Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse


Pulse #28 - Counting the cost: $15k bond to enter USA, Africa turns to Russia & China for vaccines, robbing girls' futures, & pollution - the silent killer

The Data Room


5 African countries are on the list of the world’s top 8 countries for air pollution, according to a new report, resulting in an increased prevalence of chronic diseases, environmental damage and impacted food chains. Niger tops the list of most polluted African countries, with air pollution over 8x the level recommended by the World Health Organisation. Air pollution is caused by a combination of natural factors such as dust and sand, plus human activities such as car traffic, industry, and the burning of various fuels (including coal, charcoal, wood).

Numbers in the Spotlight

1,500,000,000 doses 
(1.5bn) of the Covid-19 vaccine, assuming two per person, will be needed to reach the 60% coverage needed for herd immunity in Africa

($120mn) will be loaned by the AfDB to Western Tanzania, towards a $144mn hydropower plant project, expected to meet the electricity needs of >133,000 households 

2,150,439 cases
of COVID-19 confirmed in Africa (as of last week)

706,000 vehicles
currently need to be imported into Nigeria per annum, to meet demand

$15,000 bond for a visa
to enter USA will be required by travellers from 15 African countries, under a new temporary rule

of content shown on international video-on-demand services will have to be local, under a new proposal from South Africa’s government 

5 African countries
are among the top 8 countries in the world for air pollution, with Niger top of Africa's list

Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy

Current US President Trump has issued a new temporary pilot scheme lasting 6 months, that will require visa applicants from 15 African countries to pay a bond of up to $15,000. In total, the visa bond will apply to 23 countries whose nations' overstay rate exceeded 10% in 2019. Trump’s anti-immigration policies have greatly affected the Continent, with the so called 2017 “Muslim ban” affecting Libya, Chad and Somalia, and its extension affecting Nigeria, Eritrea, Tanzania and Sudan. Whilst US President-elect Biden (coming into power in Jan 2021) has pledged to reverse many of Trump’s immigration policies, this may take months or years, and affect US’s efforts to roll back the growing influence of Russia and China in Africa.

Baseline healthcare & disease protection

The African Union and Africa CDC have discussed Covid-19 vaccine trial partnerships with both China and Russia. As the world’s richest nations have arranged to buy hundreds of millions of vaccine doses, Africa risks being the bottom of the long queue. Whilst Africa has been promised Covid-19 vaccines from the WHO’s Covax program, this would only cover ~20% of the population, whilst ~60% will need vaccinating to achieve herd immunity. However, with just half of SSA countries having “identified the priority populations for vaccination” with plans in place to reach them, and just 24% having adequate plans for resources and funding, more preparation will be needed to avoid Covid-19 becoming an endemic disease in Africa.

Access to financial services and products

Access Bank, Nigeria’s biggest lender, is planning to more than double customer numbers over the next 3 years by expanding in the rest of Africa. It marks a continued trend of Nigerian banks restructuring to become holding companies, in efforts to diversify their revenue base towards non-banking businesses. As Nigeria slumps back into a Covid-induced recession, and with GTBank and Sterling Bank also seeking regulatory approval to become holding companies in the last 7 months, expect Nigeria’s banks to continue to make attempts to remain competitive, not only by competing with Nigeria’s burgeoning fintech and payments sectors, but also in risk underwriting and digital lending.

Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

South Africa is working to enforce that 30% of content shown on international video-on-demand (VoD) services such as Netflix, Showmax and Amazon Prime Video, is local content. There is speculation that the move is actually a method to compel South Africans to pay TV licence fees, as getting TV owners to do so has been challenging, especially during the pandemic. Whilst the proposal is the first of its kind in Africa, other countries such as Australia, have reportedly proposed similar measures to protect local media. As demand for VoD in Africa is expected to grow from ~3mn subscribers ($183mn in revenue) in 2019 to under 10mn subscribers ($1bn revenue) in 2025, continued creativity and ease of access to African content will be necessary to keep local content on African screens. 

Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade

Tanzania and Mozambique have signed a MoU to conduct joint operations against terrorist groups in Cabo Delgado - Mozambique’s northern-most province, which shares a border with Tanzania. Violence started in the region in October 2017 when members of an armed group attacked police stations, later pledging allegiance to ISIL. 2,200 people have since been killed, and >355,000 people displaced. As violence escalates, and given South Africa’s $900mn investment in Mozambique’s LNG projects, and Zimbabwe’s reliance on electricity imports from the country, might we see southern Africa intervene more?

End-to-end value chain capture

Nigeria’s government plans to implement a policy to only allow for the purchase of locally assembled vehicles. It comes as Nigeria slashed the levy on imported automobiles from 35% to 10%, after the higher tax rate failed to spur on local production as hoped. Annual demand for all vehicles is 720,000, but only 14,000 are produced locally. Nigeria may see an increase in vehicle imports from Ghana in the near future, as Nissan has unveiled the first model to be assembled in a plant in Ghana, with the country set to become Nissan’s hub for sales and marketing in West Africa.

High value skills development and talent repatriation

Rwanda has signed a MoU with Israel, to enable both countries to learn from each other’s technology practices. Rwanda hopes the partnership will help advance its understanding of telecommunication, cybersecurity, space tech and AI from Israel, whose Silicon Wadi region has become a hotspot for cutting-edge technology. Rwanda has also become home to one of just 13 Centres for the Fourth Industrial Revolution around the world - a network powered by the World Economic Forum to pilot new approaches to technology adoption and governance. The centre in Rwanda will focus on AI, data policy, innovation and adoption at scale. As Rwanda continues to keep technology at the top of its agenda, we can expect more investment in technical and vocational education.

Scaleable energy access

The AfDB has approved a $120mn loan to Western Tanzania, towards a $144mn hydropower plant project. It is anticipated to meet the electricity needs of as many as 133,649 households and cut the region’s electricity costs to ~$0.04/kWh from the current $.033kWh. With hydro accounting for one-third of Tanzania’s installed power capacity, it will likely play a significant role in the country’s ambitions for 100% energy access by 2030 (from the 33% level today). Hydropower currently makes up over one third of Tanzania’s installed electricity capacity. With only 12% of its hydro potential currently tapped, further investment in both power plants and  transmission infrastructure is needed. 

Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership

A new report says that African girls are being robbed of their future and condemned to a lifetime of discrimination and inequality. The report ranks how “girl-friendly” Africa’s countries are, with Mauritius and Tunisia at the top, and Comoros and South Sudan at the bottom. Africa is home to 308mn girls (under 18 years of age). Yet in many countries, only 1 in 5 girls has access to secondary school, one quarter of all secondary schools have no sanitation facilities, 3 in 10 girls are married, and for 40%, their first sexual experience is forced. Without determined action to address this, 50% of Africa’s population will be left behind, and the AU’s Agenda for Children 2040 (an Africa fit for children) will not become a reality. 

Essential infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities

Niger has the most toxic air in Africa, with air pollution over 8x the level recommended by the World Health Organisation. In total, 5 African countries are among the list of the top 8 countries in the world for air pollution. Air pollution causes more premature deaths in Africa than other risk factors, beating unsafe water or childhood malnutrition, while significantly contributing to the climate crisis. Deaths from outdoor air pollution in Africa have increased by 57% in less than 3 decades, from 164,000 in 1990 to 258,000 in 2017, resulting in a GDP loss of over $215bn annually. As urbanisation and industrialisation ramps up across Africa and fossil fuel corporations continue to seek to exploit Africa’s resources, policy makers must prioritise sustainable development.

Exporting culture & identity

Nigeria's first-ever feature-length animated film, 'Lady Buckit & The Motley Mopsters', will be released in cinemas locally and internationally on Friday 11 December. The film, which took 2 years to complete and a $1m budget, uses 3-D modelling to both entertain and teach children about Nigeria’s history. With studies showing the effect that the media’s portrayal of racial groups has on children’s self-identification, such films are not only an important showcase and reminder of the value of creative skills development, but also help to promote cultural pride and improve youth self-esteem.
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