Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse


Pulse #17 - Open Skies: Healthcare's moment for momentum, Kannywood makes a break from Nollywood, and Africa's reopening stutters,

The Data Room

Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is the only region in the world expected to see population growth through to 2100. 5 African countries are expected to be among the top 10 most populous countries (led by Nigeria - the only African country on the current list). Although forecast to be 2nd by population size, Nigeria is expected to be the most densely populated country in the world. Huge transformation will be needed in coming decades to ensure populations are well catered for. 

Numbers in the Spotlight

($35bn) of GDP could be lost due to the fall in aviation in Africa

($1bn) is being raised by Nigeria based Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company, to invest in health care across Africa

($670mn) is the annual cost of Africa’s rejected grain exports due to aflatoxin contamination

1,284,748 cases
of COVID-19 confirmed in Africa (as of last week)

200,000 barrels per day (bpd)
is the capacity of the BUA Group oil refinery, due to be operational in 2024

80% of babies
born with Sickle Cell Anaemia every year are in SSA - the subject of new genetic research

On The Continent This Week
Scaleable energy access

Leading Nigerian industrial conglomerate, BUA Group, has chosen France’s largest hydrocarbons group, Axen, to license key refinery technologies for its multibillion dollar oil refinery project, due to be operational by 2024. It comes as the industry regulator announced that Nigeria plans to be a net exporter of petrol over the next two years. Nigeria, Africa's largest oil producer, ironically imports 90% of its petroleum products. If all goes to plan, the BUA refinery will add 200,000 barrels per day (bpd) to the 650,000 bpd from the Dangote refinery project, enabling Nigeria to meet 100% of its ~550,000 bpd demand and have surplus to export. 

High value skills development and talent repatriation

University of Capetown is spearheading landmark research into Sickle Cell Anaemia (SCA). While 80% of the 300,000 babies born with SCA are in SSA, most of the critical research has been done in Europe and the US. Moreover, only 1% of the world’s research is produced in Africa, due to lack of government funding and support, and a shortage of scientists with genomic research and computational expertise. However this is gradually changing, via multiple programs aimed at developing research capacity and empowering African researchers to be competitive in genomic science.

Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade

Nigeria has barred some African airlines as it reopens its airspace to international flights, having said that “the principle of reciprocity will be applied” for countries that are yet to open their airspace to flights from Nigeria. Similarly, Kenya Airways is barred from Tanzania, after Nairobi excluded Dar es Salaam from the list of safe countries. GDP supported by aviation in Africa could fall by up to $35bn, with 2020 air-travel expected to plummet by 54%. A harmonised restart to air connectivity that avoids tit-for-tat restrictions is critical to The Continent’s post-COVID economic recovery.

Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

Zimbabwe is fast-tracking the ‘Cybersecurity and Data Protection Bill 2019’ in part to improve online safety for its citizens. A 2019 study found that 64% of people in Africa cannot spot ransomware, 28% have fallen for a phishing email and 50% have had malware infection. In mitigating cybercrime, 25 out of 54 African countries had data protection laws in 2019. However some African countries, including Zimbabwe, have been accused of using legislation to drown out perceived dissenters online, interfering with fundamental human freedom of expression.

Exporting culture & identity

Nigerian film online streaming platform, Northflix, has nearly doubled its subscribers and tripled revenue since Covid-19 lockdowns began in March - partly attributed to a change in business model from pay-per-view to an affordable $4 flat monthly subscription. Northflix’s success highlights the strength of northern Nigeria’s film industry (dubbed “Kannywood” after its largest city, Kano) - a dominant source of entertainment for West Africa’s 80mn Hausa speakers. In contrast, iROKOtv, which streams Nollywood content locally and abroad, saw its local subscriptions fall 70% from April to July, leading to a decision to pivot from African growth to international markets, and cut ~150 jobs. 

End-to-end value chain capture

The Eastern Africa Grain Council and The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture will collaborate to tackle aflatoxin contamination of grains. Aflatoxin is a major impediment to food safety and trade in Africa, costing an estimated $670mn in rejected exports annually. Aflatoxin is also responsible for ~30% of liver cancer diagnosed across The Continent. Improved farming practices through tactics such as the use of irrigation, fertiliser, insecticides, and fungicides could help reduce grain contamination to international food standard levels, and present a huge opportunity to increase crop exports to international markets.

Access to financial services and products

Thndr, a mobile-first investment platform, has become the first company to acquire a brokerage license in Egypt since 2008. In 2017, just 10-14% of the Egyptian population held a bank account, vs. a mobile phone penetration of 110%. Supported by a regulatory sandbox that encourages innovations, and an EGP 1bn innovation fund for fintech startups, Egyptian fintechs have made strides in recent years. August alone also saw Egyptian fintech, Fawry, become a billion-dollar company (see Pulse #15), and other startups raise 7-figure funding rounds.

Baseline healthcare & disease protection

Nigeria based Flying Doctors Healthcare Investment Company plans to set up a $1bn fund to invest in healthcare across Africa. The company already has a portfolio of healthcare tech companies worth ~$200mn, across diagnostics, pharma, telemedicine and air ambulance. SSA accounts for only 1% of global health expenditure, and poor infrastructure makes access to even the most basic medical care difficult. Innovative strategies in health technologies, such as those invested in by the company, could help meet growing demand for health services in Africa. 

Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership

FIFA Secretary General, Fatma Samoura from Senegal, has spoken about gender-related challenges she has faced as a female sports leader. In Africa (and elsewhere) football is seen as a man's sport, leading to many African female footballers being trolled, and a gender pay gap. For example, last year, South Africa's national women's team were paid 10 times less than the men's side. The same translates to leadership. Globally in 2016, women occupied only 7% of president roles and 19% of chief executive positions in international sports federations. Will we see more African female sports leaders follow in the footsteps of one of the most powerful women in sports

Essential infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities

Ghana has received over $92mn of financing from the UK Export Finance, to fund the expansion of the 166km Tema-Aflao road, connecting the Atlantic coast of Ghana to the border with neighbouring Togo. The road forms a part of the Abidjan Lagos corridor project that spans ~1,028km, intersects rail and major ports / airports, and connects five West African states. This corridor currently supports 75% of sub regional trade, but poor road infrastructure (in addition to obstacles such as numerous checkpoints  and  non-harmonised  customs  procedures) minimises trade benefits.

Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy

The Kenyan government has frozen assets of nine people accused of financing the Somalia-based al-Shabaab terror group, warning that Covid-19 has heightened potential for terrorist acts, worsened the refugee crisis and led to the proliferation of light weapons in the Horn of Africa. Extremist groups across Africa appear to be leveraging on the pandemic to intensify operations - cumulatively across SSA’s hotspots violent attacks rose by 37% between mid-March and mid-April. As African governments battle the pandemic, strengthened support is required, so as not to forgo the war on terror.

Upgrade Your Life

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

  1. Yale - Moral foundations of politics - free course
  2. Microsoft Xbox Academy - free digital game development workshop
  3. Digital media analytics - free course
  4. Yale - Financial markets - free course
  5. "Made in Africa” - The power of shifting perceptions - TedTalk
  6. The one thing your resume is missing
  7. Why employee experience initiatives fall short
  8. How to improve emotional intelligence in the workplace
  9. Explore the works of Zimbabwean artist Misheck Masamvu
  10. Weekly riddle for your enjoyment
History Class
Africa's looted art | DW Documentary
Desmond Tutu on leadership (Tutu became the first black, Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town on 7th September, 1986)

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