Speaking yesterday (Sunday 16th January 2022) with esteemed colleagues, Pantelis Savvidis, Retired General Ilias Leontaris, Nikos D Kanellos, and journalist Sakis Moumtzis on the weekly Sunday morning podcast “Anixneusis” – the free-to-air Greek web tv channel, administrated by Pantelis Savvidis – previously on ERT3.
Continue reading “A conversation on Greece’s recent diplomatic foray into Africa on Pantelis Savvidis’s (ERT3) Greek web channel “Anixneusis””
We spoke about the validity of Greece’s new diplomatic push into Africa. The historic ties between the continent and the Greek people and ultimately whether it was cause for optimism and a true renewal in relations or just another false dawn.
On the 16th December 2021, I had a fascinating chat with Shuaibu Idris, a Nigerian development economist and MD of Time-Line Consult, a Lagos-based financial consultancy and management firm, about the state of infrastructure spending and general investment levels on the continent for an article for the weekday South African media outlet, Business Day ( https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2021-12-23-george-philipas-infrastructure-spending-in-africa-is-at-a-crossroads/ )… Thought I would share his insightful extended comments.
Continue reading “A conversation with Shuaibu Idris, a development economist from Nigeria, about the future of infrastructure spending in Africa”
An edited version of this article appeared in the Opinions and Analysis section of Business Day (South Africa) on 23/12/2021: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/opinion/2021-12-23-george-philipas-infrastructure-spending-in-africa-is-at-a-crossroads/
The pandemic has certainly not been kind to investment prospects in Africa. Lead by a slowdown in infrastructure investment from China, foreign direct investment (FDI), already heading south before the onset of the pandemic, fell by 18% in 2020. More ominously, greenfield investment, investment in new projects, fell precipitously by 63% according to the Global Investment Trends Monitor released by UNCTAD in Jan 2021, the largest regional fall on the globe last year. The proverbial onslaught culminated with the announcement earlier this month at the recent Forum of China-Africa Cooperation conference (FOCAC) in Dakar, Senegal that plots Sino-African relations for the next three years, of a vertical drop in investment from China from US$ 60 billion to US$40 billion.
Continue reading “Infrastructure spending in Africa is at a crossroads”
An edited version of this article appeared in the daily weekday ed of Business Day (South Africa) on 18/10/2021:
There has been a flurry of activity by South African companies on the continent recently. From Vodacom’s successful bid as minority partner for the Ethiopian telecommunications license to the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between South African Airlines (SAA) and Kenyan Airways (KQ) that is intended to sow the seed for a pan-African airline. In fact, South African companies have made great inroads into Africa over the last two decades or so and seem to dominate the African business space. According to a 2018 report by the Boston Consulting Group, South African companies make up 32 out of the 75 African multinationals active on the continent. And according to a recent 2021 fDi Intelligence report, a leading research agency and a division of the Financial Times, South Africa is the second biggest investor on the continent from Africa or the Middle East, behind only the UAE.
But there is another side to this unquestionable success, one punctuated by regular missteps and blunders that have been repeated to the great detriment of a significant number of South African companies in Africa.
Continue reading “Failure shows SA Companies should reconsider African strategy”
An edited version of this article appeared in Greek Business File (July/August 2021 issue):
A new chapter in Greek-African relations or a flash in the pan?
When Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias heralded a new chapter in relations between Africa and Greece to a gathered host of African ambassadors for Africa Day to mark the establishment of the African Union late last month, it hardly made waves. Statements of good intention towards the oft-neglected continent are nothing new. But a flurry of recent diplomatic activity, including a new diplomatic mission in Dakar, Senegal and the announcement that Greece will contribute to the French-led peacekeeping mission in the Sahel, would suggest that Dendias’s assertion might this time actually be backed by action.
Continue reading “A New Chapter in Greek-African relations or just a flash in the pan?”
A shorter version of this article appeared in the Sunday Cyprus Mail on 4th April 2021 and was re-published in Economia – the Greek business and finance media group on 27th April 2021
Today there remain only a few Greeks in Africa, mainly in the metropoles of South Africa. These last remnants only hint at a rich past that tied generations of Greeks to the vast African continent. There are some who still remember this prosperous past. Minis Papapetrou, a retired engineer who grew up in Sudan and now resides in Athens describes how he and around 200 members of the ‘Greek Community of Sudan’ still meet periodically in the Greek capital. Before covid disrupted life, they regularly gathered for Christmas and Easter, even though most, including Mr Papapetrou himself, left Africa almost 50 years ago. So powerful is the memory of the place that bonds them. “When we get together, or go to the club, our conversations are all about when we were back in Sudan,” he sighs. “Do you remember that? Do you remember when we went there? It’s a nice feeling to remember the country you were born.” Mr Papapetrou represents the last in a line of three generations of Greeks whose fortunes ebbed and flowed with those of the continent.
Continue reading “Where have all the Greeks gone? The story of Greeks in Africa”
A shorter version of this article appeared in Business Day, South Africa on 23rd March 2020
Last month President Ramaphosa in his SONA heralded the forthcoming construction of a new 5G-ready smart city around Lanseria Airport in the next decade. With it, South Africa was belatedly thrust to the front of a Continent-wide rush to establish so-called smart and eco-friendly cities, seen as a means of jump-starting the so-called Fourth Industrial Revolution powered by digital technology.
Continue reading “Smart Cities in Africa. The Smart Move or another White Elephant that brings crushing debt”