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What Happened? - Africa

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Please see below selected pre-2016 intelligence about Africa. This is a synthesis of major recent developments at corporates, business schools, thinktanks, media, commentators, and other key influencers.



  • The “Africa Rising” narrative gained momentum around 2010. As is the way with these things, it arrived about a decade late - and just as things were about to go pear-shaped. Investors, hungry for yield, alighted on the only continent where living standards had not yet visibly begun to converge on those in the west. Their bet was that Africa had turned a corner. Were they wrong? These days, the mood has darkened. Nigeria and South Africa, which account for half of sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product, are at or close to recession. Nigeria has squandered its oil boom. Long-sluggish South Africa has failed to meet the pent-up expectations of its black majority. The hopes of other resource-rich countries — including Angola, Mozambique and Zambia — have faded along with commodity prices. A flawed election in Uganda, plus a cavalcade of leaders clinging grimly on to power, from Zimbabwe to Burundi, undermine the idea that governance is on the mend. Those who helped change the Africa narrative, however, are sticking to the script. Among the true believers is the consultancy McKinsey, whose 2010 “Lions on the Move” report did much to feed the original story. This week it published a follow-up . Call it “Africa Rising: The Sequel”.



December 2015






November 2015






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  • Chinese investments in Uganda are slated to double in the next five years, as the two countries continue to strengthen their economic corporation and trade relations.




October 2015










September 2015










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  • EY plans to invest hundreds of millions of dollars in acquisitions in South Africa and the rest of Africa over the next five years as it looks to grow its business and develop new skills. Over the past few years, EY has invested about $100m in acquisitions, office infrastructure and skills development. EY Africa CEO Ajen Sita said the capital to be invested over the next five years would be more than $100m, but could not give a specific figure. "From an Africa perspective, we will deploy about 40% of all our investment capital in SA and 50%-60% outside in countries like Kenya, Nigeria, Ghana and Mozambique". EY, which operates in 33 African countries, does business in tax, auditing, advisory and transactional advisory services. EY will target advisory businesses and supply-chain consulting. Recently the company announced it had acquired IZAZI Solutions, which provides technology solutions in the financial services space. It was EY’s fourth acquisition in its Africa practice over the past three years.





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August 2015






July 2015





  • For the Financial Times, the problem is not that Africa has a missing class of people but rather a missing class of organisation. The founts of productivity are organisations, such as businesses, that make ordinary people productive by harnessing the potential of scale and specialisation while preserving worker motivation. Africa is short of such organisations: its private sector lacks scale while its public sector lacks motivation. Global businesses, by contrast, perform the alchemy of combining these factors every day.










June 2015







  • EY published its first Africa banking review. It analyses three of the largest Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) banking markets: South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. However, given that economic integration in the East African Community (EAC) is far more advanced than other regional economic and political clusters across SSA, it also included Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda, creating an east Africa perspective.



  • Heads of state at an African Union (AU) summit in Johannesburg formally launched negotiations for a continental free-trade area. They set the target of 2017 for the agreement to be implemented. It is a highly ambitious goal in a hugely diverse continent. But Fatima Haram Acyl, AU commissioner for trade and industry, insisted that the initiative is not mere rhetoric. African leaders, she said, realise that improving trade is critical to tackling the continent’s problems of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment. She added that Africa risks “missing the boat” as other regions push ahead with their own trade agreements.



  • PwC's own Economics team launched its monthly Global Economy Watch for June. This month's issue focused on North Africa. It’s been almost five years since the beginning of the ‘Arab Spring’ which brought about significant change in North Africa and the wider region. With this milestone approaching, PwC economists have taken a look at the five largest North African economies – Egypt, Algeria, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia – and highlighted some of the key points that businesses and policymakers should consider when thinking about North Africa  Click here to read the full Global Economy Watch.





  • Deloitte Africa CEO Lwazi Bam joined the group’s global executive committee after Africa was deemed one of the firm’s 11 priority markets. The announcement follows the appointment of Punit Renjen as the new CEO of Deloitte Global "Mr Punit has a very deep understanding of the African markets and will continue Deloitte global’s investment in the African continent," Bam said. Punit advocates that our business should profit from doing good. He has already challenged all of us as leaders in our regions to ensure what we do as a business has a meaningful impact." Bam added that Deloitte Africa had been trying to better integrate its practices. "Our clients expect to be given similar services and to receive consulting of a high standard no matter which country they’re in."



  • See What next for Nigeria’s economy?, by Andrew Nevin, Partner and Chief Economist at PwC Nigeria. In the months leading up to January 2015, the price of oil fell by 60% driven down largely by booming shale oil production, the drop in energy demands from emerging markets and the strengthening of the US dollar. By late-January of 2015, Brent Crude traded at around $50, hitting its lowest-levels since the global financial crisis in 2009. Prices however recovered to around $60 - 65 by the end of the first quarter of 2015  but this still represents a major adjustment from the $90 - 110 average price levels we’ve seen over the last five years.




May 2015



  • Africa’s leading stock exchanges are open for trading, claimed KPMG. However, despite growing interest and investment in Africa, the lack of complete and good quality information about the African stock markets is contributing to a continued hesitance by international public companies to list on Africa’s stock exchanges and for foreign investors to invest in domestic companies listed on African stock exchanges. KPMG’s Listing in Africa report aimed to provide comprehensive information about selected African markets and stock exchanges, thereby providing international public companies, foreign investors and fund managers and private equity investors who are invested in Africa with valuable insights into listing and investing in securities across key markets in Africa.








April 2015





  • In The pioneering continent, The Economist argued that innovation is increasingly local and that a remarkable change taking place in Africa. A continent that has long accepted technological hand-me-downs from the West is increasingly innovating for itself. Much of this is made possible by technological advances elsewhere. Mobile phones are common today in even the most remote African villages. Ericsson estimates that the number of mobiles will rise to 930m by 2019, almost one per African. The spread of smartphones, some of which now cost as little as $25, is likely to push internet penetration to 50% within a decade. This is now allowing Africans to go beyond merely copying technology used elsewhere or adapting it to fit African circumstances. In some cases, firms are generating innovations that can also be used in rich countries.



  • The Economist identified the 15 fastest growing economies in 2015. five are in Africa.




  • PwC published a new post on its Growth Markets Centre (GMC) blog: The Battle for African Banking Supremacy argued that banking in Africa has undergone some dramatic changes over the past 20 years including a transition from government- owned banks in the 1980s and restrictive regulation to financial liberalisation and the spread of globalisation. Today, Africa is rising and poised to enjoy a growth in its banking systems - ultimately becoming the new banking destination, with seven out of ten fastest economies residing in Africa. Learn how African banks will have to evolve to survive, and watch the video on The Battle for African Banking Supremacy.




March 2015



  • The EIU's Africa is the horizon report found that, for the past twenty years, the centre of the global economy has been shifting from the developed to the developing world. Today, growth rates in developing economies are many times higher than in developed economies. Africa, in general, and Sub-Saharan Africa, in particular, are two notable cases in point. In 2015 Sub-Saharan Africa’s GDP is expected to grow at 4.5%, making it the fastest-growing economic zone in the world, outpacing Asia’s regional average of 4.3% annual growth. Obviously, in terms of overall market size, Sub-Saharan Africa is still quite a bit smaller than Asia, but, when considering the longer term, continued steady growth in Africa will result in an economic bloc with global impact over the next two decades. In the next five years alone, Sub-Saharan Africa’s percentage share of the global GDP is expected to increase from 1.4% to 4%.


  • Partners in Africa - The Key to success or Failure? is a new PwC blog post which explains that while it’s no secret that sub-Saharan Africa has seen significant growth over the last decade and there may have been bumps on the road, the trend is set to continue. The US private equity group, Carlyle is a case in point. In April of last year it closed its maiden private equity fund focused on sub-Saharan Africa at nearly USD 700 million, 40% above target. Last November, it announced its first investment in Nigeria, taking an 18% stake in Diamond Bank. And, the same week saw another first for Carlyle, this time in South Africa, where it acquired TiAuto in a deal thought to be worth about USD 182 million.


  • The results of PwC's Into Africa report show how megatrends are colliding across the continent - creating opportunities as well as challenges. The report also highlights North African cities as the top four leading the way due to their developed infrastructure, regulatory and legal frameworks and already established socio-cultural ecosystems. However, the other African cities with promise that we highlight can, and will, climb to join the top cities in our overall ranking with little effort and organisation.



  • PwC launched new PwC Business Schools in Rwanda and Ghana. The focus of PwC’s Business School is to enhance the skills of people, provide relevant development offerings to clients and help uplift communities. In Rwanda the Financial Services academy, Tax academy and the Public Sector Services academy were launched at an event attended by representatives from the public and private sector. PwC’s business school in Ghana is the first in West Africa and will provide training courses as well as tailor-made solutions for professionals in the West African sub-region.


  • Hein Boegman was named as PwC's new Africa TSP. Hein was voted by 400 Africa partners to become the new Africa Territory Senior Partner for PwC with effect from 1 July 2015, succeeding Suresh Kana who retires on 30 June. He is the Mining Industry Leader for Africa, serves on the PwC Africa Executive board and is the current Regional Senior Partner of PwC in Southern Africa.  He was also voted on to the Global Board of PwC in 2013.



February 2015







  • The European Investment Bank, Europe’s long-term lending institution, and East African-based regional development body, PTA Bank, launched a new EUR 160 million lending initiative to support investment across eastern and southern Africa. The EIB has agreed to provide EUR 80 million for the new initiative that will be matched by PTA Bank and represents the largest single private sector lending scheme ever backed by the EIB in Africa - see press release.




January 2015







  • PwC says Mozambique could become the world’s third largest producer of Liquefied Natural Gas  after Qatar and Australia, but needs to secure billions of dollars in foreign investment. PwC has predicted Africa’s energy industry would see a boom in coming years, with Mozambique and Tanzania expected to emerge as new gas frontiers.


December 2014


  • In China-West corporate ties grow slowly in Africa, Oxford Analytica concluded that, over the last ten years, China has become a significant competitor to Western governments, multinationals, and multilateral institutions in Africa. This is evidenced by increased rivalry for infrastructure contracts and resource deals as well as competing ideological development visions. However, there is also an emerging trend toward cooperation in both the government and corporate spheres.





November 2014









  • PwC published a new post in its Africa Upfront blog: Delivering affordable, interconnected, innovative public services. Muchemi Wambugu, Partner, Technology Advisory Services, PwC Kenya. argued that the rate of change driven by technology will influence the affordability, interconnectedness and innovation of public services. In Africa, public services can still end up being too expensive for many citizens - even when those services are subsidised. This is because the total cost to the citizen includes long travel times (particularly for those in rural, less-connected areas) and long waiting times, such as for initial diagnoses, which also reduces take-home pay.




  • Oxford Analytica warned that residential, legislative and local government elections could trigger significant political volatility across Africa in 2015. While regular elections underline the widespread acceptance of formal democratic rules, the high number of presidents seeking third terms (by making constitutional changes) in 2015 and 2016 indicates the era of ‘strong men’ is not over -- despite incentives from donors. In states plagued by violent insurgencies, polls could spur attacks by groups eager to capture media attention or pursue localised grievances. Elsewhere, they could lead simmering ethnic or post-conflict tensions to escalate.


  • Sourceforconsulting's The consulting market in Africa 2014 report found that there was 5% growth in 2013 to just over $2.1bn, while the African Consulting market is expected to grow by 4% in 2014 (but it varies considerably across the continent - 1% in Southern Africa, 3.5% in North Africa, 20+% in East Africa, 20+% in West Africa) The picture in terms of industries across the region is varied - overall, Financial Services looks set to remain the largest with strongest growth in real terms across most territories. In terms of types of consulting services, the picture is again variable depending on which country you are looking at - overall it is clear that Technology and Financial management & Risk stand out.


October 2014


  • IBM will put its super-computing data crunching to use in Sierra Leone, as part of the fight against ebola. It has launched a system which allows citizens to report ebola-related issues and government, health agencies and others to keep track of the disease. Citizens can use SMS or voice calls that are location-specific. The data will then be analysed to identify correlations and highlight issues. Already, regions with growing numbers of suspected ebola cases have been pinpointed and the delivery of urgent supplies such as soap and electricity have been sped up.






  • Can Technology Help Save Africa? examined whether tech be an important fix for some of Africa’s most pressing problems. For example, major fibre-optic cables are being submerged along the east coast of Africa, connecting countries from Djibouti south to South Africa, while cellphones have already had a major impact on sub-Saharan Africa. They are changing the way businesses and educators do work and for mobile banking. The conclusion? As long as “appropriate" technology is used, (i.e. not always necessarily the latest high-tech solution), it can certainly be an important contributor to African development, particularly since costs are dropping rapidly and its potential uses of are expanding exponentially.





September 2014


  • Fortune asked: Is Africa's rise for real this time? Its conclusion: Africa's economics are surging, and foreign investment is exploding. The challenges - including Ebola- are immense, but the continent may finally be ready to deliver on its promise.




  • PwC's UK International Development business has been working with colleagues from firms across Africa to build an integrated African and UK International Development business. This collaboration, under the UK/Africa Alliance, will coordinate efforts in Africa and the UK around the donor market place with clients like the UK Department for International Development (DFID). Dr Bert Odiaka, partner in charge of Government and Public sector in Nigeria, said: “Meeting in Ghana and spending the week working together has been a fantastic start to what we believe will be a long and productive relationship.


  • In its latest Africa Attractiveness Survey, EY noted that it is increasingly important to distinguish between trends in North Africa and sub-Saharan Africa. While foreign direct investment (FDI) flows into North Africa have declined significantly, those into sub-Saharan Africa continue to grow — by 4.7% last year, and at a compound annual growth rate of 19.5% since 2007. Regional hubs, such as South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, together with emerging highgrowth economies, such as Ghana, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania and Uganda, are at the forefront of rising FDI levels.



August 2014


  • Global investors are  taking note of the economic potential of sub-Saharan Africa. According to a new PwC report, Africa will grow faster than any other region - and will have the world's biggest labour force. Many international corporations are already active in Lagos, Kinshasa, and Johannesburg. But PwC says investors should also be getting excited about the "Next 10" Dar es Salaam, Luanda, Khartoum, Abidjan, Nairobi, Kano, Ibadan, Dakar, Ouagadougou and Addis Ababa.




  • The first US-Africa summit, attended by nearly 50 African heads of state, took on issues from corruption to Islamist extremism. But the dominant theme was Africa’s potential as an additional motor for global growth, and the role that US companies could play in that. If the goal was to shift US perceptions of Africa as simply a repository of war, poverty and disease, then the summit made a healthy start.




  • Roughly 12 million people will enter the African workforce each year in the next decade; but, even today, young people account for 60% of all unemployed. Creating a sufficient number of rewarding jobs is a substantial challenge. The answer to that challenge will vary by country, but it rests on reviving and reinforcing the manufacturing, agriculture, retail, and hospitality sectors, as well as technology-related businesses. There have already been positive impacts that innovations such as so-called mobile wallets – mobile phone apps for banking – have had on facilitating payments and commerce, and on creating a new class of jobs in Africa. Even more can be achieved by making broadband and technology more abundant and affordable.



July 2014




  • Across sub-Saharan Africa, consumer demand is fuelling the continent’s economies in new ways, driving hopes that Africa will emerge as a success story in the coming years comparable to the rise of the East Asian Tigers in the second half of the 20th century. After seeing years of uninterrupted economic expansion across Africa, governments, analysts and investors are focusing on this fast-growing continent’s shoppers and workers rather than just the usual upswing in commodity prices that have driven past cycles of boom and bust. The African Development Bank projected that foreign investment in Africa would reach a record $80 billion this year, with a larger share of the money going to manufacturing and not just the strip-mining of resources.




June 2014


  • According to Business Insider, there's a range of startups in Africa that are aiming to effect change in the continent. In fact, there are now more than 90 tech hubs in across Africa, according to the World Bank. These startups are tackling issues like education, connectivity, and transportation. In 2013, U.S. investors poured more money into African startups than any other year, according to CrunchBase.



  • PwC UK will be entering into a Strategic Alliance with PwC Africa. The UK/Africa Alliance is the next step in our strategy of linking together high potential markets across the PwC network and follows our successful and ongoing Alliances in the Middle East and CEE. The abundance of natural resources and the rapid growth of many African economies present significant growth opportunities. The Alliance also offers our people, across the UK and Africa, the chance to experience different working environments. To read about our strategy click on





May 2014



  • The FT warned that the "scramble for Africa" is on once more. Stock markets in sub-Saharan Africa have lead the world over the past five years, while surveys show that private equity managers are now more bullish about the region than they are about China, India or Brazil.  According to the International Monetary Fund, between 2010 and 2020 nine of the ten fastest growing economies in the world will be from Africa. So Africa has become the flavour of the month. Interest in the continent is surging among investment institutions, while fund managers and private equity providers are attempting to meet the demand.


  • One of the key features of the African digital renaissance is that it is increasingly home grown. In other sectors of the African economy, such as mining or agribusiness, much of the know-how is imported and the wealth extracted. But Africa’s 700 million or so mobile subscribers use services that are provided locally, and they are also downloading more applications that are developed locally. One of the main sources of locally developed applications is the technology hubs that are springing up across Africa. In a recent project carried out for the Botswana Innovation Hub, we worked with two of the longer established labs, the research arm of *iHub_in Kenya and BongoHive in Zambia, to create a map of tech hubs. There are now around 90 tech hubs across the continent, and more than half of Africa economies have at least one.



April 2014



March 2014



  • Deloitte opened an office in Rwanda to complete its network across East Africa, where it already has a presence in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia. Deloitte said the move was prompted by the need to move closer to its clients. The office is based in Kigali and will provide financial consulting, tax and risk advisory services to clients in both the public and private sector.


February 2014





January 2014