Staff, 1:02 pm
It may be surprising to learn that North Korea has long fostered diplomatic, economic and military relations with various African countries. These relations have thrived even after widespread international condemnation following its first nuclear test in 2006. An Africa pivot may be the only option left for the country as China -— its traditional ally — increasingly distances itself. Following North Korea’s sixth nuclear test over the weekend, the U.N. warned members to “redouble efforts” to enforce existing sanctions.
Staff, 8:00 am
Nigerian novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells a TED audience how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if you hear only a single story about another person or country, you risk epic misunderstanding. For example, she says all she knew about Fide, a worker in her parents’ home, was how poor he was. When she visited his village, she saw a basket his brother had made. “It had not occurred to me that anybody in his family could actually make something,” she said. “All I had heard about them was how poor they were, so that it had become impossible for me to see them as anything else but poor. Their poverty was my single story of them.”
Staff, 9:40 pm
Crowdfunding has been steadily gaining traction in Africa over the past decade. There are 57 crowdfunding platforms on the continent — most designed to serve local consumers and support projects in the host country only. Still, crowdfunding in Africa is limited compared to other regions. In 2015, the African crowdfunding market amounted to about $70 million, less than 1 percent of the global market. Investors and African entrepreneurs who use crowdfunding are operating in an unregulated space, at least in most African countries.
Staff, 8:01 am
Lying face-down on a stone slab, nearly naked, while a stranger thrashes at you might be a fantasy for some, but not for me. Yet I willingly signed up for the jarring experience — and, truth be told, enjoyed it. Welcome to a Moroccan hammam. Traditional bathhouses are a staple of Moroccan life. Each city’s ancient medina revolves around four neighborhood requisites: a mosque, a public fountain, a bakery, and a hammam — the last frequented by residents at least once a week for a thorough scrub. There are thousands of hammams to choose from.
Staff, 12:15 pm
Netherlands-based Vitol has been one of the big winners of the oil price crash, as the glut in supply led to arbitrage and storage opportunities. The company enjoyed one of its most profitable years in 2015, with a 15% increase in net income to $1.6B. Independent oil traders typically avoid involvement in big oil exploration projects, focusing on moving oil and fuel from where it is produced to where it is most needed. But a few have made tentative steps as it can provide an alternative source of revenue and secure source supply.
Staff, 6:11 pm
At least 39 vehicles caught fire and one person died before U.S. car manufacturer Ford agreed in January to recall the 2014 Kuga model in South Africa. For months, photos and videos made their way onto social media of Ford Kuga SUVs on fire in South Africa. The Ford Escape, sold in the U.S., is nearly identical to the Ford Kuga. Ford recalled 400,000 Escape and Mercury Mariner models due to a fuel leak before fires were reported. Some South African Ford owners want to know why they were treated differently.
Staff, 1:01 am
Overall, capital importation into Nigeria fell 47 percent in 2016. Foreign direct investment flows were way up but portfolio investments were way down, deterred by the recession and the currency. Nigeria in 2016 imported the bulk of its capital from Britain, the U.S. and Netherlands, with the telecoms, banking and oil sectors the main beneficiaries. Nigeria’s stock market fell 6.2 percent in 2016 while the naira lost a third of its official value against the dollar. In 2017, stocks continue to fall, down 3.1 percent so far.
Staff, 12:55 pm
To fulfill its economic potential, Africa must industrialize and it’s well suited to do so. The question is how. The economic growth experienced in recent decades has not been sustainable or inclusive. Africa’s economies must move beyond producing raw materials to build competitive manufacturing with added value. Developed countries’ experiences will help Africa avoid the pitfalls of unbridled industrialization, especially environmental damage. Africa is committed to industrialization. The process is already underway in Ethiopia, Ghana, Rwanda, and Senegal.
Staff, 11:27 am
Legal permanent residents from three African countries who hold U.S. green cards may not be able to return to the U.S. if they are traveling abroad, according to new rules imposed by Donald Trump. A travel ban affects travelers with passports from Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and four other Muslim-majority countries. Confusion abounded at airports as immigration and customs officials struggled to interpret the new rules, with some legal residents who were in the air when the order was issued detained at airports upon arrival. An official argued the pause on travel is a response to concerns that immigration and refugee programs are being abused.
She’s There When African Governments Turn Off The Internet: Meet The Lawyer Advancing Facebook In AfricaBy Staff, 1:01 am
Some describe Ebele Okobi, 42, as Facebook’s secretary of state for Africa. Last year, at least 11 African governments shut down the internet for various temporary reasons. Where there are shutdowns, there is Okobi. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of her work is Free Basics, the Facebook-driven platform that provides a free version of the internet. Telecos in 22 African countries provide it. Facebook can control what is accessible, and many have criticized it for creating different classes of internet access. For its part, Facebook says half of all Free Basics users convert into paying internet customers within a month.