Markets: Latest News
Reuters, 1:01 am
Airbnb, a US-based online marketplace to list or rent short-term lodgings, expects to double its customer numbers in Africa this year to 1.5 million. Company CEO Brian Chesky was in Cape Town’s oldest township Friday to surprise graduates from an Airbnb training program. He described Africa as “an incredibly exciting emerging market for travel.” The top five Airbnb cities in Africa are Cape Town, Marrakesh, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Casablanca, although listings are found from St. Helena island in the South Atlantic Ocean to Freetown, Sierra Leone, and Somalia.
Ann Brown, 12:48 pm AFKI Original
There is no Silicon Valley in Cape Verde. The government sells a lot of tech services that independent companies could be providing, acting as both regulator and provider. This limits the private market, says Pedro Fernandes Lopes, a local who is bringing the first TEDx talk event to the island nation. It took a local Cape Verdean tech startup months just to register an app because Google didn’t recognize Cape Verde, Lopes told AFKInsider. “We need to raise the global visibility of Cape Verde and its tech innovators. And I think TEDx Praia will play a part in that.”
Kurt Davis Jr., 11:08 am AFKI Original
The economic downturn did little to stifle demand for African real estate. Some of the biggest returns and opportunities exist in rental properties, from beachfront getaways to hidden villas. Affordable housing is a major challenge for governments. Private investment is seen as a solution. Developers, private investors, and ordinary people can play a role in addressing the construction gap in the real estate sector and make a good return while doing so.
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, 1:01 am
Companies expanding in Africa are helping drive the need for more warehouse space. There is a dire shortage of warehouse facilities, says global real estate consultancy Knight Frank. Scarcity of quality warehouses in Nairobi presents opportunities for investors and developers, and the largest development bank in the world is taking notice. U.S.-based IFC and the U.K.’s CDC finance group are investing up to $35 million in Nairobi warehouse development. Logistics is an often overlooked part of economic development, the CDC said.
Dana Sanchez, 8:04 am
MTN’s shares are down 35 percent since October 2015, when Africa’s largest mobile service provider reported a $5.2B fine by Nigerian regulators over unregistered sim cards. That could make MTN cheap enough to be considered for a takeover, Times Live reports. MTN had other problems in the last two years including foreign exchange losses and bad investments. Investing heavily in South Africa, MTN grew revenue and subscribers, but it would be difficult for an international operator to convince its shareholders to back a bid, given the challenges MTN faces, an analyst said.
Born In Caribbean, Educated In Boston, Startup In Nairobi: All Roads Led To Africa’s Mobile RevolutionBy Dana Sanchez, 9:15 pm
In the MIT lab, Kenfield Griffith thought he was going to solve the world’s problems. Then he arrived in Kenya and stood in Nairobi’s Kibera slum. “I looked around and said to myself that even if I was Bill Gates, I wouldn’t know what to do,” he said. Griffith put his faith in mobile phones, and prevailed. In 2016, his Nairobi startup, mSurvey, closed its seed funding round led by investments from Safaricom, Silicon Valley’s Cross Culture Ventures, and a Caribbean angels group backed by Richard Branson.
Dana Sanchez, 11:51 am
One of the world’s largest aircraft manufacturers, U.S.-based Boeing ranked No. 2 among defense contractor in the world in 2016. Boeing Defense does business with countries across Africa in security including surveillance drones. “The aerospace industry needs to start paying closer attention to Africa, because this continent is clearly on the move economically and all the trends are pointing in the right direction for the expansion of the sector,” a Boeing stakeholder said. Boeing hopes its two new African offices will be positioned to meet an anticipated demand of 1,150 new aircraft in Africa by 2035.
Dana Sanchez, 11:11 am
Facebook wants to connect everyone in the world with its social network, but that’s hard to do if the world doesn’t have internet access. Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are building their own networking infrastructure on land and across the seas rather than just leasing bandwidth connections operated by telecoms. In doing so they’re assuming a role traditionally played by telecom companies. Facebook has announced plans to lay nearly 500 miles of fiber cable in Uganda by the end of the year, infrastructure it believes will provide internet access for more than 3 million people.
Dana Sanchez, 4:10 pm
For many Western companies, Africa is a fresh start — an opportunity to build facilities and processes that are environmentally friendly and safe. And don’t forget the tax breaks. Manufacturing in Africa is expensive, training and the quality control are expensive. Most apparel will continue to be made in Asian countries where labor is still relatively cheap and infrastructure, in place. But in China, the world’s apparel manufacturing leader, wages have increased 80% since 2010.
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