Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse

Pulse #58 - Connecting for growth: Boosting Africa-Asia trade, 1.5km Nigeria-Cameroon bridge, Wizkid sells out London, & Ghana protests to #FixTheCountry, & more

In this week’s Pulse:
Kenya’s Wapi Pay to boost Africa-Asia trade, the $36mn bridge to connect Nigeria and Cameroon, Wizkid sells out London arena, Kenya’s ban on Chinese fish imports to boost local production, WHO calls for 10% Covid vaccination before rich countries administer 3rd shot, Nigeria unprepared for Tokyo Olympics, and Ghana youths protest to #FixTheCountry
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The Data Room

Climate change is threatening Africa’s densely populated coastal areas. With sea levels expected to rise 100cm by 2100, low-elevation coastal zones (LECZs - areas located 10 meters or less above mean sea level) face increasing risk from severe weather events such as rises in sea level, flooding, storms, erosion and landslides. Urbanisation is increasing Africa’s vulnerability to these threats - as populations living in LECZs is expected to increase from 4mn in 2000 to 26mn by 2030 and then 110mn by 2060. Read below for climate change adaptation strategies being deployed by Africa’s LECZs.

Numbers in the Spotlight

(USD4bn) is the annual cost of floods to Lagos, Nigeria

(USD36mn) bridge connecting Nigeria and Cameroon to boost AfCFTA

(USD17mn) in value to be retained annually by Kenya through a ban on Chinese fish imports

(USD2.7mn) Olympic kit deal with Nigeria cancelled by Puma

(USD 2.2mn) raised by Kenyan tech startup Wapi Pay, to facilitate Africa-Asia trade

(2mn) people in Burkina Faso to access clean energy on Pay-As-You-Go

36 state assets
in Nigeria earmarked for privatisation to boost government revenues

12 minutes
is how long it took Afrobeats star Wizkid to sell out the 20,000-capacity 02 Arena in London for his November concert

is the level of Covid-19 vaccination the WHO wants all countries to achieve before rich nations start giving third doses

On The Continent This Week

Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy

#FixTheCountry - Ghana’s youth protest. Thousands of protesters marched in Ghana’s capital, Accra, on Wednesday (a public holiday), demanding more government accountability, jobs for the youths, improved healthcare and education standards, and better living conditions. This latest rally follows protests in March, when a top court dismissed the main opposition party’s challenge to last year’s narrow re-election victory of President Nana Akufo-Addo. Tension has also risen following a recent controversial bill to criminalise displays of same-sex affection and advocacy for LGBTQ rights and plans to build a $200mn national cathedral. With youth unemployment at 12%, more than 50% underemployed (higher than sub-Saharan African averages) and more than half of Ghana's 31mn population under the age of 25, eyes will fall on how Ghana addresses these demands from its youth, and restores its reputation as the beacon of democracy in West Africa.

Access to financial services and products

Nigeria to sell 36 assets to boost revenue. With declining government revenue compounded by a fall in oil prices, Nigeria is considering privatising 36 state assets to boost earnings - including 2 free economic zones in Kano and Calabar (projected to increase export earnings by ~$2bn within the next 5-7 years), and power generation plants with enough capacity to connect 3.3mn homes to the grid. Africa’s leading economy expects a $14bn budget deficit in 2021. Opponents to the decision argue that cutting unnecessary costs of governance (e.g. extravagant allowances for politicians) would be a better way to boost earnings. With concerns about how properties will be valued, and if buyers will have the competency (and will) to revive them into income generating assets, attention should be paid to whether this decision will lead to a positive outcome for Nigeria’s economy.

Baseline healthcare & disease protection

Can a moratorium on booster jabs help Africa get more vaccines? The WHO is calling for a pause to plans by rich countries to give a third dose of Covid-19 jabs to their citizens until at least 10% of every nation’s population is vaccinated. Such a moratorium would free vaccines for African countries that have been priced out of the race for supplies by the rich nations, which have hoarded more than half of all vaccines. For instance, while Israel has started giving third doses, Africa’s inoculation programme has only reached ~2% of the population. Nonetheless, with the Continent struggling to administer its vaccine supply, opportunities to address challenges beyond volume exist - including in cold storage, vaccine transportation, healthcare skills shortages, and improving public health data and PPE provisions. 

Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

Africa-Asia trade - Kenya’s Wapi Pay raises $2.2mn. Kenyan tech startup Wapi Pay has closed a $2.2mn pre-seed round to enhance their digital cross-border payment infrastructure for facilitating Africa-Asia trade. With many African payment startups focusing on the Africa-West remittances, the Africa-Asia doorway remains largely uncharted, with merchants facing as much as 20% in money transfer costs and up to a week’s delay in payment processing. Capable of processing payments within a day at ~3% charge, Wapi Pay plans to process $500mn in remittances by year end, and increase the number of African merchants and Asian suppliers to 500,000 and 100,000 respectively. With trade between Africa and China increasing 73% from ~$107bn in 2008 to ~$185bn in 2018, more opportunities to enable Africa-Asia trade exist.

End-to-end value chain capture

Kenya wants to ban Chinese fish imports. Kenya is considering a ban on fish imports from China to enable domestic producers to seize the full value of the trade. Kenya spends approximately $17mn annually on imported Chinese fish, some of which reportedly contains unhealthy amounts of chemicals like lead. As wild fish stocks in Lake Victoria continue to dwindle, the ban will create opportunities in aquaculture and associated industries to help the country close the supply gap. Kenyan farmers are already demonstrating capabilities to meet domestic demand - fish imports from China nearly halved in the last year, after eight years of consistent growth, from 18,074 tonnes to 8,900 tonnes. Recent news like last month’s launch of a $120mn fish-processing factory and the announcement of a 50% feed subsidy by Kakamega county could fuel the race to fully meet demand from domestic production.

Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade

$36mn Nigeria-Cameroon bridge to boost AfCFTA. A 1.5km bridge worth $36mn connecting Nigeria and Cameroon is close to launch, as the two countries seek to bolster trade with one another that stood at $900mn in 2019. The bridge will become the most reliable land connection between two regional economic blocs - the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), and enable cross-regional trade. Intra-regional trade stood at ~$1bn within ECCAS and ~$11.4bn within ECOWAS in 2016. The bridge will also aid the realisation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) - which aims to combine Africa’s 1.3bn people and combined $3.4trn GDP.

Scaleable energy access

2mn Burkinabé to access Pay-As-You-Go clean energy. Two million people in Burkina Faso are set to access Pay-As-You-Go (PAYG) clean energy following a partnership between London-based solar utility provider Bboxx and Paris-based cotton company Geocoton. Under the partnership, Bboxx will provide solar-based off-grid energy to cotton producing communities and adjacent villages in Burkina Faso - enabling households to purchase as much electricity as they can afford and need. In a country where only 5% of the rural population has access to energy, and where 43% of people live on less than $1.90 a day, the partnership provides an off-grid route to electrifying Burkina Faso, and a case study of how partnerships can be utilised to target hard to reach rural communities.

Proportional Representation

A regional solution for women’s land rights. Ministers from Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, Uganda, South Sudan and Ethiopia have convened under the umbrella of the regional body IGAD to sign a document that addresses the socio-cultural barriers to women’s land ownership. While these countries have laws and policies providing for gender parity in land ownership, implementation has been hindered by sociocultural norms and attitudes. As women are the principal users of agricultural land across much of Africa, increasing the number of women landlords in IGAD from the current 2-7%, could bolster agricultural production, improve the income of women, and help achieve the SDG5 on gender equality. Research shows that agriculture is 2-4x more effective in cutting poverty than growth in other sectors, and that women are more likely than men to use resources under their control to meet their children’s needs.

High value skills development and talent repatriation 

Spotlight on Nigeria’s Tokyo Olympics. Nigerian shot-putter Chukwuebuka Enekwechi shared a video of himself hand-washing his Olympic kit, after receiving only one set. It comes after Nigeria’s sports minister stopped athletes from taking Puma bags (each having ~40 items), and left the German kit maker to cancel its $2.7mn deal. The decision, which could have also seen Puma give cash rewards to athletes with podium finishes, epitomises Nigeria’s unpreparedness for the Tokyo Olympics. The country’s athletics federation also failed to organise drug tests for 10 athletes, who were subsequently disqualified from the games. Perceived to be the 8th most athletically talented country in the world in 2019 (according to a U.S. News ranking), Africa’s most populous nation has the potential to become an Olympic powerhouse.

Exporting culture and identity

Wizkid's London tickets sell out in 12 minutes. Testament to the soaring international popularity of African music, tickets for Nigerian Afrobeats superstar Wizkid's November concert at the 02 Arena in London sold out in just 12 minutes. This the second time the Grammy Award winner has sold out the 20,000-capacity venue, after becoming the first African artist to do so in 2018. Wizkid’s overseas success presents a case study for how African artists are expanding to capitalise on the global $50bn music industry. Beyond producing commercially appealing tunes, Wizkid’s collaborations with the likes of Drake, Akon, Tyga, Chris Brown, Beyoncé have all aided in him gaining international recognition. However, as the international scramble for African artists continues, musicians may require more support to ensure their rights over their art is being protected.

Essential infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities

African coastal cities adapting to climate change. Regular flooding amplified by climate change is increasingly paralysing economic activity and destroying property in Africa’s largest city, Lagos - costing $4bn annually. Other African coastal cities are experiencing severe effects of climate change too, leading to the need to institute measures to protect infrastructure, life and economies, including flood defences, augmentation of infrastructure resilience and beach replenishment. For instance, Lagos’ new coastal city, ‘Eko Atlantic’, is built on highly elevated land reclaimed from the ocean, and protected by an 18-m-high and 8-km-long wall made from concrete blocks strong enough to withstand storm events. Research shows that implementing adaptation measures will halve Africa’s population exposed to flooding by 2100.

Upgrade Your Life


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

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