Dana Sanchez, 2:37 pm
Marijuana is illegal in South Africa, but the country is a step closer to legalizing it for medicinal purposes. The South African government plans to soon publish proposed guidelines for production of cannabis, known locally as dagga. “This is a major breakthrough and fantastic news for freedom of choice,” said Narend Singh, MP for the Inkatha Freedom Party. The hemp industry is interested in legalizing the strain of cannabis used for hemp. SA imports $76 million worth of hemp products a year, Singh said. There’s also a case due to be heard in the Constitutional Court calling for full legalization including for recreational use.
Dana Sanchez, 1:10 pm
Many see Muhammadu Sanusi II as a reformer whose exposure and knowledge of Islam can help push much-needed change in the country’s north. Northern Nigeria is plagued by men marrying multiple wives and fathering dozens of children they are unable to care for, Sanusi said. The children end up in the streets where they are easy recruits for terrorists. Sanusi proposes a new law that improves gender equality for women and limits polygamous marriage to men who can affored to raise children. There is nothing wrong with polygamy, he said, but women must have the opportunity to thrive.
Dana Sanchez, 10:26 am
Mugabe has long opposed Western intervention in Zimbabwe and has accused opponents of being sponsored by the U.S. He hopes Trump’s America First platform bodes well for Zimbabwe. Mugabe said he was glad that Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton lost the election. He was afraid she would renew sanctions on Zimbabwe. In his last week in office, Obama renewed the sanctions on Zimbabwe for another year. “Why did he (Obama) have to do it? Why didn’t he leave it to the incoming incumbent to make his own decision?” Mugabe said on state-run TV.
Dana Sanchez, 12:10 am
Immigrant communities in South Africa have been reporting an upsurge of xenophobic violence for weeks, raising fears that anti-foreigner sentiment could spark a recurrence of attacks that claimed 67 lives in 2008 and 2015. Residents have complained on social media that foreigners are selling drugs and forcing South African girls into prostitution. A demonstration is planned on Feb. 24 to protest against the presence of Nigerians, Pakistanis and Zimbabweans.
Dana Sanchez, 1:01 am
Local Nigerian appetites for luxury appear to be intact, despite the country’s financial hardship since crude oil prices fell off a cliff. Trendy hotspots are constantly appearing. There are rumors of a Nobu restaurant under construction. When wealthy Nigerians want a shopping spree without the airfare to London, some go to Polo Luxury, which operates luxury retail outlets across West Africa. Jennifer Obayuwana is executive director of the company founded by her father. She spoke to Forbes about the planned March launch of Polo’s luxury online shopping platform – a first of its kind in Africa.
Dana Sanchez, 11:07 am AFKI Original
South African media giant Naspers is launching its 18-month-old internet TV service ShowMax in Poland. It plans to provide hyper-local content and original productions rather than trying to compete with expensive shows designed to appeal to audiences worldwide. It’s competing with the much older, bigger, more established U.S. firm Netflix, which launched in 1998. Netflix is also commissioning original content, but it has an overseas problem, one commentator said. “It just doesn’t have the amount of local content that some of the (streaming and pay TV) competitors have.”
Dana Sanchez, 5:34 pm
With its island-building binge, Dubai is a big customer for African sand. So are Africa’s expanding concrete manufacturing giants. For the island project “The Palm Jumeirah,” Dubai used 200 million cubic meters of sand and stone. Some of the sand came from the sea off Dubai’s coast but a large amount came from African beaches. In Cape Verde, one in three people is unemployed. Sand mining is a fast way to earn money. The consequences of excessive sand mining are devastating. On beaches where tortoises once buried their eggs, there is now only dirt and stones.
Dana Sanchez, 2:10 pm
The South African rand lost almost half its value against the U.S. dollar over the past five years as the country struggled through economic crisis. Zuma welcomed the investigation, saying the government is prepared to act against distorted financial markets “to protect our country’s economy.” He said the financial sector needs new players to diversify, and the government plans to establish a state bank. South Africa’s competition watchdog recommends fines of 10% of banks’ annual in-country turnover.
Dana Sanchez, 4:16 pm
The world’s largest furniture and homeware store, Ikea, has collaborated with some of the best designers in seven sub-Sahran African countries to curate its first African collection in what is described as an effort to “democratize design.” Ikea says it wants to tap into the “creative explosion” happening across the continent. The furniture and homeware collection will focus on “modern rituals and the importance they play in the home.” The collection probably won’t be accessible in the African cities that inspired it. Ikea’s only African outlets are in Morocco and Egypt.
Dana Sanchez, 12:25 pm AFKI Original
Since the Iranian Revolution in 1979, some members of the international community including the U.S. have accused Iran’s government of sponsoring terrorism. South Africa is not one of the accusers. On the contrary, South Africa is expanding trade and defense commitments with the Islamic republic, with plans to expand tourism ties between the two countries. A potential loss of tourists to the U.S. from Muslim-majority countries could be South Africa’s gain as President Donald Trump attempts a travel ban and threatens to tear up the Iran nuclear deal.