Wind and solar power in Africa are short-term solutions that cannot fix serious, immediate problems. African cities need abundant, reliable electricity, and they need it now. Wind and solar do not equal real economic development or really improved living standards. African governments need to stand up to Europeans, global banks and environmentalists who oppose big power plants in Africa. Our leaders need to remember that Europe and the U.S. did not have a World Bank or other outside help when they modernized and industrialized. They did it themselves.
Entrepreneurship: Latest News
Staff, 2:42 pm
Huarong Zhang is chairman of Huajian Group, whose Chinese factories make shoes for Ivanka Trump, Nine West, Michael Kors and other Western brands. This week, Zhang brokered a $ 1.5 billion deal with the Nigerian government to build a shoe factory Nigeria. Huajian already has a shoe factory in Ethiopia manufacturing more than 2,000 pairs of shoes a day that are exported to the U.S. and European markets. Huajian produces 12 million pairs of shoes a year, mostly high-end brands for European and U.S. markets. They typically sell for at least $100 a pair in the U.S.
Tom Jackson, 12:36 pm AFKI Original
Across Africa, banks are choosing to work with startups rather than compete against them. Citibank has run mobile challenges in Nairobi, Standard Bank has incubators in South Africa, and Barclays has just selected its second cohort in its Cape Town-based accelerator. Fintech startups are reimagining the concept, delivery and consumption of financial services in ways banks have been unable. However, such companies lack the financial clout and access to customers to ensure mass uptake of their solutions. Banks can offer them this.
Peter Pedroncelli, 5:36 am
The World Bank Group has committed to supporting the growth of Africa’s digital economy with the launch of XL Africa, a business acceleration initiative that will provide a raft of benefits for the 20 most promising startups in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five months. African digital entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to be mentored by various global specialists, increase their visibility on the continent and receive access to corporate partners and investors.
Tom Jackson, 11:52 am AFKI Original
In most of the developed world, reliable internet costs less than 1% of average monthly income. In Africa, it’s 18%. Governments are vital to drive down internet prices in Africa, stakeholders say. When connectivity costs drop to 2% of monthly income, reaserch shows the internet becomes accessible to all. Just five of 27 African countries surveyed have achieved the 2% affordability target. Free internet access is the simplest way to tackle economic inequality, a stakeholder said. “It allows people to find and apply for jobs, start online businesses, and generally engage with the economy around them.”
Staff, 4:02 pm
When their Kickstarter campaign failed, a brother-sister team switched gears and ran a successful social media campaign selling Africa-inspired swimsuits online. Their swimwear prints include the Apremo-Canon pattern, a Kente design symbolic of resisting foreign domination — something Ghanaians fought beginning in the 15th century against English colonizers. The Ashanti Swimwear platform helps women in the diaspora and Africa dominate in the online e-commerce space so they can be location-independent, said British-Ghanaian Yasmeen Opare, co-founder of Ashanti Swimwear.
Staff, 12:32 pm
There’s a huge unmet demand for small business financing in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa-based bitcoin startup BitPesa and Germany-based Bitbond have partnered to help change that. Bitbond’s role includes checking the creditworthiness of applicants and determining an interest rate. About 10% of Bitbond’s users are from sub-Sahara. The partnership means a small business owner can receive a loan from investors from all over the world within 20 minutes, a stakeholder said — “an unprecedented level of innovation and convenience in the entire online lending space.”
Dana Sanchez, 9:34 am
There are just 37 black-owned wine brands in South Africa, the world’s seventh-largest wine producing country. The industry employs 290,000 people at 550-plus wineries. Empowerment and transformation has been slow to increase black ownership and leadership. Ntsiki Biyela, South Africa’s first black female winemaker, is a role model and symbol of change. She recently launched her own brand, Aslina wines, named after her grandmother in a rural KwaZulu-Natal village of 1,000 people. The wines are set for export to the U.S. later this year.
Tom Jackson, 8:48 am AFKI Original
Uber says there’s enough room in Africa for all types of taxi and ride-hailing services. The US-based tech company headed off early competition on the continent, but new competitiors are rising. Uber hypes up the competition, saying it means more choices that are affordable, reliable, and produce jobs. One new Uber competitior, Africa Ride, offers drivers a share in the business, saying it empowers them more than Uber does. “Drivers will want to log in on the app which they own and have control over,” said Africa Ride founder Thabo Mashale.
Kurt Davis Jr., 5:44 pm AFKI Original
Africans are demanding more meat in their diets, but consumption may be limited because there are not enough commercial livestock owners producing affordable food. Firms are gobbling up arable land, not just for crop production but also for livestock and cattle. Investment shops are slowly redirecting capital to this subsector of agriculture. Nigeria is in tough times, but people still have to eat. About 45% of rural households own livestock, and meat consumption is strongly correlated to livestock ownership in Nigeria. Fewer than 10 percent of livestock owners function as a business. Most are just supporting the household livelihood.
Ann Brown, 1:04 pm AFKI Original
When a coup in Madagascar sent her father into bankruptcy, 24-year-old Hanta Tiana Ranaivo Rajaonarisoa was forced to abandon her business administration studies in the U.S. She took over the family’s unused essential oil-making machine, and now supplies insect repellants to 40 pharmacies in Madagascar. Malaria is one of the country’s top 5 causes of death. Rajaonarisoa says she’s helping protect Madagascar’s amazing biodiversity — up to 90 percent of the country’s plant species are endemic — by using green waste recovery in her products.
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