E-commerce is slowly developing in Benin

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In Benin, e-commerce is slowly changing consumer habits. The market is still new but the tools are gradually being put in place, while waiting for the boom.

Beninese people still go shopping in stores, but they are increasingly tempted by online shopping. Specialists identify three “market places” and ten online stores. This is the Top 15, a selection based on attendance and reliability.

The offer is wide, we find everyday products, shopping pleasures such as high-tech equipment, products made in Benin, highly prized by the diaspora, ready-to-wear or even cosmetic products.

Ruth resides in Parakou, 450 kilometers north of Cotonou. Some products cannot be found if not overpriced there. It is online that she finds her happiness. ” I am online very frequently. We have a lot more choices. My last order received is a shoe and bag set. It is convenient », She explains.

Jonas Désiré Denou, another online shopping enthusiast, tells us about his experience. ” I found an item online with a much better price than in stores. I was very satisfied with it. I was delivered in less than 2 hours without moving. I paid a small fee for the delivery man. »For customers who are busy all day, they can pick up their orders from a drive.

Benin has a reputation of being a country where there are a lot of online scams, according to experts, promoters have invested a lot to secure payments. Against these risks, Jonas Désiré Denou has found the solution. ” If they don’t have the confidence of paying online, they can choose to pay on delivery », He explains.

Online commerce first appeared in Benin five years ago. Even if the anti-Covid measures have increased attendance, the promoters are tempering and are not yet talking about a peak.

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Ivory Coast: online sales save the country’s trade

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In Côte d’Ivoire, online sales, already on the rise, have exploded this year in the context of a health crisis. The Jumia e-commerce brand, the leading company in the sector in Africa and particularly in Côte d’Ivoire, for example, claims the delivery of 4.8 million parcels in the week of “Black Friday” alone.

Some Ivorian traders, in great difficulty because of the restrictions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, explain that they owe their survival to their collaboration with the large online sales groups, despite a significant loss in margins. The report of our correspondent on site in Abidjan.

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Made in Gabon storming Central Africa

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The Gulf of Guinea oil producer is in the process of diversifying its economy, and to do this, it has decided to tackle the Central African Economic Community (CEMAC) market, which has nearly 50 million of consumers. Six Gabonese industrial companies have received approval at the general preferential tariff from CEMAC. In the coming days, 70 “Made in Gabon” products will be free to circulate duty-free in CEMAC countries.

In this factory that manufactures reinforcing bars, points and sheet metal, the workers are extremely motivated. Soferga is one of the 6 Gabonese companies that have obtained Cemac approval. Mohamed Reislan, the general manager is happy to find a new market for his production.

” OWe are going to start with a market of ten million, then we will ramp up and if we have sales volumes, we will be able to lower costs and develop other products. »

Chimie Gabon, specialized in the manufacture of paints, has existed for 40 years. While the management was preparing its approval file, it invested in the modernization of the production tool.

Stéphane Prato Nzé Ekomie is the commercial director. ” Chimie Gabon has invested in new manufacturing equipment. For example for 300 or 500 touques (canister lot of 20 liters of paint, editor’s note) that we made in three to four days, we will do it in an hour. The yield will be more important. So opening up to markets in the sub-region is a good thing for us. »

In addition to building materials, Gabon wants to flood the Cemac market with motor oils, drinks, plastic and even cookies. All companies have received their approval from the Minister of Commerce, Hugues Mbadinga Madiya.

« These six companies are pioneers for exporting at the level of CEMAC and later of ECCAS. We are talking about seventy Gabonese products. for us it is a cocorico for the “made in Gabon”. »

Present at the ceremony, Rwandan François Kanimba. He is the commissioner for the development of the common market of the ECCAS which has 160 million consumers.

« It is very interesting and important to honor the entrepreneurs who do everything to bring products from our region to the Central African market. I hope that this kind of event will multiply in the future. »

Gabon, which faces the decline in its oil production, hopes that opening up to the African market is a lifeline for its faltering economy.

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remittances from the diaspora victims of Covid-19

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It is the lifeline of millions of Africans. Diaspora money weighs far more than development aid from rich countries. But this year, due to the economic crisis following the Covid-19 pandemic, the sums are dwindling. They will drop by 21%, according to the United Nations.

Sending money to his family is the number one goal of migrants. An existential objective that justifies the crazy gamble of having abandoned his land and left his family to try the adventure abroad. Since 2009, remittances to the African continent have doubled, exceeding development aid or foreign direct investment. In 2019, 85 billion dollars went out of the pockets of migrant workers to fill those of their parents who remained in Africa. Three-quarters of the money is used to buy food or finance health, education and housing expenses, according to studies by the United Nations. Amounts necessary to cover the basic needs of millions of people.

The prospect of a drop in remittances from abroad to Africa is therefore synonymous with disaster for a large number of families. According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, these transfers are expected to fall by 21% to reach $ 67 billion in 2020. At issue is the global economic crisis which affects all countries and in particular North America, Europe and the Middle East, the three major labor-intensive regions. emigrated work. However, these migrants are among the first victims of the economic crisis. ” Many work in the sectors most affected. Hotel, catering, domestic services, seasonal market gardening “, With often” temporary employment contracts “, Notes the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) in a report on the impact of Covid on migrant workers. According to the OECD, the unemployment rate of immigrants in the United States has fallen from 3.1% before the economic crisis to 10.2% since.

Countries dependent on migrants’ money

For some countries, which are heavily dependent on remittances, the fall in remittances risks accentuating the economic slowdown. In Mali, diasporic transfers represent 7% of GDP, in Senegal, the rate rises to 10%. In fifteen African countries, these transfers amount to more than 5% of GDP. However, the fall in transfers is not homogeneous and will not be the same for all countries. Thus, the Comoros archipelago, the African country most dependent on diaspora money, saw the amounts sent jump by 32% over the first five months of 2020. In Morocco, after a drop during in April and May, transfers benefited from a catch-up effect from June, to the point that in August the fall was only 2.3% compared to 2019. Because there is also a phenomenon known as “no return”. Knowing that they would not be able to return to Africa for the summer holidays because of travel restrictions and containment measures, migrant workers sometimes compensated by sending more money back home.

► To also listen to the report France : the Covid-19 leads to a drop in remittances from African diasporas

Reduce transfer costs

Still, for all countries and the whole of 2020, forecasts remain pessimistic and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is recommending a series of measures to stimulate diasporic transfers to Africa. The first of these should be to reduce the cost of transferring money, which remains largely prohibitive. For a transfer of $ 200, the global average of taxes collected by financial institutions is 7%. Africa is the region with the highest costs for receiving a remittance, averaging 8%. Very far from the 3% set as a target by the UN. The organization would also like banks and operators to reduce fees on money transfers to zero during the pandemic. A policy that would allow households living on the money of migrant workers to somewhat offset the decrease in remittances.

To know more:

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DRC: African Statistics Day

(illustration) The city center of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
(illustration) The city center of Lubumbashi in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 2.5 Oasis

This November 18 is African Statistics Day, an opportunity to sensitize decision-makers and all citizens to the importance of statistics in all aspects of life, social but also economic. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, statistics are often not available in many areas. In question: the lack of resources of the National Institute of Statistics. The last national directory dates from 2017. Its production was financed by the African Development Bank (ADB). In Lubumbashi, the second largest city in the country, this public institution focuses on the publication of the consumer price index.

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The Botswana diamond eclipse – commodities chronicle

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Botswana is facing a sharp drop in its main export product, diamonds, of which it is the world’s second largest producer behind Russia. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the southern African country to close its borders, suddenly buyers can no longer travel to Botswana. Income and diamond production fell.

The foundation of the Botswana economy is diamond. 80% of export earnings come from this precious stone, which weighs between 20 and 30% of the national wealth. But with the Covid-19 pandemic and the closure of borders, the diamond trade circuit has stalled. Buyers stayed home and diamond revenues fell 42% to just $ 1.5 in the first nine months of the year. Production fell by 30% to 12.3 million carats. As a result, the Botswanan economy is down 8.5% this year.

What elsewhere would cause significant social tensions should be endured without too much difficulty by Botswana. Because diamonds have always been the subject of scrupulous and wise management by managers. At the end of an agreement with the South African De Beers, the government receives 85% of diamond revenues, against 15% for the operator. On this basis, the country was able to develop its wealth which increased from 30 million dollars in 1960 to 17 billion in 2017. Making this country of two million inhabitants one of the richest on the continent. In addition, the sovereign wealth fund set up by the authorities has a comfortable mattress of four billion dollars.

Part will undoubtedly be devoted to economic diversification, because if diamonds are eternal, reserves are depleted. And within 15 to 20 years, Botswana will have to find other sources of wealth. In the meantime, Gaborone is increasing the number of diamond processing plants, in order to further increase the wealth extracted from its subsoil.

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postponement of the decisive meeting of November 9, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala pending

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Africa will have to wait a little longer before knowing whether or not the Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala will be the next Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The organization, which is in charge of managing trade relations around the world, has indeed postponed the meeting of Monday, November 9, during which its members had to choose between the Nigerian candidate and the South Korean Yoo Myung-hee. The position of the United States, opposed to Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, complicates everything.

The WTO is an institution in crisis, and it is undoubtedly to avoid deepening the divisions that it decided, Friday 6 November, to postpone the meeting of Monday 9, during which it was to appoint its future director. general. After six months of work to choose among the eight candidates in the running, the majority of the 164 member countries of the organization had, without reservation, supported Nigerian Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. It was October 28th.

► To read also: Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the iron lady with feet of clay

The WTO awaits the outcome of the US presidential election

But although the Nigerian politician came out on top in the previous ballot, the United States opposed his appointment, continuing to support her rival, the South Korean Yoo Myung-hee. This spectacular veto had the effect of an electric shock in an organization which usually appoints its general manager by consensus and does not wish to resort to the vote, for fear of deepening the divisions. Especially at the moment, because the WTO is under fire from criticism from the Trump administration, which accuses it of being too favorable to China.

The fear of the organization would be to see the United States withdraw. Some observers therefore believe that WTO leaders prefer to wait cautiously for the political situation to clear up in Washington, where Donald Trump et Joe Biden compete for the chair, before proclaiming a winner.

► To read also: all the articles devoted to the American presidential election

For the time being, the organization invokes ” reasons including the health situation and current events To justify this postponement. The United States continues to support the South Korean candidate. But Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala does not let himself be defeated so far. The former CEO of the World Bank said, at the end of October, still believe in his chances.

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West Africa waiting for its single currency

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Announced at the end of last year, the Eco, which should replace the CFA franc from 2020, will ultimately have to wait. Aside from the demand for the disappearance of the CFA franc by certain civil society organizations and certain economists, current users of this currency on a daily basis rarely speak out.

« Does our opinion matter ? Because governments are used to making the decision among themselves ! », Declares Viviane Amani, who wants her country and its UEMOA partners to have total control over their common currency. But she doubts that her opinion will be taken into account by West African leaders. She and Ms. Guei, her colleague, are waiting for customers in their shop inside a shopping center in Abidjan.

« The CFA franc does not benefit the population on modest terms. If the Eco comes to put our interest forward, that would be a good thing. But if there is no difference between the Eco and the CFA franc, it is better to stay at the CFA franc. Why change if it’s the same ? »

But Ms. Guei still wants the disappearance of the CFA franc. ” Our interests must be put forward. Because the CFA franc benefits Westerners more than us Africans. If our interests are put forward, I think it is a good thing that the franc changes. »

Stéphane Dogbo, him, is commercial. His opinion is very precise. ” It’s time to change. Instead of switching to a currency which is the CFA bis franc, we could switch to a new currency, which would be produced by African states. »

For this business, the countries of the West African franc zone are now able to launch their own currency. ” We can do it, because if we base ourselves on the experience of neighboring countries which already have their own currency, they manage to manage their economy.. »

Stéphane Dogbo sweeps the specter of the fluctuation of a future common currency in West Africa. ” Currencies are called upon to fluctuate and it is thanks to their fluctuation that we are able to make profitable exports for nations. »

The Economic Community of West African States has in fact been preparing for more than 20 years for the creation of a single currency. Even if it is not ready, on December 21, 2019 in Abidjan, the Ivorian and French presidents torpedoed the work of ECOWAS, announcing the reform of the CFA franc, according to Séraphin Yao Prao, professor at the Alassane Ouattara University of Bouake. ” Citizens are ready to go to the Eco, but the original Eco ! That is to say, the Eco whose founding fathers laid the foundations. Today, we academics and even ordinary citizens, see in the Eco version Macron-Ouattara a sabotage of the first project dubbed by all the heads of state. »

According to this economist, West Africa should have an independent single currency within 5 to 10 years, which should boost intraregional trade, which is now only 11%.

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Rwanda: business tourism at half mast

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Rwandan economic growth put in difficulty by the coronavirus crisis. The service sector, on which the country has relied for its development, is very affected. For several years now, Kigali has been aiming to become a regional conference “hub”. But the 70 or so events planned for Kigali this year have been postponed, representing a shortfall of 80 million euros for the country’s economy for the year 2020.

A few months ago, Jean Marie Fizi was at the head of a small tourist agency. Today, he washes cars in private homes. ” I had to find something else to do, because tourism is dead for the moment. So I moved on to cleaning. »

As Rwanda prepared to host, last June, the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit and its 10,000 delegates and diplomats, Jean-Marie decided to invest 50,000 euros in importing a new vehicle to transport visitors to the country, but the pandemic has passed that way, and the summit has been postponed until next year. ” For this car, I had taken out a loan from the bank. So I started the other company so that I could at least pay the bank back. Otherwise, we can grab whatever I have. »

Since the rise of the city of Kigali as a conference destination around 2017, the sector has generated $ 276 million according to government figures. Today, it is at a standstill, but Nelly Mukazayire, president of the Rwandan Conference Bureau, is banking on a rapid recovery. ” We had planned to make $ 80 million this year, but in the end we did not earn it. But the good news is that the majority of the planned events have been pushed back to 2021. So even if that money wasn’t generated this year, it will be next year. »

In the meantime, the government is banking on local tourism and has launched a stimulus fund intended to help the businesses most affected by the crisis. Still, growth forecasts are down. Samba Mbaye, IMF representative in Kigali. ” Before Covid-19, Rwanda was experiencing very strong growth. In 2019, he was even in the World Top 5. Before the crisis, we had forecast 8% growth for 2020. In June, our forecast fell to 2%. Today, we are reviewing the figures and it seems that we are heading below the 2% mark. »

For its part, the Moody’s agency recently changed the country’s economic outlook from “stable” to “negative” noting that “ the coronavirus pandemic calls into question Rwanda’s development strategy, largely debt-financed and focused on promoting conference tourism. »

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Burkina-Faso: gold, lifeline of the country’s economy

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In Burkina Faso, since 2008, gold has become the main export product. From 10 mines in operation in 2010, the country has grown to 17 mines 10 years later (as of June 30, 2020). As for export earnings, they went from 974 billion CFA francs in 2016 to 1,420 billion in 2019.

Burkina plans a production of 53 tonnes for the year 2020 in view of the current trends. According to the government, the mining sector is the most resilient to the security and health crises that the country is experiencing. The extractive sector represents on average 71% of the country’s export earnings.

The direct contribution to the state budget increased from 190 billion in 2016 to 276 billion in 2019 according to Oumarou Idani, the Minister of Mines. ” Production will increase, we will be around 2 000 billion CFA francs in export earnings. The mining sector represents on average 15% of direct revenue from the state budget. »

The government was able to recover the sum of 51 billion CFA francs, representing the contribution of companies to the local development mining fund. A fund that certain mining companies refused to transfer to the municipalities, however provided for by the mining code. ” There are still residual recoveries from the past three years. We have taken enforcement action. »

Despite this contribution to development, the mining sector is threatened by armed terrorist groups. In November 2019, a convoy from the Boungou mine was the subject of a terrorist attack. Armed groups operate some artisanal mines to finance their activities, according to a report by the Economic and Social Council.

« In the eastern region, the militias had organized militias. There was an attempt to recover an industrial mine by terrorists. Symbolically, if the terrorists had recovered an industrial mine, it was going to be a dramatic situation. We have also taken steps to protect artisanal sites. »

One of the challenges for the government is to involve the national private sector in industrial exploitation in order to increase revenues. ” We have just approved a file for a large mines, file submitted by a Burkinabè operator. »

The government aims to embark on the search for oil and the exploitation of cement limestone in the Sahel region, according to the Minister of Mines and Quarries.

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