Business: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 2:00 pm
Following failure to launch in 2014, Africa now has the unique web address .africa. It’s almost five years since the African Union submitted the domain name to the governing body that establishes generic top-level domains. The .africa domain is expected to be available July 1 but the level of demand is uncertain.
Africans have been applying for years to register their preferred .africa domain names on a reserve list, on the understanding they would have first rights to it. “With .africa, I would say Africa has finally got its digital identity,” said outgoing A.U. OCommission Chairwoman Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma.
Tom Jackson, 12:09 pm AFKI Original
ShowMax’s European launch is proof that its hyper-local video-on-demand concept, pioneered in Africa, has wider application, says ShowMax Africa head Chris Savides. The cost of mobile data may be the biggest factor affecting the uptake of subscription video-on-demand on the continent. A number of services have tried and failed. It’s not an easy business because it’s not just about the technology, but also about understanding customer needs and content. “It may be that your niche isn’t the type of content but how you deliver that content in a way nobody else is doing,” Savides told AFKInsider.
Mongabay, 1:34 pm
Ethiopia has failed to make the most of emission reduction projects that allow developing countries to sell certified carbon credits, a stakeholder said. Making carbon credits marketable requires time, substantial investment and resources. Even then, a prospective buyer might reject them. Proponents say the carbon trading projects can’t come soon enough. The country is losing five times more forest than it’s planting. If Ethiopia is strategic, it can sell abundant resources like water to help power industrialization, boost tourism, boost electricity generation and create a wealthy green economy. And it’s renewable.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:24 am AFKI Original
Mauritania requires no royalty payments, which is not the norm. This is a benefit for oil, gas and mining explorers anxious about paying royalties when commodity prices are unpredictable. Mauritania’s corporate income tax rate is relatively low at 25% — a plus in a region where the tax and fiscal systems can change any investor’s outlook on risk and reward. Large government irrigation projects have aided agricultural production in the desert. Israeli technology and cropping strategies have had some success in other parts of Africa. There is potential here, but it requires investment in technology — not always a priority in agriculture.
Peter Pedroncelli, 2:22 am AFKI Original
Africans who tweet don’t like to talk about brands nearly as much as their American counterparts. Instead, Africans are increasingly talking politics as Twitter comes of age in Africa, according to a London-based communications firm. Previous research showed that Twitter in Africa was more of a space for social interaction. Now serious debate about politics and government prevails. Twitter continues to be one of the most popular social networks available in Africa, enabled through a heavy mobile usage and apps that cater to smartphone users.
Dana Sanchez, 3:11 pm
The Gambian village of Sareh Pateh, population 4,000, turned on solar street lights for the first time Sunday, thanks to Akon’s $1 billion line of credit. “I want to leave a legacy,” the Senegalese-American Akon told reporters in Banjul. “Africans work harder in everything and they work harder to live and to sustain themselves.” Akon spent part of his childhood in a Senegalese village with no electricity before moving to the U.S. In 2011, Forbes ranked him fifth out of 40 Most Powerful Celebrities in Africa. He says he’s a businessman first and a musician second.
Dana Sanchez, 11:52 am AFKI Original
Africa has been reluctant to adopt GM food technology for crop production, but that’s changing. Many African countries are willing to overcome domestic and international opposition to GM technology to boost their agriculture sector. Just four African countries allow GMO crops for cotton. In Africa, only South Africa grows GM food. Opponents urge African countries not to commercialize GM crops, saying it will put their agricultural sector in the hands of large multinational agri-businesses and hurt biodiversity. Proponents say GM crops are as safe.
Dana Sanchez, 8:04 am
MTN’s shares are down 35 percent since October 2015, when Africa’s largest mobile service provider reported a $5.2B fine by Nigerian regulators over unregistered sim cards. That could make MTN cheap enough to be considered for a takeover, Times Live reports. MTN had other problems in the last two years including foreign exchange losses and bad investments. Investing heavily in South Africa, MTN grew revenue and subscribers, but it would be difficult for an international operator to convince its shareholders to back a bid, given the challenges MTN faces, an analyst said.
Staff, 12:52 pm
The Duolingo app is video-game-like and addictive, according to Time. It was co-developed by Luis Von Ahn, the same Guatemalan-American entrepreneur who founded CAPTCHA — the test used by most website forms to make sure you’re a human, not a computer. It sold to Google in 2009. This allowed von Ahn to pursue his passion project — to improve education so all social classes could have better opportunities. Classes or computer-based language programs like Rosetta Stone cost at least $1,000, he said. “So we decided to do languages for free. We realized that we are teaching almost every European language you can think of, but we had no African languages.”
Dana Sanchez, 11:10 am
South African President Jacob Zuma announced new land reform plans Friday, telling traditional leaders that the government will do a “pre-colonial” land audit. Uncertainty over property rights is expected to push investors to look elsewhere. This isn’t the first time Zuma has promised to amend laws allowing expropriation without compensation, but it’s the first time a pre-colonial audit has been mentioned. EFF party leader Julius Malema has been traveling the country, encouraging black South Africans to take back land from “white invaders and Dutch thugs… Take it, it belongs to you,” he said.
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