Business: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 1:05 am
South Africa’s metered-taxi drivers are getting their own taxi hailing app to compete with Uber, and Uber says bring it on. In their latest protest against Uber, members of the SA Metered Taxi Association on Friday blocked highways and entrances to O.R Tambo International, the country’s busiest airport. Uber says there’s enough business to go around in Africa, and it encourages the competition to use technology to access what it says are abundant economic opportunities. As the price of smartphones fall and mobile penetration rises, Uber is also looking for more opportunities to invest in Africa’s taxi-hailing industry.
Staff, 1:01 am
The U.S. did not have a trade policy for Africa when Rosa Whitaker went to work for the U.S. State Department. U.S. policy was to view Africa as a charity case. Whitaker helped draft AGOA, the law gives duty-free access to the U.S. for African countries meeting eligibility requirements on human rights, rule of law and labor standards. With AGOA, the whole narrative changed, Whitaker said. “We no longer saw Africa as benefactors of charity. We were able to substitute paternalism with partnership.” The U.S. had trade representatives for every other region of the world except Africa. President Bill Clinton did not wait for AGOA to be passed before appointing Whitaker assistant trade representative for Africa.
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.
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