Tech: Latest News
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.”
Staff, 4:02 pm
When their Kickstarter campaign failed, a brother-sister team switched gears and ran a successful social media campaign selling Africa-inspired swimsuits online. Their swimwear prints include the Apremo-Canon pattern, a Kente design symbolic of resisting foreign domination — something Ghanaians fought beginning in the 15th century against English colonizers. The Ashanti Swimwear platform helps women in the diaspora and Africa dominate in the online e-commerce space so they can be location-independent, said British-Ghanaian Yasmeen Opare, co-founder of Ashanti Swimwear.
Staff, 12:32 pm
There’s a huge unmet demand for small business financing in sub-Saharan Africa. Africa-based bitcoin startup BitPesa and Germany-based Bitbond have partnered to help change that. Bitbond’s role includes checking the creditworthiness of applicants and determining an interest rate. About 10% of Bitbond’s users are from sub-Sahara. The partnership means a small business owner can receive a loan from investors from all over the world within 20 minutes, a stakeholder said — “an unprecedented level of innovation and convenience in the entire online lending space.”
Staff, 10:34 am
Tests developed to treat white people may be unsuitable for Africans. Ethiopia banned the painkiller codeine because many Ethiopians carry a gene variant that causes their bodies to convert the drug to morphine. Scientists have been pushing to improve health care by tailoring to the environment, lifestyle and genes of individuals. Few have taken this precision-medicine approach in Africa, but that’s changing. Precision public health is a new approach to precision medicine that bases decisions on populations and communities rather than on individuals. There’s a big problem though. Precision medicine is expensive.
Tom Jackson, 8:48 am AFKI Original
Uber says there’s enough room in Africa for all types of taxi and ride-hailing services. The US-based tech company headed off early competition on the continent, but new competitiors are rising. Uber hypes up the competition, saying it means more choices that are affordable, reliable, and produce jobs. One new Uber competitior, Africa Ride, offers drivers a share in the business, saying it empowers them more than Uber does. “Drivers will want to log in on the app which they own and have control over,” said Africa Ride founder Thabo Mashale.
The Conversation, 2:38 pm
Blockchain, an almost incorruptible digital ledger of transactions, has the potential to be both foundation and springboard in Africa for a new developmental infrastructure. The blockchain can be “the ledger of everything.” A house can become an intelligent entity registered on a secure, distributed database once it’s tagged with a geospatial reference and sensors that monitor its continuing existence. The owner of the asset can, through an Ethereum-based smart contract, secure a loan to expand a startup enterprise. Property and financing aren’t the only areas where the new Internet of Intelligent Things has the potential to compensate for Africa’s legacies of underdevelopment.
Kurt Davis Jr., 10:13 am AFKI Original
The Anglos have an apparently insatiable investment appetite for the region. Gabon will no longer fly under the radar after Washington, D.C.-based Carlyle Group — the world’s largest private equity fund — purchased Royal Dutch Shell’s onshore assets in Gabon for $587 million. Petroleum services, infrastructure and timber are rising on the radar for crafty investors in Gabon. Financial services and ICT too. Gabon is a stable provider of services and networks to neighboring countries. Here are six other Francophone African countries investors are looking at.
Global Risk Insights, 3:31 pm
Lacking substantial oil reserves, Morocco took a backseat to Angola and Algeria during China’s resource binge in the 2000s. That has changed as China seeks to diversify investments. Morocco now has three Confucius Institutes and is becoming the default investment destination in North Africa as instability continues in the region. Anti-Chinese sentiment in more established China-Africa relationships is also leading China to diversify its investment portfolio. Casablanca is scheduled to play host to the China-Morocco Trade Week in December 2017.
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