Ngozi and Amina

Africa Weekly News roundup – Week 40

ARTS & CULTURE

 

Black history month: Was Ludwig van Beethoven black? 

It seems fitting that we start Black History month by debating a centuries old theory that the great pianist, Ludwig van Beethoven, had West African heritage. This interesting feature called Was Beethoven black? presents both sides of the argument.

Congolese activist and four other activists on trial over colonial artefacts

Ongolo published an article entitled Is Europe refusing to return Africa’s colonial artefacts? and proposed two courses of action: pursue restitution or seek compensation. Emery Mwazulu Diyabanza, a Congolese national, has found a third option: take. Diyabanza and four other activists are on trial for attempted theft after removing an artefact from its perch at the Musee du quai Branly.

Apollo Magazine’s 40 under 40 Africa

It’s always great to see someone you know make such a list. Rakeb Sile is the co-founder and director of Addis Fine Art, a leading art gallery supporting artists from the Horn of Africa. They are based in London and Addis Ababa. Rakeb joins an impressive list of artists, thinkers, business, patrons and advocates of the arts in Africa who make up the Apollo Magazine’s list of 40-under-40 Africa list. Bravo!

ECONOMY

 

Zambia: On the brink

The chickens came home to roost for the Zambian government when they asked bondholders for a six-month suspension of interest payments. A brief call by the Minister of Finance this week did little to reassure bondholders such as Pharo and Amia Capital that the government has a real plan. Perhaps it’s time that fund managers learnt that you get what you pay for when you buy junk.

Food security conference in Israel

 The agriculture ministers from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia and eSwatini attended a conference organised by IMPROVATE where they presented challenges and problems faced by their countries to Israeli technology companies. Here’s an alternative idea: why don’t we take African tech companies to Israel so that they can develop solutions to current and future problems?

Egypt gets it hands on the Russian COVID-19 vaccine called Sputnik V

Egypt is sprinting ahead of most countries in Africa by getting its hands on the only vaccine on the market. The Egyptian pharma company, Pharco, signed an agreement with the Russian sovereign wealth fund to get 25m doses of the Sputnik V vaccine which will cover 25% of the population. The rest of Africa better act fast before Trump buys it all.

ENTREPRENEURSHIP

 

Building e-commerce giants in Africa

Want to build an e-commerce business? Meet Nigerian digital expert, Nyce Ayuk who has trained 20,000 students, executives, start-up heads and e-commerce stakeholders across the globe and has e-books to help start-ups find their feet.

Kenya developing a stable coin

Kenya continues to lead the charge in the innovation arena, this time in cryptocurrency. The Young Entrepreneurs Network Africa (YENA) is developing a stable coin called the YENTS and is seeking regulatory approval to launch it in November 2020.

INNOVATION

 

Kenyan wins Revolutionaries: The Steve Sawyer Memorial Award in Africa

Wangari Muchiri, a renewable energy engineer and planning expert based in Kenya, was selected the winner by The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). He will receive the award at the 10th annual Windaba Conference on 26-27 October.

ZTE signs 5G projects in South Africa and Algeria

Everyone’s talking about 5G in the US and Europe. What about Africa? ZTE, which has been spared the negative headlines that have plagued Huawei, is working with telecommunications companies in South Africa and Algeria to ensure that we are not left behind.

LEADERSHIP

 

Africa is the favourite to win the World Trade Organisation leadership role

Africa now has a real shot at rewriting intellectual property and trade regulations that have stunted the continent’s development. That is the hope as Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Amina Mohamed are named frontrunners for the top job. Will it be Nigeria or Kenya? Either way, Africa will win.

Mozambique President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi named Africa’s Oil & Power’s person of the year 2020

President Nyusi is credited with creating an enabling environment for the energy sector to thrive. Mozambique has signed multi-billion natural gas deal with companies such as Exxon Mobil and Total.

LIFESTYLE

 

Brussels Airlines increasing flights to Africa

Brussels Airlines continues to fly to more destinations in Africa than most European airlines. The airline has released its winter schedule which includes daily flights to Cote d’Ivoire and additional flights to Burundi, Cameroon, Gambia, Liberia, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda.

Africa’s #1 tourist destination not resting during the pandemic

 Morocco draws the highest number of tourists in Africa and the country is focused on maintaining that lead. In total there are 35 hotels under construction with brands such as the Ritz Carlton, Fairmont, Park Hyatt and Marriott.

Houses in South Africa can and should be built with wood

I have always wondered why homes in Africa were made from concrete and not wood. A Stellenbosch University PhD candidate found that one in 100 new houses in South Africa are made from wood compared to nine out of 10 homes in the US, Canada and Australia. Wood would reduce energy requirements by 30%.

 

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