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African Economies Dominate Rankings for the Top 20 Markets

African Economies

Côte d’Ivoire came first out of 66 countries for having the greatest potential for future growth, according to Standard Chartered’s Trade20 Index. Kenya ranked third and Ghana thirteenth, based on metrics such as economic dynamism, trade readiness and export diversity. Researchers found that while existing trade powers like China and India continue to rapidly improve their trade potential, African countries such as Kenya and Côte d’Ivoire have cemented their positions as East and West African trading hubs from a relatively low starting point. Huge investments in infrastructure, e-commerce and ease of doing business have also started paying off in Côte d’Ivoire and Kenya where the business environment has seen a marked improvement.


When the Going Gets Tough, Africans Get Creative

Nigerian digital marketing

Nigerian digital marketing agency, Wild Fusion has been named one of the top creative and marketing agencies in the world across 14 industries, according to Clutch, a global rating platform. In its new report, Clutch highlighted the top-performing digital agencies in different industries including automotive, business services, dental, e-commerce, education, financial services, financial technology, healthcare, hospitality, legal, media, nonprofit, real estate, and retail. Clutch noted that Wild Fusion “understands the specific needs of the markets they work within”. The integrated marketing communications agency launched in Nigeria in 2010 and has expanded to Ghana and Kenya over the years, providing top quality digital services to an elite clientele.


REPORT: The Dirty Footprint of the Broken Grid

Dirty Footprint

The six biggest users of back-up generators are: Nigeria, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Venezuela, and Bangladesh. In western Africa, private generators provide the equivalent of 40% of what’s generated by the grid. In the subregion’s largest economy, Nigeria, the study conservatively estimates the installed capacity of generators is between 15-20 GW compared with a grid capacity of 5-15 GW. Overall, the full cost of using generators is estimated to be between 40 cents to several dollars per kWh particularly for those in the most remote locations due to logistics and transport expenses. In Sub Saharan Africa, one out of every five liters of diesel and petrol is used in a back-up generator. One of the ironies for African countries with poor electricity supply and heavy generator use is that these petrol and diesel machines are “substantial contributors to environmental and health burdens.”


Zimbabwe Backtracks Ban on Mobile Money Services

Zimbabwe’s central bank

Zimbabwe’s central bank has lifted its ban on mobile money to cash transactions after three days of public outcry and criticism even as the government continues to struggle to contain the country’s economic crisis. The Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe on Monday stopped operators of mobile-money services, the dominant way in which money is moved in the country, from paying out cash. It also tightened the spread at which dealers and bureaux de change can exchange the Zimbabwe dollar to between 3% and 5% from the official rate, down from a 7% spread imposed less than two weeks ago. On September 28 it banned the quoting of prices in foreign currency. Ecocash, a mobile-money service operated by Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, has 6.7 million active users in a nation of about 14 million people. It’s the first time since its introduction in 2011 that its users haven’t been able to use the so-called cash-back service. Econet is studying the directive and won’t comment on it yet, spokesman Fungayi Mandiveyi said by text message.


Africa’s Entrepreneurial Spirit

Africa's Entrepreneurial Spirit

Decent jobs are so scarce in Africa that many people create their own. Surveys by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor find that one in three working-age adults in sub-Saharan Africa either runs a new business or is trying to start one, compared with one in six Americans and one in 20 Germans. In Tanzania informal firms created four-fifths of new non-farm jobs between 2002 and 2012.


Protecting Kenya’s Small Farmers

Kenya's Small Farmers

Thomas Njeru is a co-founder and the chief financial officer of Pula, a four-year-old microinsurance firm that serves 1.7 million smallholder farms of 0.6 acres or less in 10 African countries and India. Pula, based in Nairobi, Kenya, partners with government agencies and loan providers to cover the cost of the insurance, which is included in the price of seed and fertilizer; there is no direct charge to the farmer. Among the coverages Pula provides is weather index insurance to cover failures of seed germination, using satellite data to determine whether there has been sufficient rainfall. Longer-term coverage, called yield index insurance, compensates farmers with replacement supplies in the event of a poor harvest.


Is Zambia Thumb-sucking its Budget Forecast?

Zambia's Budget Forecast

Zambian Finance Minister Bwalya Ng’andu plans to obtain almost 10% of the southern African nation’s total income next year from undisclosed sources, raising concerns about the accuracy and sustainability of government spending plans for 2020. The budget, which Ng’andu presented to lawmakers at the end of September, contains $515 million of “exceptional revenue” that could further stretch the finances of Africa’s second-biggest copper producer if it doesn’t materialize. Government debt has surged from 20% of gross domestic product a decade ago to a projected 91.6% this year, prompting the International Monetary Fund to warn that Zambia is at high risk of debt distress.


Mauritius Launches Plans to Cut Traffic Jams

Mauritius cuts Traffic

The railway’s first stage of 13 km inaugurated by Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth will connect Rose Hill, a town in the central part of the island, to the capital Port Louis. When completed, the 26 km (16-mile) route will connect Curepipe, a town in central Mauritius, to the capital Port Louis and comes at a cost of $525 million. It is expected to have 19 stations and four interchanges.


Kenya’s Highest-value Banknote Makes Way for a New-look

Kenya's Highest-value Banknote

In June 2019, the Central Bank of Kenya announced that the 1,000-shilling banknote will cease to be legal tender in four months’ time. A newly designed 1,000-shilling note would go into circulation along with smaller denominations. Kenya also asked its neighbors, Uganda, Kenya, and Tanzania, not to allow 1,000-shilling notes, valued at around $9,60. Kenyan authorities said scrapping the old note would be a way of ending the corruption that has deeply entrenched in the country. Billions of the high-denomination notes were suspected to be stashed away by corrupt officials, tax evaders and money launderers.


10 Reasons Why Africa is a Source for Top Tech Talent

Top Tech Talent Africa

Technology is fast growing in Africa and so is tech talent. The continent is experiencing transformative impact as a result of technology. From rural Ghana where low income earners are able to buy insurance policies through their mobile phones to the streets of Nairobi, Kenya, where residents are able to send and receive money through their mobile phones, technology has become the order of the day in the continent. Whenever a list of successful tech startups in the world is mentioned, you never miss two or three that have their roots in Africa.  The continent prides itself in having numerous successful tech startups that have endured the test of time. Today, some have been in operation for more than 10 years, providing solutions to some of our most pressing socio-economic and communications problems. They also thrive by having a pan-African scope in service delivery. These startups include Ushahidi founded in Kenya, Instabug in Egypt, RoamSmart in Tunisia, Skyrove in South Africa, Njorku in Cameroon, Bonglive in Tanzania, among many others.


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