Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse

Pulse #5 - Ghana welcomes African Americans, China suspends debt, an African digital currency, and 54 countries going on 55? #BringBackArt

The Data Room
Africa has the youngest population globally yet some of the world’s oldest leaders. In 2019, the median African leader at 62 years old was 8 years older than the median OECD leader, and 42 years older than the median population age. With the recent death of Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza, at age 55, the age disparity increases.
Numbers in the Spotlight
($150bn) in loans have been extended by China to Africa

(1.1mn) Togolese citizens (13% of the population) have registered for the Government’s digital cash transfer program

232,815 cases
of COVID-19 confirmed in Africa (as of last week) 

is the maximum the South African government will pay private hospitals per day for COVID-related critical care beds

of Africa’s cultural heritage is held outside Africa

of Kenya’s GDP passes through one platform - M-Pesa

6 months
is the new anticipated timeline for the launch of AfCFTA
On The Continent This Week
Exporting culture & identity
Christie’s, the British auction house, is auctioning African art valued from €30,000 to €900,000. After a 2017 French report found that up to 95% of Africa’s cultural heritage resides outside of the continent, having been looted by European countries, French President Macron called for the “temporary or permanent returns of African heritage to Africa”. However the looming financial crisis may counter progress with the selling of assets for cash taking precedence over repatriation. Digital solutions are a must to turn the tide and a digital inventory that traces looted Benin art could act as a blueprint for others seeking to repatriate cultural assets globally.

End-to-end value chain capture

Taiwan tech companies’ exodus from China has fueled a $25bn manufacturing investment in Taiwan, whilst US lawmakers have introduced a bill to reduce the US's reliance on Chinese pharmaceutical manufacturing. The global push to move supply chains out of China arguably presents Africa with an opportunity to grab a share of global manufacturing spend. However, the Economist argues that Africa’s path is unlikely to follow Asia’s classic labour-intensive, export-oriented industrialisation, and it instead will need to leverage adding value to abundant resources.
Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade

Nigeria’s Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala’s nomination for director general of WTO has been accepted, despite the AU’s recommendation of Egypt’s Mr. Abdel-Hamid Mamdouh for the role, and the AU’s previously voiced ambition to back a single African candidate. As AfCFTA’s secretary-general Wamkele Mene reaffirms Africa's commitment to free trade, and spurs hopes of a Jan 1. AfCFTA commencement, re-alignment around a single candidate will be important to drive the nature of collective might AfCFTA seeks to achieve.

Access to financial services and products

The Togolese government is solving their challenge of how to provide vulnerable informal workers with financial safety nets via Novissi - a digital cash transfer program that sends funds to citizens via mobile money. 13% of the population have registered. With SSA being the leader in mobile money (where over a fifth of SSA adults have a mobile money account), and the link between developed financial systems and poverty reduction, Togo may provide essential data points on the viability of universal basic income across Africa.

High value skills development and talent repatriation

“Ghana is your home. Africa is your home” said Ghana’s Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Barbara Oteng-Gyasi at a ceremony marking the death of George Floyd, as she invited African Americans facing racism to repatriate to Ghana. Having declared 2019 - the 400th anniversary of the start of the transatlantic slave trade - the ‘Year of Return’, Ghana has kicked off their 10 year ‘Beyond the Return’, in efforts to lift the image of Ghana and expand economic opportunities. Africa’s distributed and ‘returning’ diaspora talent pool is well documented, and now the stage is arguably set for African Americans to join in the Continent’s talent dividend.

Scaleable energy access

Somalia is making progress on its renewable energy ambitions, with the opening of a new solar photovoltaic power plant. The country has suffered from the lack of a national electricity grid following its collapse at the start of the 1991 civil war, and has since been heavily dependent on expensive diesel generators. With Somalia recognised to have the highest renewable resource potential of any African nation, and the Government’s commitment to renewables, Somalia may present a new case study for scaleable renewable energy access in Africa.

Baseline healthcare & disease protection

South Africa - with 25% of Africa’s COVID cases - is using new measures to manage COVID. The government has agreed a cap on the fee to pay private sector hospitals for critical care beds should they run out, clinical trials of the controversial medications hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine are in preparation, and startups are continuing to step in to provide solutions such as contract tracing. With COVID also changing how SA deals with HIV and tuberculosis patients, COVID could be a catalyst for wholesale transformation in SA’s public health for its lowest earners.

Baseline infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities

China has suspended debt repayments for dozens of developing countries, amid growing concerns about Africa's debt crisis, as money needed for public services and infrastructure projects is being wrested away by interest payments. Africa owes China more than $150 bn in loans, which were largely given to support infrastructure projects via the Belt and Road Initiative. However with news of a Chinese-constructed Kenyan bridge collapsing, and accusations about the low quality of Chinese-built infrastructure and aggressive terms, is Africa getting value for money?

Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership

Burundi's President Pierre Nkurunziza, aged 55, has died after suffering a cardiac arrest. Elected to power aged 40 at the end of the Burundian civil war, high hopes linked both to his youth and his dual ethnic heritage were initially matched by his economic and peace-building successes. Whilst his successor - Ndayishimiye, aged 52 - is still considered young by African leader standards, the passing of Nkurunziza reignites a conversation of whether younger leaders may be more appropriate for a continent for which innovation and a focus on youth is so important.

Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

Ghana will implement policies to reduce South African MTN’s dominance (70% of Ghana’s mobile data subscription market), and ensure a level playing field for competing telecoms providers. However, as Ghana focuses on widening financial inclusion and with speculation of a central bank digital currency, this may be an attempt to protect Ghana’s mobile money industry, and avoid a Kenya Safaricom monopoly situation (where 40% to 50% of the country’s GDP passes through just one platform) - demonstrating the growing complexity of overlapping telecoms and financial sector regulation in Africa.

Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy

Nine years after the overthrow of Moammar Gaddafi, the on-going civil war in Libya is entering a new political phase, with the UN backed government taking the last Western stronghold of rebel General Khalifa Hifter, who has declared a ceasefire after a fourteen-month siege on Tripoli. Far from ending the conflict, this new development points to the potential splitting of Libya into two (or more) countries

Again another African country plays host to a proxy war being held between foreign entities with Turkey and Qatar on one side and Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Russia and France on another. Natural resources wealth is considered to be a primary underlying factor with Libya being among the ten largest globally oil producers, outputting 1.65mn barrels per day in 2010. As primary negotiations are set to feature Turkey and Russia and the US is pursuing an independent anti-terrorism agenda, the African Union appears to have zero influence in the future of Libya on its Continent

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History Class

The looting of Benin bronzes

What’s behind the fight for oil-rich, Libya?

Did we miss anything?

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