With its natural resources and a young population willing to learn and to work, the region holds an immense potential for entrepreneurship and a vast but untapped market.


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President Jacob Zuma, South Africa’s president until 14 February 2018, resigned on Valentine’s Day, putting an end to nine years of his scandal-marred administration (Mbatha, Cohen and Vecchiatto, 2018).[1] South African newspaper headlines were ablaze with headings such as “Gone at Last.” Zapiro, a well-known and popular cartoonist, published a cartoon “End of an Error.” History will not be kind to Jacob Zuma’s legacy.


Kente is the most famous and celebrated of all the textiles used in Ghana. It is a colourful Ghanaian traditional fabric, which is worn mostly on important occasions and celebrations. The word “Kente,” which means basket, comes from the Akan or Ashanti dialect.



2017 has again been a year of turmoil for some African countries, while others experienced stability and good economic growth. While 2016 saw the effects of the slowdown of China’s economic growth due to its rebalancing of its economy and the end of the commodity price super cycle, 2017 brought some relief. Africa saw a continuation of several of the trends observed in 2016, such as urbanisation, the growth in the middle class, the continued need for infrastructure development, the prominence of fintech, and political volatility and stability, to name but a few.

The NTU-SBF Centre for African Studies publishes a weekly newsletter. These were studied to pick up on the trends prominent in 2017. Some of these trends are more elaborate than others.

The headline news at the African Union (AU) Summit in Addis Ababa last month (January 2018) was the announcement of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM), with 23 countries pledging to remove non-physical barriers to air routes, and ultimately create a single aviation area across the continent. Most of Africa’s major airlines belong to countries that are signatories, such as Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa. Together, they represent over 70% of intra-African air traffic.


Zimbabwe’s unexpected revolution in November 2017 took just a few weeks. As citizens wearily braced themselves for Robert Mugabe, 93, to serve yet another five-year term in power from 2018 or, worse, hand over the reins to his wife, both were swept off the political stage by the tide of history.

Nigeria is still, by a slim margin, the biggest economy in Africa, despite the economic woes of the past two years. A population of anything between 180 million to 200 million people makes its consumer market in particular of great interest to investors, manufacturers and exporters around the world. The country manufactures relatively few of the products it consumes and despite efforts to increase local industry, it remains largely import dependent.




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