Thursday, September 28

In your copy of The Exchange this month

See how the EAC is building peace between the DR Congo and Rwanda.

Discover how Natural Gas is becoming a catalyst for economic growth in Africa.

Why Idris Elba is betting on entertainment studios in Africa

Is Solar Energy really powering Africa’s future?

Will Kenya ever evade illicit trade?

Kenya's debt and economic struggles

The government has no option but to squeeze taxpayers further to raise revenues to meet budgetary obligations as the depreciating shilling worsens Kenya’s debt and economic struggles. This comes as the Kenyan shilling weakens against the US dollar and other major global currencies, pushing up the country’s spending on repayment. Kenya’s shilling has lost about 19 per cent of its value to the dollar year-to-date, exchanging at an average of KSh147.47 on Monday, September 25, 2023.
The weak currency has pushed the country’s public debt repayment bill by at least $4.67 billion (Sh690 billion) in the last eight months. Piling debt comes as the National Treasury went on a borrowing spree to bridge the budget deficit.

Increasing demand for oil and fuel threatens African nations’ economies.

The energy crisis gripping South Africa is set to intensify as rising global oil prices, coupled with a heavy dependency on oil imports, threatens to trigger economic fallout in the country. The expected announcement of fuel price increases for October, will put further strain on the country’s economy.

According to data from the Central Energy Fund (CEF), the Automobile Association (AA) has issued a stark warning to South Africans about the impending hit on the economy starting October.

Africa's financial inclusion

Currently, financial inclusion is a target that all African countries must achieve. Boosting Africa’s financial inclusion will have a positive impact on economic growth and the prosperity of society. Through financial inclusion, everyone has access to a variety of quality, effective, and efficient financial services. Increasing public accessibility to financial service products will further reduce the level of economic and social inequality which in turn will improve the welfare of the community.

One of the efforts to achieve this financial inclusion target is through technology in the form of digital finance. When financial products and services use internet technology, it makes it easier for people to directly access various kinds of payments, shopping, savings, and investments, including loan and credit facilities. Among these digital financial elements, the payment facility is the service that is experiencing the fastest development and contributes greatly to the achievement of Africa’s financial inclusion targets.

Wave energy potential in Africa

Despite rising investments in renewables as the world moves to realize net-zero emissions by 2050, the contribution of Africa’s wave energy remains very minimal. The Africa Climate Summit (ACS) was a pivotal platform to explore the potential of tapping oceans, one of Africa’s biggest resources.

With the summit’s overarching theme, “Driving Green Growth & Climate Finance Solutions for Africa and the World,” heightening the urgency to address the climate crisis; harnessing the potential of ocean water for clean energy could accelerate Africa’s journey to net-zero.

Minerals Africa

Africa is home to nearly all the valuable minerals that are essential to generating wealth, producing commodities, and advancing technology. Approximately 30 per cent of the world’s mineral reserves are in Africa, but most mineral-rich countries remain poor with little to celebrate. Some of the key minerals found in Africa include oil, diamonds, gold, silver, copper, cobalt, coal, iron ore, uranium, and platinum.

Gamification in education

The COVID-19 pandemic drastically altered the global education landscape. Consequently, it pushed educators to innovate rapidly and adapt to new modes of teaching and learning. In Southern Africa, the pandemic prompted a swift shift towards blended learning. This involved a combination of in-person and online education, as schools and universities temporarily closed their physical doors. The need to ensure continuity in education while minimizing the risks of virus transmission drove this unprecedented change in the education sector. Among the various approaches adopted during this period, e-learning emerged as a powerful tool with the potential to revolutionize education in Southern Africa. As such, the region’s education sector can harness the power of gamification to shape a brighter future for its students.

Second hand clothes officially banned in Uganda

On the 1st of June 2023, African ministers for trade and industries adopted a protocol that prevents trading second-hand clothes across the continent under the preferences of the AfCFTA. This was during the high-level African Union – East African Community and the private sector forum, the second Ministerial Retreat of the Council of Ministers on the AfCFTA, held in Nairobi, Kenya, to assess the progress and address critical aspects of the agreement’s implementation.

Blockchain in Africa's supply chains.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) recently published the Economic Development for Africa 2023 Report. The document, titled “The Potential of Africa to Capture Technology-Intensive Global Supply Chains,” looks at Africa’s capacity to become a prominent player in global supply chains for “high-technology” industries, which include automobiles, mobile phones, green energy, and healthcare.

Yevgeny Prigozhin

The death of Yevgeny Prigozhin, a former Russian President Vladimir Putin confidant and head of the mercenary Wagner Group, has cast a shadow over Russia’s intricate involvement in African economies.
A jet crash in Moscow that led to Yevgeny Prigozhin’s death has sparked questions about the future of Russian military support in Africa as well as other economic interests spanning across nations.

Africa's hospitality industry

The hospitality industry is changing fast. When considering the future hotel experience, you are no longer just looking at a travel destination or a sleepover spot. Hotels of the future must offer more. An ‘augmented hospitality experience’ is what experts are calling it. Thus, stakeholders in Africa’s hospitality industry must explore ways to adapt.

Venture Capital Market in Africa experiencing a funding plateau

As a form of private equity funding, venture capital finance African startups at the nascent stage. Money is given to firms with significant growth and revenue creation potential. Across economies, VC firms are critical drivers of growth and development in Africa. They drive job creation and innovation and finance the rollout of new products and technologies.