Dana Sanchez, 2:40 pm
Ethiopia is hardly the only recent example of how conflicts over land rights can set the stage for political and humanitarian crises. Competition for arable land contributed to the Rwandan genocide in 1994. Food insecurity stemming from land mismanagement is an important factor driving migrants to Europe. Farmers have always intuitively known what scientists are now confirming: trees and other vegetation can stimulate more rainfall.
Dana Sanchez, 1:52 pm
In Johannesburg, the poorest residents spend more than 20 percent of their income getting to and from work. So it seems bizarre that recent efforts to beef up the city’s bike lanes got knocked down. The new mayor vowed in his inauguration speech to stop the construction of bike lanes. Cycling in South Africa has been stigmatized. It’s seen either as an elitist sport for whites or mode of transport for those too poor to afford a car. A bike-share program in Marrakech could become a pilot for future projects in other African cities.
Dana Sanchez, 10:35 am
Naspers owes its fortune to one great investment — a 34% stake in China’s top internet service, Tencent. The stake is worth more than Naspers itself. Investors aren’t impressed with Naspers’ operations in some markets. The mega firm is aggressively selling some assets, buying others and expanding online classifieds in new markets including the U.S., where it hopes to topple Craigslist.
Dana Sanchez, 12:16 pm
If you want to know what U.S. President elect Donald Trump thinks of African governance, read his tweets: “Every penny of the $7 billion going to Africa as per Obama will be stolen—corruption is rampant!” Africans criticize Switzerland for not doing more to return stolen money. Switzerland is trying to shake off the stereotype as a safe haven for ill-gotten loot. To some extent it’s succeeding. Tanzania has asked Switzerland to help recover money illegally stashed in Swiss banks. Other world centers are quickly filling the vacuum.
Dana Sanchez, 12:37 am
Blockchain and the ability to create transparent data transfer with distributed ledger technology is important to the United Nations Children’s Fund. The New York City-based program helps women and children in developing countries. UNICEF has a new innovation fund that uses the approach of Silicon Valley venture funds. The fund is supporting a South African startup that uses blockchain and advances in identity technology to create better management for early childhood development services.
Dana Sanchez, 12:01 am
Norway-based Opera claims its web browser reaches 100 million African users. How did they get there? There is a high degree of correlation between income and the browser used. But there’s also frst-mover status. Long before smartphones arrived in Africa, Opera was the de facto mobile phone browser. Other browsers came in with more features that most people didn’t need at the expense of bandwidth. That’s how Opera built its name as the go-to browser in communities with low internet connectivity, especially for mobile users.
Dana Sanchez, 3:36 pm
A hedge fund with Carlyle Group LP, the world’s second-largest private equity firm, has lost $400 million it invested in 2015 in a Moroccan oil refinery deal, according to a securities filing. Saudi billionaire Mohammed al-Amoudi owns 67.26% of Morocco’s Samir refinery. The deal highlights the risks U.S. investors face in emerging markets that have unfamiliar investor-protection laws. Still, despite the risks, investors continue to find the lure of higher growth in emerging markets attractive.
Dana Sanchez, 10:41 am
The degree of diversity in African genetic samples is greater than any other region on Earth. Yet just
3% of the 35 million-plus who have participated in genetic screening studies are of African descent. The research community assumed that poorer countries, like many in Africa, don’t need genomic studies because the biggest killers there are infectious diseases. African underrepresentation in genomics databases is about to change. The first chip created specifically to target genetic variation in African populations is expected to ship in 2017.
Dana Sanchez, 11:22 am
It’s cheaper to produce tomato paste in China and export it to Nigeria and other African markets than to produce it locally, according to Nigeria’s No. 1 tomato paste processor. Tomato paste is used widely in Nigerian dishes from jollof rice to soups. Eric Umeofia, CEO of Erisco Foods, said he plans to exit the Nigerian market. The news came as a shock to Nigerians. Erisco has the largest tomato processing plant in Nigeria and the fourth largest in the world.
Dana Sanchez, 3:59 pm
When it comes to predicting how President Donald Trump will affect U.S-Africa trade relations, opinions are divided. The election will result in few changes for Africa, a Liberian activist said. Obama has demonstrated that “regardless of a person’s race, gender, or socioeconomic position, U.S. presidents always protect U.S. interests.” Others say it will be bad news for Africa. Trump’s opposition to multilateral trade deals – which he says are unfair to the U.S. – could endanger the African Growth and Opportunity Act introduced in the Clinton era.