Getting Smart about Africa’s Drought Situation
As rains become more erratic, Zimbabwe is looking to irrigation to cushion its food supplies against drought. In announcing the 2019 budget in November, Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube allocated nearly $1 billion to the agriculture ministry to fund irrigation and borehole rehabilitation, among other measures to improve water sources for farmers. And in a bid to deal with the long-term effects of patchy rainfall, the southwestern city of Bulawayo is proposing technological interventions to cut water consumption.
SOURCES: Forbes Africa
What Africa Gained from WEF
One of the highlights of the summit is that Ethiopia has been confirmed as the first country in Africa to host the World Economic Forum’s Annual International meeting, in 2020. Another was a session called “Achieving a single market in Africa”. The panel consisted of business leaders from pan-African companies, the president of the African Development Bank (AfDB), and Oxfam.
SOURCES: Business Day Live
Revamping Kenya Airways
After a restructuring programme aimed at reducing Kenya Airways’ $2bn debt pile, the majority state-owned airline is pursuing a strategy to once again become a competitive African carrier. Under new CEO Sebastian Mikosz, the airline is flying new routes and looking to diversify its revenue stream at its Jomo Kenyatta International Airport hub in Nairobi.
SOURCES: African Business Magazine
Egypt Ready to Unveil New Capital
Cairo is known as the city of a thousand minarets. Its replacement started with just four, the spindly white towers of the Fattah al-Aleem mosque (pictured), a showpiece project in the new purpose-built capital rising in the desert 49km east of Cairo. Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi, the president, unveiled the mosque this month. But no one lives in the city yet. Students from Cairo University, vetted by the government, were bused in for the first Friday prayers on January 18th. Like the mosque, Egypt’s still-nameless new capital is grandiose, empty and tightly controlled.
SOURCES: The Economist
How Africa is Leading the Drone Industry
Drones have become more than just cool-looking flying objects. They are now one of the world’s most publicized and intriguing technologies. African countries are embracing drone technology, and in doing so are helping to boost the industry by stimulating innovation for a wide range of uses, from journalism through agriculture to humanitarian aid work.
Cameroon Backs New Technology Hub
It will be called “Cameroon Silicon River” to be situated in its capital city Yaoundé, the move has already raised eyebrows because the country already has a thriving ecosystem in the country’s southwest region. The new tech hub is modelled after Buea’s Silicon Mountain, which lies in the Anglophone area, and will take a sizable portion of Cameroon’s $20.6 million 2019 budget. Cameroon’s ministry of scientific research and innovation says it will be a platform for research and innovation where young, creative, and enterprising Cameroonian software developers and other technologists will have the infrastructure and support. Tech entrepreneurs in Silicon Mountain have often complained of systematic neglect by the government.
SOURCES: Quartz Africa
This is the Third-largest Venture Investment Ever for an African Startup
Andela, a firm which uses African computer programmers to work remotely for US corporations, has secured $100m in investment. The funding comes from Generation Investment Management – a firm run by the former US Vice-President Al Gore. The technology company says it intends to use part of the funding to improve its software to spot talented programmers and monitor the performance of their workers. Andela has tech campuses in Nigeria, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.
Protecting Uganda’s Water Gold
The Ugandan government is currently consulting and discussing a fisheries and aquaculture bill that calls for the fish maw to be one of the products that should be regulated. The fish’s commodity, known as a swim bladder, is used as an aphrodisiac in China. A study by the Lake Victoria Fisheries Organization has shown that a growing appetite in Asia has seen the former waste by-product becoming a multi-million-dollar export.
Are Tech Disruptors Adding or Solving Nairobi’s Traffic Congestion?
In the last two weeks, Little, the ride-hailing app backed by Kenya’s largest mobile operator, Safaricom, and Swvl, the Cairo-headquartered bus transportation service, have begun piloting bus shuttles in Nairobi. Their busses have been plying routes in the city and testing which neighborhoods have more demand and how passengers react to a pre-booked service. For years now, transport officials have tried to rein in the sector in a bid to decongest major urban areas and introduce rapid bus transits that would improve capacity and reliability. But those efforts have so far proved vain, forcing millions of commuters in cities like Nairobi and Mombasa to use the unruly and loud matatus to move around daily.
SOURCES: The Star
Building a Pan-African Insurance Company
Nadia Fettah, CEO of Morocco-based Saham Finances, has overseen the company’s expansion from a small local firm into a leading African insurance company operating in 23 countries across the continent. Between 2005 and 2015, it increased its sales nearly tenfold, to over $1 billion. In 2016, Saham took its African expansion strategy to the next level: it partnered with Sanlam, a long-established South African insurance company that had also made Africa its major growth focus.