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Staff, 10:34 am
Tests developed to treat white people may be unsuitable for Africans. Ethiopia banned the painkiller codeine because many Ethiopians carry a gene variant that causes their bodies to convert the drug to morphine. Scientists have been pushing to improve health care by tailoring to the environment, lifestyle and genes of individuals. Few have taken this precision-medicine approach in Africa, but that’s changing. Precision public health is a new approach to precision medicine that bases decisions on populations and communities rather than on individuals. There’s a big problem though. Precision medicine is expensive.
Kurt Davis Jr., 2:33 pm AFKI Original
Investors are strategically betting on the upside in Francophone Africa due to strong economic growth rates and a stable CFA franc. Lusophone Africa also presents opportunity. Low assets prices have replaced the exorbitant numbers of the oil-and-gas heyday, particularly in Angola and Mozambique. Debt restructuring can restore some confidence in Mozambique’s economic system. Private investors are finding a government more willing to deal on better terms, and companies that are pricing assets at fairly digestible prices.
Dana Sanchez, 10:34 am
S&P is the first agency to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign debt to non-investment grade. SA’s banks have proved that they can weather storms. “We have 50 percent more capital than in the global financial crisis and all South African banks came through that event fine,” a stakeholder said. March was a record month for trading volume in SA bonds. S&P’s decision doesn’t impact SA’s eligibility in global bond indices yet. But more ratings downgrades and increased trading volumes could. “The real issue is the impact on economic growth, industrial performance and employment,” a wealth manager said. “There is a negative relationship between economic growth and bank assets.”
Reuters, 9:55 am
Zuma fired former Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan over the weekend. The ANC party is blamed for inequality in a country where 80% of the population is black, but whites own most of the land. New Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba said he will make unpopular choices to oversee radical economic transformation and redistribution of wealth. Gigaba also said said he will stick with budget plans to seek up to $2B per year in foreign funding. “We are not a bunch of wild gunmen running amok, gung-ho into Treasury…We are going maintain the programs that are being implemented,” Gigaba said.
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.
Peter Pedroncelli, 2:18 am AFKI Original
Many countries in Africa have extremely high central bank interest rates compared to most of the world, but there are some who boast lower rates that compare favourably on a global scale. Lower interest rates allow the people of that country to be able to afford loans and pay them back at more favourable rates versus countries where the interest rates are much higher. In comparison, the United States federal reserve has an interest rate of 1 percent, while the United Kingdom’s rate is currently set at 0.25 percent. We take a look at 13 African countries with the lowest central bank interest rates.
The Conversation, 2:38 pm
Blockchain, an almost incorruptible digital ledger of transactions, has the potential to be both foundation and springboard in Africa for a new developmental infrastructure. The blockchain can be “the ledger of everything.” A house can become an intelligent entity registered on a secure, distributed database once it’s tagged with a geospatial reference and sensors that monitor its continuing existence. The owner of the asset can, through an Ethereum-based smart contract, secure a loan to expand a startup enterprise. Property and financing aren’t the only areas where the new Internet of Intelligent Things has the potential to compensate for Africa’s legacies of underdevelopment.
Reuters, 11:31 am
The ANC is having its most difficult time since the end of white-minority rule. Zuma agreeing to leave early could heal some wounds. “This could be the long-awaited compromise where Zuma agrees to go in return for some protection,” a political analyst said. Zuma’s offer appears as a way out but may not be enough to satisfy opponents. “We don’t need his offers. He must just go before destroying our country,” a senior ANC member said. In a sign of how divided the party is, Zuma was asked not to attend the funeral of anti-apartheid stalwart Ahmed Kathrada on Wednesday. Gordhan got a standing ovation.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:13 am AFKI Original
The Anglos have an apparently insatiable investment appetite for the region. Gabon will no longer fly under the radar after Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group — the world’s largest private equity fund — purchased Royal Dutch Shell’s onshore assets in Gabon for $587 million. Petroleum services, infrastructure and timber are rising on the radar for crafty investors in Gabon. Financial services and ICT too. Gabon is a stable provider of services and networks to neighboring countries. Here are six other Francophone African countries investors are looking at.
Peter Pedroncelli, 3:05 am AFKI Original
Central banks are the national banking institutions that provide financial and banking services for countries’ governing and commercial banking system, including lending money. African countries have some of the highest interest rates in the world, with some even reaching as high as 23 percent. By way of comparison, the U.S. Federal Reserve recently revised the country’s interest rate to 1 percent, while most of Europe’s central banks have interest rates at between 0.25 percent and 2 percent. We take a look at 13 African countries with the highest central bank interest rates.
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