Partnerships Are Key To Driving The Future Of Inclusive Payments In South Africa – Mastercard Deloitte Report
The financial services sector in South Africa is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. Rapid developments in digital technologies are both disrupting and enabling change in previously disconnected sectors, such as banking, telecommunications and retail. These advancements make digital payments and services more readily accessible and affordable to consumers and small businesses, but the usage of such products will be subject to how well payments providers collaborate to meet their needs. This is according to a new Mastercard and Deloitte Africa report “The future of payments in South Africa: Enabling financial inclusion and innovation in a converging world” released today on the side-lines of the World Economic Forum on Africa. The report states that if we are to achieve meaningful financial inclusion in South Africa, private and public sectors must collaborate to reduce the reliance on cash and encourage the use of digital payment methods and financial services to achieve more inclusive and sustainable economic growth. It is not yet a reality, but several developments are providing encouraging indications of progress.
South African Embassy in Nigeria Closed
South Africa has temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria following reprisal attacks by Nigerians triggered by xenophobic violence in South Africa. Between Sunday and Wednesday, mobs looted and destroyed shops, many of them foreign-owned, in South Africa’s commercial hub Johannesburg. Nigeria’s government has been outspoken in its condemnation of the violence. South Africa’s foreign minister , Naledi Pandor called it an embarrassment for her country. South Africa has temporarily closed its diplomatic missions in Nigeria following reprisal attacks by Nigerians triggered by xenophobic violence in South Africa. Between Sunday and Wednesday, mobs looted and destroyed shops, many of them foreign-owned, in South Africa’s commercial hub Johannesburg. oreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama clarified that while the government believes that Nigerian businesses in South Africa had been targeted, it had no information that any of its citizens had died. “There are a lot of stories going around of Nigerians being killed, jumping off buildings and being burnt. This is not the case,” he told journalists. He also urged people to stop attacking South African businesses in Nigeria, saying that the president “is particularly distraught at the acts of vandalism”. To help any Nigerians who might want to leave South Africa, the foreign ministry said they were being offered a free flight home.
Kenyan Farmers Hope to Benefit from Insured Loans
Unlike other commercial bank loans, the Risk Contingent Credit Scheme, which is a brainchild of Washington-based IFPRI, aims to cushion farmers from huge losses accrued from crop failures due to climate change. For the past four seasons, there has been little rain in Machakos county, and farmers have watched in despair as crops withered away. Climate change has pushed them closer to poverty as they stream to markets to buy food instead of living off their own harvests. Beatrice Ndavi is one of those farmers. The farmers receive the loans after undergoing agronomy training, as well as financial literacy classes. Ndavi took the first loan and was among 265 farmers who took a second loan this week. The plan is still in its pilot stage, but there are plans to replicate it for other arid areas in African countries.
African Scientists Find a Way to Prevent Malaria
Human trials of new antimalarial drugs are in the pipeline after Kenyan scientists successfully used bacteria to kill the parasite that causes the disease. The Kenya Medical Research Institute and global health partners say the breakthrough could potentially lead to the development of a new class of drugs in less than two years. The promise of a new treatment comes after trials in Burkina Faso proved that Ivermectin, a conventional drug used for parasitic diseases including river blindness and elephantiasis, reduced transmission rates. The medication worked by making the blood of people who were repeatedly vaccinated lethal to mosquitoes. The study also found that Ivermectin can kill plasmodium falciparum, the malaria parasite carried by female mosquitoes, when administered to humans.
SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
How Sudan’s Civil Society Responded to Khartoum Massacre
In Sudan, sexual violence is a persistent problem that has roots not only in misogyny, homophobia and politics of domination but also in the state’s methods of consolidating power and its unconventional and destructive reliance on the militarisation of civilians. In the last 30 years, we have witnessed a fundamental transformation in Sudan’s civic space and the role “civilians” play in the affairs of the state. All they had was a bunch of volunteers and the discipline and the commitment to support the survivors of violence. So, how did the activists do all of that? The answer is simple; they were not distracted. They were completely focused. They clearly understood the root causes and politics behind sexual violence. They approached sexual violence as a crime connected to the power relations, and to my surprise, they did not undermine how personal it is as a crime. And perhaps most importantly, they understood that supporting survivors was an essential part of their struggle for change and a better future.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA
Renewable Energy Becomes Part of East Africa’s Economic Plans
Kenya recently launched the Lake Turkana Wind Power project, Africa’s largest wind energy project and the biggest public-private investment in Kenyan history. The wind farm will produce 300MW of low-cost renewable energy for Kenya’s national grid. Kenya is already a leader in green energy; 70% of its electricity comes from renewable sources, all part of the government’s plans to promote renewable energy in line with the national development strategy, Vision 2030. The Lake Turkana Wind Power project is a key component of this vision and occupies a vast concession of over 607km2. The wind farm development occupies 162 km2 of that larger concession. It’s located in the Sarima valley in Marsabit County, northern Kenya, on the shores of Lake Turkana. This is a long neglected part of the country and the communities living there have been deeply ambivalent towards the project. Lake Turkana Wind Power is part of a wider trend for large scale infrastructure projects in historically marginalized, pastoralist regions, including oil exploration in Kenya’s Turkana County and the Gilgel Gibe 3 Dam on the Omo River in Ethiopia. Previously considered peripheral to national development, these areas are now taking a central place in national economic plans.
SOURCE: QUARTZ AFRICA
The Changing Role of the Chief Financial Officer
To keep up, Chief Financial Officers need to embrace their role as ‘economic guardians’, the person who is there to provide insight, direction and measurement of business outcomes in a world of fierce competition and evolving customer demands. The finance function’s profile and role within the enterprise is shifting, with CFOs coming out of the back office into the front lines of the business. Rather than simply watching the numbers and running the financial reports, CFOs today are expected to work closely with business stakeholders to understand how the organisation should use its resources to meet customers’ needs. With most enterprises investing in digital transformation, there is also an emerging and often overlooked role for the CFO as a digital champion. The CFO can help support the transition to the digital world by ensuring that the speed and size of the organisation’s investments are sustainable and that the expected outcomes are realistic. What’s more, with regulatory compliance demands growing, CFOs can easily find too much of their time soaked up by statutory reporting requirements. This is why CFOs need access to tools that enable them to automate statutory reporting and generating financial statements.
Africa on Course to Diversify its Investment Partners
The new freedom enjoyed by African governments to choose sources of foreign direct investment, as competition for opportunities in Africa’s fast-growing economies intensifies. Ethiopia has been largely dependent on government-backed investment from China for much of the past decade, but Prime Minister Ahmed Abiy, since coming to power in 2018, has promised to liberalize the country’s economy and open various sectors to new sources of foreign investment. Attracted by Africa’s vast natural resources, as well as its fast-growing populations, underdeveloped markets and open attitude to innovation, countries from Russia to India to Qatar are vying for opportunities and influence. On the continent, this heightened level of investor interest has given African states greater agency and more power to shape the composition of the foreign direct investment they receive. Such heightened competition has provoked a new investment arms race as old donors and new partners seek to strengthen their commercial relationships with African countries.
Are Multinationals Shying Away from African Entrepreneurs?
According to the 2018/2019 report from the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, African countries such as Angola and Madagascar have some of the highest rates of entrepreneurship in the world. These entrepreneurs often operate on an informal, micro-enterprise scale, however, and their contribution to economic activity is minimal. This is a shame because, excluding South Africa, most industrial sectors in Sub-Saharan Africa are not dominated by large firms that tend to keep entrepreneurs at bay in more advanced economies, thus presenting opportunities for significant growth. Although foreign multinationals have (and are already playing) a key role in GDP growth in these countries, the tendency to repatriate their earnings ultimately diminishes their contribution to local gross national income (GNI). Furthermore, these businesses are often attracted to larger, better organized markets on the continent, where they can readily capture value using products and processes developed in their home countries. This leads to a scenario where residents in larger African cities have access to much of the same products and services one might obtain in the developed world, while outside these regions, residents are left to deal with the consequences of commercial neglect.
SOURCE: THE CONVERSATION
Dar es Salaam Cracks Down on Poaching
Tanzania has seized ivory tusks equivalent to killing at least 117 elephants, its tourism minister said, part of its drive to stamp out organised criminal networks involved in years of industrial-scale poaching. The elephant population in Tanzania, famed for its wildlife reserves, shrank from 110,000 in 2009 to barely 43,000 in 2014, according to a 2015 census, with conservation groups blaming rampant poaching. The government says numbers have now started to recover. Demand for ivory from Asian countries such as China and Vietnam, where it is turned into jewels and ornaments, has driven the surge in poaching across Africa. Hamisi Kigwangalla, minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, said on his Twitter account late on Wednesday the ivory was recovered after authorities arrested suspected “hardcore” poacher Hassan Shaban Likwema, also known by the alias Hassan Nyoni.
SOURCE: REUTERS AFRICA