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ReConnect Africa is a unique website and online magazine for the African professional in the Diaspora. Packed with essential information about careers, business and jobs, ReConnect Africa keeps you connected to the best of Africa.

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Africa is a Hospitable Investment Destination


Sub-Saharan Africa is becoming a more hospitable destination for investors, according to the World Bank. Africa attracted about $12 billion of foreign direct investment in 2004, about 3 percent of the global total, with investment flows rising in 40 of the 53 countries in the region.  Portfolio investments are at about $3 billion and rising with much of the inward investment directed to South Africa or to the extractive industry sectors.  The Doing Business report shows that a number of countries are registering meaningful reforms.  Notably, Kenya has brought down the number of required business licenses, substantially reducing the cost of starting up a business.  Madagascar has reduced the time required to register a business and Mozambique has adopted a new investment code and cut the transfer tax for property from 10 percent to 2.4 percent.  Burkina Faso has created a one-stop shopping concept for new businesses that cuts by nearly a third the time required to start a new company. Company registration costs have dropped 60 percent.  http://www.doingbusiness.org/

China denies Economic Colonialism in Africa

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao countered accusations that China’s attitude to Africa is one of economic neo-colonialism.  During his recent tour of Africa, the Chinese premier highlighted the importance of Africa’s natural resources to his country’s economy but refuted suggestions that China’s involvement with Africa was without consideration of human rights in Africa.  Citing China’s policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries, Wen Jiabao instead stressed the high value that China placed on its economic and trading ties with Africa and its initiatives to help build capacity within the continent. Over the past 50 years, China has given 5.5 billion dollars in assistance to Africa, sent 16,000 health workers to 43 different countries on the continent and reduced or cancelled the debt of 31 nations.  Source: AFP.

Nigeria Removed from Money Laundering List

Nigeria has been removed from the International Financial Task Force (FATF) list of non-cooperating countries in respect of money laundering.  The announcement was made by the international corruption group following the development of a national anti-money laundering strategy by Nigeria.  The move was welcomed by the Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo as a boost to the country’s risk profile and one that would ease Nigeria’s ability to undertake international financial transactions.  While the 33-member task force said that it would continue to monitor Nigeria, it conceded that the country has taken steps at the highest level to combat money laundering.

Spain Pledges US$50 Million on Social Projects in Angola

Spain wants to spend over US$50 million over the next four years in Angola on projects in the sectors of health, education, and rural development, as part of the existing cooperation between the two countries. The acting coordinator of Spanish cooperation to Angola, Alberto Quintana, said approximately $30 million will be funded by the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation and the rest by local institutions, non-governmental organizations and autonomous communities.  Source: ANIP

Increase in South Africa's Wealthy

Merrill Lynch Report Signals increase in South Africa's Wealthy The wealth of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) in South Africa i.e. people with net financial assets of at least UIS$1 million, excluding their primary residence and consumables, grew by 15.9% in 2005, according to the 10th Anniversary Edition of the World Wealth Report released by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini. Globally, the wealth of HNWIs climbed to U.S. $33.3 trillion in 2005, an 8.5 percent increase over 2004. The Report found that the number of HNWIs grew by 6.5 percent over 2004, to 8.7 million, and that the number of Ultra-HNWIs - those who have financial assets of more than U.S. $30 million - grew by 10.2 percent, to 85,400 in 2005. The HNWI population grew most dramatically in South Korea, rising 21.3 percent; India rising 19.3 percent; Russia, where it rose 17.4 percent, and South Africa.

Malawi Open to Fixed Line Telecoms Competition

According to Malawi's Information Minister, Patricia Kaliati, the Government of Malawi is advertising for a second fixed line operator to enhance competition with the country's only operator, Malawi Telecoms Limited (MTL). Citing improved quality of service as a key benefit of competition, the Minister also spoke of the government of Malawi’s desire to improve the sector by providing affordable services and that it would welcome a number of mobile phone service providers if this would improve the congested nature of the country's telecommunication traffic. MTL, the only fixed line operator in the country, was privatised and sold in 2005.  Source: Afrol News/The Chronicle

Angola is now China's Top Crude Supplier

China's crude imports from Angola surged over 40 percent in May, allowing it to reclaim the title of Beijing's number one oil supplier after being overtaken by Saudi Arabia in April. Sub-Saharan Africa's number two crude producer provided China with around one fifth of its total imports over the first five months of the year - 11.2 million tons, or over half a million barrels per day. The closest major competitor, Saudi Arabia, supplied over 9 million barrels less. Angola pumps 1.4 million barrels a day, a figure the government sees rising to 2 million bpd by the end of 2007. Petro-dollars have fuelled a restoration boom in the country and Chinese firms are also helping build roads, railways and housing. Angola is China's second largest trading partner in Africa, with bilateral trade totaling nearly $7 billion in 2005, and ties between the two nations look set to grow.  Source: ANIP

French supports NEPAD ICT Programme

The Agence Française de Développement (AFD) has signed a grant agreement with the NEPAD e-Africa Commission, through the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), to support NEPAD’s Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Broadband Infrastructure Programme.  Under the agreement, the AFD will provide a grant of Euro 850,000 to the NEPAD e-Africa Commission to support the development of a terrestrial broadband ICT network for Central, Western and Northern Africa. The project will build on the conclusions and recommendations of a meeting held in Dakar in 2005 by the NEPAD e-Africa Commission to initiate the Central, Western and Northern Africa ICT Broadband Infrastructure Programme.  One of NEPAD’s priority objectives is the promotion and integration of regional ICT infrastructures all over Africa and the e-Africa Commission was set up to manage the structured development of the ICT sector on the continent by developing policies and broad ICT strategies and by initiating projects. Source: Nepad

World Bank Approves Funds for Secondary Education in Burkina Faso

The World Bank Board has approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of US$22.9 million to assist the government of Burkina Faso in the implementation of its post primary education strategy, which will be co-financed by the Netherlands and other donors. The Second Post Primary Education project will support the Burkina Faso government in increasing the number and quality of graduates from secondary school, while reducing costs for parents and balancing the gender and rural versus urban student ratios.  The first component of the project supports the expansion of post-primary education through increased services, lowered fees and the promotion for more community management and support, while the second component aims to improve learning and teaching through the implementation of a new curriculum, materials, methods and technology.  The third component will improve post-primary education service delivery through enhanced sector planning and managerial capacities of MESSRS at the school, regional and central levels.  Source: World Bank

China Supports Upgrade of Ghana’s Communications Network

China has agreed to a low-interest loan or around $66 million for a number of telecommunications projects in Ghana.  Premier Wen Jiabao and Ghanaian President John Kufuor agreed to the loan as part of a plan to upgrade Ghana's communications network by increasing phone lines and improving the country's Internet-access.  The plan also includes training students and workers in communications technology.  Source; Pambazuka News

Ethiopia undertakes Financial Sector Capacity Building Project

The World Bank has committed US$15 million to Ethiopia to help build the foundation for a more transparent, well-governed, well-regulated, and competitive financial sector that allocates resources to the private sector more effectively and efficiently, while helping to ensure better access to finance for all individuals.  The Financial Sector Capacity Building Project for Ethiopia will strengthen  the human and institutional capacity of the National Bank of Ethiopia and support economic research, policy formulation, and implementation functions, internal audit and finance; information technology; human resource management; and bank modernization. The grant will also help to develop  new financial products that are critical to improving access to finance and fostering financial sector broadening and deepening,  enhances professional skills in the financial sector by developing in-country training capacity, including strengthening of the Ethiopian Institute of Banking and Insurance, to build up the skills of financial sector professionals, including bankers, insurers, leasing experts, mortgage specialists, securities brokers and issuers, accountants and auditors. Source: World Bank

Luanda to Receive Investment of US$500 Million in Five New Hotels

The Angolan capital of Luanda is to receive an investment of US$500 million over the next two years, to be spent on five new hotels, two of which are to be built by state companies Endiama and Sonangol.   According to Jonatão Chigunji, Angolan Minister for Hotels and Tourism, there is room for 4, 3 and 2-star hotels in the city and current occupancy rates are 97%, regardless of category.  Chigunji also said that the government welcomes serious investments and groups with the capacity to partner local companies on projects.  Source: ANIP

Virgin Mobile Launches in South Africa

Virgin Mobile has launched Virgin Mobile South Africa, a joint venture with Cell C, a subsidiary of UAE-based Oger Telecom. Oger Telecom is a leading telecommunication, multi-media and information technology holding company based in Dubai and has operations across the Middle East and South Africa.  The deal reinforces the company’s commitment to Cell C and South Africa. Virgin’s Richard Branson lauded the venture as “a great opportunity for our mobile phone business”. Cell C is the third licensed operator and has over 3 mllion subscribers and around 10% of the South African mobile market. Cell C will provide Virgin Mobile with an advanced mobile cellular network infrastructure and carry all of Virgin's voice and data traffic.  Virgin Mobile South Africa will create over 500 jobs.

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