Dana Sanchez, 3:22 pm AFKI Original
Despite declining oil prices, oil-rich Norway is the happiest country in the world — proof that it’s about more than income. The people who live in the happiest countries in the world also value good governance, freedom, generosity, honesty, and health, according to World Happiness Report. There’s a deficit of happiness in Africa. African youth are essentially optimisitic and resilient in the face of poor infrastructure, but they are disappointed with development under democracy, say the authors of the report.
Dana Sanchez, 6:25 pm
Google launched an online learning portal a year ago offering digital skills courses free to anyone in Africa, designed to use up as little data as possible. Many people who took the courses had limited internet access and high data costs. The US tech giant is now turning its attention to web-focused skills training for small businesses across Africa. In addition to skills and workforce training, Google is laying fiber optic cable, easing access to Android phones as it expands on the continent. Google was valued at $109.5 billion in 2016.
Dana Sanchez, 10:15 am
Many migrants who make it to Italy don’t tell friends and family about the hardship. A campaign that exposes the realities is now targeting potential African migrants on social media in 15 West and Central African countries — where most arrivals in Italy originate. Posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram give testimonials created by migrants in multiple languages. All end with the warning, “Be aware, brother” and “Be aware, sister.” A record 181,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 2016 on flimsy boats operated by smugglers. Of those, 25,000 were mostly unaccompanied children. Arrivals in Italy are up 66% so far in 2017.
Dana Sanchez, 7:17 pm AFKI Original
500 Startups invests 70% in the U.S. The rest of its deals are in 60 other countries and the VC fund has its eyes on Africa. “We continue to look for and source deals from traditionally underrepresented ecosystems,” said 500 Startups founding partner Dave McClure. Geeks on a Plane has done 17 tours. This will be its first in Africa. “We are looking to build stronger relationships with investors on the ground, maybe even find a few startups to invest in.” 500 Startups has invested in 1,700-plus companies. The tour is a way for startups, investors, and executives to learn about high-growth tech markets.
Dana Sanchez, 1:01 am
Companies expanding in Africa are helping drive the need for more warehouse space. There is a dire shortage of warehouse facilities, says global real estate consultancy Knight Frank. Scarcity of quality warehouses in Nairobi presents opportunities for investors and developers, and the largest development bank in the world is taking notice. U.S.-based IFC and the U.K.’s CDC finance group are investing up to $35 million in Nairobi warehouse development. Logistics is an often overlooked part of economic development, the CDC said.
Dana Sanchez, 1:05 am
South Africa’s metered-taxi drivers are getting their own taxi hailing app to compete with Uber, and Uber says bring it on. In their latest protest against Uber, members of the SA Metered Taxi Association on Friday blocked highways and entrances to O.R Tambo International, the country’s busiest airport. Uber says there’s enough business to go around in Africa, and it encourages the competition to use technology to access what it says are abundant economic opportunities. As the price of smartphones fall and mobile penetration rises, Uber is also looking for more opportunities to invest in Africa’s taxi-hailing industry.
Dana Sanchez, 2:00 pm
Following failure to launch in 2014, Africa now has the unique web address .africa. It’s almost five years since the African Union submitted the domain name to the governing body that establishes generic top-level domains. The .africa domain is expected to be available July 1 but the level of demand is uncertain.
Africans have been applying for years to register their preferred .africa domain names on a reserve list, on the understanding they would have first rights to it. “With .africa, I would say Africa has finally got its digital identity,” said outgoing A.U. OCommission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Dana Sanchez, 3:11 pm
The Gambian village of Sareh Pateh, population 4,000, turned on solar street lights for the first time Sunday, thanks to Akon’s $1 billion line of credit. “I want to leave a legacy,” the Senegalese-American Akon told reporters in Banjul. “Africans work harder in everything and they work harder to live and to sustain themselves.” Akon spent part of his childhood in a Senegalese village with no electricity before moving to the U.S. In 2011, Forbes ranked him fifth out of 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa. He says he’s a businessman first and a musician second.
Dana Sanchez, 11:52 am AFKI Original
Africa has been reluctant to adopt GM food technology for crop production, but that’s changing. Many African countries are willing to overcome domestic and international opposition to GM technology to boost their agriculture sector. Just four African countries allow GMO crops for cotton. In Africa, only South Africa grows GM food. Opponents urge African countries not to commercialize GM crops, saying it will put their agricultural sector in the hands of large multinational agri-businesses and hurt biodiversity. Proponents say GM crops are as safe.
Dana Sanchez, 8:04 am
MTN’s shares are down 35 percent since October 2015, when Africa’s largest mobile service provider reported a $5.2B fine by Nigerian regulators over unregistered sim cards. That could make MTN cheap enough to be considered for a takeover, Times Live reports. MTN had other problems in the last two years including foreign exchange losses and bad investments. Investing heavily in South Africa, MTN grew revenue and subscribers, but it would be difficult for an international operator to convince its shareholders to back a bid, given the challenges MTN faces, an analyst said.