#EarlySignals - October 2022

14 October 2022


Our monthly selection of news, quotes and figures that slipped through the radar but could have significant implications


Closure of local shops in Sudan: a strong sign of protest against the economic policies of the regime of General al-Burhan

To protest the lack of wage increase and the sharp rise in taxes on agricultural products, port fees, industry and trade, from 100 to 500%, Sudanese merchants closed several shops and stores on 2 and 3 October, including El Obeid (North Kordofan), El Gedaref and Ed Damazin (Blue Nile). Against a backdrop of high inflation (117% in August), the movement spread to the rest of the country, particularly in the White Nile and Nile regions. The mobilization was triggered by the announcement in August by the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Jibril Ibrahim, that the 2023 budget would be devoid of foreign aid. Can the protest last? The violent demonstrations in June show that tensions are still high and could escalate quickly.  


“We are proud to help drive insurance adoption, especially among low-income people. 90% of our customers have never had insurance before, but what's surprising is that people actually want to buy insurance! They just don't have easy access to products that really work for them.” CEO and cofounder of Turaco, Ted Pantone
The insurance penetration rate in Africa, at around 3%, is still low compared to the world average of around 7%. The mismatch between the supply of and demand for insurance services is one of the main reasons for this low coverage rate. The emergence of new insurtech startups in Africa aims to fill this gap by facilitating access to and distribution of insurance products, rather than offering insurance as an underwriter. What does this represent? More than 75 insurtech startups are already active in Africa, and half of them are under five years old. In 2020, the African insurance market reached a value of USD 70 billion, with an estimated annual growth rate of 7% by 2025, the highest in the world just after Latin America.  


USD 14 billion: the amount of investment Zambia will need to meet its projected electricity demand by 2040

According to the findings of the 2021 Zambia Electricity Cost of Service Study (CoSS), nearly USD 14 billion in investments will be needed to meet the country's growing electricity demand by 2040. This amounts to three quarters of the country's GDP. In its annual report issued earlier this year, the International Energy Agency (IEA) indicated that nearly 43% of the African population still lacks access to electricity. On a continental scale, USD 190 billion in annual investments would be needed by 2030 to meet the goal of sustainable universal coverage. Apart from financing needs, what energy resources can the continent rely on to increase access to electricity? Many debates are taking place on the continent regarding the energy mix to adopt. Solar, wind, hydro, gas, or even green hydrogen, the available energy resources vary greatly. COP27 should provide some answers, probably in favor of gas.