Here are the three most notable events from last week in Africa’s business landscape that you probably missed:
The naira had its best week this year
On Friday, the naira strengthened against the dollar at the crypto trading markets. Quotes ranged between N950/$ to $980 for peer-to-peer (P2P) transactions on Binance. That’s about 15% stronger than the rates from the previous day. At the spot market, the naira went as high as N750 against USDT before easing back to trade below $1000. Movements in the naira on the crypto market are usually an indication of how the currency will trade on the streets of Nigeria.
By Sunday, these gains were reflected in the parallel markets. According to Naira Rates, a forex rate aggregation bot on Twitter, the naira was trading at N901.6/$ at the unofficial markets as of 9 a.m. It marked the naira’s best performance at the forex markets this year.
The gains came after the Nigerian central bank signalled to clear a $6.7 billion backlog of matured foreign-currency forward transactions that have weighed on the naira. But the naira’s road to recovery is still long, as this has been one of its worst-performing years in the forex markets.
Rwanda is opening its borders to Africa.
On Thursday, Rwanda announced its plan to allow all Africans visa-free entry into the country. President Paul Kagame announced this move in the Rwandan capital, Kigali, where he pitched the potential of Africa as “a unified tourism destination.” The continent still gets 60% of its tourist traction from outside Africa, according to data from the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
“Any African can get on a plane to Rwanda whenever they wish, and they will not pay a thing to enter our country,” said Kagame during the 23rd Global Summit of the World Travel and Tourism Council. “We should not lose sight of our own continental market,” he said. “Africans are the future of global tourism as our middle class continues to grow at a fast pace in the decades to come.”
Once implemented, Rwanda will become the fourth African country to remove travel restrictions for Africans. Other countries that have waived visas to African nationals are Gambia, Benin and Seychelles. Kagame’s announcement came three days after Kenya’s President, William Ruto, announced similar plans to allow all Africans to travel to the East African nation visa-free by December 31.
Nigerian billionaires quarrelled… again.
Two Nigerian billionaires had another public feud over the weekend.
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest businessman, published a seven-page advertisement in local newspapers where he laced allegations against his biggest Nigerian competitor, Abdul Samad Rabiu. According to Dangote, Rabiu was behind an attempt to get President Bola Tinubu’s government to embroil Dangote Industries Ltd. in a probe into the Central Bank of Nigeria. Dangote’s companies aren’t under any investigation.
“As an organization, it is not our custom to respond to any spurious allegation,” Dangote Industries said in the advertisements published on Friday. “But to the fact that this is a rehash of a similar report peddled by a competitor masquerading as a concerned Nigerian in 2016, we are therefore constrained to provide context to this issue.”
Rabiu responded hours later via social media, accusing his rival of a litany of infractions against his business since the early 1990s, including giving him a dud cheque on one occasion.
ICYMI: Market Roundup
- The Nigerian stock market reached a new all-time high last week as the NGX All-Share Index (ASI) gained 4.56% to close the week at 70,196.77.
- The top gainers were Mutual Benefits Assurance Plc. (+29.27%), Japaul Gold & Ventures Plc (+28.28%), Airtel Africa Plc (+27.85%), Omatek Ventures Plc (+27.27%), Cadbury Nigeria Plc. (+25.00%). Top decliners were R.T. Briscoe Plc (-14.00%), Beta Glass Plc (-10.46%), Meyer Plc (-9.87%), Abbey Mortgage Bank Plc (-9.71%), Learn Africa Plc (-9.70%).
- The naira had a positive week at the official market, closing at N776.14/$ at the Investors and Exporters window.
- Brent crude prices fell to $85.64/ barrel, while the West Texas Intermediate declined to $81.32/barrel.
- The crypto markets gained 4.76% over seven days to close at a $1.32 trillion market cap. Bitcoin gained 2.24% to close at $34,883; Ethereum gained 5.27% to close at $1880 and BNB rose by 7.9% to close at $244.12.
- Norrsken22 closed its first African technology growth fund at $205 million, surpassing its target of $200 million. The fund is backed by more than 30 unicorn founders and will invest in more than 20 startups.
- My Easy Transfer, a Tunisian fintech startup, raised $420,000 in VC funding to speed its growth and expand its offering.
- Awfar, an Egypt-based SaaS e-commerce startup, raised an undisclosed six-figure sum to expand its presence in the country.