Africa Top10 News

The Future of Nigeria’s Biggest Wealth Creator

Kaduna

The state-owned oil refinery in Kaduna is a rusted hulk set on about 1.1 square miles on the parched outskirts of the northern city, has the capacity to process 110,000 barrels of oil a day. Last year it processed virtually nothing. The three other state-owned refineries — in the oil-rich Niger delta region in the south of the country — did not do much better. In the year to October, the refineries operated at barely 11 percent of their capacity of 445,000 barrels a day. In October itself, none of the refineries processed any crude, and they operated at a combined loss of $30 million. The state of the refineries in Africa’s largest crude producer is not only a reflection of the oil and gas sector starved of investment but also a reminder of the country’s sluggish crude-driven economy.

SOURCES: OZY

The South African Eatery that’s Bagged an International Nod

Chef Kobus van der Merwe

A tiny beach restaurant in an isolated fishing village in South Africa was named the best in the world at the inaugural World Restaurant Awards in Paris. Chef Kobus van der Merwe (38), only learnt how to cook when he was 30. Every day he forages for ingredients on the wild Atlantic shore of the Western Cape near his Wolfgat restaurant. The eatery was opened last year in a 130-year-old cottage and cave on the beach at Paternoster. Its seven-course tasting menu costs the equivalent of $60, a fraction of what you are likely to pay at a top Paris table.

SOURCES: AL JAZEERA

Uganda’s Social Media Tax Leads to User and Revenue Declines

Uganda's Social Media Tax

The institution of the fee was first proposed in March last year by president Yoweri Museveni in a bid to curb gossip and increase revenues. Then in July, the East African nation introduced a tax on users accessing 60 websites and social media apps from their phones, including WhatsApp, Twitter, and Facebook. In the three months following the introduction of the levy in July 2018, there was a noted decline in the number of internet users, total revenues collected, as well as mobile money transactions. In a series of tweets, the Uganda Communications Commission noted internet subscription declined by more than 2.5 million users, while the sum of taxpayers from over-the-top (OTT) media services decreased by more than 1.2 million users.

SOURCES: QUARTZ AFRICA

A Clinic Making Artificial Limbs in CAR

Artificial Limbs in CAR

Since conflict broke out in Central African Republic just over six years ago, the number of amputees has risen considerably. The national association of re-education and equipment in CAR (Anrac) is a prosthetics workshop in central Bangui that also operates as a rehabilitation centre.The small premises in the heart of the capital is the only place in CAR where prosthetics are manufactured and distributed. At the front of the building, patients receive consultations and try on prosthetics. At the back, technical staff mould, saw and hammer artificial limbs on a long wooden workbench.

SOURCES: THE GUARDIAN

South Sudan Civil Servants Feel the Pinch of Reforms

South Sudan reforms

The government of South Sudan says that beginning in March, it will deduct one day’s salary from civil servants’ paychecks each month to help pay for implementation of the peace deal aimed at ending the country’s civil war. Some observers are skeptical about how that will work as most civil servants haven’t been paid for months. The Information Minister said the monthly deductions, due to last through June, should raise  about $38 million. The money would be used for the training and supply of a unified national army, among other activities.

SOURCES: VOA

Tanzania Brings Down Ivory Queen

Yang Feng Glan

A Tanzanian court sentenced a Chinese businesswoman, Yang Feng Glan to 15 years in prison for smuggling the tusks of more than 350 elephants to Asia — a major victory in the effort to stamp out poaching in Africa. Yang was charged in October 2015 and accused of smuggling $5.6 million worth of ivory, said to be 860 pieces between 2000 and 2004. She had lived in Tanzania since the 1970s and was secretary general of the China-Africa Business Council of Tanzania. She also owns a popular Chinese restaurant in Dar es Salaam, the Tanzanian capital.

SOURCES: THE NEW YORK TIMES

Motsepe Sheds Light on his Stance on Eskom

Patrice Motsepe on Eskom

South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe said that he would not buy any assets which struggling state power firm Eskom puts up for sale, in response to speculation that he was eyeing an Eskom financial subsidiary. President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is Motsepe’s brother-in-law, this month unveiled a plan to split Eskom into three units to boost efficiency, which some analysts see as a path to privatising the utility. “I have never supported the privatisation of Eskom or the sale of any of its entities or assets,” Motsepe said at a news conference. African Rainbow Capital was reportedly eyeing some or all of Eskom Finance Company, an Eskom subsidiary which lends to employees and which the government put up for sale as part of efforts to shore up the company’s balance sheet.

SOURCES: REUTERS AFRICA

Zimbabwe Wants to Introduce a New Currency

Zimbabwe New Currency

A decade after Zimbabwe scrapped its own currency to end hyperinflation and began using mainly the USD, the economy is back in free fall. Fuel, medicines and other basics are hard to come by and less than 10 percent of the workforce is formally employed. While the new currency regime initially helped stabilize prices, it also increased imports, curtailed exports and gave rise to a chronic shortage of banknotes. To fund government spending and help ease the liquidity crisis, the central bank printed bond notes theoretically pegged to the dollar, while most commercial transactions are conducted using an electronic currency known as RTGS$. This combination of parallel systems has resulted in a convoluted system of exchange rates, with consumers charged different prices depending on how they pay for purchases, and the cash scarcity has only worsened.

SOURCES: BLOOMBERG

Getting the Ball Rolling for Ethiopia’s Grand Hydro Project

Ethiopia's Grand Hydro Project

In a bid to accelerate the pace of the construction of Ethiopia’s strategic dam, the country has contracted the services of two Chinese companies. The Ethiopian Electric Power (EEP) signed a contract worth $40m with China Gezhouba Group Co., Ltd (CGGC) to handle the pre-commissioning activities at the dam. Another contract worth $113m with Voith Hydro Shanghai, that includes the electrical, mechanical, and various civil/structural works required to complete the construction of the generating station and spillways was signed. Last year, Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed cancelled the contract of a state-run military conglomerate, Metals and Engineering Corporation (METEC), to build the dam’s turbines saying that at the time not a single turbine was operational more than seven years after the government awarded them the contract.

SOURCES: AFRICANEWS

[WATCH] Kenyan Teen Wants this Extreme Sport in the Olympics

Extreme Sport in the Olympics

Michael, from Nairobi, has been interested in parkour since he saw YouTube videos of people flipping. Parkour is typically a street sport which involves running, jumping and climbing over obstacles. The 17-year-old warns that people need to know their limits before embarking on the sport.

SOURCES: BBC

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