South Africa: Latest News
Dana Sanchez, 5:07 pm
Bitcoin surged today above $1,400. Its most recent rise is attributed to strong demand in Japan, where the digital currency is designated legal tender. Most African banks charge 10-to-19% on remittances. Bitcoin has started taking a bite out of the $4B trade from international transfers to Africa, but it’s still moving slowly. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is credited with helping boost the value of bitcoin. The Winklevoss brothers — disputed founders of Facebook — applied to list a proposed bitcoin-tracking exchange-traded fund, and were initially rejected. The SEC is reconsidering.
Peter Pedroncelli, 6:00 am
The number of wealthy South Africans looking to attain U.S. investment visas more than doubled from 2014 to 2015, with many considering the benefits and advantages of having an exit plan during economic and politically unstable times. Recently released data revealed that South African demand for US EB-5 visas, which enable investors in American companies to obtain a green card, increased noticeably since 2014. A U.S. EB-5 visa can be attained by investing at least $1 million (or $500,000 for projects in a “targeted employment zone”) and creating more than 10 full-time jobs in the U.S. within two years.
Staff, 9:41 pm
Many South African business leaders say that malaria is among the top reasons they do not travel to other African countries. The world’s first malaria vaccine will undergo trials in Kenya, Ghana and Malawi in 2018, possibly heralding victory over a disease that still kills close to 500,000 people a year, mainly Africans. Although health is a cardinal element of the human development index, this is not a health story, but an economic and a human story. Africa’s bid for economic self-reliance stands to benefit from a malaria vaccine.
Staff, 8:14 pm
A U.S. company that builds bulletproof cars has contracted to outfit four helicopters for South Africa’s Anti-Poaching Task Force. Heavily armed poachers have become more aggressive, firing on agents as they patrol overhead in helicopters. International Armoring developed lightweight, high-tech fiber materials which weigh up to to 60 percent less than traditional bulletproof armor. “Just like the cars, our focus (with the helicopters) is on the passenger compartment, allowing them time to react and get out of a dangerous situation,” the company president said.
Staff, 10:26 am
The World Bank has announced the launch of XL Africa, an acceleration program aimed at supporting 20 top digital startups from Sub-Saharan Africa. XL Africa will run over five months and startups will be put through a tailored curriculum, while receiving mentorship and the chance to attract early-stage capital of between US$250,000 and US$1.5-million. The program will […]
Staff, 10:25 am
Venture Capitalists are becoming more and more interested in investing in African startups, and this is only expected to increase over the next few years. According to Clarium Capital founder Peter Thiel, entrepreneurs should look for secrets where no one is looking and turn them into business opportunities. Thiel says it best in his book: […]
Tom Jackson, 1:00 am AFKI Original
South African startups were the most popular in Africa for investment in 2016, with Cape Town and Johannesburg establishing themselves as hubs. Junk status could have a serious impact on this. Michael Jordaan, former CEO of South Africa’s First National Bank, is now an investor in innovative tech startups. The ratings downgrade is bad news for the economy as a whole but startups will be less affected than larger firms, he told AFKInsider. “Startups need to dominate a niche at first and in this sense the macro economy is a very small factor,” he said. “Startups should take comfort that they will survive and thrive if they keep their customers happy.”
Peter Pedroncelli, 9:29 am
South African Reserve Bank governor Lesetja Kganyago believes that the country is still capable of thriving despite being downgraded to junk status by two credit ratings agencies in the past few weeks. President Jacob Zuma upset markets and triggered downgrades from both S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings to BB+ after his surprise cabinet reshuffle at the end of March, which included the removal of respected finance minister, Pravin Gordhan.
Peter Pedroncelli, 5:29 am
The Democratic Republic of Congo hopes to import 200 megawatts of power from South Africa, which would enable Africa’s largest copper-producing nation to boost copper production in 2017 by as much as 20 percent. South African state-owned utility Eskom has made 1000 megawatts available for export over the next decade. Trust issues between mining companies and the Congolese state-owned power company threaten to derail the deal. Previous promises to deliver energy supply have failed.
Kurt Davis Jr., 2:00 am AFKI Original
Short-term volatility and uncertainty in the African growth story create opportunities for hedge funds. Hedge funds generally operate more flexibly than private equity, and they have the creativity to generate bond-like returns that outpace inflation. Critics say hedge funds have limited liquidity in an opaque world. The riskiest play — but with big returns — is in agriculture and land. Where land is for sale in Africa, investors are making a play for a limited resource, especially when it’s arable, ripe for production or ideal for commercial and residential construction.
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