Business: Latest News
Betting On Poorer Africans, Soros-Backed Leapfrog Raising $800M For Investments, Eyes Kenyan InsurersBy Dana Sanchez, 9:50 am
LeapFrog Investments is betting on poorer Africans, or “emerging consumers” because they outnumber the continent’s middle class about four to one. Kenya’s new regulations will create buyout opportunities. Nigeria’s huge population and Ghana’s more sophisticated consumers make those markets attractive too. “We’re looking at payment companies because it’s becoming a popular tool that just offers much cheaper ways of doing business” across the continent, a LeapFrog partner said.
Dana Sanchez, 5:26 pm
Tanzania’s Hadza are some of the world’s last hunter gatherers, and they’re using technology to help protect the shrinking woodland they’ve depended on for 40,000 years. Carbon trading — a market-based method of regulating greenhouse gas emissions — is helping save their forest. The tools of their survival include marking the spot with GPS where trees have been illegally cut down. The Hadza monetized carbon savings by selling carbon offsets to local and international companies that want to to reduce their carbon footprint.
Dana Sanchez, 2:47 pm
Trump is tribal. His campaign to make America great became a motto for a return to an America dominated by white Christian men. This appeal to ethnic rather than civic nationalism has a long history in Africa’s failed democratic experiments. Trump doesn’t accept criticism, whether in the media or from human rights groups. Repression of both has a long history in Africa. Trump’s example should alarm those in Africa who advocate for greater government transparency and accountability.
Dana Sanchez, 9:32 am
Sibanye Gold, South Africa’s largest gold producer, is buying Stillwater Mining Company in Montana — the only N. American producer of platinum and palladium. The purchase will make Sibanye the world’s third-largest platinum producer. Sibanye counts among its largest shareholders SA’s government pension fund. Stillwater shares surged Friday on the news. The sale makes sense because of the strengthening U.S. dollar, which has hurt Stillwater in export markets. “With Mr. Trump becoming president … he’s probably more friendly toward mining and sees the necessity of it,” the Sibanye CEO said.
Staff, 7:04 am
Kenya has been chosen to host a multi-billion Maritime Technology Cooperation Centre for Africa, beating South Africa, Ghana and Namibia which had also shown interest. The bids by International Maritime Organization, a UN agency which regulates shipping, were opened in April. The centre will promote co-operation in maritime technology. Kenya presented the bid through a consortium of organisations consisting of the Kenya Maritime Authority, the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology and the Kenya Ports Authority.
Dana Sanchez, 6:12 pm
One of President Jacob Zuma’s most vocal critic, Mathews Phosa got rich in post-apartheid South Africa. He says he did so on his own deals, not through the country’s black economic empowerment policies. Zuma has diminished and devalued the ANC, Phosa said. “There is a way out for the ANC. We must be guided by honesty and integrity.” Some South Africans have asked Phosa to run for office. He says his energy is in his businesses, but he’ll be there for South Africa if called. Phosa won the African version of the Nobel prize this year and dedicated it to Mandela.
Dana Sanchez, 11:04 am
One of South Africa’s largest banks bought a majority stake in the team that built the country’s largest mobile payments product. Africa has the highest mobile money adoption rate in the world, but it’s hardly universal, catching on more in some countries and less in others. While banks and mobile payments startups would like to see large-scale adoption of mobile money, the reality is cash is likely to remain king in Africa — internet penetration and trust in the financial system are low on the continent.
Dana Sanchez, 11:16 am
It wasn’t easy getting ECOWAS members to hold a conference in Israel. The 15-member Economic Community of West African States held their first-ever seminar outside West Africa. They learned hands-on about Israeli irrigation technology and how a tiny Middle Eastern country under attack from all sides has managed to thrive in adversity. “In Israel we make the impossible possible,” a conference organizer said. “This conference is an example.” Netanyahu plans to visit West Africa in a few months.
Kevin Mwanza, 1:06 am
Solar energy, a cheap power alternative to the vast population in sub-Saharan Africa with no access to electricity, has economically empowered the women entrepreneurs in Tanzania who work even after night falls. In Bunambiyu, a village in the northern region of East Africa’s second largest economy, solar-powered lanterns have greatly improved the social-economic lives of the rural population.
Dana Sanchez, 2:33 pm
Fethullah Gulen, a cleric living in exile in the U.S., has inspired schools all over the world. The Turkish president wants those schools closed. Gulen-inspired schools have existed in Turkey since the 1970s, but only became a global phenomenon in the past 20 years as Gulen grew closer to President Erdogan, whose Islamist-rooted AK Party won in 2002. Since 2013, Erdogan has demonized Gulen and wants schools and hospitals belonging to Gulen supporters confiscated or closed. Turkey invested $6.2 billion in Africa in 2015. At least six African countries have agreed to let the Turkish government take over private schools linked to Gulen.
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