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1The Informal Economy in Africa is Big Business

According to the International Labor Organization (ILO) of the United Nations, 85.8% of employment in Africa is informal. The organ says of the two billion in informal employment worldwide, over 740 million are women. FORBES WOMAN AFRICA follows three female traders from Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the Limpopo Province of South Africa, on how they have turned the streets corners of Johannesburg into their business hubs.

SOURCES: FORBES Africa

2Why Africa Needs Strong Development Banks

According to the UN, by 2050 two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas, the result of a mass rural exodus and high population growth, particularly in Africa. Development banks such as the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) are increasingly active in financing sustainable urban development. Executives at these institutions say they are well placed to mobilise local savings and leverage investment from the private sector to increase the pool of funding available.

SOURCES: African Business Magazine

3South Africans are Paying too Much for Private Healthcare

The Competition Commission, a watchdog body in the country’s private sector, presented its findings after a four-year investigation into the sector. It said private health providers sometimes recommended pricey treatments unnecessarily with limited competition. South Africa spends roughly 9 percent of gross domestic product on healthcare but more than half of that is spent by about 16 percent of the population with private medical schemes, according to the health department. The Commission said it had initiated the inquiry because it has reason to believe that there are features of the sector that prevent, distort or restrict competition.

SOURCES: CNBC AfricaBusinessTech

4African Stock Exchanges Offering Investors Returns in Dollar Terms

Last year, six African exchanges outperformed the tech-heavy Nasdaq, which soared 28.2%. Emerging markets have had to deal with a major slump after what was a strong start to the year. But exchanges in countries such as Nigeria, Kenya and Egypt still promise returns more exciting than the JSE. A report by PwC on African capital markets found that exchanges across the continent last year recorded 28 initial public offerings (IPOs), which raised $2.9bn, and 98 further offerings, which raised $10.6bn.

SOURCES:  BusinessDay Live

5Crowdfunding in Africa to Reach $30 million in 2025

The Afrikstart Crowdfunding in Africa Report, named South Africa as the leading rewards-based crowdfunding hub in Africa in 2016. The report estimated that its value in the region will rise to that of $30m in 2025. The concept, which began as a Silicon Valley social experiment is now fast becoming a viable solution for entrepreneurs and creatives who might not necessarily capture the imaginations of loan officers or have access to other financial means to materialise their passion projects.

SOURCES:  Africa.com

6A Crisis in Zimbabwe Shows the Inherent Vulnerabilities of Mobile Money

The country’s economic woes have made mobile network transactions a more favoured method as the country deals with a shortage of cash. But this week one of the biggest networks crashed sparking a debate about a real risk of loss of money in the event of a big platform crashing. EcoCash, which competes against smaller platforms run by state controlled telcos NetOne and Telecel Zimbabwe, has more than eight million registered users in Zimbabwe and allows for remittances from expat Zimbabweans in South Africa and Botswana. The network has since resolved the glitches which saw shoppers stranded in supermarkets and other stores for over two days.

SOURCES: Quartz AfricaIT Web Africa

7Africa’s Cocoa is Found in the World’s Chocolate but the Numbers Don’t Add Up

A white paper by agribusiness data company Gro Intelligence delves into the numbers and history of the chocolate trade and it makes for sober reading from an African perspective. Africa’s attempt to meaningfully break into the export market is so small that Europe doesn’t even consider it as “competition.” Europe’s biggest rival comes in the form of Asia, where Indonesia, in particular, has been growing cocoa and building an industry which taps into the fast-growing middle class of China.

SOURCES:  Quartz Africa

8Towards a New Model for Collaboration between Africa and its More Developed Peers

According to the World Bank’s most recent report on Global Economic Prospects, despite the broad global recovery currently underway, Africa still faces substantial downside risks, especially relating to challenges with subdued productivity and potential growth. In response, governments on the continent should look at a combination of improvements in education and health systems, high-quality investment, and labour market, governance and business climate reforms which could yield substantial long-run growth dividends. While Africa continues its inexorable rise as a global economic powerhouse, its partnerships and collaboration with other nations, regional bodies and continents is coming sharply into play. Its long history with European public and private sector organisations in particular is gaining widespread traction and attention.

SOURCES:  Africa.com

9Togo Reveals its Electrification Strategy

Only 28% of the population have access to electricity, far below the West African average of 40%, Togo relies on Ghana to supply some of its power. Officials have come up with a plan to reach 50% of Togo’s 7.5 million-population by 2020, 75% by 2025 and achieve universal access by 2030. The crux of the strategy is for solar power to serve three million people in communities where the grid does not reach. To achieve this, the government will partner with private investors to build 300 mini solar plants across the country and distribute solar kits to 500,000 households.

SOURCES:  Togo FirstQuartz Africa

10Vending Machines for Camel’s Milk are Big Business in Kenya

In Kenya’s largely pastoralist Wajir County, prolonged drought is pushing growing numbers of the region’s nomadic herders to see camels — and their milk — as a drought-safe investment. As one of the world’s biggest camel producers, East Africa also produces much of the world’s camel milk, almost all of it consumed domestically. This means big business for locals but it comes with its risks, due to soaring temperatures, that can cause milk to turn sour, or unhygienic food practices. To remedy this, an initiative is equipping about 50 women in the village with refrigerators to cool the milk that remote camel herders send them via tuk-tuk taxi, plus a van to transport it daily to customers.

SOURCES:  Reuters

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