South Africa: Latest News
The Conversation, 9:16 am
Disruptive competition through technology can benefit consumers, but it also raises socioeconomic issues. Africa is no exception. There are concerns that Uber, with its first-mover advantage in the ride-sharing market, is growing into a monopoly despite the benefits to consumers. Traditional metered taxis are seeing red. In South Africa, new entrants into the ride-sharing app market have made little progress. The picture is very different in Kenya. Safaricom appears to have overcome the seemingly insurmountable first-mover position enjoyed by Uber.
Peter Pedroncelli, 10:46 am
South African coastal city Durban will no longer host the 2022 Commonwealth Games in five year’s time, as the city did not meet financial demands levied by the Commonwealth Games Federation. Durban was officially chosen as the host for the 2022 Commonwealth Games at the Federation’s general assembly in New Zealand last year in April. According to the South African government the decision was set to benefit the country’s economy with around $1.49 billion expected to be injected into the country.
Dana Sanchez, 7:17 pm AFKI Original
500 Startups invests 70% in the U.S. The rest of its deals are in 60 other countries and the VC fund has its eyes on Africa. “We continue to look for and source deals from traditionally underrepresented ecosystems,” said 500 Startups founding partner Dave McClure. Geeks on a Plane has done 17 tours. This will be its first in Africa. “We are looking to build stronger relationships with investors on the ground, maybe even find a few startups to invest in.” 500 Startups has invested in 1,700-plus companies. The tour is a way for startups, investors, and executives to learn about high-growth tech markets.
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.
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, 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.
Keren Mikva, 8:11 pm
Art in South Africa’s public spaces often marks the spot where historically significant events took place. Such art pays tribute to South African icons or raises awareness about social issues. There are numerous ongoing public art projects in the country’s cities involving permanent installations and temporary exhibitions. Route 67 in Port Elizabeth is a walking trail that pays tribute to Nelson Mandela’s 67 years of service to South Africans. It includes a collection of 67 art pieces celebrating his devotion to public life. Each piece of art along this heritage trail was designed by a local artist from the Eastern Cape.
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