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.
Dana Sanchez, 2:34 pm
Supporters of the conflict minerals rule say it successfully held manufacturers accountable for the minerals they source from DRC. Its suspension would “enrich abusive thugs” and could lead to the complete repeal of Dodd-Frank regulations, implemented after the 2007-2009 financial crisis to limit risky practices that caused the U.S. banking crisis. However a U.S.association of manufacturers estimates the law costs U.S. businesses $9-to-$16 billion. This led to the suspension plan by Trump, who campaigned on a pro-business platform.
Dana Sanchez, 9:59 am
The waves seem to roll down the coast for miles. The water is cold and great white shark-infested, “but those barrels are oh, so inviting; inviting enough to forget the sharks, take the beatings, fight the current and try to pump that little rubber body of yours out the other side.” Skeleton Bay has been identified as one of world’s 10 sharkiest spots that you can’t help but surf. Its waves are “reeling, pale green lefthand zoomers that cull all nonsense and set the brain to froth overload … going and going like the Energizer Bunny.” There have been no recorded shark attacks there yet, “but ask anyone who’s surfed there and they’ll tell you: The vibe is there.”
Dana Sanchez, 8:53 am
A combination of native African armyworms and Fall armyworms from the Americas are ravaging staple crops in southern Africa. Uncontrolled, they have the potential to cause food shortages. Damage to maize is likely to have the biggest impact because it’s the main staple food crop. The Fall armyworm destroys the cob itself. In parts of their native range in the Americas, genetically-modified Bt maize is grown to combat the Fall armyworm. This may be an option for South Africa and other countries where GM crops are already grown. But many parts of Africa do not allow or welcome GM varieties.
Dana Sanchez, 3:39 pm
Some U.S. journalism professors have been encouraged to incorporate Trevor Noah’s new book, “Born A Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood,” into their classwork. A comedian and host of Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” Noah is still finding his voice, one commentator said. He lacks the tenacity, defiance and indignation that made his predecessor, Jon Stewart such a stalwart. But time will treat him well. If cable TV fails Noah, “literature will remain a firm ally.” Noah’s debut book has been described as “extraordinarily heartfelt, compulsively enriching (and) a hell of a memoir.”