Africa Top10 News

1Tributes Pour in For Africa’s Top Telecoms Boss

Bob Collymore

“Bob Collymore” and “Rest in Peace” are trending on Twitter in Kenya as people share news that the chief executive of Safaricom, one of the region’s most successful companies, has died of cancer at the age of 61. In a statement, President Uhuru Kenyatta described him as a “visionary and exceptional leader”. Deputy President William Ruto has called him “exemplary, brilliant and courageous”. Others have described him as a “legend” and having a “brilliant mind”. Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga says that Mr Collymore “sustained us as a communication hub in Africa”. Last year, Safaricom was named by Forbes magazine as the top employer on the continent. Mr Collymore said that the secret was that Safaricom invested in people adding that companies “need to give people meaning and purpose”. His advice for young employees: work hard and align your values to the values of the company.SOURCE: FINANCIAL TIMES | AFRICA.COM

2West Africa Adopts a Single Currency

West Africa ECO

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. SOURCE: CNN

3Statement by the Home Office Hurts Nigeria’s Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking

Human Trafficking Nigeria

Home Office officials have provoked outrage by stating that trafficked women from Nigeria can return to the country “wealthy from prostitution” and “held in high regard”. The comments are found in an official policy and information note on the trafficking of women from Nigeria, which is used by Home Office decision-makers handling protection and human rights claims. The guidance has been updated to include a paragraph on the prospects of trafficked women if they return to Nigeria, citing EU and Australian reports that make similar observations, which was not in the last version published in November 2016. The paragraph reads: “Trafficked women who return from Europe, wealthy from prostitution, enjoy high social-economic status and in general are not subject to negative social attitudes on return. They are often held in high regard because they have improved income prospects.”SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

4How to Solve Africa’s Electricity Woes

Africa's Electricity Woes

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.SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA

5DRC President Has a Crisis on His Hands

Felix Tshisekedi

Thousands of Congolese are patiently waiting in Drodro for answers from the government near the border between DR Congo and Uganda. The President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, is expected in the Ituri region, where inter-ethnic fighting is forcing people from their homes. Almost half a million Congolese have been displaced and at least 400 killed in fighting this month. More than 400,000 people have fled the province since the fighting started three weeks ago, many trying to make it across the border. Tshisekedi is expected there to assess the humanitarian crisis.SOURCE: AL JAZEERA

6How a South African Eatery Lost its Key Customers

Spur SA

Some of Spur’s most ardent fans have been staying away, supporting a boycott now entering its third year that has highlighted the underlying racial tensions in South African society. The boycott began in 2017 when Spur sided with a black woman who was in a confrontation with a white man at a franchise in Johannesburg. But the continuing campaign against the chain — promoted by South Africa’s most prominent groups that advocate white-minority rights — reflects something more profound than lingering bitterness over that dispute. Founded in 1967, Spur helped introduce American-style casual dining to South Africa at a time when the country’s racial policies were increasingly making it an international pariah. Franchises spread quickly, and the chain became one of the country’s most recognizable brands. Black South Africans now account for about 65 percent of the customers at the nation’s more than 280 Spur franchises, according to an internal report prepared for the company. But individual franchises still depend heavily on white customers. Sales have slowly recovered nationwide. But business is still not back to normal at some locations.SOURCE: THE NEW YORK TIMES

7The Potential Impact of Africa’s Fintech Space

Africa's Fintech Space

Africa’s fintech companies have raised $320 million in funding since January 2015 and the ecosystem has surged 60% in the last two years. The continent’s fintech firms have grown to 491 from 301 in 2017, while the $132.8 million raised in 2018 has been the sector’s best-ever year, according to the Finnovating for Africa 2019: Reimagining the African financial services landscape report. The annual report by Disrupt Africa has been tracking active fintech startups for the past four and a half years in 28 countries.   Last year 210 African tech startups raised $334.5 million, with Nigeria leading the investments in 2018 with 58 startups raising $94,9 millions, followed by South Africa with 40 businesses that raised $59,9 millions, and Kenya was third.SOURCE: FORBES AFRICA

8Opportunity for Investment in Ghana’s Hospitality Industry

Ghana’s Hospitality Industry

One of the most frequently visited tourist destinations in English-speaking West Africa is Ghana, for many obvious reasons. The country is not in any way lacking in tourist attractions, especially for those interested in nature and West African slave trade era history. The Kakum National Park, Labadi Beach, Elmina Castle, the mighty Volta Lake, and the Akosombo Dam are just a few of the sites attracting foreign traffic to the country. The country featured prominently on PWC’s Hospitality Outlook 2017-2027 report as a major emerging market in Africa. Big investors are seeing the light and responding to the stimulus. That is why hotels, both locally and internationally-branded, are springing up in the country. As of May 2017, there were 2,723 hotels and lodges in Ghana. Tour operators and destination marketing, food tourism and events marketing are among the top sectors to invest in.SOURCE:  AFRICA.COM

9Sideline Highlights from Afcon

Highlights from Afcon

Egypt secured top spot in Group A becoming the only side so far to have earned full points in all three games and yet to concede a goal while doing so. Zimbabwe and the DRC faced off in the other game of the group. The Leopards put forth a convincing performance that saw them hit four past Zimbabwe’s Warriors. Madagascar recorded the biggest upset of the AFCON by beating two times champions Nigeria in the final Group B game. They ended up topping the group with Nigeria coming second. Guinea also beat Burundi by two goals to nil to end with four points. The Syli Nationale will likely make it into the next round as a third-best team. Ahead of last games in this group, only holders Cameroon have secured a win in their victory against Guinea Bissau. The draw with Ghana means they have secured a place in the knockout phase. Mauritania will take on Angola in Group E, and the tournament debutants will be hoping to earn their first points at the tournament. Mauritania lost their first match to Mali, while Angola held Tunisia to a 1-1 draw. In Group F, defending champions Cameroon will take on Ghana, while Benin who held the Black Stars to a 2-2 draw in the first match, will play against Guinea Bissau.SOURCE: AFRICA NEWS

10Kenyan Women Take an Active Role in the Fight against Terrorism

Kenyan women

The U.S. Institute of Peace is training and working with Kenyan women as they build trust within their communities to prevent violent extremism. The program comes as Kenya struggles to halt the recruitment efforts of Islamist militant group al-Shabab. The organization Sisters Without Borders was formed in 2014. One of its missions is to bridge the mistrust between Kenyan security agencies and families of terrorism suspects. The organization includes at least 20 women’s groups from Nairobi, Mombasa and Garissa, all of which have seen deadly terrorist attacks by the Islamist militant group al-Shabab. Kenya National Counterterrorism Center Director Martin Kimani says that kind of ground-level activism is exactly what the country needs. Kenya has been prime recruiting territory for al-Shabab since 2011, when the government sent troops into Somalia to fight militants.SOURCE: VOA