Barack Obama’s 2008 election as U.S. president inspired millions of Africans with hopes that strong ties to Kenya, country of his father’s birth, would mean increased U.S. involvement. Some believe Obama will leave office Jan. 20, 2017, falling short of those expectations. He has been blamed for not making African issues a top priority of his foreign policy. Others say he leaves a lasting legacy that will live on — especially in Africa’s young leaders.
Entrepreneurship: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 1:55 pm
The African tech space is not immune to the economic pressures faced by other sectors, but it is proving resilient. Significantly more African tech startups raised funding in 2016 than the previous year, but the overall amount of recorded funds declined, according to a new report. Fintech startups were the winning sector, receiving the most investor funding in Africa in 2016. The economic downturn played a part in that. Fintech in Africa is different, a stakeholder said. It’s building new infrastructure rather than disrupting an existing one.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:56 am AFKI Original
Kenya has long been known for fantastic athletes, but not so much for entrepreneurs focused on the business of fitness. Kenya-born Saloni Kantaria Mathur ranked No. 1 in Kenyan women’s tennis and studied law in the U.S. before starting an indoor cycling studio in Nairobi. The Reform brand is unmistakably Kenyan and it’s not your average gym experience. Reform integrates live-streamed performance data tech into classes, bringing the competitive instinct into the workout. Mathur shared with AFKInsider what she learned as a female African fitness entrepreneur.
Dana Sanchez, 12:29 pm
Despite reports of inequality and xenophobia, South Africa’s relative wealth and stability continue to draw migrants from all over Africa. South Africa has the highest number of pending asylum claims in the world — more than 1 million. African refugees heading to Europe get disproportionate media coverage. A far greater number would rather seek security and livelihood elsewhere in Africa. Of the world’s 17 million displaced Africans, only about 3 percent are in Europe. The vast majority are in Africa.
Staff, 8:15 am
Blockchain has applications in industries other than financial services, a stakeholder says. Start-ups are already offering products that cover specific use cases. Interest was intense at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa in Cape Town. Most of us do not understand TCP/IP protocol, but that doesn’t stop us from surfing the web and exchanging emails. In the same way, clients will come to trust blockchain the same way they trust the Internet. Organizations starting now on a blockchain journey will have a first-mover advantage.
Global Risk Insights, 12:13 pm
While the world electrification rate is roughly 84 percent, only 19 percent of the sub-Sahara Africa population is connected. The grid is unlikely to expand fast enough to satisfy demand. Pioneering business models relying on pay-as-you-go could push off-grid solar energy to reach 9 million African households by 2020. Despite the early success of off-grid solar energy access through pay-as-you-go payment models, challenges remain.
Dana Sanchez, 11:08 am
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates invested $9 billion in Africa over the course of 15 years, and said he plans to spend another $5 billion there in the next five. The world’s richest man says Africa is proof that life is getting better for more people. His optimism is not universal. His funding of GMO research to improve crop yields and reduce famine has been controversial. Anti-GMO voices don’t deter him. Here are five reasons why Gates said he sees the glass as more than half full in Africa.
Peter Pedroncelli, 5:45 am AFKI Original
The cosmetics industry in Africa is a burgeoning market that is set for increased interest from international brands as well as added opportunities for local entrepreneurs. From $400 per weekend to $1 million a month, local business successes form part of the cosmetics narrative in Africa, with opportunities waiting to be tapped. Here are 12 things you may not know about the cosmetics industry in Africa.
Dana Sanchez, 11:20 pm
Foreigners have been invited to invest in Ethiopia’s state-owned shipping and logistics company. Will telecommunications and banks be next? Ethiopia is one of the last African countries to have a state monopoly in telecoms. The U.S. hopes to bring its technology, know-how and managerial skills to Ethiopia. The American Chamber of Commerce of Ethiopia was launched in November. “The private sector needs a level playing field that allows fair competition with state-owned enterprises,” a U.S. stakeholder said.
Dana Sanchez, 2:22 pm AFKI Original
Shopping is changing in Africa. Formal retail developers are learning from the failures of malls in developed markets like the U.S., and applying new models to old ideas. African micro enterprises and small businesses will have a greater demand for shared space and flexible office space in the future. New or existing African office developments will need to apply design principles used in innovation labs, incubation centers and flexible work spaces, a stakeholder said.
Staff, 5:36 pm
Poor power supply is partly to blame for the Nigerian government’s inability to build a robust auto industry. That leaves vehicle imports as one of the only ways to meet local demand. Nigeria’s auto market is worth over $4 billion a year, but it does not translate into anything meaningful, a stakeholder said. Starting in 2015, stiff new tariffs were levied on new and used Nigerian vehicle imports. Imports fell more than 50 percent.
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