Cov Africa

Investment and Risk Mitigation

“So, young people…my message to you is simple, keep believing, keep marching, keep building, keep raising your voice. Every generation has the opportunity to remake the world.” -President Barack Obama, 2018 Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, South Africa   Of the many statistics that define Africa’s complexity, this may be the most important one: With 200 million people between ages 15 and 24, Africa has the youngest population in the world. This demographic is expected to…
We reported following the 2017 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights on the progress of an international treaty on the subject. On 19th July 2018, the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (OEIGWG) presented the draft text of a treaty to the High Commissioner for Human Rights (through the Permanent Mission of Ecuador, acting as Chair in the process). The draft has been crafted pursuant to Human Rights Council Resolution 26/9 under which the OEIGWG was…
The 2018 AGOA Forum—named for the African Growth and Opportunity Act passed in 2000 and extended three years ago to 2025—could be a turning point in U.S.-African commercial relations. AGOA abolished import duties on more than 1,800 products manufactured in eligible countries sub-Saharan Africa (those with established or making continuous progress with market-based economy, rule of law and pluralism, elimination of trade and investment barriers to the U.S., human rights, labor standards, fight against…
Witney Schneidman, Chair of Covington’s Africa Practice, recently participated in a number of media interviews where he discussed various business trends on the continent. Below are links to those interviews.  An interview with CGTN that compared the commercial approaches of China and the United States in Africa. LINK CNBC-Africa’s Closing Bell had Witney Schneidman on their program to discuss Cyril Ramaphosa’s first 100 days at the President of South Africa. LINK An interview…
On June 3, 2018, French tycoon Vincent Bolloré warned investors that Groupe Bolloré—a logistics provider with extensive operations in former French colonies in Africa—may suffer negative commercial and financial consequences as a result of a corruption investigation initiated by French authorities. Mr. Bolloré was questioned for two days by French police in April 2018 over allegations that Groupe Bolloré’s global advertising agency, Havas, provided improper benefits to the Presidents of Guinea and Togo in exchange…
On 4 April 2018, Covington’s client Building Energy, a multinational company operating in the renewable energy industry, signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the South African state owned utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd (Eskom) to build, own and operate a 147 MW wind plant in Roggeveld (on the border of the Western and Northern Cape provinces of South Africa). Building Energy had been awarded preferred bidder status under Round 4 of the South African…
As a startup founder, there are a number of issues vying for your attention on a daily basis, most of which are essential to the success of your business. Issues such as differentiating your product from competitors, developing stellar code, creating effective advertising, hiring the right staff and of course securing enough capital to fund it all. But how long have you spent planning an effective intellectual property (“IP”) strategy for your product? While creating…
There are ample studies that quantify Africa’s infrastructure deficit in terms of projects and funding. The World Bank estimates $93 billion of annual upkeep investment is needed for projects and Ernst and Young estimates that there are some 800 projects, largely in the power and transportation sectors, that require approximately $700 billion in new investments. Less well understood is the skills deficit on the continent that is an impediment to these projects being developed. In…
Given recent developments in the global economy, especially Brexit and the Trump administration’s “America First” policy, it is worth assessing how Africa’s three largest commercial partners—China, the European Union, and the United States—are likely to impact the region in the near future as it relates to trade and investment trends. The China-in-Africa story may be increasingly familiar, but its complexity cannot be overstated. As China’s domestic growth began to surge at the end of the…