IOA Position Papers

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.

Who to vote for? Examining the top contenders in South Africa’s 2019 elections

By Tertius Mynhardt Jacobs

Analysis in brief: With 19 of Africa’s 55 countries hosting national elections, 2019 promises to be an interesting year filled with hope and change. Among these elections, there are a few that stand out. South Africa’s election, in particular, is of great significance to the Southern African region and the continent more broadly. By relating the proposed policies of major political contenders to key challenges confronting South African democracy, this analysis seeks to inform readers of dominant voting options and the content of dominant parties’ manifestos.

NOTE TO READER: This paper does not intend to specify which political party is the overall ‘best party’. Instead, it has drawn from the manifestos of each party to gauge the stance of South Africa’s top 12, assessing how they differ and how well prepared they are to tackle the issues that are dividing South Africans. With this in mind, the reader is urged to explore the manifestos in which they express interest to truly understand who their preferred party is and how they intend to remedy South Africa’s array of challenges. Only then can one make an informed decision come election day.

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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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