Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse


Pulse #23 - Gaining Momentum: Nigeria’s $200m fintech exit, Africa's aviation future, cyber-security in-demand and Namibia's youth call to #ShutItAllDown

The Data Room
Sub-Saharan African (SSA) governments have implemented swift measures to protect their economies against Covid-19, but the fiscal support deployed is smaller than that of advanced countries. Fiscal support resulted in an increase of fiscal deficits in 2020 of 9.7% of GDP in the US, 6.8% in the Euro area, and 6.2% in the UK - considerably larger than the 3.5% of GDP increase in fiscal deficits in SSA. As the pandemic continues to undo important developmental gains in SSA, the region will need ample financing of investments in physical and human capital, and infrastructure, for a sustained post-Covid recovery.
Numbers in the Spotlight

($3bn) will be saved by Ghana through a deal with independent power producer Cenpower, to switch from crude to natural gas

($200mn) is how much American online payments company, Stripe, is thought to have paid to acquire Nigerian online payments startup, Paystack

($100mn) is the cost of an initiative aimed at expanding next-generation genomic sequencing tools and expertise across Africa

($3.2mn) was stolen by cyber criminals in Uganda, in a security breach in the country’s mobile money network 

of COVID-19 confirmed in Africa (as of last week)

1,600 cases
of rape have been reported in Nambia to the police in the 18 months ending June 2020

Access to financial services and products

Nigerian payments startup, Paystack, has been acquired by American online payments provider, Stripe, in a ~$200mn cash and stock deal (final sum undisclosed). It marks the largest acquisition of a Nigerian startup, and a wider trend of African fintech startups achieving multimillion exists this year (other notable exits include those for DPO Group and Sendwave). With ecommerce growing 30% every year in Africa (and estimated at $27bn this year), Stripe is targeting the African Continent for future growth. As Africa’s largest economy and with 95% of transactions still done in cash, Nigeria appears to be the ideal launch pad. Last year alone, Nigeria’s fintechs attracted 25% of the ~$490mn raised by African tech startups in 2019, second only to Kenya.

Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade

Kenya has approved the implementation of the East African Community (EAC) Seamless Upper Airspace, moving the region closer to achieving an open airspace. 2018 saw the launch of the Single African Air Transport Market (SAATM) project, with 33 African countries now participating, aimed at discouraging protectionist measures such as high tariffs and denied access of non-domestic carriers. However, little has been done to ensure its implementation. Once fully operational, SAATM is expected to induce competition of air services resulting in fare reduction and increase African aviation traffic from ~4% today to over 10% of global world aviation traffic. Such liberalisation within the EAC is a crucial step towards this.

Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

A security breach on Uganda’s mobile money network has led to the theft of ~$3.2mn from telcos MTN and Airtel, as well as Bank of Africa and Stanbic Bank. This is part of increasing cyber-attacks targeted at financial institutions on The Continent e.g. banks and financial institutions in 10 of the African countries surveyed in the Africa Cyber Security Report  2017 lost $248mn to cybercriminals. Despite this, 96% of African organisations including banks spend less than $5,000 on cyber security annually. With the rapid growth of e-banking on The Continent, the threat of cyber-crime on financial institutions will only increase, necessitating significant investment in cybersecurity.

Essential infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities

Nigeria plans to double the number of airports across the country by the end of 2023, in a bid to improve civil aviation and boost the economy. Notably, the 2017-2018 Global Competitiveness Report ranked the quality of Nigeria’s aviation infrastructure at 125 out of 137 countries, indicating much room for improvement. Infrastructure gaps including inadequate checking-in-counters, aircraft boarding gates and aircraft parking areas, as well as insufficient passengers screening checkpoints and machines, have in part worsened flight delays and cancellations. This amounted to ~60% of domestic flights delayed or cancelled in 2018. Upgrading existing airport infrastructure may be a quicker boon to the economy than building new airports.

Baseline healthcare & disease protection

The world’s first Ebola treatment (Inmazeb) has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration after a trial of 382 adult and paediatric patients in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Ebola was first discovered on The Continent 44 years ago in 2 simultaneous outbreaks, one in what is now Nzara, South Sudan, and Yambuku, DRC. The 2014-2016 Ebola outbreak is considered the largest to date - spreading to 9 countries across 3 continents, infecting ~28,000 people and claiming ~11,300 lives, at a cost of $53bn. A vaccine has since been developed, but in the event of future outbreaks, Inmazeb, will hopefully alleviate the suffering of Ebola patients and lead to quicker recovery.

Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership

Hundreds of youths have spearheaded a wave of protests against sexual gender based violence (SGBV) and femicide across Namibia, calling on the President to declare a state of emergency. SGBV is a persistent problem in Namibia, with police receiving ~200 cases of domestic violence monthly and with ~1,600 cases of rape being reported during the 18 months ending June 2020. The Namibia protests trended on social media, attracting attention locally and internationally with the hashtag #ShutItAllDown, alongside Nigeria’s youth-led protests #EndSARS - a sign that many African youth are fed-up with a status quo that appears to pay little attention to their concerns.

Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy

Zimbabwe’s government has proposed a law to criminalise corresponding with foreign governments without approval, arguing that private citizens who meet foreign officials undermine national interest. This comes at a time when foreign diplomats, among other groups, have been criticising the government for human rights violations, including an increased crackdown on dissidents. This may worsen the country’s poor image with the international community, jeopardising the government’s intentions of honouring its $3.5bn compensation deal to white farmers, through floating a sovereign bond and seeking support from international donors.

End-to-end value chain capture

Rwanda has approved the cultivation of cannabis for export, but its use in the country will remain illegal. Rwanda seeks to improve its export earnings by tapping into the $345bn global cannabis market. Although Africa is the world’s biggest producer and consumer of cannabis, most of it is grown and exported illegally. Given the potential for job creation and revenue generation, should more African countries legalise cannabis cultivation and exportation? E.g. while cannabis is illegal in Morocco (the world’s largest producer of cannabis resin), it remains a key source of income for ~800,000 people and generates ~$10bn - equal to 10% of Morocco’s economy.

High value skills development and talent repatriation

A $100mn Africa Pathogen Genomics Initiative has been launched, to expand genomic expertise in Africa and strengthen public health surveillance. While Africa boasts the greatest genetic diversity in the world, only 2% of genomic material for research comes from African people, inhibiting insights on how to improve clinical care for Africans. With only 21 health researchers on The Continent per mn inhabitants, compared with 225 per mn inhabitants in Europe, increased investment in genomic skills can contribute to building the expertise needed to tackle disease outbreaks more efficiently.

Scaleable energy access

Ghana is set to save $3bn under a new energy accord with independent power producer Cenpower Generation Co., which will switch to using natural gas instead of light crude oil to fuel its electricity plants. A 2016 study found that prices for gas-to-power could run as low as $0.10/kWh for integrated LNG projects and $0.15/kWh for small-scale and distributed power projects. Both projected prices are lower than the $0.18/ kWh average cost of generation in SSA. While gas-to-power requires effort (e.g. creation of intra-African trade agreements that make natural gas available to countries without it), it is a viable option for availing affordable power across African. 

Exporting culture & identity

Fires sweeping up the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro have consumed vast areas of forest, ravaging one of the world’s richest and most diverse ecosystems. Mount Kilimanjaro (the highest single free-standing mountain in the world) and surrounding national park are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, attracting tens of thousands of visitors from across the world each year. Revenue from the park contributes ~13% of the country’s GDP. Additionally, ~$13mn of the park’s revenue is used to help improve the lives of the poor around the mountain slopes. Stricter surveillance is needed in future, to avert such costly incidents.

Upgrade Your Life

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

  1. Introduction to psychology - free online course
  2. Introduction to digital humanities - free online course
  3. Introduction to corporate sustainability, social innovation and ethics
  4. What's really holding women back?
  5. The energy Africa needs to develop - and fight climate change - TedTalk
  6. Startups, it's time to think like camels - not unicorns
  7. 4 books for career advancement in 2020
  8. Ake Arts and Book Festival 22-25 October, 2020
  9. Explore Kilimanjaro National Park 
  10. Brain teaser: can you build the farmer's fence?
History Class

Why police brutality stories went viral in Nigeria in 2017 #EndSARS

Remembering Kenya's Mau Mau - Mashujaa (Heroes) Day, October 20


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