Business in Africa

  1. Video content

    Video caption: The solar solutions helping Zambia's economy

    Foreign investment into solar products are helping to plug Zambia's power shortage problems.

  2. Video content

    Video caption: 'A spike in pandemic-related investments'

    EY Africa's Sandile Hlophe tells the BBC how foreign direct investment in Africa is faring.

  3. Video content

    Video caption: The rise of Turkish investment in Rwanda

    Rwanda has seen a rise in direct investment from Turkish firms over the last decade.

  4. Video content

    Video caption: Investment and Nigeria's 'youthful population'

    Foreign direct investment to Nigeria will bounce back due the country's youthful society.

  5. Video content

    Video caption: The pandemic's impact on tourism in Zanzibar

    Zanzibar's business owners are learning to diversify as a result of the pandemic.

  6. Video content

    Video caption: The boom in local furniture-making in Malawi

    Malawi is seeing a boom in furniture-making as people look to locally-made goods over exports.

  7. Video content

    Video caption: The diaspora returning to grow tomatoes in Zambia

    A cardiology nurse returned to Zambia to start a business in vegetable farming.

  8. Video content

    Video caption: The present state of Cameroon's ports

    The port industry is thriving in Cameroon, but it too has seen new challenges due to the pandemic.

  9. Video content

    Video caption: Google Africa: 'The fourth industrial revolution is now'

    Africans are realising that they can't take a slow gradual route to moving businesses online.

  10. Video content

    Video caption: An earthen architecture revival in Senegal

    The architectural heritage of constructing buildings from red clay is seeing a revival in Senegal.

  11. Video content

    Video caption: Using tech to prevent car theft in Cameroon

    A Cameroon startup is using mobile and satellite communications to track down stolen cars.

  12. Video content

    Video caption: How AI is helping rural African farmers

    An AI-backed mobile app is helping farmers in rural areas gain critical information for their crops.

  13. Video content

    Video caption: How the pandemic is changing architecture

    The pandemic is forcing architects in South Africa to reconsider how people live.

  14. Kenya's flower exports rise despite Covid-19

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    A worker of the flower farm carries out reserved roses for a client's urgent order to a dump site at the Bliss Flora farm in Nakuru, on March 23, 2020
    Image caption: Kenya is a major exporter of flowers to Europe and Asia

    Kenya's flower exporters are enjoying a good year, despite problems caused by the restrictions imposed to contain the spread of coronavirus.

    The value of exports like cut flowers reached $1.1bn (£845m) between January and October, almost 9% more than the same period last year.

    Kenya's Horticultural Directorate said there was an increase in global demand, despite concerns that the coronavirus pandemic would hit the industry.

    Earlier this year the industry was alarmed at disruption caused by airlines being grounded and so unable to fly flowers as cargo to customers in Europe.

    Business may have picked up recently but the sector is now growing concerned that the second wave of Covid-19 in Europe is creating uncertainty about demand for flower exports in the coming months.

    Alongside exports of tea, horticulture is a major earner of foreign exchange for Kenya, which is the world's fourth biggest exporter of flowers - after the Netherlands, Colombia and Ecuador.

  15. Free trade across Africa to start in January

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    Trucks wait in a line on the road to enter Uganda in Malaba, a city bordering with Uganda, western Kenya, on April 29, 2020.
    Image caption: It is hoped the free-trade zone will increase trade over borders

    A pan-Africa free-trade zone will be launched in January despite the coronavirus pandemic, although some temporary arrangements will need to be put in place, as not all of the customs infrastructure will be ready in time.

    The African Continental Free Trade Area aims to bring more than a billion people together in an economic bloc worth about $3tn (£2.3tn) a year and - by reducing barriers to trade - improve living standards.

    The continent-wide free-trade zone was supposed to take effect in July, but according to its secretariat, that will happen on 1 January 2021, even if it means creating a system to credit traders retroactively for lower customs duties, which should start immediately.

    This week, negotiations resumed between countries to deal with final sticking points around rules of origin and market access.

    However the revised January launch date may be optimistic given that 30 of the 54 countries that have signed up for the free-trade zone have yet to ratify the deal.

    Africa's biggest economy, Nigeria, ratified it last week, but the country's borders remain closed to nearly all trade, amid efforts to stop smuggling.

  16. Biden presidency offers reset for US-Africa business ties

    Russell Padmore

    Business correspondent, BBC News

    Clothes factory in Ethiopia
    Image caption: Ethiopia will hope that benefits from the continent's preferential trade deal with the US will continue

    The election of a new US president gives countries in Africa a chance to press the reset button on economic ties with the United States, according to Stephen Hayes, a former president of the Corporate Council on Africa, a body in Washington DC that encourages American businesses to invest in the continent.

    He thinks that Joe Biden will adopt a new approach and breathe new life into US-Africa relations.

    “I think there’ll be an upgrading and far more activity towards Africa, because people who come in are far more highly attuned to Africa than anyone was in the Trump administration,” he told me.

    But what about countering China’s economic influence in Africa?

    “I don’t anticipate Biden making it China versus US, but making it a stronger relationship between the US and Africa on business and politics.

    “I think the opportunities are going to be strong in health, certainly agriculture, those are areas where we can play a role and information technology also.”

    Observers of global trade will know that many countries in Africa have enjoyed the benefits of the Agoa deal, which gives their exports preferential access to the US market.

    The trade agreement is due to expire in 2025 and Mr Hayes agrees with my view that Washington has been allowing the accord to wither on the vine, highlighted by President Trump’s policy of seeking individual trade deals with certain countries, like Kenya.

    “If Africa is moving towards a continental free-trade agreement,” says Mr Hayes, “then we’ll probably move to multi-lateral agreements as well.

    "A clean slate is needed and that will be welcomed by most African countries.”

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  17. Video content

    Video caption: The Senegalese beach businesses adapting to stay afloat

    Businesses based on Dakar's beaches have had to find new sources of income due to the pandemic.

  18. Video content

    Video caption: Behind the scenes in South Africa's beauty industry

    Interest in self-care and the use of natural products has grown in 2020, despite the pandemic.