SFA Insights: The politics of a chocolate bar

Ahead of WEF Africa, we take a look at the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and how greater collaboration between nations could lead to greater bargaining power. SFA works extensively in developing markets, with several projects on the African continent, and we are always looking out for developments at the intersection of business and politics that shape the environments in which we advise. When political and business leaders meet in Cape Town for the World Economic Forum on Africa, in programmed events in the Harbour-side convention centre and offsite chatter in Camp’s Bay, much time will be committed to discussion on how to make a success of the new Africa Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA). In May 2019, 54 nations across the African continent reached an agreement to launch the world’s largest free-trade zone. Within the new economic area, member countries will initially benefit from tariff cuts for good traded...

SFA Insights: How much does a smart phone really cost?

In 2018, Apple sold more than 850,000 iPhones every day. Creating each one required upward of 20 individual raw materials, each supplied by at least 50 countries and each drawn from every continent on earth except Antarctica. So, if you are reading this on a smartphone, laptop or tablet, you are holding the end product of one of the longest and most complex supply chains in the world. Yet we know virtually nothing about it. It is tempting to blame the complex web of secrecy and security that characterises modern business practices, and especially business practices in the developing world. There is also a fair argument to be made around the lukewarm embrace of additional scrutiny within mining and minerals sector itself. But when considering the long path that takes raw materials from the deep-red earths of Central Africa into the eager hands of consumers, the problem isn’t just transparency....

SFA Insights: A Coalition to Re-Examine War Crimes

In some instances our work in emerging markets meets our work in international disputes, but rarely has any project been as rewarding as the support we provided last year to a group of women that suffered sexual violence during the Vietnam War. This recent long read from the BBC is tough reading, especially when one remembers the war ended in 1975 and the women are still fighting for justice and an apology, some 45 years on. Governments around the world have tried to sweep atrocities, including sexual violence, under the carpet, but the reality is that no matter how big the carpet, this is an issue which will not go away. Rwanda is an example of how to heal old wounds; it can be done and must be done, because only then can you genuinely move on as a nation. In spring 2019 we helped a number of women tell their...