Staff, 12:00 am
Throughout 2016, the perception of bitcoin as a new safe haven persisted. People thought that if the U.S. Federal Reserve hiked interest rates, bitcoin’s perceived use as protection against economic uncertainty might be diminished. Its price might then fall. But despite the dollar’s 2016 gains and year-end rate hike, bitcoin still outpaced. When the U.S. dollar surges, currencies in emerging markets are devalued, increasing demand and the price of bitcoin, says investor Vinny Lingham.
Staff, 7:19 pm
Countries conventionally seen as resource-poor, like Ethiopia and Rwanda, maintained higher growth in 2016 — as high as 8% in agriculture-heavy Ethiopia, despite the worst drought in decades. Successful African economies focused on expanding and diversifying to attract foreign investment. Some economists predict improvement in African economies in 2017 as commodity prices rise. Others are less optimistic that resource-dependent countries can change tack at this point. Diversification doesn’t happen overnight.
Staff, 4:43 pm
Demo Africa has sent 20 African startups to Silicon Valley over the last four years. Arriving there is no guarantee of success. Twelve of the startups are still alive and breathing, four are on life support and four “are just dead and done,” said angel investor Stephen Ozoigbo. Demo Africa was launched five years ago by the U.S. State Department. It’s the African edition of a bigger group of events that include Demo U.S., Russia, Europe, Brazil and Demo China. The Demo-brand launchpad has helped big-name startups such as Adobe got exposure.
Staff, 8:50 am
Longtime Gambian ruler Yahya Jammeh took power in a coup 22 years ago. He lost the country’s Dec. 1 election, and initially conceded defeat, congratulating opposition leader Adama Barrow for his “clear victory.”Jammeh said, “I will help him work towards the transition. Then Jammeh changed his mind. The 15-country Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is threatening military intervention with troops led by Senegal.
Staff, 4:53 pm
Ethiopia’s controversial Gibe III dam got an official inauguration Saturday. UNESCO has condemned it. Human rights groups say it has displaced people in the Omo Valley and will decrease water downstream all the way to Kenya’s Lake Turkana. A far more controversial Ethiopian dam, Africa’s largest ever, is scheduled for completion in 2017. The Grand Renaissance Dam will produce the equivalent electricity of six nuclear reactors.
Staff, 9:19 am
South African anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko would have been 70 years old today. He was killed at age 30 by South African police while in detention. Biko fought to promote black consciousness during apartheid. While in medical school, he co-founded South Africa’s Black Consciousness Movement, which rejected apartheid and encouraged pride in racial identity and cultural heritage. Google is honoring the memory of Biko today with a doodle, altering the logo on its homepage. Apart from Nelson Mandela, nobody symbolized the struggle against the apartheid more than Steve Biko.
Staff, 7:04 am
Kenya has been chosen to host a multi-billion Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre for Africa, beating South Africa, Ghana and Namibia which had also shown interest. The bids by International Maritime Organization, a UN agency which regulates shipping, were opened in April. The centre will promote co-operation in maritime technology. Kenya presented the bid through a consortium of organisations consisting of the Kenya Maritime Authority, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and the Kenya Ports Authority.
Staff, 6:51 am
Ghana’s opposition leader was declared the winner of presidential elections late Friday, securing the country’s highest office on his third attempt and helping to cement the West African nation’s reputation as a model for democracy on the continent. Nana Akufo-Addo, the 72-year old Oxford-educated lawyer and leader of the New Patriotic Party, accepted a concession from President John Mahama of the National Democratic Congress.
Staff, 12:02 am
One aspect of U.S. military operations in Africa that remains vastly under-covered and unappreciated is the role of private military and security contractors. Private military and security contractors are the U.S. military’s American Express card. It dare not deploy overseas without them. This is nowhere truer than in Africa. It is fitting that modern private military and security contractors should be operating in Africa. After all, Africa gave rise to much of the industry. The pioneer in the field was the South Africa-based Executive Outcomes, which shut down in 1998.
Staff, 7:05 am
In Accra, Ghana, there was a building that flew an American flag outside every Monday, Tuesday, and Friday, 7:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Inside hung a photo of President Barack Obama, and signs indicated that you were in the U.S. Embassy in Ghana. However, you were not. This embassy was a sham. It was not operated by the United States government, but by figures from both Ghanaian and Turkish organized crime rings