Angola: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 1:01 am
Local Nigerian appetites for luxury appear to be intact, despite the country’s financial hardship since crude oil prices fell off a cliff. Trendy hotspots are constantly appearing. There are rumors of a Nobu restaurant under construction. When wealthy Nigerians want a shopping spree without the airfare to London, some go to Polo Luxury, which operates luxury retail outlets across West Africa. Jennifer Obayuwana is executive director of the company founded by her father. She spoke to Forbes about the planned March launch of Polo’s luxury online shopping platform – a first of its kind in Africa.
Karen Elowitt, 1:01 am
Africa’s vast landscapes beckon, but sometimes the roads themselves are the attraction. Angola’s Serra da Leba Pass is a favorite with cyclists. The most challenging part of the 6,053-foot climb is a one-mile section with 7 hairpin turns — one of the famous hairpinned roads in the world. Located 20 miles west of the city of Lubango on the road to Namibe, the road crosses three different climate zones. There’s little room for error on this road, which offers not much guard-rail protection and has been the site of many fatalities. You might want to give it a miss on a windy day.
Dana Sanchez, 4:16 pm
The world’s largest furniture and homeware store, Ikea, has collaborated with some of the best designers in seven sub-Sahran African countries to curate its first African collection in what is described as an effort to “democratize design.” Ikea says it wants to tap into the “creative explosion” happening across the continent. The furniture and homeware collection will focus on “modern rituals and the importance they play in the home.” The collection probably won’t be accessible in the African cities that inspired it. Ikea’s only African outlets are in Morocco and Egypt.
Dana Sanchez, 12:35 pm
Facebook beat Wall Street expectations for sales and user growth in the fourth quarter of 2016, and it credits Internet.org, its free basic version of the internet in developing countries, for helping make that happen. It added more users worldwide in the fourth quarter than any quarter since the company went public in 2012. Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s vision is to get more Africans online. “This isn’t a purely altruistic venture,” an analyst said. Internet.org, is available in 23 African countries through partnerships with mobile operators.
Tom Jackson, 7:55 am AFKI Original
As tech becomes more widespread in Africa, democratic processes will become more accessible. Internet and mobile technologies can reach remote areas and give voice to many. Rashaad Alli is a manager at South African nonprofit People’s Assembly, which supports websites that make parliamentary information more accessible to ordinary people. “Access to information is a great enabler to effect social change and deepen democracy,” Alli said. “Tech tools help increase transparency, expose corruption, strengthen democracy and hold governments to account.”
Dana Sanchez, 2:13 pm
After oil prices crashed, Angola could no longer service its US$25 billion debt to China. Since the loans were supposed to be paid in oil, most of Angola’s crude production now goes to debt repayment, leaving little to finance economic development. Spending has decreased by 40 percent and cuts to water sanitation and waste collection helped put Angola sixth-to-last on World Bank’s index of inequality. Unlike Angola, Mozambique’s foreign debt and accompanying economic problems cannot be traced back to Chinese loans. Instead they are the result of Chinese illegal fishing in its waters.
Dana Sanchez, 11:09 am
ECOWAS is credited with persuading Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh to give up power. If there’s a lesson to be learned, it’s that it takes some external persuasion to remove a dictator. “Forget Trump,” a commentator said. “We in Africa were watching the Gambia and the drama there as African leadership for once, stood up to a tyrant and insisted he respect the outcome of an election.” This regional intervention represents a paradigm shift in African governance, an exiled Zimbabwean judge said. It’s no longer dictatorship as usual in Africa.
Dana Sanchez, 6:42 pm AFKI Original
Large numbers of Chinese migrants have followed the money to Africa, but no one really knows how many — not even close. Estimates range from 250,000 to 2 million. Experts say informed guesses are anything from speculative to “very problematic.” It’s a problem because inaccurate claims about the Chinese migrant population can contribute to xenophobic election rhetoric and violence, says a migration researcher. In many countries, statistics on migration are incomplete, out of date or nonexistent. “Statistics are political,” a stakeholder said. The data may be out of date but it’s the only data we’ve got.
Staff, 3:53 pm
Recently renewed by U.S. President Barack Obama, the African Growth and Opportunity Act, or AGOA, allows qualifying African countries to export certain products to the U.S. duty free. U.S. exports to Africa, however, are subject to customs duties. Incoming President Donald Trump isn’t going to go for that, says Herman Cohen, a former U.S. ambassador to several African countries. “I have the feeling that he will ask African governments to accept reciprocity in trade relations,” Cohen said.
Dana Sanchez, 5:05 pm
The Asian strain of Zika responsible for the outbreak in Brazil and the U.S. has not been reported on the African mainland. Cape Verde has reported nine cases of the Asian strain. It’s not known if exposure to the African strain gives protection against the Asian strain. A $54.2 million grant in 2016 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is funding a candidate Zika virus vaccine now in its first phase of trials
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