructure produces the most vibrant economy, Africa’s southern-most nation has been the paradigm to be emulated. With the outbreak of Covid-19, South Africa’s mitigation strategy, most notably its nationwide lockdown, has been duplicated by neighbouring countries. One mitigation that seemed radical for Africa’s largest wine producer and exporter was a ban on the sale and transportation of alcoholic beverages. Yet, no public objection arose because the need was explained, and the benefits were soon apparent. Three weeks after South Africa imposed the ban, the World Health Organisation on 14 April 2020 recommended that alcohol consumption should be restricted to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

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Is Africa possibly more prepared to handle the COVID-19 outbreak than initially thought?

By Judith Mondo

Analysis in brief: Despite Africa’s well-known vulnerability to infectious outbreaks, the continent has shown great resilience in handling the COVID-19 outbreak so far. Many African countries have responded relatively quickly to testing and containment measures, which have significantly slowed the spread of contagion and saved the continent some precious time to ramp up healthcare resources. A number of factors have contributed to the continent’s preparedness, including the experiences learnt in dealing with previous epidemics such as Cholera and Ebola.

The new coronavirus, which originated in China almost four months ago, currently constitutes one of the biggest threats to humanity, claiming thousands of lives and sickening over a million others worldwide. The virus has extended to more than 200 countries and territories around the globe, has infected over 2 million people and killed more than 140,000 others as of the April 17th, 2020. In Africa, the spread of the virus has been slow relative to the rest of the world. Compared to the United States (US) for example, where the number of COVID-19 cases has risen exponentially from around 35,000 in the second week of March to over 670,000 presently (Johns Hopkins University, 2020), Africa has reported over 16,200 positive cases during the same period (Africanews, 2020).

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World War III and Africa: Assessing the potential impact of increasing US-Iranian tensions

By Tertius Mynhardt Jacobs

Analysis in brief: With Trump’s execution of the renowned and highly (locally) respected Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the tension between the USA and Iran has significantly been exacerbated. If the case of Archduke Franz Ferdinand is used as a benchmark then Soleimani’s assassination is considerably more disconcerting for the world. While it is a given that the conflict between the USA and Iran will have a severe impact on the Middle East, the topic of war between these two states and the potential for wider conflict in the form of World War III leaves questions as to the extent that African countries might be impacted. To this end, this position paper briefly outlines the recent developments of the USA-Iran conflict and aims to assess the various routes through which African countries will feel the impact of this contemporary conflict.

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Investment and trade are driving economic growth in Africa – ACBR 2019

By James Hall

Analysis in brief: Investment and trade go hand in hand with economic growth. The latest Africa Country Benchmark Report shows that these underpin African economies that perform the best in this year’s in-depth analysis of African country performance.

The exhaustive analysis of leading economic indicators – providing insight into the performances of African economies gauged by individual countries, both regionally and continentally – shows a strong link between economic growth and investment and trade. This connection, which is the basis for optimism over the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), is established in the findings of the 2019 edition of the Africa Country Benchmark Report (ACBR).

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Botswana 2019 Election Review

An assessment of Botswana’s socio-political landscape

Long considered a beacon of democracy and good governance, Botswana’s 2019 General Election was the first true test of the democratic experiment running since 1966. Known primarily for its diamond mining industry and as a safe haven for African elephants, Botswana made headlines when the lifting of its elephant hunting ban in early 2019 saw the sons of the country’s founding father leave the party that he had formed. What transpired subsequently has been a cunning battle of politics and extravagant campaigns, culminating in the most tightly contested elections in the history of the country.

IOA’s latest special report contextualises Botswana’s socio-political landscape in the lead up to the 2019 General Election, and looks to analyse the events preceding the election and their impact on the final election outcome. A further value-add which the report provides is the codification of common socio-political practices and general knowledge that is widely known by most Batswana, yet tends to lack in the broader literature. The main aim of this report is to equip the reader with the necessary knowledge to better-understand the country’s political and social dynamics, and their subsequent impact on the outcome of the 2019 election.

Africa Media Index (AMI)

The GroupM Africa Media Index (AMI), produced in collaboration with In On Africa (IOA), focuses on 14 of East, Southern and West Africa’s largest media markets. The index is designed to inform media investors and advertisers about opportunities, while also highlighting problems that stand in the way of profitable investment and effective advertising. Balancing raw data with the media sector are surveys conducted with experts in the field. Their perceptions provide depth to the report’s data structure and capture the enthusiasm or pessimism relating to particular aspects of the media environment. From these voices, businesses can hear direction on where to grow their brands.

One conclusion stands out in this report: Africans are diverse as individuals but tend to have uniform tastes in what they wish to receive from their media services. Enabled by the latest technology, investors can meet consumer needs and advertisers can tap into consumer desires.

The 2019 Africa Country Benchmark Report demonstrates how investment and trade are driving economic growth in Africa

The 2019 Africa Country Benchmark Report demonstrates how investment and trade are driving economic growth in Africa

By James Hall

Analysis in brief: Investment and trade go hand in hand with economic growth. The latest Africa Country Benchmark Report shows that these underpin African economies that perform the best in this year’s in-depth analysis of African country performance.

The exhaustive analysis of leading economic indicators – providing insight into the performances of African economies gauged by individual countries, both regionally and continentally – shows a strong link between economic growth and investment and trade. This connection, which is the basis for optimism over the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA), is established in the findings of the 2019 edition of the Africa Country Benchmark Report (ACBR).



What is the future of work in South Africa?

Examining the ‘Side Hustle’ economy

With the current challenges in economic climate South Africans are increasingly looking to broaden their horizons into additional work opportunities. The advent of working on the side is becoming increasingly prevalent, whether it’s driven by a need to generate additional income, or in search of more engaging and stimulating work. But what is the prevalence of side hustling, and what are the likely impacts on the broader economy?

IOA in collaboration with Henley Business School has looked to assess the nature and proliferation of work on the side in the context of South Africa. The research aimed to delve into various drivers of side-hustling, the hourly commitments to pursuing a side venture, as well as the views coming from both employees and employers on the topic.

The 4th industrial revolution in Africa: The next great frontier

By Jacques du Preez

Analysis in brief: The Fourth Industrial Revolution is now underway and is set to forever change the way in which economies relate to each other in the global market. This is a vital opportunity for the rapidly developing African economies to assert themselves as vital hubs in the international manufacturing sector.

What is the fourth industrial revolution?

The 4th industrial revolution, otherwise known as the ‘Digital Industrial revolution’ or ‘Industry 4.0’, or simply ‘4IR’ is a broad term used to describe the ongoing global conversion of labour-intensive manufacturing processes toward incorporating robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), big data, customer service personalisation and other forms of digital innovation, pointing to a future where the knowledge economy and the manufacturing sector are in effect, inseparable. Like earlier industrial revolutions, those quickest to utilise these new technologies will reap the most benefit. Some estimates place the profits reaped by early adopting firms at almost 120%, with a measly 10% for those who only adopt these new technologies later on. Far from being at a disadvantage, Africa’s lack of legacy infrastructure might prove to be a key ingredient in securing its industries’ positions in the new global economy that the 4IR will bring about. Industrial growth in this context can be viewed through two key focus areas: the conventional development of an industrial base and the fostering of a local knowledge economy.

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In On Africa (IOA) Press Release – June 2019




In On Africa (IOA) and African Business Magazine announce partnership for the 2019 edition of the Africa Country Benchmark Report (ACBR) 

In On Africa (IOA) and African Business Magazine, two leading African business information providers, have announced a partnership to produce and deliver the third edition of the Africa Country Benchmark Report (ACBR). The ACBR is a ground-breaking 500+ page publication, which provides a comprehensive assessment of 54 African countries, to deliver an all-encompassing picture of the African continent.


The report scores, ranks and insightfully assesses each African country holistically, as well as across ACBR’s four ‘quadrants’: Business, Economics, Politics and Society. Hundreds of infographics, more than 25,000 data points, and critical insights make the ACBR an essential tool to better understand Africa.



In describing the key objectives of the ACBR, Jonathan Mundell, CEO of In On Africa, states that: “Having a deep, all-encompassing understanding of African markets is essential for any business, institution, non-profit or government working on the continent. The ACBR aims to facilitate data-driven decision-making in Africa through the most comprehensive analysis of African countries, guiding our readers in their work on the continent and hopefully playing a central role in Africa’s development.”

Pedro Besugo, Business Development and Strategy at African Business adds, “There has never been a greater need to collate and analyse accurate data on Africa’s economic performance and the activities of the continent’s dynamic business community. African Business Magazine’s partnership with In On Africa to produce the Africa Country Benchmark Report will give readers access to a comprehensive data set for 54 countries, helping them to make better informed business decisions.”


The two organisations are finalising work on the 2019 edition, which has involved the re-engineering and expansion of the report’s assessment models. The report is scheduled to be launched at the end of July and there is currently a limited offer of early-bird access in addition to discounted rates for pre-orders of the report.

You can access the ACBR Info pack or pre-order the publication by clicking the links below:







About In On Africa

IOA was established in South Africa in 2007 with the goal of becoming the definitive source of expert research and analysis in Africa, focused on Africa. IOA’s mission is to guide and inform decision-making to accelerate growth and development in Africa – connecting Africa’s potential. 

IOA has conducted research and advisory projects for private and public sector clients across the entire African continent. These projects span key industries and markets, and range from multi-country market attractiveness studies and landscape assessments through to impact assessments, political risk analyses and social research. 

With headquarters in South Africa and consultants spread across the African continent, IOA combines in-country presence and expertise with a holistic understanding of our local and international clientele, making IOA a definitive strategic partner in Africa.

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About African Business

African Business is published by IC Publications, a pan-African media and communication group with over 50 years’ experience in publishing magazines, country supplements, industry reports and market intelligence on Africa, reaching +2.6 million loyal readers in more than 100 countries.

African Business and its award-winning team is widely respected for its editorial excellence. We provide the all-important tools enabling you to maintain a critical edge in a continent that is changing the world. Our special reports profile a wide range of sectors and industries including Energy, Oil and Gas, Aviation, Agriculture to name but a few.

With our vast experience in the field of communications, public relations and contract publishing, IC Publications offers a one-stop shop solution to serve all its clients’ needs both for those wishing to expand into Africa or for African entities seeking international exposure.

Find out more here.