Dana Sanchez, 12:35 pm
Facebook beat Wall Street expectations for sales and user growth in the fourth quarter of 2016, and it credits Internet.org, its free basic version of the internet in developing countries, for helping make that happen. It added more users worldwide in the fourth quarter than any quarter since the company went public in 2012. Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s vision is to get more Africans online. “This isn’t a purely altruistic venture,” an analyst said. Internet.org, is available in 23 African countries through partnerships with mobile operators.
Dana Sanchez, 3:36 pm
Out of nine female heads of state and government that Africa has had, only two were elected — Liberia’s Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and Mauritian President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim. The outgoing chairwoman of the African Union Commission, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma says Africa needs more female heads of state. She’s considered a front runner in the race for the next South African president. Elections are scheduled for 2019. Promoting women’s rights was the highlight of Dlamini-Zuma’s legacy during her 4.5 years as chairwoman of the African Union Commission.
Dana Sanchez, 3:22 pm AFKI Original
If Ant expands access to mobile money, it could mean that even more people will receive remittances on their mobile money accounts, and that will be good for Ismail Ahmed. Mobile money is disrupting remittances and making formal transactions easier, says Ahmed, a Somali entrepreneur and CEO of online money transfer service WorldRemit. Only 5% of remittances today are sent online. The rest is cash, paid over the counter or at agents. Online remittances are projected to grow six-fold to reach at least 40 percent in the next few years.
Dana Sanchez, 8:01 am
Sousse has some spectacular, if overcrowded, beaches. If you’re traveling independently, the best way to reach Sousse is by train. It’s a relatively scenic route through the Tunisian countryside, past olive and orange groves and small villages. Or you can jump in a “louage,” Tunisia’s much-loved shared transport. Just watch out for the crazy driving. Getting behind the wheel in Tunisia is no small thing, and can quickly descend into something resembling a video game. Once in Sousse, the best stretches of beach are around the hotels Movenpick and Marhaba Beach.
Dana Sanchez, 9:12 pm AFKI Original
Daniel Adidwa, founder and CEO of Tour 2.0, said he built a tourism company that creates new perceptions about Africa by exposing tourists to people living in communities once considered “no-go” zones. His tours of Alexandra Township — it’s next door to Sandton, Africa’s richest square mile — allow tourists to get an authentic experience of South Africa and its cultural diversity. Adidwa’s new Cocktails and Culinary tour of Alexandra continues to blast away at stereotypes.
Dana Sanchez, 11:39 am
Supporters of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi have gathered in Kinshasa to mourn the death of a hugely popular figure who has been compared to South African icon Nelson Mandela. Some fear Tshisekedi’s death could have a destabilizing effect in the DRC, a country with a history of foreign intervention, civil war, and leaders who won’t step down. The government has promised Tshisekedi will be buried in state. Tshisekedi’s son Felix has taken on a growing role in opposition politics in the past three years as his father’s health deteriorated.
Dana Sanchez, 3:29 pm
Johannesburg-based Standard Bank is the latest to join the R3 consortium after some global heavyweights pulled out. The network represents a collaboration of 75-plus banks exploring blockchain as a solution for digital payments. Goldman Sachs, Santander, Morgan Stanley and the National Australian Bank have quit the NYC-based R3. Their departure raises questions about how much distributed ledger and blockchain technology are worth to the financial sector. One expert says they could have quit over competition and not wanting to share.
Dana Sanchez, 1:49 pm
The A.U. is divided on whether or not to collectively adopt a plan that Human Rights Watch described as having no timeline and “few concrete recommendations for action.” Unless the ICC undergoes reforms, African countries should make a coordinated withdrawal, according to the resolution. A proposal refers to the creation of an alternate regional African war crimes court. South Africa and Kenya have pushed for withdrawal. “They’ll be disappointed that the discussions about completely severing ties with the ICC will have to wait another six months for the next summit,” an analyst said.
Dana Sanchez, 3:04 pm
BitPesa, a bitcoin payments startup that launched in Kenya and expanded in Africa and beyond, announced a $2.5M round of funding. The Series A round is led by Silicon Valley-based industry investor Draper VC, with existing U.S. investors. Series A investors are willing to take on the risk when a new venture is generating revenue but not yet making a profit. BitPesa will use some of the funds to move to Luxembourg. The firm’s goal is to be the largest payment company in the U.K., Europe and Africa.
Dana Sanchez, 1:11 pm
Aliko Dangote, CEO of Nigeria’s massive Dangote Group, said he wants to diversify his investments in Ethiopia, and he’s looking at sugar production. Ethiopia produces enough of its own sugar to finally stop importing it this year and start exporting it — a turnaround the government describes as revolutionary. Three new sugar refineries are scheduled to begin production this month. Construction is also planned for 10 new sugar factories for a total of 13 by 2020. Sugar is where Africa’s richest man cut his teeth.