Month: January 2018

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WhatsApp is finally catching up to African entrepreneurs with a standalone business app

Over the last two years, WhatsApp, has stood out as one of the fastest growing media platforms in Africa. For many people, WhatsApp is their primary social media platform, not Facebook, which owns the messaging app. WhatsApp rise has caused tensions with some of the mobile network operators as its success has eaten into the ...

Are Grants For Losers?

By Felix Dodds and Minu HemmatiJan 31 2018 (IPS) Mark Ritchie, former Minnesota Secretary of State and former president of the Minneapolis-based Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, sent Felix an email about a very interesting interview with Kevin Watkins, the CEO of Save the Children Fund (UK). The interview and commentary was by Russell ...

Create “Sponge Cities” to Tackle Worsening Floods

Downpours flood the streets of Dhaka. Credit: Farid Ahmed/ IPS By Martin KhorPENANG, Malaysia, Jan 31 2018 (IPS) With floods now causing more damage more frequently around the world, it is time to counter their effects by turning our towns into “Sponge Cities”, a recent trend popularised by China to absorb rainwater through permeable roads ...

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Nigeria’s lawmakers think bitcoin is one big financial scam

The bitcoin boom in Nigeria is drawing opposition from its lawmakers. The senate has asked Nigeria’s central bank and other regulators to “investigate the proliferation of bitcoin” and do more to educate citizens about “the dangers” of the cryptocurrency. Much of the lawmakers’ fears are based on recent events after Mavrodi Mundial Moneybox (MMM), a ...

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Chinese bugs expose Africa’s weak defences

A breach at the African Union shows a need to redefine relations

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Marvel’s Black Panther will speak this real African language

Marvel’s kingdom of Wakanda may be mythical, but its inhabitants will use a very real language. The on-screen spoken language of the kingdom of Wakanda is isiXhosa, the melodic South African language known for its distinctive clicks. It’s one of the way the much anticipated Black Panther film is trying to ensure its authenticity as ...

When mobile meets modular: Pay-as-you-go solar in rural Africa

One of the most pressing developmental challenges in sub-Saharan Africa is the dire need for modern energy services among the energy-poor, low-income communities who are beyond the reach of economically viable electricity grids. Some three-quarters of Africa’s rural population lack access to electricity, forcing them to rely on expensive and dirty fuels like kerosene for ...

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The extraordinary life and music of Hugh Masekela

Trumpeter, flugelhorn-player, singer, composer and activist Hugh Ramapolo Masekela has passed away after a long battle with prostate cancer. When he cancelled his appearance last year at the Johannesburg Joy of Jazz Festival, taking time out to deal with his serious health issues, fans were forced to return to his recorded opus for reminders of ...

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Why $70 oil isn’t good news for Nigeria

If you’re an economy that’s just come out of a five-quarter long recession that was mainly triggered by a drop in global oil prices—your main revenue source—then there’s good reason to be excited about oil returning to three-year highs of $70. This is especially true if your budget is based on a benchmark of $45. ...

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Ethiopia could be sitting on one of the world’s great untapped gold deposits

To the west of Ethiopia near the Sudanese border lies a place called the Asosa zone. This may be the location of the oldest gold mine in the world. Dating back some 6,000 years, it provided a key source of gold to the ancient Egyptian empire, whose great wealth was famous throughout the known world. ...