1World Economic Forum’s 2018 Global Gender Gap Index is Out

After six years of progress, this year, the gap widened in sub-Saharan Africa. Across the 33 countries surveyed there is a wide disparity. Rwanda and Namibia, for example, were ranked in the top 10 countries for gender parity. Rwanda sits alongside Nordic countries, the Philippines and New Zealand at having closed 80% of the gap.

SOURCES: Quartz AfricaThe Guardian

2Some of the Major Trends and Stories to Watch in Africa

Global management consultancy McKinsey & Company’s new book “Africa’s Business Revolution” identifies areas of potential progress and opportunity across the continent based on original research and interviews with hundreds of CEOs from leading African companies. The authors find regions that recall China before its own period of explosive growth, and suggest pathways that could yield similar gains.

SOURCES: CNN

3Isabel dos Santos and the Economic Empowerment of African Women

At a United Nations debate in New York, Isabel dos Santos, who is currently the richest woman in Africa, spoke of the economic empowerment of African women as a key to transforming society. This and many of her other hopeful and encouraging messages have inspired many citizens in African countries, mainly young women, to pursue their ambitions in business.

SOURCES: Africa.com

4Aeroponics Set to lead Nigeria on the Path to Increased Food Production

Samson Ogbole is trying to solve a problem many aren’t aware exists. In his native Nigeria there is a shortage of land needed to provide food for its ever-growing population of 190 million. There are only 30 million hectares of farmland under cultivation in Nigeria annually, short of the estimated 78.5 million needed for food production. It is this significant problem that Ogbole is tackling with an unconventional method of farming that involves growing crops in the air.

SOURCES: CNN

5MyAgro Pioneers “Mobile Layaway” Model for African Farmers

Smallholder farmers across sub-Saharan Africa struggle to buy seeds and fertilizer every year, with low incomes and a lack of bank accounts making bulk purchases difficult. But a mobile savings model gaining popularity in Senegal and Mali allows farmers to put away small amounts of cash whenever they can – a potentially life-changing innovation for families struggling with shrinking yields amid climate change.

SOURCES: Reuters

6African Nations are Embracing this Ledger Technology to Weed out Graft

From South Africa to Nigeria, Ethiopia to Ghana, many of Africa’s largest economies that have long grappled with endemic corruption are turning to blockchain technology to curb financial crimes, target services to those in need and help crucial economic sectors.

SOURCES: Ozy

7How to Unlock Africa’s Tourism Potential?

The Brookings’s Africa Growth Initiative has just released a report entitled “Africa’s tourism potential: Trends, drivers, opportunities, and strategies.” This report starts with an overview of tourism development in Africa and explores some of the key constraints that have prevented this sector from maturing. It identifies important stakeholders and potential opportunities for its future development. It also provides illustrative examples of countries representative of different trajectories of tourism development.

SOURCES: CNBC Africa

8Uganda’s First Artificial Intelligence Lab

Housed at Makerere University, lab technicians examine blood samples suspected of containing malaria parasites or the bacteria that causes tuberculosis by using a cell phone. The program learns to create its own criteria based on a set of images that have been presented to it previously. It learns to recognize the common features of the infections.

SOURCES: CNN

9A Change in Beijing’s Approach to Investment in Africa

Not long ago, Chinese engineers were putting the finishing touches to two expensive rail projects in east Africa, one linking Djibouti on the Red Sea to landlocked Ethiopia, the other running from the Kenyan port of Mombasa to the capital, Nairobi. But less than 18 months after both lines were inaugurated with grandiose talk of Chinese-led east African integration, doubts are emerging about their economic viability.

SOURCES: Ozy

10Saffron Farmers in Southern Morocco Anxious about Knockoffs

In Morocco, PDO-certified saffron sells for about $3.5 a gram. To maintain their PDO-label, producers submit their harvest for various tests that check for moisture content, taste, colour and smell. Counterfeit saffron can sell “for less than a dollar a gram at the famous Derb Omar market in Casablanca”. Local producers say counterfeiters often use chemical dyes and remains of other plants in an attempt to pass poor quality saffron off as a top-shelf spice.

SOURCES: Mail & Guardian

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