Africa Top10 News

1How to Democratize the Stock Market in Zimbabwe

Stock Market in Zimbabwe

C-Trade is the first service in Africa to offer combined desktop, mobile app and text message stock trading. Accessible to anyone with a Zimbabwe-based bank account who wants to swap shares in the 56 active listed companies on the country’s stock exchange, C-Trade has seen an average of $300,000 in trades each month since its launch last July.  The innovation forged by Collen Tapfumaneyi, who has created numerous finance platforms such as the Financial Securities Exchange (Finsec), Corpserve Registrars — Zimbabwe’s first independent share-registry company — to help companies launch IPOs, manage shares and pay dividends. This evolved into the Escrow Group, which now commands a 42 percent market share in Zimbabwe with offices in Kenya and Zambia. The market cap for Finsec, which democratizes trading of a wide variety of securities by bringing them to a central online marketplace, is $320 million. By global standards, the amount is minuscule, but Tapfumaneyi is thinking far beyond his 17 million-strong homeland. He’s establishing himself as one of the continent’s innovators, with a goal of facilitating a stock market revolution: do-it-yourself public stock offerings.


2Ghana Begins Drone Delivery to Supplement Health Services

Ghana Health Drones Services

The New Tafo Government Hospital is the first in Ghana to sign up to the government’s new medical drone delivery program which hopes to use unmanned aerial vehicles to deliver medical products to hard to reach communities in a timely manner. The medical drone program was officially launched this week by Ghana’s vice president Mahamudu Bawumia, who first made the announcement a year ago.  Ghana Health Service is working with Zipline, the drone company best known for starting blood delivery services in Rwanda. Ghana’s health policymakers hope faster drop-offs will improve its health outcomes including reducing its maternal and infant mortality rates. According to the World Health Organization, “severe bleeding during delivery or after childbirth is the commonest cause of maternal mortality and contributes to around 34% of maternal deaths in Africa.” The timely access to safe blood could save many lives. The launch at Zipline’s Omenako center outside of the capital Accra is the first of four centers it hopes to complete by the end of 2019. The drones will be able to travel to 500 health facilities within an 80-kilometer-range from the Omenako center which is stocked with emergency medicines, vaccines, blood and blood products. The delivery program is also hoped will help reduce the incidence of wastage of medical products, a result of overstocking at hospitals.


3African Island the First Victim of Cyclone Kenneth

Cyclone Kenneth Comoros

As Kenneth passed to the north of Comoros, which has a population of around one million people, it was packing sustained winds of around 140km per hour with significantly higher gusts. This makes it equivalent to a category-1 Atlantic hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Tropical cyclones in this region are rare as they do not tend to form within 10 degrees of the equator because the Coriolis force is not strong enough. The Comoros islands are between 11 and 13 degrees south in latitude and have only had three damaging cyclones since 1983. Thus, it is the strongest storm on record to hit the islands. The powerful storm is rapidly strengthening as it approaches northern Mozambique and southern Tanzania. This will be the first time in history that two storms of category-2 strength or higher have hit Mozambique in the same season. Rising waters will be a big concern but it is hoped that as the strongest winds and storm surge get pushed towards the south of the storm, the worst of Kenneth’s landfall impacts may end up in the sparsely populated Quirimbas National Park region, including the Quirimbas Archipelago.


4Large Amounts of Gold are Leaving Africa Tax Free

Tax Free African Gold

A Reuter’s exclusive says billions of dollars’ worth of gold is being smuggled out of Africa every year through the United Arab Emirates in the Middle East – a gateway to markets in Europe, the United States and beyond. Customs data shows that the UAE imported $15.1 billion worth of gold from Africa in 2016, more than any other country and up from $1.3 billion in 2006. The total weight was 446 tonnes, in varying degrees of purity – up from 67 tonnes in 2006. Much of the gold was not recorded in the exports of African states. Reuters assessed the volume of the illicit trade by comparing total imports into the UAE with the exports declared by African states. Industrial mining firms in Africa told Reuters they did not send their gold to the UAE – indicating that its gold imports from Africa come from other, informal sources. Informal methods of gold production, known in the industry as “artisanal” or small-scale mining, are growing globally. They have provided a livelihood to millions of Africans and help some make more money than they could dream of from traditional trades. But the methods leak chemicals into rocks, soil and rivers. And African governments such as Ghana, Tanzania and Zambia complain that gold is now being illegally produced and smuggled out of their countries on a vast scale, sometimes by criminal operations, and often at a high human and environmental cost.


5Deforestation in Africa Still on an Upward Trend

Deforestation in Africa

Millions of hectares of pristine tropical rainforest were destroyed in 2018, according to satellite analysis, with beef, chocolate and palm oil among the main causes. Research shows that forest destruction jumped by 60% in Ghana and 26% in Ivory Coast, driven by gold mining and cocoa farming. “The good news is the cocoa industry has taken steps to combat this trend,” said Caroline Winchester, a  Global Forest Watch research analyst. “In 2017 the cocoa and forests initiative launched to end further deforestation.” However, 70% of tree felling in Ghana and Ivory Coast was in protected areas, she said. In the DRC, primary forest loss was 38% higher in 2018 than the average from 2011-2017. Expansion of small-scale forest clearing for agriculture and firewood is thought to have caused about three-quarters of this loss.


6Two of Ethiopia’s Greatest Athletes Go Off Track

Ethiopia’s Greatest Athletes

Mo Farah and Haile Gebrselassie have become embroiled in a spat after the Briton alleged he had been robbed during a stay in the Ethiopian Olympic gold medalist’s hotel in Addis Ababa in March 2019. During an April 24 news conference ahead of Sunday’s London Marathon, Farah told reporters money and a watch were stolen from a hotel room in Yaya Village, an athletic training center in the Ethiopian capital. Four-time Olympic champion Farah, who finished third in the London Marathon last year, had been staying at the hotel in March as part of his final preparations for his home race. Gebrselassie, a previous marathon world record holder who won two Olympic gold medals for the 10,000 meters, said in a press release sent to CNN that all residents at his hotel are offered safes for cash over the value of $350; which he said Farah refused. Gebrselassie said the hotel was not legally liable for the theft as a result. Gebrselassie said that the reported robbery was handed over to the police, with five employees being taken into custody before being released.


7Be Careful what you Say about this Man

President Paul Kagame

The Supreme Court in Rwanda has rejected a challenge to a law which says it is a crime to insult the president.The law which was introduced last year means that anyone insulting President Paul Kagame faces between five and seven years in prison. Lawyer Richard Mugisha had argued that the law was unconstitutional as it undermined freedom of expression. The court ruled that it should remain due to the responsibility that the office holds. The same court ruled that a law which prohibits writing articles or drawing cartoons that humiliate MPs, ministers or other government officials should be annulled.


8Cabinet Revamp on the Cards for Senegal

Cabinet Revamp Senegal

Senegal’s government approved a plan to scrap the post of prime minister, the first initiative of President Macky Sall’s second term in office. Sall, who was comfortably re-elected in February, announced the plan earlier this month, telling the Prime Minister Mahammed Boun Abdallah Dionne, to abolish his own job. That announcement was a surprise, as it had not been part of Sall’s re-election campaign. When Sall originally announced his plan, Dionne said the aim was to reduce administrative bottlenecks and “bring the administration closer to the people to speed up (economic) reforms so they have more impact”. Sall told his ministers that he wanted to better control the “lifestyle” of the state machinery, including the administration’s telephone, water and energy bills as well as the cost of the fleet of official vehicles.


9Malawian Musician Challenges Myths about Albinism through Song

Lazarus Chigwandali

A busker named Lazarus Chigwandali has risen to challenge the myths and superstitions about people with albinism. Growing up in Nankumba village, 50 miles south of Malawi’s capital, Lazarus was subjected to violence and marginalisation first-hand. Malawi is home to an estimated 10,000 albinos – a condition that affects the production of the pigment that gives skin, hair and eyes their colour.  But a widely-held belief that their body parts can impart wealth or good luck means people with albinism are frequently abducted, murdered or mutilated in East Africa. Others are raped due to a myth that sex with an albino can cure HIV. The first single from the sessions was released earlier this year. Called Ndife Alendo (We Are Strangers), it talks about how we are all visitors on Earth, who will one day return home to Heaven. But it is also a metaphor for the plight of people with albinism. The message will spread even further when a documentary about Lazarus’s life premieres at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York this weekend. It has been produced by Madonna, who has championed the musician in his home country, inviting him to share a stage with her at an open-air concert last year.


10The #SaveTheOldCityofTripoli Campaign


As a new war reached the Libyan capital, businessman Mustafa Iskandar opened an art gallery and cultural centre, hoping to draw attention to a long-neglected old city in need of revival. One of the best preserved in North Africa with monuments going back to the Romans, Tripoli’s old city has been rundown for years, with garbage filling the narrow streets and its ancient white buildings in dire need of repair. Most Libyans who can afford it have long moved out of the old city to more modern districts of Tripoli, home to 2.5 million. But Iskandar bought a derelict house close to the landmark Roman Mark Aurelius arch, investing  $720,000 to refurbish it as a gathering point for artists. He hung paintings and moved in old furniture collected for years in Europe for his centre, which is located next to a hotel that was once bustling with tourists who used to come to Libya until Muammar Gaddafi was toppled in 2011. Under Gaddafi, authorities restored a handful of old buildings and were planning a larger rehabilitation project when the 2011 uprising broke out, stopping the work. Little has happened since then, given the country’s chaos, but officials hope to reopen the national museum housed in the Red Castle from the Ottoman era, closed since 2015 over security concerns.