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Investment profile: Nigeria

Nigeria is Africa's foremost business destination. By Ian Armitage Over the past decade Africa has been the second-fastest growing economy in the world, with GDP accelerating more than five percent a year on average, according to the World Bank. And even as the global economy has slowed in recent months, growth in Africa has largely remained on track, with the World Bank predicting the continent could be on the brink of an economic takeoff much like China 30 years ago. So what's driving it? Africa's natural resources are a big factor; so too is the continent's rising consumer class. According to the McKinsey Institute, household consumption is now higher in Africa than India or Russia, and it is expected to grow – it estimates that the number of African households with discretionary income is expected to jump by more than 50 percent to almost 130 million by 2020. "Africa is increasingly being taken more seriously as an investment and business destination, but in many sectors, a window of opportunity does still remain open for establishing an early mover advantage," says Ajen Sita, Africa Managing Partner at Ernst & Young. "However, competition is intensifying and that window is closing. "For companies and investors looking for long-term sustainable growth, we are in no doubt that the time to act on the Africa opportunity is now. Now is the time to invest in understanding markets, identifying partners, developing opportunities, configuring industries, building brands and establishing local credibility." Investors have taken note. Oil-rich Nigeria has been a preferred destination –

By Editorial Team

Chinese manufacturing slows in Feb

Manufacturing activity in China expanded at its slowest rate in five months in February, official data showed Friday. The purchasing managers' index (PMI) was 50.1 in February, the lowest since September when it stood at 49.8, according to the National Bureau of Statistics and the China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing (CFLP). The figure was seasonally adjusted, they said, to mitigate volatility led by the week-long Chinese New Year holiday that fell in the middle of the month. PMI is a widely watched barometer of the health of China's economy, with a reading above 50 indicating expansion while anything below points to contraction. Image: © Liangzijunlf | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.

By Editorial Team

Asia has the most billionaires says Hurun

There are more billionaires in Asia than any other continent according to a survey by China-based wealth magazine the Hurun Report. Asia was way in front with 608 billionaires, according to the luxury magazine publisher, with North America second on 440 and Europe in third with 324. Among individual countries, the US and China dominated with 408 and 317 citizens respectively on the list, followed by Russia, Germany and India. Huruan ranked Mexican telecoms kingpin Carlos Slim as the Richest Man on the Planet with a personal fortune of $66 billion. US investor Warren Buffett and Spain's Amancio Ortega were second and third in the Hurun Report list, which estimated the total wealth of the world's dollar billionaires at $5.5 trillion. "This past year has seen a rebound in the wealth of the private sector," Hurun said, adding the net assets of the 10 richest people on the list rose $250 million a day. Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.

By Editorial Team

Benitez slams Chelsea fans in post-match rant

Chelsea manager Rafa Benitez has slammed the club's board and the fans who have called for his dismissal at a press conference after the Blues' victory over Middlesborough on Wednesday night. Benitez criticised the decision to give him the 'interim manager' title and hit back at the fans who have called for his exit since he arrived at Stamford Bridge. "Chelsea gave me the title of interim manager, which is a massive mistake. I am the manager," he told BBC Radio 5 Live after Chelsea's win over Middlesbrough at the Riverside set up an FA Cup quarter final clash with Manchester United. He also hit out at the Chelsea faithful, saying: "The fans are not helping us. At the end of the season I will leave. They don't have to waste time with me." Benitez has been the focus of protests from the Chelsea fans who have not taken to him, the animosity dating back to his time with Blues rivals Liverpool. The manner with which previous manager and Chelsea legend Roberto Di Matteo was ousted did not help his situation and left him needing to win over the supporters - an endeavour that has proven largely insurmountable. Reports earlier this week suggested he had been involved in a heated confrontation with Chelsea players, rumours both he and John Terry have spuriously denied. But this latest outburst seems to indicate that his time in west London is swiftly coming to an end and the merry-go-round of Blues bosses is set to continue this summer. Image: ©

By Editorial Team

AIA profits up 89 percent

Hong-Kong based insurance giant AIA said Wednesday its net profit rocketed almost 90 percent in 2012. In a statement to the Hong Kong stock exchange the company said net profit for the year ended November 30 jumped to $3.02 billion from $1.60 billion last year. New business, a key performance measure for profitability, grew by 27 percent. "AIA's ability to achieve growth of this magnitude against the challenging global macro-economic background ... demonstrates the resilience of our strategy and the quality of AIA's franchise and business model," the company said. "Our exclusive focus on the region means that we have the ability to better understand the needs of our customers on the ground and are able to take full advantage of the opportunities presented by the fast-growing markets in which we operate. "We have built the momentum: there is a lot more to come." AIA was formerly owned by US insurer American International Group (AIG), which was bailed out by the US government during the financial crisis and sold its remaining AIA shares last December. Image: © Paha_l | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.

By Editorial Team

Samsung defends working practices in Chinese plants

South Korean electronics giant Samsung has defended its working practices after a lawsuit was filed in France against the firm over conditions at its supplier plants in China. Based on a September report by China Labor Watch that said employees at Samsung supplier plants in China worked up to five times the legal overtime limit and were denied basic labour rights, a trio of French rights and consumer protection groups accused Samsung of deceiving consumers by violating its own vows on ethical working conditions and using child labour. In a statement, Samsung said it maintained a "zero tolerance" policy on child labour and had audited all its supplier sites in China following the China Labor Watch report. "We are implementing new hiring policies to strengthen identity verification measures, despite no instance of child labour being identified in the audits," the statement said. Image: Samsung Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All rights reserved.

By Editorial Team

Chinese motor company aims higher

As South African consumers continue to embrace the red dragon, we talk to Tony Pinfold, chairperson of Great Wall Motors South Africa.

By Editorial Team

China to become world’s biggest online market

China is set to become the world's biggest online market with online sales forecast to exceed $420 billion annually by 2020. According to global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co, online sales are expected to reach between $420 billion and $650 billion, driven by a growing consumer class and the world's largest population of internet users, now more than 500 million people. "China is poised to become the world's largest e-tailing market," McKinsey said, adding sales in 2020 would match the current size of the US, Japanese, British, German and French markets combined. China's online retail sales reached $120 billion in 2011 and surged further to an estimated $190 billion to $210 billion last year. That put China second in the global 'e-tail' market, close to the United States, the current world leader, which had estimated online retail sales of $220 billion to $230 billion in 2012, the McKinsey report said. Online retail sales now account for five to six percent of total Chinese consumer transactions, the report called China's e-tail revolution: Online shopping as a catalyst for growth, added. "China could forgo the national expansion of physical stores commonly seen in Western nations and move directly to a more digital retail environment," the report predicted, adding that "China may have largely sat out the 19th-century Industrial Revolution, but as the explosion of its new consuming class continues to reshape 21st-century economic life, e-tailing and the Internet revolution have important roles to play." Image: © Getty Copyright is owned by Asia Outlook and/or Outlook Publishing. All

By Editorial Team