Africa Top10 Business News

Jumia Takes Stock of its Operations 

Jumia Tanzania closes

The decision by Africa’s biggest internet retailer, Jumia, to close its operation in Tanzania highlights the difficulty of making e-commerce work successfully across the continent. Jumia’s exit from Tanzania comes a week after it pulled the plug on its online business in Cameroon. The firm, which is deep in debt and suffering major losses, is revising operations to focus on markets which are not proving costly and difficult in the short term. The internet retailer described ceasing operations in Tanzania as difficult, but that it “is more important now than ever” to focus “resources where they can bring the best value”. Jumia has struggled to cope with e-commerce challenges such as customers without easy-to-find addresses. The company faces lawsuits amid accusations it filed misleading information when its shares were listed in New York in April. The stock which had a debut price of $14.50 is now trading at about $6. The closure of its businesses in Tanzania and Cameroon leaves Jumia operating in 12 countries, including Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda.


Uganda’s State Telco is Looking for a New CEO

Uganda's State Telco

The President of Ugandan, Yoweri Museveni will not renew the appointment of Bemanya Twebaze as the administrator of the Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL). This decision was reached because the lawyer and executive, Twabaze, has reportedly fallen out of favour with the State Minister for Investment and Privatization. Twabaze’s ousting is just the latest instalment in an ongoing saga spanning half the African continent. From Libya to Nigeria, and to the beautiful island of Mauritius. Twabaze was appointed UTL administrator in 2017 following the exit of Libyan-owned Ucom Limited – after entering a deed that made all shareholders surrender to him. The Ugandan telecoms scandal finds its roots in a 2017 government decision to privatise UTL in a bid to rescue the struggling company. Two bids were shortlisted: one from a Nigerian-based telecoms firm, Teleology Holdings GIB (sometimes misspelt Taleology), and one from Mauritius Telecom.


The Evolution of Africa’s Financial Sector in Disruptive Times

Africa's Financial Sector

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Africa Members’ Convention will host up to 1,000 delegates from 33 countries across Africa from accounting and finance professions – both in the public and private sectors in Kigali in December. The summit seeks to ignite new business opportunities through thought leadership, defining best practice, anticipating risks, re-thinking business models and turning ideas into solutions. Jamil Ampomah, director of ACCA Sub-Saharan Africa, said that the current trends of rapid global changes require regional professional bodies to create synergies, share experiences and best practices   to remain relevant.


App-based Home Tutor Set for the West African Market

App-based Home Tutor

Nigerian ed-tech startup uLesson has raised $3.1m in a seed funding round ahead of its market launch next year. The funding, led by venture capitalists TLcom Capital, will be used to bring the app-based home tutor to the West African market in February 2020, uLesson’s CEO said. Founded earlier this year in the central Nigerian city of Jos, uLesson will roll out its library of pre-recorded lesson content tailored for the West African curriculum in Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Gambia.


Ethiopia to Launch its First Electronic World Trade Platform Hub

Electronic World Trade

China’s internet giant Alibaba Group, signed a memorandum of understanding with Ethiopian officials to help establish the eWTP hub in Ethiopia. The hub is aimed at enabling Addis to provide smart logistics and services, conduct cross-border trades targeting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by helping them penetrate markets in China and other parts of the world, as well as serve as a center of excellence in training young entrepreneurs, among others. The first major initiative for Electronic World Trade platform partnership in Ethiopia will be development of a multi-function digital trade hub to serve as a gateway for Ethiopian products to china, a center for cross-border e-commerce and trade within African and training center.


DRC Palm Oil Industry Called Out for being a Dirty Investment

DRC Palm Oil Industry

A new report by a prominent rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) has accused four European development banks of failing to protect workers on palm oil plantations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) from being exposed to hazardous pesticides and being paid very low wages, driving the levels of “extreme poverty”. The investment banks include CDC Group from the United Kingdom; BIO from Belgium; DEG from Germany; and FMO from the Netherlands – had failed to meet their obligation to ensure that the companies they finance are not engaged in abusive practices. HRW said it found that workers on the plantations are exposed to large amounts of dangerous pesticides due to the company’s failure to provide adequate protective equipment. It said many workers described experiencing health issues such as impotence, skin irritation, eye problems and blurry vision.


Africa’s Biggest Markets on Black Friday

Africa's Biggest Markets

As people all over the world look to make the most of available black Friday deals, CNBC Africa’s Debbie Movoria reports on how Nigerians perceive Black Friday, their thoughts on the price discounts and the need to develop Nigeria’s e-commerce sector. In Kenya, online shops like Jumia had offers for the better part of the month with vendors giving special offers limited to a specific time with discounts, and discounted or totally free delivery from your their outlets. Malls around South Africa were a hive of activity on Friday, with shoppers looking to get their hands on the best deals.


Investing in Water Infrastructure

Water Infrastructure

South Africa will spend nearly R900bn over 10 years on overhauling water-supply infrastructure and improving governance amid severe water shortfalls. The water master plan comes as low rainfall, a spike in usage in an increasingly hot climate and collapsing infrastructure leave provinces such as the Eastern Cape facing their worst drought for a century, while poor governance in Mpumalanga and Gauteng’s local governments have hit supply in towns such as Standerton and Hammanskraal.


The Future of Africa’s Only Nuclear Facility

Africa’s Only Nuclear Facility

Spent fuel storage at South Africa’s Koeberg nuclear plant will reach full capacity by April as state power utility Eskom awaits regulatory approval for new dry storage casks. Storage of high-level radioactive waste is a major environmental concern in the region, as South Africa looks to extend Koeberg’s life for another two decades and mulls extra nuclear power plants. Koeberg produces about 32 tonnes of spent fuel a year. Fuel assemblies, which contain radioactive materials including uranium and plutonium that can remain dangerous for thousands of years, are cooled for a decade under water in spent fuel pools. Three years ago Eskom paid an estimated $13.60 million for an initial batch of seven reinforced dry storage casks from U.S. energy company Holtec International to help keep Koeberg running beyond 2018. Eskom now has nine new unused casks on site, each with an individual capacity of 32 spent fuel assemblies, with another five expected to be delivered soon.


How Tragedy Turned this Teen’s Fortunes

Alhaji Siraj Bah

On August 14, 2017, a river of mud, trees and boulders cascaded into Freetown, killing more than 1,100 people, including seven members of Alhaji Siraj Bah’s adopted family. The teenager decided to invest his last $20 into tackling the plastic waste problem. He started working 16-hour days making recyclable bags from 70 percent banana leaves and selling them to local businesses, with their logos laboriously screen-printed onto them. Bah’s company has produced roughly 250,000 bags, and he has branched out to producing an eco-friendly alternative to charcoal. Last year, he won the Anzisha Prize for young African entrepreneurs. He has raised $20,000 from an angel investor and plans to buy better machines to speed up briquette production and help him expand into Guinea, Senegal and Liberia next year.


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