Barack Obama’s 2008 election as U.S. president inspired millions of Africans with hopes that strong ties to Kenya, country of his father’s birth, would mean increased U.S. involvement. Some believe Obama will leave office Jan. 20, 2017, falling short of those expectations. He has been blamed for not making African issues a top priority of his foreign policy. Others say he leaves a lasting legacy that will live on — especially in Africa’s young leaders.
Culture: Latest News
Peter Pedroncelli, 8:00 am AFKI Original
African heads of state and politicians make use of social media to communicate with peers and the people which they serve. Twitter is becoming a popular short-message platform in which to connect with the masses, and Donald Trump is not the only world leader that loves to communicate with posts of under 140 characters. From South Africa to Nigeria, the high profile African heads of state tweet, retweet and reply to followers, offering their opinions on many issues while advancing their own agendas through social media. Here are 12 African heads of state who are on Twitter.
Dana Sanchez, 5:02 pm
In a sign that local credit ratings are becoming more lucrative in Africa, U.S. buyout firm Carlyle agreed to become the largest shareholder in Africa’s largest rating agency. GCR rates more credits on the continent than giants Fitch, Moody’s and S&P. Growth is constrained in the present credit ratings system, said the president of the BRICS New Development Bank. The Big 3 rate over 90% of the global sovereign ratings market. GCR specializes in national-level ratings, which rely less on a country’s sovereign rating.
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.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:56 am AFKI Original
Kenya has long been known for fantastic athletes, but not so much for entrepreneurs focused on the business of fitness. Kenya-born Saloni Kantaria Mathur ranked No. 1 in Kenyan women’s tennis and studied law in the U.S. before starting an indoor cycling studio in Nairobi. The Reform brand is unmistakably Kenyan and it’s not your average gym experience. Reform integrates live-streamed performance data tech into classes, bringing the competitive instinct into the workout. Mathur shared with AFKInsider what she learned as a female African fitness entrepreneur.
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, 1:38 pm
A four-page list of Africa-related questions from Trump’s transition team to the State Department suggests a U.S. pullback from development and humanitarian goals but not necessarily from trade. How does U.S. business compete with others in Africa? Are we losing out to China? How much U.S. funding is stolen due to corruption? Why should we spend these funds on Africa when people are suffering in the U.S.? Americans believe the U.S. spends 25% of its budget on foreign aid. In reality it’s closer to 1%.
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.
Peter Pedroncelli, 3:00 am AFKI Original
African football has become a force to reckon with on the world stage, and an indication of which national teams are the best on the continent comes in the form of the FIFA Ranking, which ranks all members of world football’s governing body. Below are the top 10 ranked African national teams in world football for the month of January, according to the FIFA ranking.
Global Risk Insights, 12:13 pm
While the world electrification rate is roughly 84 percent, only 19 percent of the sub-Sahara Africa population is connected. The grid is unlikely to expand fast enough to satisfy demand. Pioneering business models relying on pay-as-you-go could push off-grid solar energy to reach 9 million African households by 2020. Despite the early success of off-grid solar energy access through pay-as-you-go payment models, challenges remain.
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