Africa Top10 Business News Interviews Grey Jabesi on Cryptocurrency and Blockchain In Africa

Grey Jabesi on Cryptocurrency

Grey Jabesi is a 24-year-old African entrepreneur, blockchain enthusiast, cryptocurrency evangelist, analyst and investor. He an autodidact who maintains the company of some of the best minds in business and tech, he takes a practical approach to knowledge and experience building, always with a focus on developing the best possible solutions. Recently, Jabesi was inducted as new Director of Marketing for The Blockchain Association of Africa and is based in Cape Town. He spoke to and when asked about the role of crypto currencies and block chain in Africa, he said: “The current state of the world is status and permission based. There are always hierarchies who call shots and your fate can easily be determined by them. A good example of this is “sanctions”, someone has the power to kick you out of the economic arena. Africans are already victims to this, the majority are unbanked or do not have the resources to be identified as “people” in the current economic system. The peer to peer nature of cryptocurrencies empowers everyone including Africans to participate in the economic activity without needing a central authority, for example, banks. This does not only allow them to do business at a local level, but at a global level as well. One can create a product or service and sell it to the entire world, online and get paid instantly and frictionless.”


2Full Steam Ahead on Ethiopia’s Recovery Plans

Ethiopia's Recovery Plans

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has vowed to continue opening up the economy and country, despite a recent coup attempt triggered by his ambitious reform agenda. Ethiopia’s prime minister inherited an economy that boasted the fastest growth rates in Africa and one of the fastest growing non-oil economies in the world. Since assuming power in April 2018 he has sought to tackle the country’s growing debt burden and currency crisis, by renegotiating loans and seeking financial support from external partners in the Gulf and the west, including $3bn in loans and investment from the UAE.  Ahmed Soliman, a research fellow at Chatham House’s Africa Programme focused on the Horn of Africa, says that the attacks have strengthened Abiy’s resolve to pursue domestic security reforms, end inter-ethnic violence, and secure the integrity of the upcoming 2020 elections. He adds that there is likely to be a continuation of Abiy’s policies of private-sector led liberalisation and the courting of new investment.


3Forbes Africa on Keeping Up with Nigeria’s Power Couple

Chief Razak Okoya

Chief Razak Okoya is an industrialist who has managed to transform a small trading company into one of the largest conglomerates and indigenous manufacturers of household products in Nigeria. As founder of Eleganza Group and leading property investment company RAO Property, he employs about 5000 people across Nigeria. In his interview with Forbes Africa, he discusses the trends that will influence the competitive Nigerian Manufacturing sector in the next decade. Chief Mrs. Folashade Okoya has been at the helm of affairs of the Eleganza Group and RAO Property Investment for the past decade using her strong entrepreneurial drive to further strengthen the goodwill of both organizations and its corporate positioning in Nigeria. Under her watch, Eleganza Group has risen to new heights strengthening its position as a leading indigenous brand in Nigeria as well as one of the benchmark manufacturing companies in the country. She talks about the stigma of women in manufacturing and the need for greater automation in the manufacturing process in Nigeria.


4A Pioneering Businessman who Drove Kenya’s Mobile Money Revolution

Bob Collymore

Bob Collymore, the head of east Africa’s biggest telecoms company, Safaricom, and a pioneer of mobile money, said the ultimate purpose of his business was “transforming lives”. In doing so, he helped inspire a generation of corporate leaders to think bigger. The British chief executive, who has died aged 61 after a long battle with cancer, led Kenya’s largest mobile operator through a period of rapid growth, turning Safaricom into east Africa’s most profitable business. Under his leadership since 2010, the company’s revolutionary mobile money service, M-Pesa, evolved from a fledgling peer to peer transfer system to become the backbone of the country’s digital economy, used by two in every five Kenyans. The desire to engage with everyone from Kenya’s president to the poorest motorbike taxi driver was key to Collymore’s understanding of the potential of digital services, says longtime friend, Aly-Khan Satchu, a Nairobi-based investment adviser. Not everything succeeded. The company’s hyped e-commerce platform Masoko, for example, failed to meet expectations. But Collymore was willing to fail in his pursuit of success. An avid reader, saxophone player, jazz enthusiast and a collector of African art, Collymore was a vocal champion of the fight against corruption in Kenya, a member of Richard Branson’s B-Team initiative of global leaders, and a patron of the arts. He created the Safaricom International Jazz Festival and the Safaricom Youth Orchestra and supported his Kenyan wife, artist Wambui Kamiru, as she built up The Art Space, a Nairobi gallery.


5West Africa Adopts a Single Currency

West Africa Currency

As part of its plans to make Africa a more integrated continent, leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have adopted the name ‘ECO’ for a planned single currency to be used in the region. The 15 member group announced at the end of an ECOWAS summit in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital on Saturday. Six member countries, including Nigeria, Liberia, and Ghana, could be swapping their currencies for a new one – the ECO. Eight ECOWAS countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, and Togo) currently jointly use the CFA franc. Originally intended to be launched in 2000, the ECO has been postponed multiple times, and the newest target date is 2020. ECOWAS will be working with the West African Monetary Agency (WAMA), the West Africa Monetary Institute (WAMI) and central banks to speed up the implementation of a new road map for the proposed single trade currency. ECO is supposed to boost economic development in the West African region and improve cross border trade. Once implemented, countries across the region will be able to move and spend money across different countries without worrying about exchange rate costs. 


6African Traders to Benefit from Preferential Trading Arrangements Offered by the AfCFTA

African Traders

The African Union plans to launch the operational phase of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) at an Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government on July 7 in Niamey, Niger. African Union Commission (AUC) Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat termed the event as a remarkable and historic achievement. The AU said that a decision on the location of the secretariat of the AfCFTA is also expected to be made. The secretariat’s primary mandate will be the implementation the agreement. Seven countries have submitted bids to host the secretariat. They are: Egypt, Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar and Senegal. The AU’s Executive Council will elect four board members of the African Union Advisory Board on Corruption and prepare the draft agenda and decisions for the 12th Extraordinary Assembly that will launch the AfCFTA.


7East African Citizen Groups Sue Uganda and Rwanda

East African Citizens

Three civil society groups, on behalf of communities along the border, said they had filed a complaint with the East African Court of Justice demanding reparations from Uganda and Rwanda for their losses. Trade has been severely disrupted since late February when Rwanda abruptly closed the border with its northern neighbour, severing a major economic land route used daily by merchants and business people on both sides. The closure followed months of rising acrimony between Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni, former allies turned foes who have exchanged public accusations of spying in each other’s territory. Apart from a brief interlude in June the frontier has remained shut, damaging the local economies of both countries reliant on cross-border trade to survive. The court, in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha, was set up to rule on matters of the East African Community, a six-member bloc including Rwanda and Uganda, as well as Tanzania, Burundi, Kenya and South Sudan.


8How to Solve Africa’s Electricity Woes

Africa's Electricity

The most consistent and promising approach to tackling this huge obstacle to development has come with the off-grid pay-as-you-go solar power model, now called PayGo. The sector started out in East Africa built around combining the improving and increasingly cost-effective solar technology with the region’s mobile money advantage, thanks to the successful reach of Safaricom’s M-Pesa in Kenya. Companies like Nairobi-based M-Kopa have signed up 750,000 homes in the region on the back of that payment platform which has been key for also enabling users to obtain credit and manage their payments. PayGo solar isn’t just reliant on classic mobile money solutions. In some countries it’s being used with local bank partnerships such as in Nigeria or with credit bureaus in India, for example. When it comes to demand Kenya and Uganda score high particularly when it comes to users’ “willingness to pay”, while Kenya also does well on the supply side along with Indonesia, driven by the availability of finance to support the sector.


9Brewed in Zimbabwe a Hit on the Market

David Muganyura

A long-time Zimbabwean coffee grower, David Muganyura almost gave up on the crop when prices slumped to as low as U.S. 20 cents a pound at the turn of the millennium, and foreign buyers took flight after land seizures drove out more than 120 white commercial coffee farmers under the banner of post-colonial reform. But with companies like Nestle’s Nespresso arm now willing to pay a premium for Zimbabwe’s beans, small-scale farmers like Muganyura are returning to a sector that was all-but destroyed under former President Robert Mugabe. Coffee output in Zimbabwe was 430 tonnes in 2018, a 10% increase over the previous year. This year production is set at 500 tonnes, according to industry officials. Zimbabwe was never among the world’s top producers: output peaked at around 15,000 tonnes in the late 1990s. But its Arabica coffee is prized for its zesty and fruity tones, and the sector once provided a livelihood for more than 20,000 poor farmers. Nespresso, which started buying Zimbabwean coffee last year at a 30%-40% premium above international prices and pays farmers in U.S. dollars, is helping to drive the modest revival. Its limited edition “Tamuka muZimbabwe” (“We Have Awakened in Zimbabwe”) coffee, launched in 16 countries in May, sold out in three weeks. 


10Trouble at Africa’s Biggest Fund

Africa's Biggest Fund

The Public Investment Corp. is the behemoth of Africa’s fund managers, overseeing $150 billion in pension assets for more than 1 million South African state workers. While the PIC, as it’s widely known, was long heralded for delivering market-beating returns, its reputation has been scarred by accusations that it made questionable investment decisions and didn’t follow proper procedures. An official inquiry into how the fund manager is run has starkly highlighted its management shortcomings. Witnesses have told the commission how processes were routinely flouted, polices were breached and questionable investments were made by senior managers. They included the purchase of bonds issued by cash-strapped state power producer Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and a stake in Ayo Technology Solutions Ltd. that valued the little-known technology company at 50 times what its assets were estimated to be worth. There’s been no conclusive evidence that PIC officials directly benefited from their actions, although several of them were alleged to have been closely linked to executives at companies in which the PIC bought stakes.