AFRICA'S TOP 10 STORIES:
SOUTH AFRICA’S AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY BENEFITS FROM A NEW ‘AUTOMOTIVE CITY’
September saw noteworthy developments for South Africa’s automotive industry. Construction has begun on the R3.4 billion Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone (TASEZ) in Pretoria. SEZ is an initiative by the South African government to reposition the country in the world economy. This SEZ will see the development of the first automotive city in Africa, with job creation expected to increase during construction, as well as following the completion of the project. Interest has soared in this initiative with companies such as Ford committing to setting up operations within the SEZ.
Concurrently, Ford South Africa has announced the upgrade of its wheel and tire facility at its assembly plant in Pretoria. This upgrade will enhance Ford’s production process whilst ensuring the assembly plant is efficient, reducing cycle times and improving capacity. The new location of the facility will also improve production flow due to its proximity to the assembly line.
Source: National Automotive Industry Association of South Africa, 2020; Deloitte, 2019
EGYPT’S TRANSPORT NETWORK GETS AN UPGRADE WITH THE IMPLEMENTATION OF BUS AND TRAIN PROJECTS
In September a multitude of new projects have been initiated in Egypt, which will significantly modernise the country’s transport network. The Egyptian government has signed a contract with RATP Group, a French public transport operator, to operate the third Cairo Metro line. This forms part of the government’s plan to upgrade urban transportation within Cairo.
Additionally, Egypt’s Ministry of Transport plans to introduce a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in Greater Cairo’s Ring Road. The BRT project will see the construction of BRT bus stations and car parks along the road, increasing convenience for passengers. The BRT lines will also connect to selected metro lines, streamlining the transport network for passengers in Cairo and improving the city’s public transport.
The implementation of the Ain Sokhna-El Alamein high-speed train project has also begun. This will cost US$9 billion and encompass 543km from Ain Sokhna to El Alamein, further bolstering Egypt’s transport infrastructure.
Public transport in rush hour, Cairo, Egypt. Egypt’s new transportation project will feature the construction of BRT bus stations and car parks along the city’s Ring Road. The BRT special lines will also be connected with the third metro line at Adly Mansour Station. Image courtesy: Kylie G/Flickr
ORANGE BUSINESS SERVICES, DE BEERS AND MICROSOFT MOVE SOUTH AFRICA’S MINING SECTOR FURTHER INTO THE DIGITAL SPACE
South Africa’s mining sector continues to innovate with the introduction of new technologies in September. Orange Business Services and De Beers Marine South Africa, a division of De Beers mining, have installed and tested a customised Internet of Things (IoT) solution to provide geofencing in maintaining safe working distances for crew on its marine diamond operations. The technology was initially piloted on MV Mafuta, the largest offshore diamond-mining vessel, off the coast of Namibia. The Orange IoT solution provides miners with Bluetooth low-energy locators and precision crew-locator sensors, which increases safety for marine diamond miners.
To assist in this, Microsoft has launched an Artificial Intelligence (AI) centre of excellence in Johannesburg, where businesses can learn about emerging technologies that will drive digital transformation within the sector. Microsoft aims to accelerate digital transformation by improving the efficiency, sustainability and productivity of mining operations.
In maintaining its position as a preferred financially inclusive service provider, Mastercard has introduced new digital products to both the South African and Zimbabwean markets. In South Africa, Mastercard is set to roll out its tokenisation service looking to target e-tailers, and give consumers greater security when online shopping through the encryption of consumer data. Replacing the bank card number with digital tokens provides both convenience and protection.
Mastercard has additionally partnered with Zimswitch, Zimbabwe’s national electronic transaction clearing house, to modernise Zimbabwe’s payment infrastructure. Using Mastercard’s technology and services, Zimswitch will launch a co-branded contactless card programme, loyalty platform and national fraud and risk management solution. Financial inclusion along with digital transformation are key factors of this partnership, which will offer convenience, security and reliability to consumers, small businesses and financial institutions across Zimbabwe.
Mastercard Division President for Southern Africa, Mark Elliot. Over the past few years, the company has been working with various banking institutions and tech companies to gradually displace cash as the preferred payment method in the region. Image courtesy: Mastercard News/Flickr
GHANA AND COTE D’IVOIRE FORM A JOINT INITIATIVE TO PROTECT THEIR COCOA INDUSTRY
Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire, who rank as the largest cocoa producers globally, have seen their first success since joining forces in an initiative to secure the future of this economically vital industry for both countries. Along with others in the broader region, including Cameroon and Nigeria, West Africa produces the majority of annual global cocoa supply, yet secures only about 3% of the global chocolate revenue. In 2018, the two countries signed an agreement dubbed ‘an Opec for cocoa’ in which they would maximise their respective earnings through sales policy collaboration. By suspending forward sales of cocoa, there is now enough profit secured for their crops to ensure the viability of the July 2019 institution of a living wage for crop producers by coca boards in both countries.
With future price stability ensured, both countries are now eyeing the possibility of expanding the processing capacity of coca paste, an initiative which is likely to see the two countries benefiting further from continued cooperation.
Source: Statista, 2020; Market Research 2019
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