Business: Latest News
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.
Dana Sanchez, 11:34 am
South Africa ranks fourth in world for titanium reserves. This should give the country a competitive edge in the 3D printing market for aerospace. It’s a market expected to be worth tens of billions of dollars as aerospace, auto and military industries seek cheaper way to make parts. Aircraft makers want to replace aluminum bodies with lighter materials such as titanium alloys. South Africa says its 3D printer is 10 times faster than any other laser melting machine available.The new manufacturing process could save millions of dollars on production and fuel costs.
Dana Sanchez, 10:53 am AFKI Original
The annual survey evaluates the top 100 brands in Africa based on consumer responses via mobile text messaging. Results show that non-African brands strengthened their positions in Africa, while African brands’ share among most admired brands dropped from 23 percent to 16 percent. “It is a great concern that the share of African brands is so low and even declining,” said the founder of Brand Africa. “It is a wake-up call for African governments to create enabling environments to support entrepreneurs.”
Mongabay, 3:04 pm
Lemurs — small primates endemic to Madagascar — are among the most endangered mammals on Earth. A new computer-assisted recognition system — LemurFaceID — can use facial characteristics of lemurs from photos taken in the wild to identify them. The technology could remove many limitations of traditional identification and could do it faster, cheaper and more accurately than other traditional methods, researchers say. It could even help track lemurs taken from their natural habitat by wildlife traffickers.
Peter Pedroncelli, 1:35 am AFKI Original
Zimbabwean business mogul Strive Masiyiwa has been incredibly successful in his career as an entrepreneur and investor, with business interests worldwide showing his pedigree as a businessman. The founder and CEO of telecoms company Econet Wirless is Zimbabwe’s richest man, and continues to use his fortune for philanthropic pursuits throughout the African continent, with education among the youth proving to be a particular passion for the British educated Masiyiwa. Here are 12 things you may not know about Zimbabwean businessman Strive Masiyiwa.
Dana Sanchez, 4:02 pm
Africa has potential to boast more billion-dollar startups than anywhere else on Earth, says an Africa-focused investment manager. More than 200 African private equity deals were reported in 2016. Almost a third were in South Africa, but the potential in Nigeria is mind boggling. Internet spending in Nigeria was nearly $2B last year, with only 3% of Nigerians having fixed broadband access. Multiple billions in spending is driven by mobile internet users. Digital content and the subsequent advertising and brand exposure are, for the first time, accessible by the majority of Nigerians on their mobile devices.
Tom Jackson, 12:55 pm AFKI Original
U.S. firms are suspicious of non-homegrown products, whereas Germany had a more positive view of Africa, says a South African fintech manager. “No technology product, no matter how cool, sells itself,” she said. The CEO of an African blockchain startup hopes to start doing business in Hollywood and Bollywood. He encourages new startups expanding internationally to “develop the narrative around their product, unique value proposition, back story, and successes.”
Born In Caribbean, Educated In Boston, Startup In Nairobi: All Roads Led To Africa’s Mobile RevolutionBy Dana Sanchez, 9:15 pm
In the MIT lab, Kenfield Griffith thought he was going to solve the world’s problems. Then he arrived in Kenya and stood in Nairobi’s Kibera slum. “I looked around and said to myself that even if I was Bill Gates, I wouldn’t know what to do,” he said. Griffith put his faith in mobile phones, and prevailed. In 2016, his Nairobi startup, mSurvey, closed its seed funding round led by investments from Safaricom, Silicon Valley’s Cross Culture Ventures, and a Caribbean angels group backed by Richard Branson.
Dana Sanchez, 11:51 am
One of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers, U.S.-based Boeing ranked No. 2 among defense contractor in the world in 2016. Boeing Defense does business with countries across Africa in security including surveillance drones. “The aerospace industry needs to start paying closer attention to Africa, because this continent is clearly on the move economically and all the trends are pointing in the right direction for the expansion of the sector,” a Boeing stakeholder said. Boeing hopes its two new African offices will be positioned to meet an anticipated demand of 1,150 new aircraft in Africa by 2035.
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