Angola’s go-to app for delivering live goats to your door
In Africa, the gig economy can benefit rich and poor alike
African cities are tasty markets for food-delivery apps. The continent has 21 of the world’s 30 fastest-growing urban areas, where an expanding middle class boasts smartphones and spare cash. These cities also have hideous traffic, so it’s a chore to drive a car to a restaurant. But delivery scooters can slalom through jams.
These were the ingredients that made possible the rise of several food-delivery startups in Africa. Jumia Food delivers meals to urban dwellers in 11 countries. In South Africa Mr D Food competes with Uber Eats, an offshoot of the American ride-hailing app. Tupuca has been bringing meals to residents of Angola’s capital, Luanda, since 2016.
In “Congo Tales,” a new book about the second-largest tropical forest in the world, the story of a people and their home comes alive.
“Congo Tales,” a new book published recently by Prestel, began as a call to action to save the Odzala-Kokoua National Park in the heart of the Congo Basin, which is the second-largest tropical forest in the world after the Amazon, from the threats of climate change.
It soon became a book about the stories of the people who live there.
A team including Pieter Henket, a Dutch photographer; Eva Vonk, a Dutch producer; Steve Regis “Kovo” N’Sondé, a Congolese artist and philosopher; his brother Wilfried N’Sondé, a Congolese writer and musician; and a group of conservationists and researchers spent five years in the basin. There, they collected and translated the tales of the people of the Mbomo region. The stories were then edited by the N’Sondé brothers, a job suited to the pair who grew up with stories passed down from their grandmother.
“These stories, through the values and symbols they carry, are our legacy,” said Kovo N’Sondé. “When I say our, I don’t only mean Congolese citizens or Bantu peoples, I mean mankind. These stories are all about wisdom, knowledge, ethical and aesthetic principles.
Just 6% of arable land in Africa is irrigated, Morocco can offer valuable insights to help other countries tap into this enormous potential to expand irrigation.
By Dr. Karim El Aynaoui, managing director of OCP Policy Center and member of the Malabo Montpellier Panel
With the rolling dunes of the Sahara desert overlapping its borders, Morocco may be an unlikely candidate to lead the region in water control and management.
Yet it is precisely these natural features and the challenge of water scarcity that prompted the country to invest heavily in irrigation to boost food production and withstand droughts.
Today,Morocco mobilises an estimated 22 billion cubic meters of water, and has equipped around 20 per cent of all its cultivated land for irrigation.
As a new report launched at the Malabo Montpellier Panel Forum in Rabat reveals just six per cent of arable land in Africa is irrigated, Morocco can offer valuable insights to help other countries tap into this enormous potential to expand irrigation.
Nine of ten Africans unqualified for the Jobs they apply to
Research conducted by the ROAM (Ringier One Africa Media) Group shows that many Africans who apply for a job are not qualified in the first place.﻿
Clemens Weitz, CEO of ROAM elaborates on the potential for economic growth: “Our research clearly shows that the education of the African job market has a long way to go – both on the seeker and employer side. Solving this challenge will unlock tremendous latent economic potential. Imagine an efficient economy, where all employees sit in the job that is a perfect, natural fit for their individual nature. Productivity and satisfaction would skyrocket. AI and machine learning have tremendous potential, and we plan to fundamentally solve this challenge in 2019.”
Green technologies can generate growth and employment, here’s how African cities can utilize them
In 1967 one gigabyte of hard drive storage space cost US$ 1m. Today it’s around two US cents. Computer processing power has also increased exponentially: it doubles every two years. This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to technological progress in the 21st century.
There have also been tremendous advances in communication technology; robotics; nanotechnology; genetics and artificial intelligence, among other things. This merging of digital, physical and biological worlds has come to be known as the “fourth industrial revolution”.
So far, relatively little attention has been paid to the overwhelming potential of the fourth industrial revolution to catalyse much needed transitions to a more sustainable society – particularly in the developing world.
This is slowly starting to shift. The World Economic Forum recently published a set of briefs as part of its “Shaping the Future of Environment and Natural Resource Security System Initiative”. These documents have begun to address some key questions around the potential role of the fourth industrial revolution in supporting a sustainable development agenda.
There are many compelling reasons for combining the offerings of the fourth industrial revolution with new green technologies, infrastructures and systems to tackle the developing world’s challenges. Multiple benefits can be realised through introducing these offerings in new, innovative ways that are customised for local contexts.
These green technologies can generate employment, ease pressure on infrastructure in rapidly growing cities and lower energy costs, especially for poorer households.
West Africa’s new art destination is a sprawling megacity with a generation of artists, gallerists and collectors powering the scene.
LAGOS, Nigeria — Cars snaked out from the hideous traffic and deposited the city’s elite, dressed to impress, at the Civic Center, a concrete-and-steel edifice fronting Lagos Lagoon. Women exuding Vogue beauty and power paused on the patio to give television interviews.
Art X Lagos was living up to its reputation as a happening. Not just collectors, but the hip, the curious, the Instagram crowd, thronged West Africa’s principal fair in November. They packed the venue to hear the keynote talk by the distinguished British-Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare, back for the occasion. The Ooni of Ife, a Yoruba king, showed up, escorted by praise-singers. Conversations carried over from gallery openings around town and from the Art Summit, a two-day convening, where the celebrated painter Kehinde Wiley, flown in by the United States consulate, was a special guest.
This enormous city — with no official census, population estimates range from 13 million to 21 million — is dynamic by disposition. Yes, the roads are clogged, political corruption is rampant, and the power cuts trigger armies of generators spewing noxious fumes. But Lagosians — who are proud of their “hustle,” a mix of effort, imagination, and brash optimism — will turn any challenge into enterprise. Commerce, music, fashion, have long thrived amid the chaos. And now, with its solid collector base and thickening web of galleries and alternative spaces, the art “ecosystem” — the word everyone uses — is achieving critical mass.
Op-Ed: How African countries can ‘leapfrog’ the fossil-fuel based growth strategies of developed countries
This week, heads of African states are convening at the African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, where they will discuss the African Union’s strategy for socio-economic development, known as Agenda 2063. This agenda casts a vision of inclusive growth and sustainability, in the face of the growing risk of climate change. It is true: rising global temperatures pose a serious challenge to the lives and livelihoods of Africans. But climate change also offers an unprecedented opportunity to steer our continent towards a more sustainable, inclusive and prosperous future.
As wildlife authorities on the continent work with nonprofit organizations to secure ecologically valuable landscapes, populations of large mammals have grown.
The earth’s sixth mass extinction, scientists warn, is now well underway.
Worldwide, wildlife populations are plummeting at astonishing rates, and the trend is perhaps most starkly evident in Africa’s protected areas — the parks, game reserves and sanctuaries home to many of the world’s most charismatic species.
Between 1970 and 2005, national parks in Africa saw an average decline of 59 percent in the populations of dozens of large mammals, among them lions, zebras, elephants and giraffes. In at least a dozen parks, the losses exceeded 85 percent.
One of those was Gorongosa National Park, an area roughly the size of Rhode Island, in central Mozambique.
Once a premier safari destination, Gorongosa suffered through a brutal 16-year civil war. When the fighting finally ended in 1992, the park was a shambles: More than 95 percent of its large mammals had been wiped out — slaughtered for food and the purchase of arms. Abandoned for another decade, it might well have gone the way of so many other protected areas: downgraded and downsized, converted to cropland or opened to mining.
But now the numbers tell a different story, and it’s one with lessons for the world.
In Gorongosa, African wildlife is making a comeback. On a visit last fall, I saw vast herds of antelope, lion prides lazing in the shade, pods of hippos, a pangolin, a fish eagle weighed down with a fresh catch and families of elephants lumbering through a forest of fever trees. And much more.
In October, researchers in the park counted more than 100,000 large mammals, an increase of more than 700 percent over figures from a decade ago. And with that resurgence, Gorongosa has emerged as a rare success story — a case study in nature’s renewal and proof that with adequate funding and committed leadership, conservation is possible in even the poorest corners of the world.
This time, the winners could be Africans themselves
The first great surge of foreign interest in Africa, dubbed the “scramble”, was when 19th-century European colonists carved up the continent and seized Africans’ land. The second was during the cold war, when East and West vied for the allegiance of newly independent African states; the Soviet Union backed Marxist tyrants while America propped up despots who claimed to believe in capitalism. A third surge, now under way, is more benign. Outsiders have noticed that the continent is important and becoming more so, not least because of its growing share of the global population (by 2025 the un predicts that there will be more Africans than Chinese people). Governments and businesses from all around the world are rushing to strengthen diplomatic, strategic and commercial ties. This creates vast opportunities. If Africa handles the new scramble wisely, the main winners will be Africans themselves.
The extent of foreign engagement is unprecedented (see Briefing). Start with diplomacy. From 2010 to 2016 more than 320 embassies were opened in Africa, probably the biggest embassy-building boom anywhere, ever. Turkey alone opened 26. Last year India announced it would open 18. Military ties are deepening, too. America and France are lending muscle and technology to the struggle against jihadism in the Sahel. China is now the biggest arms seller to sub-Saharan Africa and has defence-technology ties with 45 countries. Russia has signed 19 military deals with African states since 2014. Oil-rich Arab states are building bases on the Horn of Africa and hiring African mercenaries.
Establishing Africa's Place in the Future: New Approaches to Driving Growth
This year's theme
The Africa Business Club is excited to present the 12th Annual Stanford Africa Business Forum, Establishing Africa's Place in the Future: New Approaches to Driving Growth. This year’s forum will invite all of us to think beyond the challenges that are affecting people living on the African continent. For so long we have been fully engrossed, and rightly so, in trying to solve localized challenges. While we must continue doing this, for us to truly reach our potential, we must think global. How can Africans contribute to solving the world’s toughest challenges? For example, what do we need to do in order to be at the center of the fourth industrial revolution? What must we do to help prevent a food shortage crisis as the world’s population continues to grow? What opportunities exist over the next decade for the continent to drive global growth? These pertinent questions will be addressed at the 2019 Stanford Africa Business Forum.
Across Africa, there has historically been a heavy reliance on cash, with around 95 percent of retail transactions taking place in cash. Global and local organisations are investing in innovative digital payment systems and new disruptive payments tools to displace cash, while delivering new levels of inclusion to the benefit of consumers, businesses and governments. One of the leading technology companies in this realm is Mastercard.
We recently spoke with Gilberto Caldart, President of International for Mastercard, to help us unpack the key points about how cash is being displaced in Africa.
Why Africa urgently needs to save its languages from extinction
Indeed languages do become endangered for multiple reasons, including –
1. Unprecedented urban mobility and migration, in which children grow up in places where the language is either not generally spoke or where it is no longer taught in the community.
2. Inter-ethnic marriages and relationships.
3. A tech-driven world that is dominated by less than a dozen global languages. Consequently, social media, TV and digital programs, children’s programs, computer games, mobile apps and news content do not favor indigenous languages.
4. Dislocation of populations due to military or political conflict.
5. Economic migration that ends up leaving the older and elderly speakers of a language behind in rural communities. Since a language cannot live without children speakers, and as elderly rural speakers of the language die out, so too is it that languages cannot survive, and inevitably die.
This is the dilemma that has befallen the Yoruba language and countless African and indigenous languages globally.
Language is all-encompassing. It is not just a means of communicating. It is also a repository of values, customs, culture, and history. In short, it is the embodiment of who a people are.
Therefore, the loss or extinction of a language is simply not simply an inability to speak in a way and manner that is generally understood. It is the loss of identity – linguistically, culturally, psychologically, and historically.
Millennials ‘Make Farming Sexy’ in Africa, Where Tilling the Soil Once Meant Shame
AGOTIME BEH, Ghana — After he graduated from university, Vozbeth Kofi Azumah was reluctant to tell anyone — even his mother — what he planned to do for a living.
“I’m a farmer,” he said, buzzing his motorcycle between freshly plowed fields on a recent afternoon. “Here, that’s an embarrassment.”
In some parts of the world, farmers are viewed with respect and cultivating the land is seen as an honorable trade. But in a region where most agriculture is still for subsistence — relying on cutlass, hoe and a hope for rain — farming is a synonym for poverty.
But Mr. Azumah is among a growing number of young, college-educated Africans fighting the stigma by seeking to professionalize farming. They are applying scientific approaches and data-crunching apps not just to increase yields, but to show that agriculture can be profitable.
Creating the regionally integrated Africa of our dreams, will require political will, policy changes, and private and public sector partnerships.
Tectonic global shifts are already changing every aspect of our economies and enterprises. Also affected, are policies, education, research, ICT, finance and banking, trade, migration and the mobility of human capital, goods and services. The African Continental Free Trade Area agreement, which came into force on May 30, 2019, holds the tantalizing prospect for the creation of a single market for goods, services and the movement of persons, with a total GDP of $2.5 trillion, and a combined population of one billion people.
Astounding and rapid technological developments are already underway in artificial intelligence, robotics, nanotech, quantum computing and Big Data. The African Development Bank and partners such as The Rockefeller Foundation, Microsoft, and Facebook, have launched a Coding for Employment Program to create over 9 million jobs and reach 32 million youth and women across the region. With an eye on the future, the African Development Bank is also working to bring advanced drone technologies to African agriculture with a pilot project already underway in Tunisia, and plans for potential regional rollouts.
The fact is that it’s no longer ‘business as usual.’ The ground underneath our feet is shifting at amazing speed. So, one thing is certain. The near future will be radically different from anything we might contemplate today. Which is why the African Development Bank and its partners, will continue to work toward integrating the best ideas, technologies, policies, systems and infrastructure.
Op-Ed: Why Africa’s blue economy is one of its biggest opportunities
Dubbed the ‘new frontier of the African renaissance’ by the African union, Africa’s blue economy has vast potential.
While it is often difficult to make generalisations about Africa, Africa’s blue economy will remain a key facet of the continent’s future development.
Dubbed the ‘new frontier of the African renaissance’ by the African union, Africa’s blue economy has vast potential.
The blue economy comprised of oceans, seas, lakes and rivers, reaps many benefits and is a great source of wealth. It regulates the climate, enables trade, creates jobs and provides mineral resources and food.
Seventy percent of African countries are coastal and more than 90 percent of the continent’s trade is conducted by sea putting Africa’s blue economy high on the continents policymaker’s agenda and fast becoming an area of geopolitical intrigue.
As with any emerging frontier, the rules of the game are being written and opportunities and challenges abound.
As we celebrate World Environment Day and World Oceans Day this month, how viable is Africa’s blue economy?
The blue economy covers a wide-range of sectors such as fisheries, maritime transport, tourism, aquaculture, energy and extractive industries. These sectors need to work together in order for the blue economy to be sustainable.
A number of challenges face the continent.
Firstly, climate change and ocean acidification is threatening the marine ecosystems. This is a direct impact from human-related activity such as fossil fuel burning that has caused a change to the chemistry composition of the seas.
In brief, burning fossil fuels increases the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere which is partly absorbed by the seas. As excess carbon dioxide is dissolved in sea water, it decreases the ocean’s acidity level causing ocean acidification. This, combined with other climate change related stressors, adversely impacts fisheries, aquaculture and coral reefs. For many African countries, marine ecosystems are a lifeline for livelihoods and rich sources of food.
Some Africans suspect that China deliberately lends countries more than they can repay in order to seize strategic assets when they default. They point to the Chinese-financed port at Hambantota in Sri Lanka. After the project flopped commercially, a Chinese state-owned firm took control. Hambantota would be a handy place to park Chinese naval vessels seeking to patrol the Indian Ocean. “The situation that Sri Lanka got itself into may not turn out to be unusual,” says Mutula Kilonzo, a prominent Kenyan senator. “It is going to happen to African countries, too. The conditions of many loans are...a debt trap.”
Deborah Brautigam at Johns Hopkins argues that Hambantota is an exception. She looked at more than 3,000 projects overseas financed by China, and found that it was the only example of such an asset being seized to cover a debt.
Nonetheless, African leaders are spooked. Dialogue with the Chinese is becoming edgier. On June 7th Mr Magufuli indefinitely suspended construction at Bagamoyo, balking at demands from the project’s Chinese partner for a 99-year lease and a ban on port development elsewhere in Tanzania. Moving smoothly from cheerleader to critic, he accused the firm of setting “tough conditions that can only be accepted by mad people”. Last year Sierra Leone scrapped a Chinese-funded project to build a new international airport for fear that it would involve too much debt.
The perception of a plot to turn the Indian Ocean into a Chinese lake endangers the political capital China has amassed in Africa. Since Mr Kenyatta came to power in 2013, public debt has nearly tripled. Last year the imf raised the country’s risk of debt distress from low to moderate. If Kenya defaults, China risks being blamed.
China’s hesitation also reflects the uneven performance of past projects. A railway between Djibouti and Addis Ababa, completed in 2017, cost China’s state-owned insurer Sinosure $1bn in losses, its chief economist said last year. Corruption and mismanagement drive up costs. Sometimes plans smack of unreasonable optimism. Bagamoyo’s port was expected to handle more containers than Rotterdam, Europe’s biggest freight terminal.
How technology is reducing the cost of moving goods in Africa
The relative cost of moving good in East Africa is one of the highest in the world, leading to up to 75 per cent of a product cost going to logistics compared to 6 per cent in the United States. Jean-Claude Homawoo, Co-Founder, Chief Product Officer of Lori Systems Kenya joins CNBC Africa for more....
Identifying the causes of building collapses can help make African cities safer, here’s how
It’s a sadly familiar image in several developing countries’ media reports: people frantically searching the rubble of a collapsed building for survivors.
The data is disparate and scattered. But what is known confirms what the images tell us: building collapses are a common, tragic occurrence in developing countries’ cities. In Kampala, Uganda, one study counted 54 building collapse deaths and 122 injuries between 2004 and 2008. Another study identified 112 cases in Lagos, Nigeria from December 1978 to April 2008. Between February and May 2019, 29 deaths and 76 injuries were recorded from 13 building collapse incidents across Nigeria.
Ghana and Kenya, too, have recorded a number of fatal incidents in recent years.
This isn’t a uniquely African problem, though. It occurs in the rapidly urbanising parts of Asia as well.
I set out to understand this rather under-researched phenomenon of building collapse in developing countries’ cities. I wanted to know the range of agencies, motivations and causes that propel the widespread creation of unsafe buildings in cities in developing countries. I also wanted to know why so many of these buildings collapse.
Op-Ed: Why helping women in agribusiness is key to Africa’s food security
Despite making up more than 40% of the agricultural workforce, women often do not benefit as much from the business end of the value chain where there are the most opportunities for income generation.
Women in rural Africa are among the most entrepreneurial people in the world, constantly finding ways to make ends meet with limited resources.
They are also expert multi-taskers, often tending to livestock and smallholdings while also raising their families.
Yet despite making up more than 40% of the agricultural workforce, women often do not benefit as much from the business end of the value chain where there are the most opportunities for income generation.
This means that half of the population is missing out on the chance to fulfil their potential, maximise their earnings, and benefit from better prospects for them and their families.
Not only this, but the economy is missing out on valuable contributions while producers could be overlooking key opportunities to reach new and bigger markets.
Studies indicate that addressing some of the constraints to women’s economic empowerment, particularly in rural Africa, have greater returns on investments, for the family, economy and society as a whole.
For example, an increase of $10 to a woman’s income achieves the same improvements to children’s health and nutrition as a $110 increase in a man’s income.
Meanwhile, studies show that if women had the same access to agricultural production resources as men, their productivity would increase by between 20 to 30 per cent, with anticipated increase in agricultural GDP by 2.5 per cent.
So what can we do to help women thrive, not only as producers, but as agripreneurs?
Sky Energy CEO Sketch Thompson on powering Africa
Sky Energy is the leading solar power installer in Malawi, supplying residential and commercial solar power solutions to thousands of households. The CEO, Schizzo Thompson, spoke to CNBC Africa reporter Kopano Gumbi on the back of the Forbes 30 under 30 event in Johannesburg.
In conversation with Africa’s youngest billionaire Mohammed Dewji on entrepreneurship
At the FORBES AFRICA Under 30 Meet-up, Africa’s youngest billionaire and President of MeTL Group, Mohammed Dewji gave a talk and then opened the floor to penetrating questions from the young entrepreneurs in the audience....
African leaders launch free-trade zone, what you need to know about this potential economic “game changer”
NIAMEY (Reuters) – African leaders met on Sunday to launch a continental free-trade zone that if successful would unite 1.3 billion people, create a $3.4 trillion economic bloc and usher in a new era of development.
After four years of talks, an agreement to form a 55-nation trade bloc was reached in March, paving the way for Sunday’s African Union summit in Niger where attendees will unveil which nation will host the trade zone’s headquarters, when trading will start and discuss how exactly it will work.
It is hoped that the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) – the largest since the creation of the World Trade Organization in 1994 – will help unlock Africa’s long-stymied economic potential by boosting intra-regional trade, strengthening supply chains and spreading expertise.
The biggest wind farm in Africa is officially up and running in this East African nation
Africa’s largest wind farm, the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, has been officially inaugurated.
The 310-megawatt (MW) facility was opened by President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya on Friday.
“We are pleased to note that Kenya is without doubt on course to be a global leader in renewable energy,” he said in a speech given at the launch.
“This will not only ensure that our nation’s scenic beauty and unique ecosystems are preserved and protected for both present and future generations, but will also ensure that we become energy independent and that our energy supply will be safe as well as predictable,” he added.
The Lake Turkana Wind Power project is made up of 365 turbines, each having a capacity of 850 kilowatts. It is located 600 kilometers from Nairobi in the Loiyangalani District, Marsabit County. Construction of the facility started in October 2014 and it began full commercial operations in March 2019.
The International Renewable Energy Agency has described Africa as being “rich in renewable energy sources” such as hydro, wind and the sun.
The Lake Turkana project is one of several large-scale renewable energy schemes to be developed on the continent in recent years.
In December 2018, it was announced that ground had been broken on West Africa’s “first utility-scale wind power project,” located in Senegal.
The 158.7 MW Parc Eolien Taiba N’Diaye, or PETN, is set to be completed in 2020, according to renewable energy firm Lekela.
The 46-turbine facility will use turbines from Danish company Vestas and will generate more than 450,000 megawatt hours of energy annually, boosting Senegal’s generation capacity by approximately 15 percent, Lakela said.
Here’s how Africa’s science academies can assist in driving sustainable development
Many African countries have a long way to go to meet the sustainable development goals. These goals, set by the United Nations, call for all countries to develop their economies by 2030. This should happen sustainably and inclusively. At the same time, human rights and the environment must be protected.
But most countries in Africa are lagging behind or even stagnating when it comes to realising these goals. One of the reasons for this is that countries are not using enough rigorous research or developing policies informed by accurate scientific evidence.
This is a shortcoming that must be addressed. Policymakers, scientists and knowledge providers like science academies and research houses must work together to ensure that public policy is as fit-for-purpose as it can be.
Evidence-informed policymaking is more important than ever. We’re living in a world where opinion matters more than fact. In some countries, evidence and expertise are valued less than at any other time in history.
With this in mind, a new report has been released that calls on African governments to invest in and apply science, engineering and medicine more systematically to try and address sustainable development issues. It also encourages the continent’s science community to be more proactive in helping to accelerate Africa’s development.
How can Africa harness cultural heritage for development?
Ghana's "Year of Return" marks the 400-year legacy of the trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved Africans. To discuss how the continent can harness its cultural heritage for socio-economic development, Ambassador, Johanna Svanikier who is Founder and President of Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa (HCSA) joins CNBC Africa for more.
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