Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse


Pulse #16 - Rest in Power: Polio no-more, Nigeria's oil self-sufficiency, the $500mn case for remittances, & declaring war on the mobile virus,

The Data Room

871mn people in Africa remain unconnected to the internet in 2020. Central Africa has seen a 40% increase in internet users from 2019, making it the fastest growing region in the world in internet adoption. The spike is particularly attributed to the Democratic Republic of Congo which saw 9mn new internet users in a year - a 122% increase. Growth in Africa’s internet connectivity is partly attributed to heavy investments by non-profit organisations and companies like Facebook.

Numbers in the Spotlight

($15bn) is the anticipated cost of Dangote’s oil refinery project in Nigeria

($500mn) is how much UK money transfer company, WorldRemit, is paying to acquire Sendwave, the African-focused, app-based remittance company  

1,230,159 cases 
of Covid-19 in Africa (as of last week)

Tecno handsets sold by Chinese manufacturer Transsion, were found to have built-in malware 

3,000 tonnes
of daily municipal solid waste produced by Nairobi (Kenya’s capital) will go into waste-to-energy production

0 countries
in Africa now have wild polio, as Africa is declared wild polio free

On The Continent This Week
Baseline healthcare & disease protection

Africa has been declared free from wild polio following almost 25 years of public-private partnership raising billions of dollars, millions of health workers reaching children even in remote and conflict zone areas, and unrelenting improvement. Resultantly, over 95% of Africa’s population has been vaccinated. Continued strengthening of the health systems in Africa will protect progress against wild polio and tackle the spread of type 2 vaccine-derived poliovirus present in 16 countries on The Continent. 

End-to-end value chain capture

Rwanda's first pharmaceutical manufacturer will begin operations in September, with hopes to trim the country’s drug import bill by 10-20%, and export to the whole Continent. The plant will have an annual capacity to produce 800mn packets of tablets, 200mn capsules, and 8mn bottles across a wide range of conditions including Malaria, HIV/AIDs and Tuberculosis. Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) imports 70-90% of their drugs, compared to China and India that import 5% and 20% respectively. Competitiveness and sustainability of local drug producers in SSA partly depends on their ability to diversify into high value innovative medicines such as anticancer drugs.  

Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership

Zimbabwe has made it illegal for schools to expel pupils who get pregnant. In 2018, 12.5% of the country’s school dropouts were due to pregnancy or marriage. The highest rates of adolescent pregnancies are found in SSA, leading to many pregnant girls being excluded from school. Towards achieving Social Development Goal 4 (quality education for all), 28 African countries have now created measures to ensure that pregnant students can resume their studies after giving birth - although the cause of youth pregnancy and marriage also need further addressing.

Access to financial services and products

WorldRemit, a UK online money transfer company will acquire Sendwave, an app-based remittance firm, in a $500mn deal. Notably, SSA has the highest average remittance costs in the world, at about 9%. Sendwave has disrupted the market by allowing users from the US and Europe to send money to Africa with no charges. The hope is that Sendwave’s merger with WorldRemit will ensure the expansion of fast, secure, low-cost, digital mobile money transfer.

Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has proposed the creation of a sub-regional framework to protect the biodiversity of West African states caused by uncontrolled expansion of agricultural land and illegal trade in wildlife. By 2100 climate change is expected to cause the loss of over 50% of African bird and mammal species, and trigger a 20-30% decline in lake productivity and a significant loss of plant species. Regional integration has a part to play, as it can enable countries to leverage combined strengths to develop sustainable global markets, without compromising local biodiversity ecosystems.

Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy

The Southern African Development Community (SADC) has pledged to support an overwhelmed Mozambican government combat the Islamic State-affiliated Ahlu Sunnah Wal Jammah (ASWJ). The militants continue to disrupt livelihoods and threaten the $60bn liquefied natural gas exploration investments by foreign companies. SADC's formal intervention has been slow partly because Cabo Delgado (the province seized by ASWJ) is seen as an East African regional problem rather than a southern Africa one. However, lessons can perhaps be learnt from the Nigerian army retaliation of Boko Haram in 2015, where a coordinated regional approach was key to successful counterinsurgency efforts.

Exporting culture & identity

RIP American actor Chadwick Boseman, who has died at age 43. Boseman brought to the life role of King T'Challa, the Black Panther, in the groundbreaking Hollywood film about Wakanda - the fictional technologically advanced African kingdom that was never colonized by the West. Black Panther became the first ever superhero movie to be nominated for best picture at the Oscars, and is celebrated for its contribution to changing one-sided, negative narratives of Africa in western media, and the increased focus from Hollywood and streaming platforms to tell Afrocentric and African stories.

Scaleable energy access

Dangote’s $15bn investment in Africa’s biggest oil refinery may portend the end of Nigeria’s energy crisis. Ironically, Africa’s biggest oil producer imports $7bn of fuel a year. The plant, refining 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day, will meet 100% of Nigeria’s fuel needs, and create petroleum products for export. Due to mismanagement and corruption in government refineries, power outages have become commonplace; the economic cost of which is estimated at around $28bn - equivalent to 2% of Nigeria's GDP.

Essential infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities

Kenya's capital has inked a deal to dispose of 3,000 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) produced daily through a Waste to Energy plant. Burning MSW reduces the volume of waste by about 87%. African cities may learn from Addis Ababa’s (Ethiopia’s capital) waste-to-energy plant - which incinerates 1,400 tonnes (about 80 % of all MSW produced daily) and powers 30% of the capital’s households. Energy demand in The Continent is predicted to rise by 127% by 2040 while rapid urbanisation will create megacities, with mounting waste. Using MSW for power will contribute to solving both challenges.

Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

Malware that signed users up to unwanted subscriptions has been found on 53,000 Tecno smartphones sold in Africa. Tecno's manufacturer, Transsion, dominates Africa's smartphone space with a 41% unit share. One mobile security service reported that Transsion traffic accounts for 4% of the users in Africa, yet contributes over 18% of all the suspicious clicks. This news reveals the threat of ‘digital colonialism’ for Africa’s poor who depend on cheap phones, but who may be victims of hidden costs, including data extraction and ballooning data bills.

Upgrade Your Life

Our selection of online courses, tools, offers and ideas to boost your professional and personal repertoire.

  1. 9 leaders share leadership lessons from the pandemic
  2. How to ensure AI doesn’t discriminate
  3. Why all data scientists should understand behavioral economics
  4. How to use SMART goals: Achieve more in less time
  5. Can we call it a world map if it is missing a billion people? TED Talk 
  6. Strategies on building better mental health
  7. 7 films to watch for a Netflix and Nollywood weekend 
  8. Female representation in contemporary African art
  9. The revolutionary power of Black Panther (RIP Chadwick Boseman)
  10. Crossword puzzle of the week
History Class
"I Have a Dream”... Remembering Martin Luther King Jr's historic speech - 28 August 1963
The journey of kicking wild polio out of Africa

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