“Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations…entangling alliances with none”
Nigeria’s business tycoon Dangote prepares $4.5 billion of debt financing in oil refinery
Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote is taking more interest in the oil sector. He has set aside more than $4.5 billion in debt financing for his Nigerian oil refinery project and aims to start production in early 2020. The business tycoon who built his fortune on cement is now building the world’s largest single oil refinery.
The refinery will have a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day. Though Nigeria is a crude oil exporter, it still imports petroleum due to lack of domestic refining capacity. According to CNBC, Dangote’s aim is to use this refinery to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on imported petroleum.
The financial mix for this project will include Nigeria’s central bank, AfDB, Trade banks from China, India and some European countries.
“Things Fall Apart” in Nigeria’s ruling All Progressive Congress (APC)
Nigeria’s President Mohamadou Buhari and his ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) party, are in murky political waters. This comes as a result of a huge defection of its prominent members to the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP). There has been confusion in the ruling party since Monday with the defection of 16 Senators from the PDP to APC.
What followed was another defection of more than 30 members of the House of Representatives. There have also been many reported defections in the various states with the opposition taking over State Houses of Assemblies hitherto controlled by the ruling party. This has so far placed the ruling party at the minority position in the National Assembly, thereby further complicating relations between the executives and the national assembly.
President Buhari has announced his intention to seek a second term in office in the 2019 general elections. This is despite mounting pressure from Nigerians that he resigns and take care of his health. Buhari who is 76, spent a good chunk of his first mandate on medical vacation in London treating an undisclosed ailment. With the ongoing defections, it is left to be seen how the political atmosphere will be in Nigeria in the coming weeks and months.
Cameroon on the wake to promote IETF activities
In the quest to improve the existing Internet Engineering Task Force specifications, the IETF organization took it upon itself to meet about three times a year for feedback and discussions. However, during this year working session in Montreal, Cameroonian students were invited.
“In the IETF Africans are not represented enough. So, the Internet Society Cameroon wants to promote the IETF and its activities to encourage our researchers, students or engineers to also make contributions,” said Willy Manga, secretary general of Internet Society Cameroon.
Nevertheless, this new goal might serve as a way to inform the Cameroonian public about the true function of the Internet.
Opposition parties fail to unite against Paul Biya
President Paul Biya of Cameroon who is 86 years old is poised to win another mandate after a group of 20 mushroom opposition parties adopted him as their consensus candidate for the October 7, 2018, Presidential elections. The three main opposition leaders namely Barrister Akere Muna, Joshua Osih and Maurice Kamto are still far away apart.
The Cameroonian public had expected the main opposition leaders to form a coalition against the ruling CPDM candidate, Paul Biya, who shall be seeking a 7th term in office after governing the country for 35 years running.
The Presidential elections in October are built to take place amidst an uncertain political and security atmosphere. For two years now, tension has remained high in the English-speaking parts of the country after President Paul Biya declared war on separatist rebels, who have accepted the war and are now engaging security forces in sporadic gun battles. How will elections hold in this part of the country? This is the question begging for answers.
Kenya’s UTU Technologies and RideSafe make it to the æternity Ventures Finals
Kenyan startups UTU Technologies and RideSafe have made it to the finals of Sofia-based æternity Starfleet Incubator for blockchain startups. Nikola Stojanow, CEO of æternity Ventures, said he had been very impressed by the passion, dedication, and far-reaching potential of the teams that made it to the final. æternity and æternity Ventures, which oversees the global incubator programmes and partnerships, announced that the nine projects that made it to the final will receive a combined US$1.3 million in investment.
UTU, the Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered recommendations engine, based on a real human model of trust, and a blockchain protocol that helps to deliver Trust Infrastructure as a Service (TIaaS) in Kenya secured US$200,000, as well as an additional US$50,000 from æternity Ventures’ partner network as a number of investment funds and angel investors, followed the event online.
Equally, the Kenya-based insurtech mobile-based application, RideSafe which offers real-time health services to the public motorbike sector in the event of an accident, made it into the final. The projects of these young startups will no doubt take them to another level with the guidance and vision of æternity Ventures.
Will the opposition succeed to fill in a single presidential candidate in DR Congo?
As citizens of the Democratic Republic of Congo prepare to go to the polls in December 2018 to elect a new president, the opposition parties have agreed in principle, to put forth a joint candidate for the election. Though it’s not clear who the possible coalition candidate will be, former vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, a pretty popular figure in the DRC’s political milieu claims he’s the perfect candidate in the election. But he’s also prepared to support another candidate.
In his first detailed statement since being acquitted in May on appeal for war crimes at The Hague, Bemba revealed to press men and women in Brussels, that ambition to stand as president is not an obsession but touted by the experience and leadership qualities he possesses. This he said citing his experiences in human, military/security and economic management.
Incumbent President Joseph Kabila, who has been there since 2001, is barred by the constitutional clause of term limit from running. However, the power drunkard has refused to publicly commit himself to that effect. Consequently, as the opposition scheme for a single candidate against Kabila’s party, the release of Bemba from prison and his planned return to DR Congo on August 1, 2018, has further muddied the political waters.
South Africa’s Eskom rocks in bankruptcy
South Africa’s electricity public utility, Eskom announced on Monday, that it was considering cutting staff and selling assets after reporting a $171 million loss. The company which is one of South Africa’s greatest assets and supplies more than 90% of the country’s power, has around 270 billion rands of state-guaranteed debt. Eskom is currently in a financial crisis, which Jabu Mabuza, Eskom Chairman says is the firm’s most difficult in recent history.
It is quite a shame that the largest producer of electricity in Africa and of the top seven utilities in the world in terms of generation capacity has gone bankrupt. It is no doubt that Eskom is suffering today just like many other African companies due to corruption in state-run companies in South Africa.
South Africa hosts 10th Annual Summit of BRICS
Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, are currently meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa in the 10th annual BRICS Leaders’ Summit. The summit kicked off on Wednesday.
At the opening of the summit, the leaders raised concerns about the protectionist policies in global trade. This is in direct reference to the US trade actions under Donald Trump in which high trade tariffs have been imposed on China.
BRICS is the acronym for the member states of the association of major emerging countries, which include Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The BRICS Leaders’ Summit is convened annually with discussions representing spheres of political and socio-economic coordination in which member countries have identified several business opportunities, economic complementarities and areas of cooperation.
IMF fears Algeria’s economic policy could quicken inflation
For four years now, Algeria has wallowed in an economic crisis. But Algeria’s government has now turned to monetary financing in order to cut budget deficits. However, the IMF fears this could cause higher inflation as its non-oil sector remains weak.
According to the IMF, if not adequately sterilized, the increased liquidity would raise perceived or actual nominal wealth and stimulate demand, causing prices to rise in the short term due to insufficient domestic supply or saving opportunities.
Nevertheless, as part of the measures to cut spending and offset the fall in energy revenue, the government has imposed import restrictions for some goods including foodstuffs and home appliances since 2014.
Why does it appear like everybody in Africa wants to be president of their countries?
While presidential candidates in western democracies are in most cases very few in number (largely between 2 and 5), most African nations which are known for limping democratic systems have often witnessed a huge turn out of presidential aspirants during elections. From DR Congo to Cameroon and to Mali, the situation remains the same with more than 20 candidates expressing interests in the highest office of their various countries.
As Malians prepare to head to the polls to test the political stability of the country in a Presidential election, the Constitutional Court has validated 24 candidates to run in the July 29 presidential race while it rejected six applications.
Incumbent president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, who has been in office since 2013, and opposition frontrunner Soumaila Cisse, are the two front-runners. Other candidates who could possibly create an impact in the elections include former Prime Minister Cheick Mohamed Abdoulaye Souad known as Modibo Diarra, Former ministers Choguel Kokala Maïga, Mohamed Ali Bathily and Mountaga Tall, religious leader Harouna Sankaré and businesswoman Djeneba N’Diaye.
Senegal looks forward to expanding cooperation with China
Senegal envisages expanding cooperation with a focus on infrastructure. The idea surfaced after Chinese President, Xi Jinping stopped in the West African country to discuss on China’s infrastructure projects. Before now, China has been cooperating with Senegal to develop the infrastructure sector. Senegal has invested $1.5 billion in infrastructure, notably in road construction, thanks to its cooperation with China.
Senegal has a plan proposed in 2014 to achieve an average economic growth rate of 7% by 2035. This plan consists of 27 projects among with six focused on developing a transport infrastructure.
China’s infrastructure projects are well known in Africa and cooperation between these two countries have won admiration and created jobs for Senegalese.
Google’s Alphabet crawls closer to becoming the world’s first $1 trillion company
Google was already worth more than $800 billion. While still behind Apple, Google is now jumping into that batch of companies that are on their way to being a $1 trillion company. After its latest earnings report, Google’s parent company Alphabet saw its share price jump an additional 5%, putting its valuation neck-and-neck with Amazon’s. As of Tuesday morning, Google has a market cap of around $873 billion.
The company continues to make money from its ad business, even as its cost-per-click continues to decline. Meanwhile, its other revenue, including revenue from Google Cloud, grew 37% year-over-year. But it wasn’t that long ago that Apple hit a $900 billion market cap. Then, everyone started talking about it being a contender to hit $1 trillion.
While the EU is slapping Google with a massive fine, this doesn’t seem to bother Wall Street all that much. The Wall Street sees Alphabet as a company that will continue to grow over time.
Why is Facebook’s stock nose diving?
At first blush, it looked like Facebook had a pretty decent earnings report. The social media giant’s revenue was up 42% last year. But on Wednesday, its stock plummeted 20% after the company announced disappointing Q2 earnings. Even though billions of people use Facebook and its chicks — Instagram and WhatsApp — the company didn’t meet Wall Street’s high revenue expectations.
So, why did Facebook’s revenue drop?
Facebook has been putting fewer brands on your news feed so you could focus on your friends and families. And privacy concerns mostly from Europe’s new privacy laws have also forced it to make changes which it claims are taking a hit at its revenue.
For now, Facebook is begging Wall Street to lower its expectations for the new few quarters. In the meantime, Facebook says it will spend millions to improve security and safety after the data-sharing debacle, as well as to combat fake news and election meddling.
Why’s Trump being so generous towards farmers with $12 billion?
For the past few months now, the US government has been upping tariffs on other countries — China, the EU, Mexico, Canada which it claims aren’t trading fairly. Countries are hitting back. And US farmers have been hit especially hard as countries have targeted tariffs on things like meat and soy. But Trump has an idea.
On Tuesday, the Trump administration said it’s going to pay US farmers to make up for the lost money, either by cash, or by buying up what hasn’t sold and sending it to food banks, or by teaming up with businesses to create new markets. Trump says “Tariffs are the greatest!” and should be used toward countries that have taken advantage of the US for years. Lawmakers say farmers don’t want a bailout — they want an end to the trade war (if only Trump would listen).
The farming industry has been in pain for years now and Trump’s trade war isn’t helping. The Trump administration is pitching this new plan as a short-term fix. But many worry that it’s a sign the trade war isn’t going away anytime soon.
PAI Partners buys legendary gaming firm, Asmodee for a $1.4 billion
PAI Partners, a European private equity group, is in talks to buy Asmodee, the French gaming company behind the vastly popular strategy game Settlers of Catan. In 2014, another equity group, Eurazeo bought Asmodee for €143 million. This deal with PAI Partners could amount to €1.2 billion, or about $1.4 billion, including debt.
Under Eurazeo, Asmodee has expanded into international markets, with operations in Europe, North America and China. Its revenue, however, grew 17% last year to €442 million. Asmodee’s new owners now have a task to broaden the firm’s reach into the digital world. Asmodee could follow a strategy similar to that of its peers by developing movie or comic franchises with its games.
China promised Facebook a seat at its parliament — then took it all away
Facebook announced on Wednesday that it won an approval to set up its first subsidiary in China. The license was an apparent victory in Zuckerberg’s long quest to bring Facebook to the restrictive country. But hours later, China withdrew its approval. Facebook’s user base is stagnant in America and shrinking in Europe — part of the reason its stock slumped a shocking 24% Wednesday — making the Chinese market, where Facebook has been blocked for 10 years, more important than ever.
To get in, Zuckerberg has, therefore, been willing to try almost anything. He learned Mandarin to host a Q&A at a Chinese university and released a secret Chinese app. But most importantly, Zuckerberg spent hours sweet-talking Chinese officials. And for a few hours on Tuesday, it looked like all those Mandarin lessons had finally paid off. But China fast extinguished that glimmer of hope. You see, Facebook got approval from local officials, only to get shot down by the national Internet regulator.
Despite the setback, Facebook will continue to remain active in China. The Chinese government banned Facebook in China, but Chinese companies are still Facebook’s biggest ad buyers in all of Asia. Other companies have submitted to Beijing’s rules to stay, but Zuckerberg has refused to let the government censor the platform.
US and EU leaders working towards zero tariffs?
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker agreed to work towards eliminating tariffs and barriers on trade. The revelation comes to reduce tensions in a brewing trade war between the US and her trading partners (China&EU).
“We agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods,” Trump said while speaking to the press after the talks. The two leaders also agreed to temporarily halt tariffs that threatened to devolve into a trade war as negotiations proceed. And the EU agreed to import more US soybeans and liquid natural gas.
As part of Trump’s new trade policy to protect US businesses and ensure national security, began a trade tariffs offensive against the EU and Canada in early 2018. Last week, he extended his tariffs offensive to China when he imposed tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods. China too swiftly responded with similarly sized tariffs on US products.
- Be part of ZOOM’s ENTREPRENEURS ‘FAIR 237 on August 10, 2018, 9 AM – 8 PM in Douala and network with like-minded entrepreneurs from Cameroon.
- You can’t afford to miss the Simio Standard Training – Johannesburg, South Africa from August 14, 2018, at 9:00 am- August 17, 2018, at 5:00 pm (MDT).
- Take part in the Brand Clarity Workshop on August 24, 2018, 10am-5pm. At Hotel Vallee Des Princes, Douala, Littoral.
- Register now for an insightful session with numerous networking opportunities at the Africa Singapore Business Forum (ASBF) 2018, from August 28 – 29, 2018 in Singapore.
- Don’t miss the SME Economy Conference on funding and get the chance to pitch your business idea to potential investors, coming up from September 22, 9:00 am – 23, 2018, 11:00 pm in Lagos, Nigeria.
- Qatar Red Crescent Society is in need of Grants Officer. Gaziantep – Turkey. Deadline: August 01, 2018.
- Population Service International is in need of a Technical Advisor in Yaoundé – Cameroon. Closing date: August 05, 2018.
- Work as an Internal Controller and Compliance personnel at Save the Children. Bamako – Mail. Deadline: August 07, 2018.
- INTERSOS needs the service of a Project Manager in the English speaking region of Cameroon. Closing date: August 07, 2018.
- Apply as a Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Adviser at the British Red Cross. London – United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Deadline: August 05, 2018.
- Chemonics needs the service of a Senior Educational Advisor. Senegal. Closing date: August 10, 2018.
- Work as a WASH Program Manager at Gruppo di Volontariato Civile. Libya. Closing date: August 10, 2018.
- Apply as a Program Manager at Tearfund in Rwanda. Closing date: August 12, 2018.
- Apply now for LEAP Africa iLEAD Fellowship Programme 2018 for National Youth Service Corp Members in Akwa-Ibom State, Nigeria. Application deadline, August 3, 2018.
- Participate in the Global Landscapes Forum (GLF) Nairobi 2018 Photo Competition for Young Africans (USD 500 cash prize). Application deadline, August 5, 2018.
- Grab the amazing opportunity and apply for Tunza Eco-generation 21st Eco-Generation Regional Ambassadors Program 2018. Application deadline, August 19, 2018.
- Apply for ICFJ Covering Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health Program for Young International Journalists (funded to New Delhi, India). Application deadline August 21, 2018.
- Participate in the UNESCO Strengthening Capacities of World Heritage Professionals in the Arab Region for Cultural and Mixed Sites Workshop 2018 in Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain (Fully funded). Application deadline August 31, 2018.
- Apply for AVAC Advocacy Fellows Program 2019 for mid-career and emerging advocates on HIV prevention (Funded). Application deadline September 7, 2018.
- Apply for Women for Africa Foundation (FMxA) Science by Women Programme 2018 for African Women Researchers (fully funded). Application deadline September 30, 2018.
- Apply for Czech Republic Scholarship Programme 2019/2020 for Foreign nationals from developing countries (funded). Application deadline September 30, 2018.