Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse


Pulse #47 - Increase leverage: Egypt brokers Gaza cease-fire, $100bn IMF funding for Africa, Amazon, Alibaba & Space-X expand, and a new basketball league


Egypt brokers an Israeli-Palestinian cease-fire, the Vodacom-Alibaba super-app, SpaceX in talks to provide satellite internet to Nigeria, Nollywood Week film festival captures the global black experience, possibility of multiple husbands for South African women, $100bn IMF special drawing rights for Covid recovery, and more


Covid-19 stimulus measures announced to date by African governments are relatively small - amounting to just 1-1.5% of GDP. In contrast, developing countries have generally announced far larger packages, with the US's $2trn stimulus package representing ~10% of GDP. The announcement of multiple countries giving up part of their special drawing rights to triple the share of IMF’s resources earmarked for Africa from the current $33bn to $100bn will help mobilise resources to mitigate against economic damage and safeguard livelihoods (more on this below).




(USD3.66trn) is the annual cost of invasive species to African agriculture


(USD200bn) is the estimated size of the climate investment market in Africa


 (USD100bn) in IMF special drawing rights to be allocated to the Continent


(USD1bn) is the estimated export revenue generated by Nollywood in 2020


(USD259mn) was the cost of building the new Kazungula road in Southern Africa

232 Palestinians

killed by Israeli bombardment of Gaza, before Egypt-brokered cease-fire


of world's Covid-19 vaccines administered in Africa




Israel and Hamas have agreed to halt 11 days of conflict, with the aid of an Egyptian-mediated ceasefire. At least 232 Palestinians, including 65 children, were killed in the Israeli bombardment, whilst 12 Israelis were killed. The cease-fire has boosted Egypt’s standing in the region after its influence has faded since the 2013 military coup that brought President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi to power. Whilst Sisi was a favourite of former US President Trump, the Biden administration has, until now, kept its distance from Sisi, amid pressure to review US military aid to Egypt over its human-rights record. With Biden extending his gratitude to Egypt for their intervention, the North African country may now have leverage with Washington, and have a powerful ally for domestic issues such as its dispute with Ethiopia over the Nile River, and conflict with neighbouring Libya.


Multiple countries, including France and Portugal, are giving up part of their special drawing rights to triple the share of IMF’s resources earmarked Africa from the current $33bn to $100bn. Access to such funds would boost the Africa's efforts to revive economies after more than a year of battering by Covid-19. Economic activity in Africa declined by 3.3% in 2020, triggering the Continent’s first recession in 25 years. The economic downturn cost at least $115bn in output losses, and affected human capital development by keeping 253mn students out of school. With low-income households and SMEs hardest hit by the recession, diverting liquidity towards services aimed at these groups may help speed-up a post-Covid recovery.


European countries are considering following in the footsteps of the US to support a move at the WTO to temporarily waive patent rights for Covid-19 vaccines. A successful waiver could allow pharmaceutical companies to produce vaccines in Africa to meet the Continent’s inoculation needs at a time when vaccine nationalism is rife. WTO rules requiring countries to protect patents and other forms of IP have proved an obstacle to increasing the production of vaccines and other products needed to tackle the pandemic, especially in Africa, which has administered less than 2% of the 690mn global vaccine doses. But to ramp up the production more than a waiver of patents will be required. Pharma companies may also need to share know-how, such as production techniques, with Africa.



Space exploration Company, SpaceX, is in talks with Nigerian authorities to provide satellite internet services to Africa’s most populous nation, before eventually scaling to the rest of the Continent. Its entry into Africa will considerably increase speed and reduce latency where the internet remains sluggish. For instance, users of SpaceX internet in North America have reported download speeds of 60-150 Mbps - as well as peak speeds near 200 Mbps. Most users also reported latency of about 30 milliseconds - with some in the low 20 milliseconds. Sub-Saharan Africa has the slowest internet in the world, with Madagascar boasting the Continent's fastest download speed at ~23 Mbps in 2019. But while the SpaceX internet will boost business and innovation in Africa, installation costs ($550-800) and monthly fees ($99) will be unaffordable to much of the Continent where 40% of the population lives below the $1.90-a-day poverty line.


Safaricom is in talks with Amazon to integrate M-Pesa to the e-commerce giant’s platform; whilst Vodacom and Alibaba have partnered to develop Africa’s first super-app - allowing subscribers to access a broad range of services including loans, shopping online and mobile payments. The deals will facilitate access to global markets for subscribers of the African telecom companies - enabling them to sell and purchase commodities on the tech platforms, whilst enabling Amazon and Alibaba to tap into Africa’s $25bn ecommerce market. The move could negatively impact the sales of millions of off-line small vendors across Africa that rely on footfall. Intervention may be required to ensure the digital-divide does not cost the Continent its small indigenous businesses - including digital skills training and promoting increased digital access.



South African women could soon be allowed to marry more than one man. In an attempt to update its marriage laws, the South African government is considering recognising polyandry. Whilst public consultations over the subject are on-going, the legal recognition of polyandry would secure marital equality between women and men, as men are already legally permitted to marry more than one wife. South Africa would also become the first African nation to recognise polyandry. But the subject is divisive in a country and on a Continent where polygamy is currently part of many traditions while polyandry is typically derided. For instance, at some point, former South African President Jacob Zuma was married to five women at the same time. It remains to be seen what sort of national consensus will emerge around the subject.



This year’s NollywoodWeek film festival included entries from across Africa and the African diaspora. With appeals for racial justice championed by the Black Lives Matter movement reverberating across the world, accepting entries beyond Nigeria transformed the festival into a platform for elevating black activist voices and showcasing the full range of the global black experience. One of the biggest film industries in the world, Nollywood offers not only an avenue for people of African-heritage to express comradeship, but also the spotlight to celebrate and market African talent and culture. Having generated $1bn in export revenue in 2020, Nollywood is equally creating livelihoods, and providing a diversified source of economic growth away from oil and agriculture. Increased collaboration between creatives on the Continent and outside could help further expand the potential and reach of Africa’s film industry.



American rapper, J. Cole, made his professional basketball debut by playing for the Rwandan Patriots at the Basketball Africa League (BAL) - a new professional league backed by the NBA. While Africa has produced some of the best players in the NBA - Dikembe Mutombo, Joel Embiib, Serge Ibaka, Manute Bol, and Pascal Siakam to name a few - poor scouting, inadequate infrastructure and lack of mentoring have obstructed most prospects from reaching the global stage. There were only 13 African-born players in the NBA at the opening of the 2018/19 season, out of the 108 internationals. The BAL presents a unique platform for developing and marketing African basketball talent, and for increased income on the Continent. E.g. Cameroon’s Embiid’s 2017 5 year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers was worth nearly $150mn, with additional sponsorship deals making him the richest center in the NBA.



London-based private equity firm, Actis, has announced plans to conclude deals on six African power projects in 2021 as part of a move to double its stock of energy investment on the Continent to $2bn in the next five years. With much of the new investment targeted to cleaner energy sources such as wind, solar and gas, the move enables Actis to tap into the projected $200bn Africa climate investment market, where investors are conscious of how their financing impacts the climate. New research shows that climate-first investment motivated by social mandate could help achieve universal access to energy in Africa by 2030, decades faster than continuing with ‘business-as-usual'. Electrification rate in Africa remains at just over 40%. But closing the gap and facilitating a transition to clean energies could require substantial government intervention aimed at reducing the costs of business entry and consumer adoption.


Botswana and Zambia have inaugurated a Rail Bridge to mark the completion of a multi-million-dollar road project aimed at easing congestion at border crossings throughout Southern Africa. The curved Kazungula Bridge built over the Zambezi River is the last installation in a multistate road that provides a long-needed alternative route for hauliers travelling between South Africa and DRC. The development will reduce the cost of doing business and facilitate intra-regional freight transport by allowing trucks to bypass the Beitbridge border post between Zimbabwe and South Africa, which is perennially congested, with vehicles spending hours and sometimes days queuing to cross. The new road also helps solidify the position of SADC as the leading bloc for intra-regional community trade in Africa worth $34.7bn in 2016. Replicating such projects across Africa could quicken the implementation of the continental free trade area.



Invasive species of weed, insect or worm introduced by human activity are costing African agriculture some $3.66trn annually - 1.5 times the combined 2019 GDP of all African countries. Such costs significantly reduce the net earnings of farmers from agriculture - the economic mainstay of Africa. But with the process of removing the alien species accounting for 99.2% of the estimated total costs ($3.6trn), the activity could also make communities less productive. Across Africa, the removal of alien species is largely unpaid and carried out by women and children, reducing the time they commit to other income generating activities or education. As one of the drivers of invasive species is climate change with new plants threatening the established crops, the ultimate solution could be prioritising interventions for mitigation and adaptation to climate change.



Our selection of online content, courses, tools and offers to help you build your personal repertoire.

  1. Please stop using the term "African Decor"
  2. The cure for burnout (hint: it isn't self-care) - TEDTalk 
  3. Decision making in a complex and uncertain world - free online course
  4. What's your happiness score? - TEDTalk
  5. High-performing teams start with a culture of shared values
  6. Navigating your environment when creating a business model 
  7. Èkó for Show: Explore Lagos


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