Tech: Latest News
Tom Jackson, 12:35 pm AFKI Original
Despite the hype, profitability is still an unattainable ideal for Nigerian online shopping giants Konga and Jumia. Believers say e-commerce in Africa is “absolutely a long-term play.” They expect the short- and medium-term to be challenging. Players are still working on fast and easy payments and refunds, and trouble-free deliveries and returns. “It takes a long time for consumers to become comfortable shopping online, and it’s hard and expensive to accelerate this,” a stakeholder said. Investors aren’t all put off though. The potential prizes are too great.
Dana Sanchez, 2:34 pm
Supporters of the conflict minerals rule say it successfully held manufacturers accountable for the minerals they source from DRC. Its suspension would “enrich abusive thugs” and could lead to the complete repeal of Dodd-Frank regulations, implemented after the 2007-2009 financial crisis to limit risky practices that caused the U.S. banking crisis. However a U.S.association of manufacturers estimates the law costs U.S. businesses $9-to-$16 billion. This led to the suspension plan by Trump, who campaigned on a pro-business platform.
Dana Sanchez, 8:53 am
A combination of native African armyworms and Fall armyworms from the Americas are ravaging staple crops in southern Africa. Uncontrolled, they have the potential to cause food shortages. Damage to maize is likely to have the biggest impact because it’s the main staple food crop. The Fall armyworm destroys the cob itself. In parts of their native range in the Americas, genetically-modified Bt maize is grown to combat the Fall armyworm. This may be an option for South Africa and other countries where GM crops are already grown. But many parts of Africa do not allow or welcome GM varieties.
Kurt Davis Jr., 7:45 am AFKI Original
Everyone knows that Africa leapfrogged landlines to mobile phones, but without mobile, the continent is unconnected. Less than 20% are connected to the internet. Business and finance have become online activities globally. Africa needs to get up to speed to compete. Private investors are looking beyond the usual suspects. These are the African countries with the best opportunities for private investors to expand internet capacity in 2017.
Keren Mikva, 1:11 pm AFKI Original
In the developing world, many water-fetchers — often women and children — do the back-breaking work of lugging water buckets over their heads or by hand. The Hippo Water Roller won the 1997 South Africa Design for Development Award. The 90-liter drums can carry 90 kilograms (198.4 pounds) of water and can be pushed or pulled across rough terrain. Check out these 17 things used across the globe that were invented by South Africans.
Tom Jackson, 11:29 am AFKI Original
From digital educational materials for school children to the Uberisation of tutoring, tech is finding new ways of improving access to quality learning in Africa. But it isn’t happening fast enough for some people. Data is expensive, and many areas still have little or no connectivity. African governments have spent a lot of money to enable e-learning, but have not yet seen the results. Still, it’s an attractive sector to investors. Africa’s e-learning market doubled in size from 2011 to 2016.
22 Pioneering Digital Media Projects Getting Paid To Tell Africa’s Stories And Hold Governments AccountableBy Dana Sanchez, 10:08 am AFKI Original
Ideas that solve African problems but have the potential to be adopted globally are attracting investment. A jury that includes Google, World Bank and Ford chose 22 media projects to receive $1M in seed funding. The ideas tackle issues from fake news to frontline war reporting using technology such as bots, drones and sensors to improve journalism in Africa. It’s an experiment with leapfrog technologies, but the real goal is to build real-world solutions to real-world problems that can immediately be scaled by mainstream media.
Staff, 9:40 pm
Crowdfunding has been steadily gaining traction in Africa over the past decade. There are 57 crowdfunding platforms on the continent — most designed to serve local consumers and support projects in the host country only. Still, crowdfunding in Africa is limited compared to other regions. In 2015, the African crowdfunding market amounted to about $70 million, less than 1 percent of the global market. Investors and African entrepreneurs who use crowdfunding are operating in an unregulated space, at least in most African countries.
Kurt Davis Jr., 9:32 am AFKI Original
Infrastructure in Africa is at the forefront of investors’ minds. Private equity investors see great opportunity, especially in power projects. The Ivorian president is a former IMF economist. The Ivorian budget minister is a former Goldman Sachs trader, and they’re on the same wavelength. The Côte d’Ivoire economy is expected to grow 8-9% in 2017 and 2018. Strengthening infrastructure will be key in the next phase of the Ivorian growth story. The government plans to spend $60 billion on infrastructure through 2020.
Dana Sanchez, 12:35 pm
Facebook beat Wall Street expectations for sales and user growth in the fourth quarter of 2016, and it credits Internet.org, its free basic version of the internet in developing countries, for helping make that happen. It added more users worldwide in the fourth quarter than any quarter since the company went public in 2012. Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s vision is to get more Africans online. “This isn’t a purely altruistic venture,” an analyst said. Internet.org, is available in 23 African countries through partnerships with mobile operators.
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