Cashing in On the Infrastructure of Africa’s Mobile Revolution
Helios Towers rose 1.8% in London after raising
$364 million in a long-delayed share sale that gives investors a foothold in
Africa’s fast-growing wireless tower industry. Shares in the company
backed by billionaire financier George Soros priced at 115 pence apiece in the
initial public offering, the bottom of the range, the company said in a
statement. Shareholders including Millicom International Cellular SA and Bharti
Airtel sold down their stakes in the London IPO, with Helios set for a market
valuation of 1.15 billion pounds. Helios has more than 6 800 towers spread
across five African countries and the money raised from selling new shares will
help it to roll out fourth-generation mobile services and keep pace with
soaring mobile data consumption on the continent. It was originally looking to
raise as much as $500 million.
SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA
Looking to Gain more Ground on the Continent
As part of its expansion plans into Africa, global ride-hailing
firm Uber Technologies launched a pilot test of their taxi boat service on
Friday in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub. To attract customers who want to
avoid the city’s frequently congested roads, Uber will operate a two-week pilot
phase of the boat service in conjunction with the Lagos State Water Authority
(LASWA) and local boat operators. The service will be available only on
weekdays for the next two weeks and will cost $1.30 per trip. Lagos has an
estimated population of about 22 million people and counting, more than double
London or New York’s tally. One study said commuters in Lagos an average of 30
hours a week stuck in traffic.
The Most Observed Election in Southern Africa
Mozambique held general elections Tuesday. Officials said the
elections were being closely observed. But civil society groups say
thousands of would-be election monitors were denied credentials by the
authorities. During the last election there were about 10,000 observers, now
there’s more than 40,000.
Tanzania Has a New Capital City
President John Magufuli has fulfilled his pledge to have the entire government relocate to the country’s new capital of Dodoma by the end of 2019. Dodoma, which was elevated to city status last year, was designated as the capital city by the country’s founding president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere in 1973. Its central location, compared to the coastal Dar es Salaam is considered ideal for bringing government services closer to the people. The president also urged Tanzanians to register to vote in the forthcoming November 14 civic elections. Following the 2017 move to Dodoma by the country’s prime minister, Kassim Majaliwa, followed by several ministries and the vice president Samia Suluhu Hassan, the entire Tanzanian government is now installed in the new capital.
SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS
The Worst Part of Sampling a Dead Gorilla for Ebola
The task described by Dr. Karesh — a former chief field
veterinarian at the Wildlife Conservation Society, which runs New York’s zoos —
was part of an unusual research project. Scientists were trying to predict
human Ebola outbreaks by detecting them first in apes and other forest animals.
The team recently published a study in the journal Philosophical Transactions
of the Royal Society B detailing 12 years of this work in the Republic of
Congo. In some ways the study, which lasted from 2006 to 2018, was a failure.
Only 58 samples were gathered from dead animals, and none was positive for
Ebola. Therefore, the team’s hypothesis — that animal sampling could be an
early warning system for human outbreaks — was not proved.
SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES
Innovative Ways to Empower African Women
Studies in Sub-Saharan Africa have shown that, on average, women
with secondary education have three fewer children than those with no education
at all. As a result of these benefits, as well as the importance of ensuring
that the rights of women are upheld, the UN has made women empowerment an
important part of sustainable development goals. Five innovative ways
that are already being recognized as restoring dignity and creating educational
and economic opportunities for women are: eradicating child marriages,
advocating for women’s rights, empowering women through social media,
empowering African women through small businesses and empowering women through
technology and energy.
Another Win on the Cards for Ethiopia
Ethiopia’s central bank is confident the country will receive a
further $1 billion from the World Bank over the next fiscal year after the
government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced a new, three-year economic
program. The Washington-based lender in October last year approved $1.2 billion
for the government’s agenda to liberalize one of the world’s fastest-growing
economies and attract more foreign capital. In September, the government
unveiled its latest plan, known as Homegrown Economic Reform.
Scammed African Footballer Returns Home
A Nigerian footballer has returned home from Mongolia following
an ordeal that saw him scammed by a shady agent who promised a glittering
sports career that never materialised. In August, Al Jazeera reported on his
plight and that of many other aspiring African footballers who are now stranded
in several countries. In Afolabi’s case, a Nigerian man who lived near his home
in Osogbo, in the southwestern Nigerian state of Osun, spun him a tale, took
his savings and sent him to play for local Mongolian club Western Khovd FC.
Christopher Hannah, a Scottish businessman who had lived in Mongolia for six
months, read and empathised with Afolabi’s story.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
Opportunity for Manscaping Entrepreneurs in Africa
Beard grooming emerged from the evolved manscaping industry
which is worth over $60 billion globally. In line with global trends, more men
are paying attention to their appearance, and African men are not left out.
South Africa’s Brother’s Beard is one of the sprouting beard grooming brands in
Africa. The company operates in Namibia, Zimbabwe, Malawi, and Zambia through
distributors. In Zambia, Beards of Lusaka is an online community to teach men
how to take proper care of their beards and offers a set of grooming products
from Brother’s beard. Nigeria’s Beard and Butter skincare company is another
notable brand in the business of male grooming.
SOURCE: VENTURES AFRICA
What to Expect in Eritrea
State-owned EriTel is the sole provider of telecom services. The
service it provides is bad, and tightly controlled by the government. Sim cards
are like gold dust in Eritrea. Citizens need to apply to the local government
administration to get one. Set up in 1939 by Italian engineer Luigi Melottia,
Asmara Brewer is the only brewery in the country. State-owned Eri-Tv is the
only television station based in Eritrea. It is the government’s mouthpiece,
but if you have a satellite dish you can watch international channels. The
government has imposed restrictions on the amount of money depositors can
withdraw from their bank accounts. Even if they have millions of nakfa, the
Eritrean currency, in their account, they can only withdraw and equivalent of
$330 a month.