Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse

Pulse #1 - Facebook, AfCFTA, Nigeria recession

The Data Room
With 2/3rds of Africa's workforce operating in the informal sector, ~87% of jobs can not be performed from home.
Numbers in the Spotlight

($1tn) is needed over the next few decades to achieve minimal universal energy access across Africa

($3bn) in bonds have been made available by the AfDB to support nations during the COVID-19 crisis

($2bn) could be lost to Africa's GDP in 2020 due to COVID-19

78,808 cases
of COVID-19 confirmed in Africa (as of last week)

23,000 miles
(~circumference of the globe) of undersea cable is being laid by Facebook to supply faster internet across Africa

Tanzanians now have access to electricity

On The Continent This Week

1. Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade

As the African Union postpones the implementation of AfCFTA due to COVID-19, business leaders sign a petition countering the move, supporting an opposing argument that staying the path will speed up post-COVID recovery, increase African resilience, and better position Africa for a future pandemic.

2. End-to-end value chain capture

With oil prices now at $37 per barrel and an initial 2020 budget of $34 billion predicated on $57 per barrel, Nigeria finds itself on the brink of a deep recession driven by oil dependency. With African resource exports under attack and the imports of food and other key essentials at risk, this highlights the urgency for African nations to begin producing for themselves and capturing a larger share of the value chain.

3. Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

Facebook is leading efforts to build $1bn of underwater internet cables via it’s ‘2Africa’ project. It joins Zuckerberg's (which was accused for "building a walled garden" for the world's poorest) and Alphabet's Loon (using high-altitude balloons) in international attempts to bring internet connectivity to The Continent. With Africa's the lack of ownership of its own connectivity, mobile infrastructure, data centres and platforms, should The Continent be concerned? For instance, a recent report revealed that although 82% of digital platforms on The Continent are homegrown, foreign-owned platforms have 3 times more users.
4. Access to financial services and products

As the current crisis drives adoption of digital finance in Africa, policy makers and regulators are being implored to embrace a fintech revolution. Nigerian regulators have postponed plans to increase Microfinance Banking licence costs, Ethiopia has a new Task Force aimed at decreasing cash transactions and is opening its mobile money market to new players - potentially leading to Safaricom entering the market, and Egypt has launched a national payment system (‘Meeza’).

5. Baseline healthcare & disease protection

Lessons learnt from the Ebola outbreak seem to have driven more aggressive public health measures in Africa, and have arguably contributed to a more contained outbreak in Africa vs. US and Europe. With a continued rise in global protectionism and 'vaccine nationalism' exacerbated by US-China tensions, Africa must continue to chart its own path. In response, African countries are coordinating to ramp up testing via its Partnership to Accelerate COVID-19 Testing (PACT), and multiple countries have placed orders for Madagascar’s herbal anti-COVID-19 remedy, in spite of caution from the WHO.

6. Scaleable energy access

Tanzania has recorded high access to electricity of 84.6% in 2020 - a 70% customer increase in 5 years. This is great news for a Continent where 600 million people lack any access to electricity, and where a 4 fold increase in electricity demand is expected from 2010 to 2040. New research also suggests that $20bn per annum in new infrastructure is required for minimal universal energy access across Africa.

7. Youth-driven political leadership

Prime Minister Thomas Thabane of Lesotho, age 80, shared plans to step down citing not having the energy to continue. This comes just weeks after Namibia appointed its youngest ever MP - Emma Theofelus, 23. A step in the right direction for Africa where a huge disconnect exists between Africa’s leaders and its population (average age of 62 and 20 respectively, vs. 54 and 42 respectively in OECD countries).

8. 4th industrial revolution skills development

Hey Alexa, do you speak Igbo?” 2 developers in Benin and Nigeria are developing an Artificial Intelligence language translation model, similar to Google Translate, combating the absence of African languages in shaping the future of AI. This comes as the future of software development in Africa took a hit, with VC- and Zuckerberg-backed Andela, laying off 135 staff across 4 countries, citing a projected decline in global customers. 

9. Exporting culture

Nigerian drummer Tony Allen, co-creator of Afrobeat, has died aged 79. Not to be confused with Afrobeats, Afrobeat refers to the 1960s, Nigerian multi-instrumental sound popularised by Fela Kuti, who used the music genre to sing against dictators, colonialism, injustice and oppression. In other news, we see increasing indicators for the export of African culture as last month African paintings recorded a 46% increase in sales at Sotheby's London auction, of $2.9mn.

10. Baseline personal living-space & utilities

The UN has launched a $72 million fund to improve sanitation, water access and general hygiene in slums across the world, emphasizing that “the human right to shelter is a life or death matter”. With half of Africa’s urban population living in informal settlements, Movemeback highlighted the dichotomy the Western “stay at home” for Africa, as did Bill Gates in a recent podcast, stating “The big challenge is the urban slum areas”. 

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History Class

How Botswana’s first Prime Minister transformed the country from the 2nd poorest in the world to a fast growing economy

Revisiting the Berlin Conference in 2020 - Are There Lessons for Africa’s Future?

Did we miss anything?

Thank you for reading Movemeback Pulse, your weekly check of actionable insight. Movemeback Pulse is made up of insights that relate to 'The Continent 500 Transformation Goals' - developed to drive focus on a continent-wide business plan to create the next 500 million jobs by 2035. Want to understand more about the 'The Continent 500 Transformation Goals'? Do you have suggestions on themes / goals that are missing? Get in touch!

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