Wind and solar power in Africa are short-term solutions that cannot fix serious, immediate problems. African cities need abundant, reliable electricity, and they need it now. Wind and solar do not equal real economic development or really improved living standards. African governments need to stand up to Europeans, global banks and environmentalists who oppose big power plants in Africa. Our leaders need to remember that Europe and the U.S. did not have a World Bank or other outside help when they modernized and industrialized. They did it themselves.
Tech: Latest News
Tom Jackson, 12:36 pm AFKI Original
Banks are partnering with startups to avoid the damage done by Instagram and mobile phone cameras to companies like Kodak, and by Netflix to Blockbuster. Across Africa, banks are choosing to work with startups rather than compete against them. Citibank has run mobile challenges in Nairobi, Standard Bank has incubators in South Africa, and Barclays has just selected its second cohort in its Cape Town-based accelerator. Fintech startups are reimagining the concept, delivery and consumption of financial services in ways banks have been unable. However, such companies lack the financial clout and access to customers to ensure mass uptake of their solutions. Banks can offer them this.
Peter Pedroncelli, 5:36 am
The World Bank Group has committed to supporting the growth of Africa’s digital economy with the launch of XL Africa, a business acceleration initiative that will provide a raft of benefits for the 20 most promising startups in sub-Saharan Africa over the next five months. African digital entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to be mentored by various global specialists, increase their visibility on the continent and receive access to corporate partners and investors.
Dana Sanchez, 9:40 pm
Mastercard hopes to roll out fingerprint payment cards globally by the end of 2017. South Africans’ willingness to try new technology and their familiarity with using biometrics for identification made the country an ideal market to test the payment cards. They’ll work with any card terminal around the world that accepts embedded chip technology. In the U.S., embedded chips are increasingly popular. Regulations make merchants and financial institutions liable for breaches resulting from a lack of support for chip-and-pin cards. Some merchants won’t have to get new equipment to accept fingerprint-enabled cards.
Dana Sanchez, 4:53 pm
An IPO today on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange introduced a new option for investors who want to add African exposure to their portfolios. The AMI Big 50 ex-SA ETF offers 50 African blue-chip companies outside South Africa. The IPO is a world first – an ETF offering exposure to a pan-African index that excludes South Africa. “A lot of people do worry about the liquidity risk, but being an ETF means that there is a secondary market on the JSE which allows investors in smaller quantities to trade exposure in and out of Africa,” a stakeholder said. The ETF is managed by Cloud Atlas, which plans to launch two more Africa-focused ETFs by July.
Staff, 2:57 pm
At a time when aid is under political pressure, a bold approach is needed to maximize the efficiency of donor resources. While governments in Africa are spending more on public infrastructure themselves, outside finance is still required, especially for regional projects — rarely a priority for national governments. Aid from Africa’s traditionally generous foreign donors is set to shrink. There may be a solution. The “Big Bond” is a strategy for leveraging foreign aid funds in international capital markets to generate financing for massive infrastructure investment.
Peter Pedroncelli, 3:25 am AFKI Original
Many of us take access to electricity for granted, but only two out of every five people in Africa have decent access to energy to power lights and other electrical appliances throughout the day. Around 625 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity, according to the International Energy Agency. We take a look at 12 Sub-Saharan African countries with the best access to electricity.
Staff, 12:01 am
The fall in African private equity investment in 2016 could be a short-term blip. Among the losers was US-based Carlyle, one of the world’s winningest investment firms. Carlyle invested $147m in Nigeria’s Diamond Bank in 2014. The bank’s market cap fell by 90% over the subsequent two years. Bob Geldof’s PE firm 8 Miles just invested in Blue Skies, a British fruit firm that operates in Africa. Utilities including telecoms were the most popular target for private equity investment in 2016. West Africa was the most active region.
Opinion: Getting Africa’s Energy Transformation Right Will Involve Policies, Investments That Boost DiversityBy Staff, 1:00 am
Africa has an opportunity to pioneer the next investment frontier. Rather than treating new climate-related risks as hurdles to overcome, African policymakers should view them as opportunities for investment and innovation. To accelerate a market shift on the scale that Africa needs will require increased financing from export credit agencies, development banks, commercial financial institutions, and other cross-border sources.
Staff, 11:08 am
Data from the big 12 retailers in South Africa show that they are putting their money into store refurbishments and IT instead of African expansion. Compare this to five years ago. The picture was very different. There was talk of aggressive store rollouts. Some South African companies have expanded into Europe and the U.K. to diversify earnings, but when the rand strengthened, those companies lost out. The customer focus is grounded in technology for the Big 12. IT is playing a critical role in investing in customers — building online capability, enhancing efficiency across supply chains and distribution, and reward programs to enhance client insights.
Tom Jackson, 11:52 am AFKI Original
In most of the developed world, reliable internet costs less than 1% of average monthly income. In Africa, it’s 18%. Governments are vital to drive down internet prices in Africa, stakeholders say. When connectivity costs drop to 2% of monthly income, reaserch shows the internet becomes accessible to all. Just five of 27 African countries surveyed have achieved the 2% affordability target. Free internet access is the simplest way to tackle economic inequality, a stakeholder said. “It allows people to find and apply for jobs, start online businesses, and generally engage with the economy around them.”
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