“The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power”
Nigerian government injects $1.4 billion into low-cost mortgage lender
In the next five years, the Nigerian government will inject 500 billion Naira ($1.4 billion) into low-cost mortgage lenders. According to the country, this falls in line with its effort to encourage home ownership in Nigeria.
The most populated African nation has a housing deficit of 17 million units. Subsequently, Nigeria seeks to improve access to home loans in an economy that rivals South Africa as the biggest on the continent.
According to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN), with the lack of proper land deeds and record high-interest rates, there are only an estimated 50,000 registered mortgages. FMBN, however, accounts for a meager 18,200 which it intends to increase its capital from 5 billion Naira at a rate of 100 billion Naira yearly.
What urgent concerns brought French President to Nigeria?
40-year old French President Emmanuel Macron was in Nigeria on Tuesday. He met his 78-year old counterpart, President Muhammadu Buhari for talks ranging from security to economic development.
After an audience with Buhari, Macron bluntly said his country cannot help Nigeria and Africa solve insecurity but would intervene, especially, in the fight against terrorism. He encouraged the Nigerian president and other African leaders to provide enabling economic and political environments for young people.
There are very high speculations that Macron was in Abuja to seek Buhari’s assistance to fight Anglophone Separatists in Cameroon. The visit came just a few days after the French Secretary of State for foreign affairs visited the Anglophone region under threatening security conditions, while president Macron on his part had a phone conversation with Paul Biya, his 85 years old Cameroun counterpart.
Considering the historical underpinnings of the conflict in Cameroon which directly affects Nigeria, one begins to wonder if Nigeria will accept to side with France to crush her English-speaking neighbors fighting for a course anchored on international law and historical truths.
Cameroon records a 25% budget increase on BEAC’s security market
During the public security issuances meeting organized by BEAC, Cameroon currency grew by FCFA 4689 billion after the last budget meeting on June 4, 2014. This was revealed by the monitoring committee in charge of the Reglement et de Conservation des Titres (CRCT).
According to the CRCT those are mainly short-term issuances and the interest rate required by the investors are ever increasing.
However, these increases can be explained by the high solicitations observed on BEAC security market since the end of 2015 due to the fall of commodities’ prices.
Cameroon’s Parliament rubber stamps President Paul Biya’s election postponement bill
Parliamentary elections in Cameroon will only hold in October 2019. This comes after lawmakers adopted a presidential bill last Monday requesting the postponement of the elections by 12 months. “The mandate of the deputies is extended for a period of twelve months, from October 29, 2018,” part of the bill, submitted by President Paul Biya read.
According to President Paul Biya who is has been in power for almost 40 years, the holding of presidential, legislative and municipal elections at the same time this 2018 would be difficult due to the “overlapping electoral operations.” This reason given by the Cameroon government sounds convincing to the ears if only one does not know what is happening in the country.
But the political reality is that the atmosphere in Cameroon, especially the Anglophone region is not favorable for any kind of universal suffrage elections. Separatists rebels have been fighting government forces since September 2017 when president Paul Biya declared war against what he called “secessionist terrorists.” There are no signs of a cease-fire anytime soon as the situation escalates every day.
Kenya’s mobile food delivery firm, Twiga Foods secures $7million
After raising $10.3-million in a round led by Wamda Capital and Omidyar Network last year, Twiga Foods hits it big again. The B2B distribution platform which connects farmers with urban retailers and vendors is set to secure $7million to scale up its operations.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is set to invest $3 million while TLCom will invest $4-million in Kenya’s Twiga Foods. The startup is currently in discussions with members of the IFC’s Global Food Safety Advisory programme over a GAFSP-funded project which will see the startup design a Twiga Good Agricultural Practices Brand.
Twiga Foods runs a mobile cashless platform through which vendors can order and pay for fresh food from farmers. The initiative, which will be piloted with 30 banana farmers, will enable the farmers to increase farming yields. This will also lead which will lead to positive demonstration effects for other domestic players as well.
Civil servants in Equatorial Guinea must obtain authorization before traveling abroad
Civil servants in Equatorial Guinea now need an authorization from the vice president before making any foreign trip. The reason for this decision has not been made known. It, however, comes on the heels of a crackdown following an attempted coup last December.
“I couldn’t travel without this authorization, I didn’t know. At the airport, they told me civil servants needed one,” Juan Mbo, an official at the National Institute of Social Security, told Africanews, giving an account that was confirmed by other state employees.
It’s interesting how a single family has taken hostage the destinies of all Equato-Guineans and the citizens are watching helplessly. It is important to note that the Vice President referred to here is Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, the son of the President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo who has been President since 1979. The son is not only the vice president of the country but also doubles as the Minister of Defense and security.
Tanzania’s Vodacom and Azam Telecom win two new telecom licenses
Tanzania’s Vodacom and Azam Telecom have won two new telecom licenses just after winning spectrum last month. The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has announced the issuance of two new telecom licenses in the country. To win this license, the market leader, Vodacom Tanzania, submitted an offer of $ 10.005 million, while the offer of Azam Telecom Limited was $10 million.
According to the TCRA, spectrum conditions included bidders’ assurance to provide mobile broadband coverage for 60% of Tanzania’s population by 2021 and 90% coverage by 2024. These requirements are in line with the 2016 objectives of Tanzania’s National Communication to promote efficient use of spectrum for the best socio-economic benefits.
The participation of Vodacom and Azam in the auction and finally obtaining the two new telecom license, thus, reflects their commitment to invest in the country. As Tanzania’s mobile network operator, Vodacom is working towards their vision to lead Tanzania into the digital age.
African Union leaders want to control Africa’s illegal migration
African leaders have come up with a body to help coordinate national policies on migration. At the 31st summit of the AU leaders in Mauritania on Monday, they all agreed to set up an organization called the African Observatory for Migration and Development. Morocco agreed to host the organization at its capital, Rabat.
This comes against a backdrop of the increasing illegal movement of Africans across the Mediterranean to Europe, a journey that has claimed the lives of thousands of African youths. Is this organization the beginning of a solution to the migration problem in Africa?
Just between January and June 2018, about 42,653 have arrived in Europe, with 1063 deaths at sea. Also, hundreds of African migrants intercepted by Libyan Coast Guards between 2017 and 2018 have been returned to their countries of origin.
Uganda’s social media tax forces activists to file a lawsuit
In May, Uganda’s parliament imposed a tax on the use of social media in a bid to raise revenue. But recently, activists filed a lawsuit against the new tax, arguing that it limits basic rights and harms businesses.
Ugandans pay 200 shillings ($0.0517) per day to access Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, YouTube, Skype and other phone apps under this tax. The government says the revenue will help fund energy, transport, and other projects.
According to Daniel Bill Opio, a lawyer who filed the petition, youths are taking on initiatives toward innovation and technology mostly using these platforms. But “once you introduce a tax, you are actually killing this budding entrepreneurship.” Meanwhile, Amnesty International called on the government on Monday to scrap the tax and said it was an attempt to smother dissent disguised as a measure to raise revenue.
South Sudan government proposes a bill to extend president’s term
The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, has proposed a bill to elongate his term of office for three years. The bill seeks to amend the Constitution for an extension of Kiir’s mandate to 2021. The opposition has however condemned the bill describing it as an illegal procedure. They also argue that the bill undermines peace talks with the opposition. Lawmakers will vote the bill into law later this month.
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan in 2011 and erupted into violence in late 2013 after a political disagreement between President Kiir and his former vice. Riek Machar. Thousands of people have been killed since the start of the conflict, with more than three million displaced.
The warring parties met last week in Khartoum Sudan and agreed on a new peace deal that included a ceasefire. However, an eruption of fighting last Monday killed at least 18 civilians.
Ethiopia’s twin dams threaten thousands of Kenyans
Last week, UNESCO put Kenya’s Lake Turkana on its list of endangered World Heritage Sites because of the “disruptive effect” of an existing Ethiopian dam over Kenya’s northern border. Now, Ethiopia plans to build two new dams on the Omo river in a bid to step up its electricity supply. If Ethiopia moves ahead with its plans, some 300,000 Kenyans who depend on Lake Turkana — the world’s biggest desert lake — could run short of drinking water and fish.
Ethiopia’s plan will only make the situation worse, but Addis Ababa is rejecting this claim. The country argues that the dam will regulate the river’s flow and stabilize water levels in the flood-prone region. Lake Turkana in northwestern Kenya gets 90% of its water from the Omo river in Ethiopia. And it also used the Omo river to generate power for manufacturing and export.
The lake is likely to shrink slowly, reducing breeding grounds for fish. Become too salty for fish to survive and too toxic for people and animals to drink. Ethiopia is also at loggerheads with Egypt over another dam that Addis Ababa is building on the River Nile which Cairo fears will reduce waters running to its fields and reservoirs from Ethiopia’s highlands.
South Africa joins the free trade deal for African nations
South Africa has signed a free trade agreement joining 50 other African states for free trade in the continent. While commenting on the free trade agreement, President Cyril Ramaphosa noted that he was excited that South Africa has joined the community of nations that have signed.
South Africa, Namibia, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, and Burundi have therefore joined the 44 countries that have already signed the agreement March 2018 in Kigali. The South African Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies said the nitty-gritty needed to be put into place before it was commercially viable. One of such things to be put in place is the fact that the agreement needs to go through Parliament for ratification.
It’s still a long road to go in the continent but its a step closer to realizing its free trade dream, with five more countries signing the African Continental Free Trade Agreement at the 31st African Union summit currently underway.
After 5 years of private reboot, Dell returns to the public market
Dell is returning to the public market after a 5-year stint as a private company. Michael Dell built the company he started in his dorm room into the world’s largest computer-maker by the mid-2000s. But by 2013, Dell had slipped behind HP and Lenovo. Unhappy with its new position, Dell decided to take the company private for $25 billion.
Outside of public market scrutiny, Dell revamped its non-hardware offerings, buying data storage company EMC Corp for $67B in 2016. To finance the historic acquisition, Dell issued a tracking stock for its subsidiary, VMware.
Over 5 years, Dell succeeded in diversifying its software offerings to become a one-stop computing shop for businesses. But in doing so, it piled up $52.7 billion in debt as of last quarter. To make up for the cash shortfall, Dell had to return to public markets. They bought their own tracking stock for $21.7 billion, allowing for tight control and outside investment. Now, Dell and VMware will operate more independently.
Facebook is buying a British AI firm to help tackle fake news
On Tuesday, Facebook announced that it’s acquired London-based artificial intelligence firm Bloomsbury AI, which specializes in natural language processing. Facebook has vowed recently, to beef up human editors and problem-spotting AI to address concerns about election meddling. The company says Bloomsbury’s expertise will strengthen its efforts in natural language processing research.
Facebook’s grand goal is to have AI that understands images, videos, and text that it can effectively moderate the entire social network’s platform. It’s not immediately clear where Bloomsbury will fit into the picture here. But Bloomsbury AI co-founder Sebastian Riedel also helped create Factmata to help weed out fake news.
The company recently expanded fact-checking resources to more countries ahead of global elections. Its acquisition of Bloomsbury would cost only $30 million according to reported estimates. But this signals that Facebook is now looking outside the company to round out its own efforts. Bloomsbury AI product, Cape, reads text documents and answers questions about the content, including questions that involve reasoning and synthesis.
Uber returns to Finnish roads after a one-year hiatus
Previously, Finland allowed Uber to operate within its borders but on one condition. That its drivers hold valid taxi licenses, something other countries don’t require. But Uber still became the target of police investigations. This situation forced Uber to cease operations in Finland last year. But the company is back thanks to new, less-strict regulations that took effect July 1.
It’s a major victory for Uber, which has come under increased pressure from regulators and taxi drivers in Europe. The new rules remove a cap on the number of taxi licenses the government issues annually and restrictions on fares.
More than a quarter million people in Helsinki have opened Uber’s app since August, despite ride-hailing services not being available. Uber also recently regained its license to operate in London, but only after agreeing to a probation for 15 months. The company has fought a country-by-country battle in Europe, where it faces much greater scrutiny from regulators.
Quartz is moving across the pond after a Tokyo-based firm acquisition
Publicly listed Japanese financial intelligence and media firm, Uzabase has shown interest in online tech and business news organization, Quartz. According to Quartz, the two firms intend to close the deal within a month and will pay between $75 million and $110 million, depending on Quartz’s financial performance the rest of this year.
Uzabase is one of Asia’s largest information databases and news services. As the company seeks growth outside Asia, Quartz will help build Uzabase’s operating app into an English-language newsfeed, strengthening their presence in the US. Atlantic Media launched Quartz in 2012 as a newswire for young professionals within the organization. Now, Quartz has grown into what some call, “The Economist of the digital era.”
Lately, high-profile media acquisitions have been less than favorable. Quartz reached 12 million US readers in May and has managed to do what large media companies have not — hit their revenue targets. In 2016, the company turned a profit earning of more than $1 million on over $30 million in revenue. And it’s currently on pace to increase revenue by as much as 35% this year.
- IBM launches blockchain starter pack for startups
- SA’s SkillUp Tutors launches online lesson space
- Meet the startup bringing Kenya’s “Jua Kali” sector online
- Nigeria’s Venture Garden Group launches tech campus
- Zimbabwe’s YouFarm helps farmers raise funding
- Botswana: Paratus Partners with Bank Gaborone to Launch Affordable Satellite Internet Services
- Niger: Government gives green light to creation of new telecoms regulatory body
- Gabon: Telecom regulator warns airtime street vendors
- West Africa: Optical fiber submarine cables operate at only 20% capacity
- Samsung is reportedly developing a curved battery for its foldable phone
- Here’s what happens when you share bad blockchain blogs in an editable Google Doc
- Self-driving Cars Are Headed Toward An AI Roadblock
- Slack didn’t kill email — and it might have made it stronger
- The US won’t let China Mobile operate in the country, citing risk to national security
- You can not afford to miss the Entrepreneurs Day 2018 from November 15, 2018, 10:00 AM – November 17, 2018, 10:00 PM in Douala, Cameroon.
- Take part in the VTC Digital Holidays 2018: Digital Competence and Self-Employment. From July 9, 2018, 4:00 PM – September 1, 2018, 6:00 PM WAT in Douala, Cameroon.
- Attend the 1-sessions Afterwork from July 19, 2018 7:30 PM – 11:30 PM Douala Design Hotel, Littoral.
- You can’t afford to miss the Techstars Startup Weekend Buea 07/18, run from July 20, 8:00 AM – July 22, 2018, 10:30 AM at Catholic University Institute of Buea.
- Don’t miss out on DEMO Africa Innovation Tour – Yaounde Edition on July 5, 2018 from 1:30 PM – 5:00 PM at ActivSpaces, Buea.
- 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.
- Attend the event on Powering up at continent at POWER-GEN & DistribuTECH Africa 2018 from July 17 – 19, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
- Don’t miss the East Africa Digital Construction from November 14 -15, 2018, Nairobi, Kenya.
- Attend the Live Smart City Travel,Live, Work & Startup at Abuja-The World’s First from November 23, 2018, 9:30 am to November November 24, 2018, 6 pm at Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Nigeria.
- Attend the Live Smart City Travel, Live, Work & Startup at Abuja-The World’s First from November 23, 2018, 9:30 am to November 24, 2018, 6 pm at Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Nigeria.
- Grab an amazing opportunity to meet Human Resources Professionals during the Workshop on Writing HR Policies and Procedures from November 12-16, 2018, 9 am – 5 pm in Nigeria.
- Work as a Senior Associate, Vaccines personnel at Clinton Health Access Initiative. Yaoundé – Cameroon. Closing date: July 26, 2018.
- Danish Refugee Council needs the service of a Cultural Mediator in Attica – Greece. Deadline: July 11, 2018.
- Apply as a Chief of Mission at INTERSOS. Central African Republic. Closing date: July 18, 2018.
- World Vision is in need of a Program Officer Weconomy in Kenya. Deadline: July 12, 2018.
- Work as a Senior Program Quality Coordinator at GOAL in Jordan and Turkey. Closing date: June 13, 2018.
- Apply as a Project Management Intern at UNOPS. Beijing – China. Closing date: July 18, 2018.
- Young Peacebuilders needs the service of a Local Evaluator in Cameroon. Closing date: July 23, 2018.
- Participate in the 2018 Business Partners Limited/ SME Business plan competition for aspiring young entrepreneurs(R2500 cash prize & funded to Johannesburg South Africa). Application Deadline: July 31, 2018.
- Apply for the African Women’s Development Fund: Call for Proposals for 2018 World Aids Day(US $2,000 grant). Application Deadline: July 20, 2018.
- Apply for Lafarge Ashaka Cement Limited 2018 Graduate Training Programs for Young Nigerian graduates. Application Deadline: July 13, 2018.
- Apply for the World Bank Group IFC Recruitment Drive 2018 for sub-Saharan African Professionals. Application deadlines vary with position.
- Applications are open for the 2018 Google Impact Challenge Nigeria for nonprofits and social enterprises ( $250,000 grant and training from Google). Application Deadline: July 4, 2018.
- Apply for Investec Bursary Programmes 2019 for Young South Africans. Application Deadline is August 31, 2018.
- Participate in the Crick African Network’s African Career Accelerator (CAN ACA) Awards 2018 for African Post-Doctoral researchers. Application Deadline: August 1, 2018.
- Grab the amazing opportunity and apply for L’Oreal South Africa Digital Marketing Internship Program 2018.
- Apply for the African Union Kwame Nkrumah Awards for Scientific Excellence(AUKNASE): Continental & Regional Awards 2018 Edition. Application Deadline: November 10, 2018.
- Call for nominations: Inspiring Fifty – South Africa 2018 for young South African women in Technology & Innovation. Application Deadline: July 9, 2018.
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