Business: Latest News
Tom Jackson, 11:20 am AFKI Original
President Paul Biya promised to increase technology jobs by investing in infrastructure, but Cameroon had been slow in its digital transformation. Stakeholders believe investors will be reluctant to back local companies there as a result of the internet shutdown. The government shutdown is expected to damage the many startups that were getting themselves investment ready in the country. By restricting internet access, “the government is sending the wrong messages to investors … they are undermining the future of its people.”
Reuters, 1:01 am
Airbnb, a US-based online marketplace to list or rent short-term lodgings, expects to double its customer numbers in Africa this year to 1.5 million. Company CEO Brian Chesky was in Cape Town’s oldest township Friday to surprise graduates from an Airbnb training program. He described Africa as “an incredibly exciting emerging market for travel.” The top five Airbnb cities in Africa are Cape Town, Marrakesh, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Casablanca, although listings are found from St. Helena island in the South Atlantic Ocean to Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Somalia.
Staff, 1:01 am
Visas are routinely denied by U.S. embassies without explanation. With the heightened attention on foreign travelers coming to the U.S., there have been stories of more visas being denied to people from countries not named in the Trump administration’s travel ban executive order. If there has been an increase in the number of visas rejected under the new administration, it’s hard to verify. The State Department data made available to the public ended in late 2016.
Ann Brown, 12:48 pm AFKI Original
There is no Silicon Valley in Cape Verde. The government sells a lot of tech services that independent companies could be providing, acting as both regulator and provider. This limits the private market, says Pedro Fernandes Lopes, a local who is bringing the first TEDx talk event to the island nation. It took a local Cape Verdean tech startup months just to register an app because Google didn’t recognize Cape Verde, Lopes told AFKInsider. “We need to raise the global visibility of Cape Verde and its tech innovators. And I think TEDx Praia will play a part in that.”
Kurt Davis Jr., 11:08 am AFKI Original
The economic downturn did little to stifle demand for African real estate. Some of the biggest returns and opportunities exist in rental properties, from beachfront getaways to hidden villas. Affordable housing is a major challenge for governments. Private investment is seen as a solution. Developers, private investors, and ordinary people can play a role in addressing the construction gap in the real estate sector and make a good return while doing so.
Dana Sanchez, 6:25 pm
Google launched an online learning portal a year ago offering digital skills courses free to anyone in Africa, designed to use up as little data as possible. Many people who took the courses had limited internet access and high data costs. The US tech giant is now turning its attention to web-focused skills training for small businesses across Africa. In addition to skills and workforce training, Google is laying fiber optic cable, easing access to Android phones as it expands on the continent. Google was valued at $109.5 billion in 2016.
Dana Sanchez, 10:15 am
Many migrants who make it to Italy don’t tell friends and family about the hardship. A campaign that exposes the realities is now targeting potential African migrants on social media in 15 West and Central African countries — where most arrivals in Italy originate. Posts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram give testimonials created by migrants in multiple languages. All end with the warning, “Be aware, brother” and “Be aware, sister.” A record 181,000 migrants crossed the Mediterranean in 2016 on flimsy boats operated by smugglers. Of those, 25,000 were mostly unaccompanied children. Arrivals in Italy are up 66% so far in 2017.
Peter Pedroncelli, 5:40 am AFKI Original
Africa is the new tech frontier, with a great deal of potential and passion for technology that should translate into the right environment to nurture and grow successful African tech startups, but obstacles and struggles remain. These issues scupper the necessary investment and growth that these startups require so that they can become sustainable and successful on a continental and global scale. We take a look at 12 things that need to be addressed in order to help struggling African tech startups.
Reuters, 9:38 pm
Monday’s hijack followed a long hiatus, with only 4 unsuccessful attempts in the past 3 years. The lull encouraged foreign fishing vessels to return to Somali waters. Now shipping companies are scrambling to learn if pirates will once again threaten one of the world’s most important shipping lanes and cost the industry billions of dollars. Locals are infuriated at government failure to crack down on foreign fishing vessels. The last straw was when 7n Thai fishing vessels paid the local government more than $672,000 for fishing licences, A Bosasso-based weapons dealer said orders have increased for rocket-propelled grenades, machine guns and ammunition.
Global Risk Insights, 11:42 am
There has been no internet access for Cameroon’s English-speaking regions for 58 days. Many banks and ATMs are closed, plunging the regional economy into chaos. Local businesses are losing foreign contracts. Anglophone Cameroon is home to Cameroon’s growing tech scene and five of the country’s seven seaports. The internet blackout is forcing Nigerians working in the Cameroonian tech sector to return home. It may play a decisive role in the upcoming 2018 elections when President Biya seeks another term.
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