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investment

What the A-League Expansion Process can learn from the MLS

With the botched and stalled A-League expansion process currently going nowhere and with a lot of expansion bids seemingly in limbo watching potential capital investment into the game fly elsewhere; it is worth looking at the MLS Expansion Process for some blue Sky potential. 

Undoubtedly, the A-League could learn from the American process as could the local bids (and potential bids) learn from the expansion entries in the MLS.

For the A-League bids that don't currently have identified capital partners (eg. those bids that aren't the Sunshine Coast, Southern NSW, Canberra, Tasmania and Brisbane City); it's more than clear that certain disclosures around capital would have to be met in order to be considered real by any serious football board.

However, without the FFA willing to get their house in order, this is difficult. We know as advisory consultants in this space that potential investors will not invest without a clear pathway and some confidence set by the governing officials. 

We have seen from the MLS the benefits of a clear expansion platform to attract new investment into the league. There have seen a number of expansions with the MLS over the years.

Yet, in this round the MLS Commissioner has confirmed that teams 25 and 26 will be announced during the second or third quarter of 2017, at an expansion fee of $150 million each, and will begin MLS play by 2020. Teams 27 and 28 will be announced at a later date, at a price delivered in conjunction with the timeline. 

The league acknowledged ownership groups from 10 markets that have publicly expressed interest in securing an MLS expansion team: Charlotte, Cincinnati, Detroit, Nashville, Raleigh/Durham, Sacramento, St. Louis, San Antonio, San Diego and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

Three key aspects are considered top priorities when reviewing candidates: 

  • A committed local ownership group that has a passion for the sport, a deep belief in Major League Soccer and the resources to invest in the infrastructure to build the sport in their respective market.
  • A market that has a history of strong fan support for soccer matches and other sporting events, is located in a desirable geographic location and is attractive to corporate sponsors and television partners.
  • A comprehensive stadium plan that ensures the club will have a proper home for their fans and players while also serving as a destination for the sport in the community

The Stadium proposition has already been passed with the bid from the Tampa Bay Rowdies via a public referendum. On the other hand, St. Louis will remain a two-sport town after voters defeated a measure that would have helped pay for a stadium as part of an effort to lure a Major League Soccer franchise. City voters turned down Proposition 2 on Tuesday by a 53 percent to 47 percent vote. It would have provided $60 million from a business use tax to help fund a soccer stadium.

The MLS effort in Charlotte, which was among the favourite thanks to the city’s size and importance in a growing area of the country, is on life support after the city declined to approve the funneling of tax revenue earmarked for tourism toward a portion of a stadium.

In Indianapolis, an effort to get the state legislature to pass a bill allowing taxes generated at and adjacent to a new soccer stadium to be spent on its construction has gone nowhere. 

The first teams to enter the MLS in the 21st Century were Real Salt Lake and Chivas USA for which they paid $7.5 Million to enter. These bids will be paying $150 Million entry fee.

In the A-League, there are no local ownership requirements. This means that any serious capital investor and those seeking to bring a bid together really need to be a homogenous working unit. This is required in terms of PR, engaging with the three tiers of government and with the FFA authorities. 

The importance of a quality investor group has already been shown in the MLS expansion bid process. On the one hand, we see the Nashville bid bringing in the owners of the Minnesota Vikings into their bid consortium. Mark Wilf, his brother Zygi, and cousin Leonard, in their 13th season as majority owners and of the Minnesota Vikings, has signed on as a minority owner of Nashville Soccer Holdings, the business enterprise led by billionaire Nashville businessman John Ingram.

This is not to say any expansion process is smooth sailing.

The Sacramento bid, which had been considered a slam dunk for entry, have fallen into disarray with the addition of Meg Whitman (Former Hewlett-Packard CEO and Mitt Romney Presidential Backer) into the ownership group.

One would have thought a press release would have been forthcoming from the club, but one never appeared, even on the club's website. A press release instead emerged from an entity calling itself Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings. Now there are disputes about whether or not the bid will be the Sacramento Republic or not.

We would also note that the right ownership group should not be a substitute for a corporate partner structure that works. Any bid that can show good governmental and corporate buy-in to the bid, will have a leg up in this process. The A-League simply can not afford another team that has a revenue base that is too narrow without local corporate buy-in to the brand. 

If we look at the FC Cinncinati bid for the MLS expansion, a year before they played their first game in the USL (the American 2nd tier), the club had 17 corporate sponsors signed up. Toyota is the USL jersey sponsor. 

The fact is, the expansion process in the A-League will need some components which the FFA will have to include when they finally get the house in order. These are:

  • Stadium
  • Catchment Area
  • Capital Requirement
  • Local Talent Depth
  • Support History

Therefore, there are a lot that bids, or potential bids, can do to prepare to enter the FFA process in a serious way.

Firstly, there is the private sector capital backer. The backers will need to be somewhat flexible with the components they will need to invest in, the total sum of the capital investment and be prepared to invest long term in the bid as there is no 'end date' for this process as such. Sports investment exit strategies are not comparable to almost any other investment.

This is shown by the divisions with the Sacramento MLS bid intrigue around their ownership structure and whether or not the Republic name will be used if granted one of the spots in the MLS when the MLS goes to 28 franchises. For more information about this, click here

  • Stadium: There are many bid proposals that have been declared/are being contemplated that will need an agreement on a stadium. This could require receiving funding commitments from a local council, state or territory government or getting an agreement with the owning level of government to receive private sector investment. 
  • Catchment Area: If you don't have a catchment area of around 500,000 the bid won't be commercially viable. Now, there are some bids that are pushing the limits to make their bid catchment areas appear bigger. The catchment area also needs to be around the 500,000 mark to ensure that the bid can prove localised support for the game.
  • Local Talent Depth: This is a subjective criterium. However, the bid needs to have a real and in deep pitch in this space. This also needs to be about ensuring that the bid is backed by the State FA and the junior clubs in the region. 
  • Support History: This all comes back to community engagement. If the bid is based off an existing team, the figures from that team come into figuring. However, as a bid, you need to engage in a solid community engagement campaign to engage your catchment in the bid and bring a level of 'hype' behind your bid. 

Don't underestimate the value of bringing a derby to the table as well. If we look at what makes the A-League sizzle, look at the Sydney derbies, Melbourne derbies and Central Coast-Newcastle rivalries. Even the rivalries that Brisbane Roar have had with the now defunct Gold Coast and Northern Fury sides were commercial gold for the league. This immediately brings into focus the prospects from Southern Syndey, Woollongong, South Melbourne, Brisbane City, Sunshine Coast and Ipswich. 

This is actually one of the big drawcards for bringing St. Louis into the MLS. St. Louis also helps MLS fill out the midwest U.S.—the league cares about geographic coverage—and instantly creates a couple of promising potential rivalries. An I-70 derby with Sporting Kansas City could become one of the league’s premier showdowns, while the enmity Blues and Cardinals fans traditionally have for their rivals in Chicago could form the basis of another run rivalry. 

The geographic coverage argument from St. Louis also provides the basis for arguments for bids from places such as Tasmania and Canberra.

However, for any prospective bid, the best thing we could do is show a living exemplar of a side to model a bid on: Atlanta United FC. 

Before they started, they had 24,000 season tickets sold; outdoing the top attendance rates of the MLS. 

Atlanta United's inaugural season may still be far from over, but already the club is on the road to becoming MLS's most successful expansion team.

The team is performing well in their first season, reaching for the playoff stages. The average attendance for the team is around 44.000 spectators, which are more than good numbers. If we look at how the first squad was built, we won’t find stellar European signings, like most of the franchises, do as a marketing tool in their first years. The squad is built around young players with some experienced ones from the MLS and some interesting young foreigners. 

They hired Gerardo Martino as their first manager (originally from Barcelona) and are also heavily invested in the youth development in their catchment area.

All of this is part of a long-term project, and it’s exactly what the A-League should be seeking for the new teams. For a franchise to be successful (and in the end, the league depends on the success of the franchises), it needs to be self-sustainable for the most part.

The main difference between traditional clubs and franchises is that sentiment of 'belongingness' that a club has: people will always belong to their club, no matter who’s the newest signing or in which position or division they’re in. 

The A-League are still a long way off creating any environment of belongingness for new entrants. The wait continues.

 

Kenyan Elections 2017

Kenya's General Elections for President and other positions will be held on Tuesday August 8th 2017. Excitement and tension is building up towards that day, especially with regard to the Presidential election. 

The incumbent President, Uhuru Kenyatta will be vying for a second term. Mr Kenyatta was declared the winner of the 2013 elections, after his main rival at the time, Raila Odinga, disputed the results of those elections and filed a suit in the Supreme Court of Kenya. The Supreme Court upheld the declaration of the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and Uhuru Kenyatta was sworn in as President a few weeks later. 

President Kenyatta is running on the recently formed Jubilee Alliance Party - a party formed out of the coalition of parties under which he vied for presidency in 2013. Mr William Ruto, the Deputy President, will be his running mate once again.

Before the 2013 elections, the current opposition formed the CORD coalition (Coalition for Reforms and Democracy). The principals of this coalition were Mr Raila Odinga, who was then Prime Minister and is the leader of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), Mr. Kalonzo Musyoka, who was then vice-president and is the leader of the Wiper Democratic Movement and Mr. Moses Wetangula, who is currently the Minority Leader in the Senate and is also the leader of the Ford Kenya party 

Mr Odinga was the presidential candidate of the CORD coalition and Mr Musyoka was his running-mate.

A few notable political leaders have now teamed up with the CORD coalition to form what they have called the National Super Alliance (NASA). 'Nasa' also means 'to seize' or 'capture' in Swahili, Kenya's national language, and the opposition has declared their determination to capture the Presidency this year. 

One of the NASA leaders is Mr. Musalia Mudavadi, 56, the leader of the Amani National Congress, who was also a presidential candidate in 2013 and came third in those polls.

A recent addition to the NASA coalition is Mr Isaac Ruto, the current governor of Bomet County, and former member of the URP party that was part of the Jubilee coalition. His entry to NASA is seen by some as a blow to Jubilee and a boost to NASA, at least in terms of perception and possibly in terms of votes as well.

The NASA coalition has publicised an agreement on positions that each principal will get if they win the Presidency and form the next government.

As many people expected, once again, the 72-year-old Raila Odinga will again be running for president this year - for the fourth time. Mr. Musyoka will once again be his running-mate.

Mr. Musyoka served as Vice-President of Kenya from 2008 to 2013. He was a presidential candidate in the 2007 elections, and after those elections, he was appointed Vice-President, even as the country was engulfed in violence as the opposition disputed the election results that declared Mr, Mwai Kibaki the winner of the Presidential race. 

This violence eventually led to the current President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his Deputy, William Ruto, (the two being in opposite political camps at the time) being brought, with others, to the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity. The cases against them were eventually dropped due to lack of evidence. 

Mr. Odinga, who believes he was the actual winner of the 2007 elections, was appointed Prime Minister in April 2008 in a power-sharing deal with Mwai Kibaki. Mr. Odinga was Prime Minister until 2013.

The fact that Mr. Odinga and Mr. Musyoka were in government between 2008 and 2013 is often cited by Jubilee and their supporters when pointing out perceived failures of the administration of that time, and by extension, the failures of the two, though these supporters often don’t also point out that their own leaders were also in the same government.

Officially, there are 18 people in total who have registered with the IEBC as presidential candidates. Only a few are comparatively well known such as Dr. Ekuru Aukot, former member of the Committee of Experts on Constitution Review that worked on Kenya's 2010 Constitution and Mr Peter Ondeng’, who is expected to get at least some votes from evangelical Christians. The effect of these less prominent candidates on the presidential vote and if they might cause a run-off is yet to be seen.


Kenyan politics, to a significant extent, is based on tribal affiliations. Presidential candidates usually get major support from the areas largely inhabited by their ethnic communities. It is likely that tribal arithmetic – the number of voters from each tribe and their turnout at the polls - will play a significant part in the 2017 elections, but there are also emerging voices of opposition to this approach. A number of people in their forties and younger, are declaring that supporting a candidate based on tribe does not benefit them in their personal lives, and they would rather vote in competent leaders from whichever tribes. 

For example, there was a strike by doctors serving in public hospitals, which resulted in their union leaders being jailed for a few days (for failing to call off the strike). The fact that the doctors come from various ethnic backgrounds and they stood together for their cause may be seen by some as an indication that the tribal mindset may be weakening, at least among the younger generation.

Corruption in government will certainly be among the top issues harped upon by the opposition. USAID recently withdrew funding for government health projects citing corruption and the opposition will likely point this out as an example of government corruption being visible even to outsiders.

The current rising food prices will also likely be raised and the opposition will probably cite this as an example of failure by the government and probably also state that this failure was deliberately orchestrated to allow well-connected cartels to sell food to the public at exorbitant prices.

The Jubilee response to these accusations seems to be that the food shortage is caused by drought and that is beyond the government’s control. Some supporters also say that there was a similar hike in food prices when many of the opposition leaders were in government, so food shortage and high prices are not something new.

The opposition has often said that the Jubilee government has recklessly borrowed money, especially from China, and indebted the country beyond reasonable levels. They have also claimed that a lot of this money is then misdirected to individuals after it is received. 

The incumbent side usually responds by saying that the borrowed money has been used to start long-term projects that will lay the foundation for the country’s future growth and prosperity. The Standard-Gauge Railway (SGR) project is one of the main projects that the Jubilee administration proudly takes credit for. It is supposed to ease transport of goods and services between the port town of Mombasa and the interior of Kenya and has created jobs for those working on the project. 

However, some claim that the cost of the SGR project was inflated and that it did not yield good value for money, when compared to a similar project in neighbouring Ethiopia, for example.

Apart from the polls themselves, IEBC, the body mandated to manage the elections, has been under criticism about its preparedness. In 2013, the polls faced challenges of failure of its machines and officials were later accused of negligence in procuring equipment. The commissioners of that time were compelled to resign following pressure by the opposition and new commissioners were selected and sworn into office. The IEBC recently admitted that it had as many as 128,000 records with shared details in its voter register. This register is currently undergoing audit by an independent audit firm.

In elections like Kenya, predicting elections isn't a straight forward business; but we will be keeping our eyes on the campaign and the results and the opportunities that can come from it it to engage with this part of Africa.

Sierra Leone: The Future

Sierra Leone has witnessed a mixed bag of fortunes in recent years. Between 1991 and 2002, the country witnessed a Civil War that killed thousands. However after the war, the country had witnessed impressive growth based largely on mining exploration. In 2013, the economy grew at 20%, making it one of the world’s fastest growing economies.


Unfortunately, in May 2014, the Ebola virus broke out in the country. It took advantage of the underdeveloped health care system and misconceptions about the disease to spread. The virus killed over 3,000 people in the country. But thanks to domestic and external forces, the virus was defeated, and Sierra Leone was declared Ebola-free in March 2016.


The post-Ebola Sierra Leone provides a new opportunity for strategic planning and investment in the country. The government has declared the Economic Recovery Strategy that would shore up investments in critical areas and infrastructure. Other actors such as the mining industry have also reopened for business. In 2016, the IMF believed the economy would grow by 4.3% as business reopened.


Yet, the investment climate in Sierra Leone is still fraught by challenges, most predating the Ebola outbreak. First, despite years of consistent growth, more than half the population remain in poverty and large number of youths are unemployed and unskilled.
Second, Sierra Leone’s economy is highly reliant on the mining for export revenue and growth. This makes the country extremely vulnerable to price shocks whenever global commodities prices decline. A phenomenon it presently faces as Chinese demands for commodities has declined since 2014. This reduces foreign exchange, increases inflation and causes reduction in government spending.


Third, the World Bank ranked Sierra Leone 147 among 189 countries for the ease of doing business in 2016. This ranking was influenced by challenges such infrastructural dearth as road networks remain underdeveloped, low electricity generation, difficulty in accessing credits, high interest rates, and difficulty registering property. 


Fourth, corruption remains widespread in the country, and little government efforts have been made to curb it. In 2015, a report by the country’s Auditor General showed that the country had failed to properly account for large sum funds allocated to fight Ebola. A lack of transparency also in the mining sector, the country’s most important sector, threatens the credibility of negotiations and contracts.


Despite these challenges, Sierra Leone offers great investments opportunities. Its domestic political system has remained stable since 2002, thus providing a peaceful environment for business. Also, the fact that many resources remain untapped provides interesting investment opportunities. Sectors such as agriculture, tourism and natural resource exploration are yet to be fully harnessed. But most importantly, Sierra Leone’s location, and its membership of the 300 million ECOWAS body, grants it huge access to the economies of other West African nations. And through the African Growth and Opportunities Act (AGOA) and the Everything But Arms Initiative, Sierra Leone is granted duty-free access to the US and EU economies respectively.


Summarily, the Ebola outbreak of 2014-2015 was a huge setback to Sierra Leone’s development. However, the country, with foreign support has been able to wither that crisis, and has since resumed economic growth. However, like most developing countries, doing business with the country is not without challenges. Nevertheless, Sierra Leone does have some important advantages investors would be wise to key into in the post-Ebola world. 
 

French Presidential Election

In the aftermath of Brexit and the tensions caused by the Dutch elections and Geert Wilders, The French Presidential Campaign will catch everybody’s attention and it will be the second of three big challenges European Union will face in 2017.

With regard to migration, the rise of nationalism or populism in several European countries in the last couple of years has concerned European leaders for eventual harms it could do to the European project and single market. For French people, nationalism is not something new. In fact, the radical right-wing party National Front (Front Nationale in French) has been participating in every French electoral campaign since its founding in 1972, however, their national relevance in french politics was very residual until the 2002 Presidential campaign of Jean-Marie Le Pen.

In 2002, Jean-Marie Le Pen shocked all critics and media when he assured a 2nd round with Jaques Chirac against all the experts' expectations who thought 2nd round would be Chirac facing Lionel Jospin. 

This result made the French parties to announce their vote preference in Chirac. As a matter of fact, 2nd round was too easy for Chirac. Besides the support of all moderate and progressive parties, Chirac had media and syndicates on his side, and so it became quite predictable his victory. In the end, Chirac’s won with 88% of the vote.

From that moment until 2008, Jean-Marie Le Pen kept his position as President of National Front and competed in all French and European elections; however, he never reached the heights of 2002.There were many reasons for the decline of the radical right-wing party such as the modification of the regional electoral system to contain the influence of National Front in some regions; party faced a financial crisis and forced the party to make a restructuring to solve it.

Furthermore, the beginning of the 21st century was a time of some prosperity for both European countries and European Union. The European currency “Euro” had a bright start and it gained a very good reputation in the international markets, which gave some credit to the European project. The Euopean project was at an all time high of popularity in its member states.

After the results in 2008, Jean-Marie Le Pen retired from the Presidency of National Front and there was an internal run between his daughter Marine Le Pen against the vice-president Bruno Gollish. In January 2011, Marine Le Pen was elected president of National Front and with her presidency, National Front was able to win 24 seats in the European Parliament.

This year, eleven candidates are running for President, but only 4 have any real chancey to get the final two places for a run-off election. What has changed the dynamic of the election is that both the Socialist candidate for President (Benoît Hamon) and Republican Candidate and Former French Prime Minister under former President Nicholas Sarkozy; Francois Fillon have both had lacklustre campaigns which have also seen Fillon has stubbornly resisting calls to step down after revelations he paid his wife and children government salaries, though they apparently did little or no work in return. He has not denied the payments but insists he did not misuse public funds.

Most French voters are not vindictive with regard to such minor instances of corruption, and given the other choices may decide to forgive Fillon because of the experience, demonstrated competence and sheer gravitas he would bring to the presidency.

Opinion polls show around a third of France's 45.7 million voters might abstain, an unprecedented number in a country with a long tradition of high turnouts. Even among those who intend to vote, about one-third have yet to make up their mind on how to cast their ballot.

When Fillon won the Republican Primary election in November, he proved that he was a strong finisher and will be betting that he gets a good split of the 30% undecided factor in recent French polling.

Heading into March, this race looked like it would have been the first election in French post- war history where there was not a major party candidate in the run-off election; which Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron being the likely candidates. Le Pen and Macron had 25% and 24% taken at the end of March by PrésiTrack OpinionWay / ORPI for Les Echos and Radio Classique.

While Fillon is attacking Macron as a closet Socialist too close to the unpopular Hollande Government, Le Pen has her vulnerabilities as well. Le Pen relies on support among young and working class voters, two groups where abstention is forecast to be high. 

According to the dutch Investment bank Rabobank, Emanuel Macron is the most likely candidate to succeed Holland in the presidency. According to the last polls Macron and Marine Le Pen are tied with 23%, followed by François Fillon and Mélenchon (Communist) with 18% each. 

This has been backed up by the latest Ifop-Fiducial poll on 12 April showed Le Pen winning 23.5 percent in the April 23 first round, one point ahead of centrist Emmanuel Macron.

Both Le Pen and Macron's support dipped by half a point from Tuesday while conservative Francois Fillon was stable on 19 percent and Melenchon unchanged on 18.5 percent.

The top two candidates go through to a run-off on May 7, where polls say Macron would easily beat Le Pen.

Mélenchon has surged in recent weeks with some good debate performances, in a field where enthusiasm is low (outside of Le Pen), however, his platform by many is seen as far too left wing even for left of centre voters who are gravitating to Macron's campaign as the only 'viable' opposition to Fillon or Le Pen. 

With Mélenchon and Le Pen rising in the polls; until the elections are over, the financial markets will see unrest as both want to put the EU membership of France to a vote and Le Pen wants to take France out of the Euro.

However, we predict that if Le Pen is in the final run-off election; she will lose. Le Pen, just like her father will galvanise all of the other parties against her (providing Mélenchon doesn't make the run off, which we see as unlikely). It is predicted that Macron, as the most likely to run against Le Pen would receive the endorsement of the Socialist President Hollande and the Republican Party through its standard bearer Fillon. 

This prediction is not only based in history when the same phenomenon saw Jacques Chirac receive the support of every other party to block Jean Marie Le Pen but in every head to head poll completed this cycle shows Le Pen losing to either Fillon or Macron.

InvestKenya 2017

Kenya has been encountering consistent development for a long while now. The financial figure has been sure with the World Bank anticipating a development rate of 6.6 percent this year and 7 percent come 2017. This force is being fueled by enormous interests in framework and employments, ventures to enhance the business atmosphere, and a lift in fares.

Kenya has one of the best vehicles to promote new investment into Kenya called KenInvest which is the branding for the Kenyan Investment Corporation. Here are 9 macro-reasons to invest:

  1. Tax Treaties and Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements: Kenya is a signatory to a large and growing number of tax treaties and investment promotion and protection Agreements such as the Multilateral Trade System (MTS) ACP Cotonou Agreement, and the Africa Growth and Opportunities Act. This allows exports from Kenya to enjoy preferential access to world markets under a number of special access and duty reduction programmes.
  2. Stability: Since independence, Kenya has maintained remarkable stability despite changes in its political system Since the re-emergence of multiparty democracy and promulgation of a new constitution in 2011, Kenyans have enjoyed an increased degree of freedom.
  3. Regulatory Reforms: Kenya is making efforts to lower the cost of doing business by conducting extensive business regulatory reforms intended to substantially reduce the number of licensing requirements and to make the licensing regimes more simple and transparent and focused on legitimate regulatory purposes.
  4. Access to Large pool of Highly Educated and Skilled Work Force: Kenya prides itself in its large pool of highly educated, skilled and sought after work force in Africa, trained from within the country and in institutions in around the world.
  5. Strategic Location: As the leading economy in East Africa, Kenyas’ strategic location and its well developed business infrastructure make it a natural choice for investors and many international firms have made it their regional hub. This grants investors access to the larger East African Community and regional markets with access to over 385 million consumers. Nairobi is also a major transport Hub in East Africa with Connections from Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Major Destinations around the world. All these are coupled with a convenient Time zone of (GMT +3).
  6. Highly Developed Social and Physical Infrastructure: Kenya affords a pleasant and quality standard of living with its spectacular and diverse natural resources. Ranging from wildlife and sceneries. Including the world famous Maasai Mara. The country also boasts of high quality social amenities such as restaurants, hospitals and Entertainment spots. A good reason why the country has the highest number of Expatriates living and working in Kenya.
  7. Fully Liberalised Economy: Kenya fully liberalised its economy by removing all obstacles that previously hampered the free flow of trade and private investment. These includes exchange controls, import and export licensing, as well as restrictions on remittances of profits and dividends.
  8. Preferential Market Access: Kenya is signatory to a number of multilateral and bilateral trade agreements as part of its trade policy. Kenya is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) making her products access more than 90% of world markets at Most Favoured Nation (MFN) treatment. In addition, Kenya is member to several trade arrangements and beneficiary to trade-enhancing schemes that include the  Africa Growth and opportunity act (AGOA);  ACP-EU Trade Agreement and Common Market of Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).
  9. Well Established and Vocal Private Sector: Kenya has a very substantial private sector, including a significant number of foreign investors and is touted as one of the most resilient in the world. The country has always been a market economy. Key players in voicing private-sector concerns include, The Kenya Private Sector Alliance (KEPSA), Federation of Kenya Employers (FKE) and The Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM). Futhermore, the government frequently conducts regular policy dialogue with private sector players through the Prime Minister Round Tables.

Here are a few parts that could give beneficial venture openings in Kenya:

Agriculture: Farming is the backbone of the economy, giving vocation to around 75 for each penny of the populace. There is impressive degree for broadening and extension of the horticultural division through quickened nourishment trim generation, handling and advertising. There are additionally open doors for development in innovative foundation, for example, bundling, hoarding, and transportation. Escalated water system and extra esteem included processing are fine zones for profitable investment.

Manufacturing: Kenya has a very much created development industry. With growth in populace, openings exist in the development of private, business and mechanical structures, including pre-assembled minimal effort lodging. Broad open doors for venture exist especially in the territory of redesigning ghettos and casual settlements, urban restoration, development of center and low pay lodging, fabricate and supply of building materials and parts.

Producing part is a territory where speculation openings exist. The division assumes a vital part in increasing the value of horticultural yield.  An extensive variety of chances for immediate and joint-wander ventures exist in the assembling division, including agro-preparing, fabricate of articles of clothing, gathering of car parts and hardware, plastics, paper, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, metal and building items for both household and fare markets.

Innovation and IT: Kenya has completely grasped the open doors managed by innovation. The bubbly start-up scene is something to be appreciated. This has been floated by great government approaches, with the extent of the neighborhood ICT advertise now is evaluated at around $500 million. The National ICT Masterplan plans to improve Kenya's aggressiveness through usage of its assets in Business Process Outsourcing and fortifying its abilities to meet future innovative difficulties. The 2030 vision for BPO is for the nation to end up distinctly the top BPO goal in Africa. 

Tourism: Kenya at present brags the most noteworthy impart of populace to access to budgetary administrations in Sub-Saharan Africa (more than 70 percent). This is to a great extent on account of the well-known portable cash exchange benefit M-Pesa. Konza City, a cutting edge techno polis is a venture by the Kenyan government which guarantees to drive considerably more development in the ICT division.

InvestKenya2017

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NZ South Island Opportunities

New Zealand is full of different resources. New Zealand has some beautiful cities with various types of resources. One of the best cities is South Island. This city is a real attraction for the tourists. In every year, this city receives a lot of tourists from different countries. There are so many sectors which can be developed for the tourists. Geographically this is a perfect place to invest in various sectors. If you are looking for some areas of New Zealand, you should spend in this city. Here I am sharing some of the areas where you can invest without any doubt. You will receive a good ROI for sure.


Tourist Attractions
Tourism sector of South Island is the best way to start investing. There are so many places where every year people come to visit some amazing landscapes. You can invest on the resorts. Some of the resorts are developing newly, and they needed money. You can contact them to know if there is any chance to spend. Most of the resort will give you a particular percentage of the amount of your invested money. Famous tourist attractions of South Island are sightseeing, adventure tourism, such as glacier climbing and Bungee jumping, tramping (hiking), kayaking, and camping. In every section, there is a good chance to invest. In the areas of these tourist attractions, you can invest in the bars, hotels, sports shops, souvenir shops, etc.


Transport
As a tourist city, South Island is also a good place to invest in the transportation. You can spend your money to bring some updated transport system. The South Island has a State Highway network of 4,921 km which is quite large. You could contact the local transport companies if they needed any investment. But if you want to invest for the new transports, you need to get the permit from the authority. For this, you can contact with some legal advisors to know about the rules of transport business.


Real Estate
Real State is another attractive sector for the new investment. There are so many companies in New Zealand. For real estate properties. You can find out some amazing places where you can purchase some land or apartments. You can build resorts for the tourists on your lands. If you are a foreigner and want to invest in the real estate sector, you need to fulfil some requirement at first. If you find the work complex, you can contact the local lawyers to make it easy.


Restaurant Business
The restaurant is always a good business for high ROI. You can invest for the new restaurants in South Island. You can set up a new restaurant in the tourist spots. You can contact with the landowners for setting up a new restaurant. Though there are already some popular restaurants in there, if you can bring some unique items, you can expect a good return on your investment.
 

African Investment and Trade: The Future

One would think that on seeing the economic scenario across the developing nations in Africa, investors could not be thinking about zeroing down on Africa as their next destination to strike a deal on investment or trade. Analysts tends to believe that people would rather wait for nations to stabilise before investment or trade will follow. This is a complete misrepresentation of the majority of African states. There are plenty of stable African states that are able to be dealt in straight away and our Gravis Global Invest team are here to help!

Immediately there are 5 major types of trade and investment opportunities on the continent.

These are:

Agriculture: ranking among the business opportunities available to investors and entrepreneurs in Africa, the continent is home to 60% of the world's total uncultivated arable land. As the world's population is now above 7 billion, there must be a systematic approach for producing enough food to feed that many mouths. The challenge in this case has to do with poor connecting infrastructure to facilitate product making it to exit points to enter into markets.  There are also moves with a number of nations to remove trade barriers as well. This allows for agricultural development to support other 'flow on' industries such as fertilisers, pesticides, seeds production and processing and refining businesses.

Infrastructure: this sector is second in importance only to agriculture for investment. Though successive African governments have made efforts to improve infrastructure, a huge deficit in this sector still looms thereby creating bottlenecks in the smooth delivery of trade and investment deals. The World Bank in 2008 estimated that the continent needed US$80Billion annually to cover the infrastructure deficit on the continent. This provides an opportunity for private investors to invest in Build Own Operate and Transfer (BOOT) or Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) deals with governments, especially for infrastructure such as airports, electricity networks, railway networks, roads and airport facilities.

Tourism: Kenya, Mauritius and Tanzania have become some of the worlds favourite tourism spots. There have been estimates that up to 50 million tourists per year coming through the continent since 2012 with that number rising year to year. This creates side markets that become investment ready in hotels, resorts, airline business, transport businesses and tourism related tour activities. 

Mining: This is a sector that has been developed in some parts already and has large amounts of Chinese investment. Chinese companies have been buying the world's major miners out of their interests on the continent which is freeing them up to make new investment elsewhere. It also therefore means that there are large Chinese slabs of influence in this sector. There are however nations in the continent with under-developed mining industries where skills shortages and infrastructure shortages have lead to this underdevelopment. 

Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG): For the first time 2012 saw African consumer spending go past the one trillion dollars (US$1 trillion). With a population that is one of the fastest growing in the world, a middle class of over three hundred million (300 Million) people, the FMCG sector promises to very profitable in the years ahead. Food, beverages, home and personal care products provide an ample opportunity for new profits as the African middle class grows and expands in more countries on the continent. This is a market though that will work on a 'first come, first serve' basis and will lead to long term market dominance if done properly with a good market entry plan.

Wellington Startups. A new opportunity.

New-Zealand is one of the most business-friendly countries in the world. Because of enough resources in the country, there are so many startups are growing up. In New Zealand, you will get the maximum benefits as an entrepreneur. There are some cities in New Zealand which are playing a vital role to increase the startups in New Zealand. One of the most startup-friendly cities in New Zealand is the Wellington City. You will find almost any type of resource and support which you needed to start a small business.

In Wellington, you will find so many industry leaders; they will encourage you and provide you the proper guidance for your business growth and success. This is not a big city, and the population is fewer, but the environment is perfect for the startups. The best part of Wellington city is the business and start up community. Managing a business load is so much easy in this city if you have a fabulous idea. The only thing you need to do is generate a decent idea and make a proper plan for the implementation.

Why are Start Up Companies Growing at Wellington?

Startup Community: There is a startup community in Wellington which is a network of collaboration which is significantly helpful for new startups. They also celebrate startup weekend where they arrange entrepreneur’s events. There is a chance to meet with the influencers. That means, there are opportunities to share experience with the real entrepreneurs. Also, have web stock which is an annual technology conference with international guests.

Supportive: As an entrepreneur, I love the supportive people of this city. When you are a new entrepreneur and going to start a new small business, you needed care from different types of individuals. That is why Wellington is the best place to initiate the business. There is a wide range of organizations, and they arrange boot camp and other business related conference for the newbies. Sometimes you also need some financial support to carry on your business, and some organizations have made this process easier. 

Startup Programs: In Wellington, there are so many incubator and accelerator programs arranges in all the time of a year. This is a perfect way to gain some knowledge for your future business. Here you will learn where to invest and where you shouldn’t spend. You will learn the basic things of the advanced stuff. Successful entrepreneurs share their success stories, and they also share the things which they have considered to start the business. Another thing which I love a lot is the networking probabilities. Maybe you will be able to arrange a good investment on your idea, or you will get a partner who knows some basic things about your idea better than you.

Without the above reasons, there are also some other opportunities which you will love a lot. If you have an excellent idea and you are confident enough, plan to start your business in Wellington in New Zealand for the maximum success. 

For all of your market access and entry strategy needs, click here to get in touch with the Gravis Global Invest team today!

 

 

Foreign Investment in New Zealand

With the scrutiny on foreign investment here in Australia, it would also be worth noting that New Zealand is undergoing a similar conversation about foreign investment in the 'Land of the Long White Cloud'. 

In New Zealand, this has been largely triggered by big investments into two sectors; Housing (particularly in Auckland) and into the famous Dairy Industry. KPMG found Canada accounted for 22 percent of overseas investment in 2013-2014.

China - though by far the biggest foreign player in the dairy sector - was second on overall investment with 14 percent, followed by the US (13 percent) and Australia (11 percent). The US was the biggest buyer of land in that period.

The report, Foreign Direct Investment in New Zealand: Trends and Insights is the second of its kind by KPMG and is based on Overseas Investment Office (OIO) decisions over the last two years. To read that report click here.

The issue of housing investment into the New Zealand housing market has become a big issue in New Zealand politics. This has caused the Key Government to introduce a suite of restrictions on foreign home buyers as fears rise about the effect of this investment on home prices, especially in places such as Auckland. 

In May 2016,  Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) released data which showed that 474 out 11,955 houses sold between January and March in 2016 went to non-residents.

Of the sales to foreign buyers, 276 houses went to Chinese residents. The next biggest investors were Australians, with 45 properties.

Across all of New Zealand, 3 per cent of houses sold between January and March went to people who were not New Zealand citizens or holders of a residency, student or work visa.

Chinese tax residents snapped up 321 of those properties (29.5 per cent of non-resident purchases), followed by Australians on 312 properties (28.6 per cent).

However, fears around loss of sovereignty and suspicion around the motives of Chinese buyers are prompting a rise in protectionist politics; from One Nation and the Greens on the right and the left of Australian politics and New Zealand First on New Zealand's right and the Greens on New Zealand's left. 

A large number of investments do not need approvals beyond the normal legislative business framework for New Zealand-based companies.

The Overseas Investment Act 2005 regulates the acquisitions by overseas entities of 25 percent or more ownership or control of interests of sensitive New Zealand land and significant business assets.

However, just as Australia has an independent Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB), New Zealand has regulatory arrangements as to what needs higher 'testing' from government. These tests are unique to the growing economic circumstances New Zealand faces. New Zealand has seen as massive growth in its economy since John Key came to power after a long term of Helen Clark as New Zealand's Labour Prime Minister. 

These three tests are:

  • sensitive land (eg farm land, historical landmarks, regional parks)
  • significant business assets (eg New Zealand securities or assets, or the establishment of a business, worth more than $100 million)
  • fishing quota (an interest in fishing quota or securities in a person that owns an interest in fishing quota).

However, this is balanced by an efficient Department of Trade and Enterprise that can assist with investment into New Zealand successfully. 

Some of the services NZTE can provide include:

  • supplying general and customised reports on New Zealand investment opportunities, costs and regulatory processes for your investment
  • facilitating your visit to New Zealand by identifying potential investment targets and arranging suitable meetings, including introductions to other contacts in New Zealand (eg regional economic development agencies) that could support your investment
  • facilitating the selection of suitable sites for your investment project
  • helping coordinate your investment, including providing information and facilitating access to other Government assistance programmes, and helping to remove potential obstacles
  • providing information about potential New Zealand-based advisors or suppliers for your investment project

With our team having extensive dealings with New Zealand Government agencies, we are perfectly placed to assist investors in their regulatory engagement with New Zealand. If you would like to talk further, please click on the button below.

Business and Skilled Migration Queensland Visa Update Seminar

This event is part of the Queensland International Business Series – 10 – 21 October 2016.

Business and Skilled Migration Trade & Investment Queensland’s Business and Skilled Migration Department, in collaboration with Asialink Business, and Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand invite you to attend an informative workshop on Queensland State Nominated migration visas and the benefits for your clients.

Hear from an expert panel on changes relevant to Queensland’s State Nomination visas, as well as their insights on how professional services providers can work together to provide best advice to new business migrants to Queensland.

The distinguished speakers will discuss Queensland State Nomination visas, criteria changes, outcomes for your clients and how onshore and offshore migration agents can expand on their business knowledge with the support of local professional service providers.

This event will include a moderated Q&A with a panel of experts.

Registrations close Friday 14 October 2016.

PANELISTS

  • Moderated by Greg McKean, Manager – Business & Skilled Migration Queensland, Trade & Investment Queensland.
  • Glenn Ferguson AM – Managing Director, Ferguson Cannon Lawyers
  • Lisa Wilson – Senior Manager, International Executive Services team, KPMG
  • Murray Davis, Queensland Government Trade & Investment Commissioner for Taiwan

Gravis Global Invest team expands

In terms of international investment markets the African continent represents huge potential for a number of sectors. As such, Gravis Insights Australia will have an ever growing focus on the continent; not only in terms of helping African nations and businesses seek out new opportunities inbound to Australasia but also to assist outbound investors looking to Africa for opportunities.

As many of our clients know, we are specialists in terms of multicultural engagement and from there derives our connections in the global investment space.

For us at Gravis Insights Australia, we firmly believe that global investment is about two way exchanges of capital and intellectual property. Too often is there a narrow focus on either the inbound nature of investment or the outbound nature of trade but rarely both considered in a dynamic way; here at Gravis Insights Australia - we think a little differently about global investment strategies.

It is to this end that we are proud to announce two new members of our team and how their entrance into our team develops our long term vision for Gravis Global Invest.

We would like to introduce to the team Mr Bobby Whitfield. Bobby is a Queensland Multicultural Ambassador from 2013 and was the first ever person to receive this prestigious award from the Queensland Government Department of Multicultural Affairs under the Ministerial guidance of former LNP Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Glen Elmes

We look forward to working with Bobby on delivering international investment and trade deals from countries such as Liberia, Guinea, Cote d'Ivoire and other West African nations. 

Secondly, we would like to introduce Leila Abukar to the team. Leila is a long term friend of our team at Gravis Insights Australia. We assisted her and raised money for her failed bid for Yeerongpilly in the Queensland Election of 2015. Leila is now doing some great work for our good friends over at Access Community Services.  Leila holds significant connections in places such as Somalia, Djibouti, Mozambique, Ethiopia and Kenya.

Our Gravis Global Invest team continues to expand and this next stage delivers the full range of expertise and knowledge to help facilitate new deals between African nations and international investment interests. Furthermore, we will even be exploring the partnering of products and services from a number of African nations into the Pacific and into Asia. 

With Leila and Bobby's business and political connections on the continent, we know that these two wonderful additions to our team will deliver real results for our clients in Australia and abroad. 

NT Land Development Corporation

Following the landslide win of Labor which ended the CLP reign in control of the Northern Territory, the new cabinet has been sworn in. Under these ministerial arrangements, Deputy Chief Minister Hon Nicole Susan Manison MLA has been sworn in as the Minister for Infrastructure, Planning and Logistics. 

This makes her the Minister responsible for the Land Development Corporation. The Land Development Corporation is the Northern Territory Government’s strategic land developer -  operating within industrial, commercial and residential sectors across the Northern Territory. This is the entity which investors need to engage with in order to pursue investment opportunities in the Northern Territory. 

We believe that there are massive strategic advantages to new investment opportunities in the Northern Territory, including investment climate and proximity to key Asian markets. 

The Land Development Corporation is focussing on two main strategic projects at this time. One is the Titlemaine Marine Park and the other is the Tiwi Islands. 

The Tiwi Land Council is working with the Land Development Corporation to support economic development on the Tiwi Islands by providing the private sector with investment opportunities. There are a range of development opportunities available via long term leases. The Land Development Corporation is seeking expressions of interest for developments on the Tiwi Islands.

Long term leases of up to 99 years will be available to suitable investors. The leases will be established on a commercial basis with a fair market value for rent. There are a range of business models that may be suitable including private ownership and a joint venture with Tiwi people.

There are a range of opportunities available on the Tiwi Islands including: 

  • Tourism and Residential
  • Aquaculture
  • Agriculture
  • Industrial

A significant benefit to investors is the support that can be provided by the Land Development Corporation, including interaction with Traditional Owners, assistance with Government process and technical advice.

The Titlemaine Marine Park is strategically located on premium waterfront land in the East Arm Logistics Precinct, the 150 hectare Marine Industry Park will establish an integrated marine services precinct that supports the Defence, oil and gas, coastal barging and logistics sectors.

 Within easy reach of key transport nodes including the East Arm Wharf, Marine Supply Base and the AustralAsia Rail Freight Terminal the MIP will position Darwin as a prime location for marine maintenance and servicing facilities in the region.

 The Marine Industry Park will drive economic growth and attract significant business and investment to the Northern Territory through delivery of land suitable for a variety of industrial and marine uses. Key activities supported by the Marine Industry Park include:

  • common user area
  • multi-user barge ramp
  • marine maintenance area
  • marine services area
  • marine logistics area
  • strategic industrial land.

For expert advice on pursuing investment options in the Northern Territory, please get in touch with the team at Gravis Global Invest today.

IAS Community Led Programs Grants - open now!

The revised IAS Grant Guidelines include a new Community Led grants process that will enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and service providers to seek grant funding to address emerging needs and/or opportunities that they have identified as priorities.

The local PM&C Regional Network office may invite applicants to provide a short initial proposal which outlines the project. Based on the information provided, the Department may then provide advice to the organisation.

•Community Led Grants Initial Proposal Form -  PDF 115 KB

The Department has prepared an Application Kit and an online Application Form to support this funding process:

•Community Led Grants Application Kit - PDF 260 KB
•Community Led Grants Application Form - PDF 705 KB

 .If you would like the GravisPolitics team to write these grants for your business or community organisation, please get in touch with the team and we will give you a quote. 

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