DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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Analysts said the recalculated GDP would raise Nigeria’s profile, but change little on the ground.

"Is the money in your bank account more on Sunday than it was on Saturday? If you had no job yesterday, are you going to have a job today?" asked Bismarck Rewane, CEO of Lagos-based consultancy Financial Derivatives.

"If the answer to those questions is ‘no’, then this is an exercise in vanity," he added, though he said the new figure was more accurate.

Many Nigerians shrugged off the GDP news.

"I’m not really impressed. I don’t feel it in my pocket… It’s not the masses who are rich," said Richard Babs-Jonah, 47, a small farmer, expressing the common view that Nigeria’s economy is rigged in favour of a handful of well-connected oligarchs.

"Those controlling the economy, those with government contracts, get all the money."

South Africa overtaken as biggest economy in Africa after Nigeria rebases GDP calculation to more than $500bn.

Couldn’t agree more with these two statements. The real test of Nigeria’s developments will be when our national services, infrastructure and resources are well managed, maintained and distributed, and when people no longer feel the need to seek better opportunities abroad. When Nigerians stop leaving the country in droves, or at least try to, that’s when we’ll celebrate the country’s progress.

An initiative started by Sizwe Nzima, a 21-year-old South African entrepreneur, is now a thriving, Forbes award-winning business in his hometown as he fulfills a much needed gap between the residents in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, and the nearby public hospitals and clinics.

Sizwe and his fellow bike delivery employees help to deliver medication to chronically ill mostly elderly residents who would have otherwise spent essential time, money and energy making their way to facilities and queuing for their medication.

nprglobalhealth:

In Rural Uganda, Homemade Bikes Make The Best Ambulances

When Chris Ategeka was 9, his younger brother died while Ategeka was helping to carry him to the nearest hospital — 10 miles from their village in Fort Portal, Uganda.

There was no quicker way to get his sick brother, who was coughing and had a bloody stool, to medical care. “I did not understand the concept of lack of mobility being the biggest factor until it got later in life. I realized how that could have helped so much,” he tells Shots.

Ategeka and his five siblings became orphans after their mother and father died of AIDS. But Ategeka, now 28, considers himself lucky.

A U.S. aid organization Y.E.S. Uganda helped AIDS orphans like him attend school. Ategeka did well. He impressed the California family that sponsored him so much that they invited him to come live with them in 2006.

Since then, he has earned engineering degrees at University of California, Berkeley, where he’ll begin a doctorate in mechanical engineering this fall. And he’s been using what he learned already to solve the problem that contributed to the death of his brother nearly 20 years ago.

Ategeka founded CA Bikes, a nonprofit that teaches villagers how to build bike ambulances and wheelchairs from scrap metal. “I teach you how to make it, and I teach you how to fix it,” he says. “If it breaks, you know what to do, and if you want to build something you think outside the box and you do it.”

Continue reading.

Photos courtesy of CA Bikes.

Are you a Ph.D. student 32 years of age or younger? The World Bank is looking for students of African descent, particularly women, to get hands-on experience in international development. Apply now for a 6-month fellowship and help us work to eradicate poverty and increase shared prosperity. http://worldbank.org/afr/wbfellows

Ms Salama Adam Hassan, 24, said that fishing has saved many women in Kikungwi from abject poverty, “I completed my secondary school last year and since then I have been fishing and now building my own house. I do not want to wait until I get married. As I wait to get married, soon I will have my house.” Salama says she and her colleagues in the village are fulfilling their dream of managing their own affairs without necessarily relying on men including husbands, brothers and dads who in most cases have to care for multiple homes.

Women in Zanzibar are taking up the profession of fishing, usually reserved for men in the society, and using it as a means to gain financial independence and economic security, with one woman quoted in this article as saying, “It is no longer men’s work.”

About this change in social attitudes and progression of women’s empowerment in the region, Ms Bahati Issa Suleiman, is the secretary of the Kikungwi Village women group says that this initiative has helped women decrease their dependency on men - particularly their husbands, and that women now see this type of work as something they are capable of doing.

AUGUST: Celebrating African Women

prepaidafrica:

In a fancy Manhattan hotel in New York, women in colourful traditional African gowns make their way to one of the conference rooms. Their outfits provide a fascinating contrast to the grey and black business suits surrounding them. The crowd is diverse, but is gathered because of one thing: shea butter that comes from an African nut and is used in cosmetics as a lotion or moisturiser.

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) estimates that an average of three million African women work directly or indirectly with shea butter. The top shea nut–producing countries are Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin and Togo.

Making good money

“I have been making good money for my family selling shea butter,” Lucette Ndogo, a well-known shea butter vendor at the Marché Central in Douala, Cameroon, said in an interview with Africa Renewal.

She purchases the shea butter in bulk from Burkina Faso and sells it for a profit to clients who have come to trust the quality of her products.

Antoine Turpin of IOI Loders Croklaan, a global producer of edible oils, told The New York Times that “shea [butter] is an important source of revenue to millions of women and their families across Africa. Empowering these women economically is crucial to the industry’s sustainability.”

Turpin’s company alone purchases an estimated 25% of all shea nuts picked by women in West Africa

(via africaisdonesuffering)

The African Development Bank (AfDB) would invest $45-million, in the form of a grant, to initiate the development of a $154.2-million multinational science, innovation and technology Pan African University (PAU) project.

The five-year project would see the establishment of a regional university structured thematically within existing institutions across five countries representing the East, West, Central, North and Southern African regions.

Each region would deliver a themed programme, namely basic sciences, technology and innovation; earth and life sciences, including health and agriculture; water and energy sciences, including climate change; governance, humanities and social sciences; and space sciences, in an effort to boost the continent’s lagging education in the fields of science and technology.

“Africa has been slow to develop its science and technology sectors and commercialise its innovations,” AfDB human development department director Agnes Soucat said, adding that the PAU would enhance the continent’s competitiveness and growth through the creation of high-quality higher education and research capabilities.

The best African university currently had a ranking of 113 globally, with only four – all of which were based in South Africa – of the 400 top universities worldwide on the continent.

Africa also produced only 1.1% of world scientific knowledge, despite accounting for 13.4% of the global population.

According to the AfDB’s project appraisal report, African countries hosted 35 scientists and engineers per one-million inhabitants, compared with 168 in Brazil, 2 457 in Europe and 4 103 in the US.

The lack of “high profile” institutions in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics also resulted in 260 000 tertiary students from sub-Saharan Africa studying abroad.

As the first three institutes were established, the PAU aimed to enrol, during the first five years, 1 064 students in masters’ programmes and 486 in PhD programmes, and award an estimated 794 Master’s degrees and 231 PhD degrees.

The first institutes would be launched in East Africa at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, hosting the basic sciences, technology and innovation programme; in Central Africa at Cameroon’s University of Yaoundé II, which would represent the governance, humanities and social sciences programme; and, in Nigeria, at the University of Ibadan, under the programme earth and life sciences, health and agriculture.

Algeria would potentially host the fourth institute under the programme water and energy science, including climate change, on behalf of North Africa, while the host country to represent Southern Africa and the space sciences programme had yet to be selected.

“Thousands of students all over Africa will benefit from this project. This is truly an amazing regional effort to help African universities achieve world-class status,” Soucat said.

The African Union Commission, the countries hosting the PAU institutes and the Lead Thematic Partners would provide the balance of funding required for the PAU project, the appraisal report said.

Martha Chumo, a 19-year-old self-taught programmer, was supposed to be in New York right now, honing her coding skills and mastering cutting-edge technologies in the company of fellow software enthusiasts.

Instead, she’s thousands of miles away, in her hometown of Nairobi, Kenya.

A few months ago, Chumo was accepted into the summer intake of Hacker School, a U.S.-based “retreat for hackers,” where budding programmers come together for three months to write code, learn new languages and share industry insights.

Whereas the programming boot camp was free to attend, Chumo still needed to find a way to cover her trip costs and buy a new laptop. Excited and determined, the young developer turned to online crowdsourcing platform Indiegogo for funds. She set a target of $4,200 and managed to raise nearly $5,800. All she needed then was a visa to travel to the United States.

Alas, this was not to be. As an unmarried adult who was not enrolled at university, Chumo was not eligible for a U.S. tourist visa because she couldn’t show sufficient “social ties” to Kenya to prove that she was planning to return home after attending Hacker School.*

But the U.S. consulate’s refusal only served to slightly alter the plans of this passionate coder.

"I thought if I can’t go to the hacker school, let me try to bring the school to me," says Chumo. "(Let me see) what can I do to start a school here."

Within minutes of her second visa request denial, on June 4, Chumo was calling her friends to announce that, “I’m starting a hacker school in Kenya!’

A few days later, she launched another Indiegogo campaign asking people to help her set up her own school for developers in Nairobi.

"I was so frustrated because I had applied to go to Hacker School; I got into it, I raised funds to go there, I had all these plans to read and learn for three months and then I’m not allowed to go — that’s how the idea for the school was born."

(cont. reading)

*For those who don’t know how hard the visa struggle for those of us with African passports is, this is just one of the ways that we are systematically denied opportunities. Meanwhile, tourists from many Western nations are free to visit many African countries without a visa and stay for up to 90 consecutive days in some of them.

But MAJOR props to Martha Chumo for taking up the initiative to create her own opportunities.

Despite both national and international focus on literacy and education in Africa, in part driven by the soon-to-expire Millennium Development Goals, the resulting programmes and policies are all too often delivered in the languages of former colonial powers - particularly English, French and Portuguese - at the cost of excluding the majority and those most in need. “No country can make progress on the basis of a borrowed language, understood only by a minority,” says Prah, “Only ten per cent of African people can speak French, Portuguese or English fluently. These languages cannot be the only languages of African development.”

The problem is not merely one of shaking off the remnants of the past, but of convincing those within every level of African society that undermining the status of African languages serves the interests of no one. “It’s not just a question of Western arrogance,” explains Prah, “but also of African complicity. The cultural power of the African elite is based on the fact that they are proficient users of post-colonial languages. They instil a new colonial order which excludes the majority from the structures of power.”

[…]

"Some African languages are spoken by fifty or sixty million people. It makes economic sense to develop products for this market, by this market." If we continue to pretend that African languages are unimportant in the drive to achieve ‘education for all’, says Prah, "we will forever be waiting for 90% of Africans to become English!"

Professor Kwesi Kwaa Prah, founder of The Centre for Advanced Studies of African Society, speaks about the importance of cultivating and sustaining broader uses of African languages as a tool for development around the continent, and in breaking down the imposed barriers created through the maintained hierarchy of colonial languages.

Professor Prah also stressed that the need for this kind of fundamental change needs to start with policy makers on the continent who themselves are also victims of the entrapments laid about by colonial language systems that saw African languages as inferior.

…he suggests that even those in positions of power are allowing themselves to be limited by the same colonial hierarchies of the past. “They are second-hand users of these cultures. Therefore, they are actually positioning themselves as inferiors. This can lead to a bottle-neck of tension that can explode.”

[…]

…Prah points to Vietnam and their Southeast Asian neighbours Malaysia and Indonesia. “Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. They stopped using the language of their French colonisers: this is precisely why they are succeeding.”

Original article written by Alicia Mitchell.

The African growth story has been told over and over again but the reality is that there are winners and losers.

Celeste Fauconnier, RMB Africa analyst says that the services sector for example is growing and resource rich countries such as Nigeria and Zambia have become less dependent on commodities because it they have developed secondary industries. In an internal survey that RMB conducted last year, it found that most of its clients predicted that the logistics and automotive sectors would present more opportunities, followed by retail and resources were only listed in third position.

However, Fauconnier says that South African retailers face serious competition when entering some African countries, especially those in the East. The latter countries have invested in producing their own products and have established retailers such as Nakumatt in Kenya. This is one of the reasons that Shoprite has been struggling to get into Kenya and subsequently does not have a presence there.

Dianna Games, CEO at Africa@work, says that South Africans also have to be more aware of what is happening in Africa and enter with a naïve notion that they can strike a deal in a day. Sometimes signing a deal and finding the right partner can be a lengthy process, she says.

South African companies should also change the perception that they are the only ones going into Africa. Faure Heymans, analyst at RE:CM, says that there are good companies in Africa that are well managed and exist in strong markets such as Dangote Cement in Nigeria and ARM Cement in Kenya. These companies are now looking to invest in South Africa due to its opportunities, he says.

The African Growth Stroy - Tread Cautiously

"Everyone is chasing a piece of the pie for the sake of it and it’s unsustainable – analysts"

Africa’s growth story may have been oversold, according to value-based asset manager CM.

Analysts Amedi de Klerk and Faure Heymans warned this week that investors “be wary about getting caught up in the hype around the predicted economic growth on the African continent”.

Sub-Saharan Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) is expected to grow more than 5 percent this year compared with growth of 3.1 percent globally and 2 percent in South Africa. But De Klerk and Heymans said the continent’s growth expectations were already factored into the price of listed equities in the region. After visiting four African countries, De Klerk said: “Where we did find value, liquidity was limited and where liquidity was available, valuations were excessive.”

De Klerk added: “There is no correlation between a country’s growth and the performance of its equity investments.”

Meanwhile, Africa’s prospects are dimming. The continent’s fortunes are closely linked to China’s demand for commodities. But growth is slowing in the world’s second-largest economy and latest data show its demand for other countries’ exports is falling. China has been South Africa’s biggest export market in recent years – almost entirely for commodities – and the major source of export revenue for Africa.

Frontier Advisory chief executive Martyn Davies said: “China’s growth model over the past two decades has been incredibly resource intensive with fixed asset investment spend upwards of 50 percent of GDP per annum. This has driven the so-called commodity supercycle and has largely underpinned the African growth story the past decade considering the resource-dependent nature of sub-Saharan economies.”

He said the commodities super cycle had cooled. “While China’s growth remains robust, the days of double-digit or high single-digit growth are over. Also, as China has now reached middle-income status, its resource intensity per capita will decline in line with the experience of all other markets.”

The Chinese economy grew only 7.7 percent in the first quarter, disappointing economists’ expectations of 8 percent and down from 7.9 percent in the previous quarter. Earlier this week the International Monetary Fund cut China’s growth forecast for the year to 7.8 percent from 8 percent previously.

Private sector economists had already downgraded their expectations. Last month Standard Bank researcher Jeremy Stevens lowered his growth forecast for the year from 7.7 percent to 7.5 percent.

Second-quarter figures on GDP are due on Monday.

The question is: to what extent will this translate into lower growth in Africa?

Davies said: “Much will depend on the oil price considering that no less than 40 out of 54 African states have either discovered or are exploiting oil resources.” Oil prices have slumped recently and demand for Africa’s oil from the US has fallen due to the latter’s shale gas activity. But foreign direct investment (FDI), including from China, remains strong.

Glenn Silverman, the chief investment officer at Investment Solutions, noted China’s investment in Africa had focused on “securing long-term supplies of commodities and in African infrastructure”. And he said: “To my mind, the Chinese reserves of more than $3 trillion (R30 trillion) will continue to be recycled into hard assets that secure long-term supply for China.”

Confirmation of this view comes from the China Daily, which reported last month that China’s outward-bound “FDI saw robust gains, expanding by some 20 percent in the first five months of this year to $34.3 billion”. But Silverman argued: “Africa needs to grow its other sectors and anything that propels diversification is healthy and should be welcomed.”

Davies agreed, speaking of a “remix [of] Africa’s growth model, something I regard as both healthy and necessary”.

Investec Asset Management strategist Michael Power had a similar view. He said: “Africa will become less reliant on external demand to stimulate GDP growth and more driven by emerging domestic consumption.”

He said there would be slower growth “perhaps at the margin for a couple of years but at least it will be more balanced in that it will not be so hyper-correlated to Chinese demand for resources”.

He focused on the next stage of Africa’s development. “I think Africa’s industrialisation phase is coming as China’s wage rates rise.” In other words manufacturing bases will be shifted from China to Africa as the cost of Chinese production rises.

Power noted “the growing evidence of Asian investment in African factories – Chinese investment in the Ethiopian leather/shoe business via Huajian, the world’s largest shoe-maker; Honda opening a motorcycle factory and Samsung… a computer assembly plant in Kenya”.

In a recent interview, African entrepreneur, Tony Elumelu spoke about the rules of engagement for business in Africa emphasizing that Africa is open for business but not at any cost. “Africa’s economic history has been characterised by extractive industries and rent seeking practices that have not created development in any meaningful way. Africapitalism is simply saying there is a better and more ethical way to invest in Africa for a sustainable future.

I would like to see both African and international investors review their strategies for Africa. Yes, we are open for business but not at any cost. Our rules of engagement have changed,” he said.

Elumelu was one of the high profile African business leaders handpicked by the White House to meet with President Obama on his current three country Africa tour. Elumelu, who is the former Chairman of United Bank for Africa and Chairman of diversified investment group, Heirs Holdings recently invested USD300 million in Nigeria’s largest power plant, located in Ughelli, Delta State during the Nigerian government’s recent power privatization process.

Speaking on the motivations behind the group’s investment, he said,”Unlimited access to affordable power in any country is a game changer and will move the needle on the country’s development exponentially. It’s not just the fact that children will be able to do their homework, or that computers and phones can be powered in rural villages; it is also the impact that access to affordable power will have on the economic ecosystem. Prices will come down, entrepreneurs will expand and innovate, and jobs will be created as a result. This is Africapitalism at work.”

Speaking further on his investment in Nigeria’s power sector, Tony Elumelu said: “We played a transformative role in democratizing the banking sector at a time when no one was really paying much attention to Africa, Elumelu says. “We had a clear strategy, first mover advantage and an understanding of what the market needed and we are focused on doing the same for power. We are taking over an old government-run plant that desperately needs rehabilitation and doubling its output within our first two years of operations. By 2017, we will be generating 1000MW of electricity and Nigerians across the country will feel the impact of affordable and consistent power.”

AFRICA’S oil reserves has hit 132.4 trillion barrels of oil and represents eight per cent of world supply, PriceWaterHouseCoopers, said in its latest survey on the continent’s oil and gas sector.

The survey, which was released recently and titled: “Africa Oil and Gas Review”, puts the continent’s gas reserves at seven per cent.

It disclosed that Africa currently supplies about 12 per cent of the world’s oil, boasting significant untapped reserves estimated at eight per cent of the world’s proven reserves.

The report said the continent has natural gas reserves of 513 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) with 91 per cent of the yearly gas production of 7.1Tcf coming from Nigeria, Libya, Algeria and Egypt.

According to the  review, the oil and gas industry is grappling with the severe stresses of a challenging economic and political environment on the African continent fuelled by poor physical infrastructure, corruption, an uncertain regulatory framework, and a lack of skills.

The survey draws upon the valuable experience and views of industry players in Africa‚ including international oil companies operating on the continent‚ national oil companies‚ service companies‚ independent oil organisations and industry commentators‚ to provide insight into the latest developments affecting the industry.

It stated: “Africa supplies about 12 per cent of the world’s oil‚ boasting significant untapped reserves estimated at eight per cent of the world’s proven reserves. The continent has natural gas reserves of 513-trillion cubic feet with 91 per cent of the annual gas production of 7.1-trillion cubic feet coming from Nigeria‚ Libya‚ Algeria and Egypt”.

Poor infrastructure and an uncertain regulatory framework were the two top challenges identified by the new emerging players/markets‚ particularly in Uganda‚ Ghana‚ Tanzania‚ Nigeria and Kenya.

PwC Africa Oil & Gas Industry Leader and Deputy Country Senior Partner, Nigeria, Uyi Akpata, said: “The challenges facing oil and gas companies operating in Africa are diverse and numerous. Political interference, uncertainty and delays in passing laws, energy policies and regulations are stifling growth, development and investment in a number of countries around Africa.”

“PwC’s ‘Africa oil and gas review’ analyses what has happened in the last 12 months in the oil and gas industry and in the major African markets”.

Chris Bredenhann‚ PwC Africa oil & gas advisory leader‚ said: “The challenges facing oil and gas companies operating in Africa are diverse and numerous. Political interference‚ uncertainty and delays in passing laws‚ energy policies and regulations are stifling growth‚ development and investment in a number of countries around Africa.”




A new United Nations report says AIDS-related deaths in Africa are falling while the number of Africans getting treatment for the AIDS virus is on the rise.

The report from the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS says the number of people in Africa who receive anti-retroviral drugs increased from less than 1 million in 2005 to more than 7 million last year.

It says AIDS-related deaths fell by nearly a third during that same period, and that new HIV infections are also falling.

Many African countries have taken steps over the past decade to ensure that at least some of their HIV patients have access to treatment.

The report, released Tuesday, notes that Africa continues to be affected by HIV more than any other region in the world. It says the continent accounts for nearly 70 percent of people living with the virus worldwide.

It also notes that in 2011, there were still 1.8 million new HIV infections in Africa, and 1.2 million people died of AIDS-related illnesses.

Al Jazeera South2North host Redi Tlhabi interviews some of Africa’s most influential and powerful women, including Malawian President Joyce Banda - Africa’s second woman president, and South Africa medical doctor, business woman, activist and politician Dr Mamphela Ramphele about their transformative and historical roles.

Powerful and interesting commentary.