South Africa: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 1:55 pm
The African tech space is not immune to the economic pressures faced by other sectors, but it is proving resilient. Significantly more African tech startups raised funding in 2016 than the previous year, but the overall amount of recorded funds declined, according to a new report. Fintech startups were the winning sector, receiving the most investor funding in Africa in 2016. The economic downturn played a part in that. Fintech in Africa is different, a stakeholder said. It’s building new infrastructure rather than disrupting an existing one.
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, 3:04 pm
At the World Economic Forum, where finance ministers attract as much attention as presidents, Pravin Gordhan’s presence this week in Davos is expected to be a show of strength, leadership and survival. Gordhan was asked to be SA finance minister after a bizarre, four-day, four-finance-minister sequence of firings by President Zuma. Deputy South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is leading Team SA at WEF. Cyril could use some “sparkle on his presidential ambitions,” a commentator said. Zuma won’t be attending.
Dana Sanchez, 12:29 pm
Despite reports of inequality and xenophobia, South Africa’s relative wealth and stability continue to draw migrants from all over Africa. South Africa has the highest number of pending asylum claims in the world — more than 1 million. African refugees heading to Europe get disproportionate media coverage. A far greater number would rather seek security and livelihood elsewhere in Africa. Of the world’s 17 million displaced Africans, only about 3 percent are in Europe. The vast majority are in Africa.
Staff, 1:01 am
As a Chinese official dangled the possible reward of $40-billion US in desperately needed investments, Nigeria this week hastily ordered the shutdown of a trade office by China’s rival, Taiwan. The Chinese diplomatic offensive has ramped up sharply since last year, when the independence-minded Democratic Progressive Party emerged victorious in Taiwan’s election. Since then, Beijing has lured two more African countries away from Taiwan’s embrace, while also battling to weaken Taiwan’s links to individual African politicians.
Dana Sanchez, 5:03 pm
Democratic Alliance opposition leader Maimane met this week with the Palestinian and Israeli business leaders to discuss how trade can be used for peace when politics fail. Zuma has endured overwhelming criticism from South Africans over corruption. Citizens voiced their displeasure at the polls in the August municipal elections. All major South African areas are now controlled by the DA except for Durban, Bloemfontein and Kimberley. Zuma needs a place to hide, a critic said. The narrative of the “oppressed” is a safe place for him.
Staff, 8:15 am
Blockchain has applications in industries other than financial services, a stakeholder says. Start-ups are already offering products that cover specific use cases. Interest was intense at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo Africa in Cape Town. Most of us do not understand TCP/IP protocol, but that doesn’t stop us from surfing the web and exchanging emails. In the same way, clients will come to trust blockchain the same way they trust the Internet. Organizations starting now on a blockchain journey will have a first-mover advantage.
Dana Sanchez, 11:08 am
Microsoft co-founder and philanthropist Bill Gates invested $9 billion in Africa over the course of 15 years, and said he plans to spend another $5 billion there in the next five. The world’s richest man says Africa is proof that life is getting better for more people. His optimism is not universal. His funding of GMO research to improve crop yields and reduce famine has been controversial. Anti-GMO voices don’t deter him. Here are five reasons why Gates said he sees the glass as more than half full in Africa.
Peter Pedroncelli, 3:54 am
South Africa’s world 400m champion sprinter Wayde van Niekerk has been nominated in the Breakthrough of the Year category for the Laureus World Sports Awards. Van Niekerk, who set a new world record of 43.03 seconds to win 400m gold at last year’s Rio Olympic Games, was nominated alongside Ethiopian distance runner Almaz Ayana, Formula One driver Nico Rosberg, the Fiji national rugby sevens team, the Iceland national team and Leicester City.
Peter Pedroncelli, 5:45 am AFKI Original
The cosmetics industry in Africa is a burgeoning market that is set for increased interest from international brands as well as added opportunities for local entrepreneurs. From $400 per weekend to $1 million a month, local business successes form part of the cosmetics narrative in Africa, with opportunities waiting to be tapped. Here are 12 things you may not know about the cosmetics industry in Africa.
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