Movemeback Pulse

Actionable African insight delivered to you on pulse

Pulse #7 - Zimbabwe rolls back mobile-money, Djibouti joins the sovereign wealth club, ECOWAS currency tensions, an animation revolution

The Data Room
The value of online payments using mobile apps in Nigeria jumped from NGN 12 bn ($32 mn) in January 2017 to NGN 133 bn ($347 mn) in January 2020.
Numbers in the Spotlight

($133bn) is planned by South Africa’s government in infrastructure projects over the next decade

(2bn) is the estimated number of views of Nigeria’s Josh2Funny’s #DontLeaveMeChallenge on social media since March 2020

($1.5bn) is the target size of Djibouti’s new Sovereign Wealth Fund

($750mn) loan was approval by the World Bank to boost Nigeria’s power sector via its Power Sector Recovery Operation

371,548 cases
of COVID-19 confirmed in Africa (as of last week)

is Zimbabwe’s year-on-year inflation rate

On The Continent This Week
High value skills development and talent repatriation
As COVID has brought a global halt to the production of live-action films and shows, African animation is in the spotlight, increasing conversations about animation skills development and job creation. Pan-African animation series, My Better World (part of an education programme in 1,500 SSA schools), has been nominated for an award at the 2020 Annecy International Animation Film Festival, whilst a South African incubator ‘Baboon Animation Academy and Fukamela’ is launching to train talent capable of working to global standards. Nigeria’s President Buhari previously highlighted animation as an area for job creation, announcing that Nigeria has “trained over 25,000 young men and women in animation”.

Home-grown digital infrastructure & platforms

Nigerian fintech startup, Paystack, has launched an e-commerce tool – Paystack Commerce. It joins Flutterwave, Remita, and OPay in the trend of Nigeria’s largest payments companies entering e-commerce. With speculation of increased activity in Africa from social media giants - including from Facebook’s own online stores, Instagram’s checkout payment feature, and Whatsapp Pay, Nigeria's fintech platforms are moving fast to capitalise on it’s burgeoning e-commerce market - where Nigeria is home to over 120mn internet subscribers, and a consumer market worth ~$400bn per year.

Baseline healthcare & disease protection

South Africa will commence the continent’s first coronavirus vaccine trial, involving 2000 volunteers, 50 of whom have HIV. With South Africa’s Minister of Health sharing a scientific’ estimation that 60-70% of the population may have COVID-19, and with ~7mn cases of HIV in South Africans, it is argued that clinical trials including Africans will help ensure the vaccine is safe for larger populations. South Africa now has 27,000 beds for COVID patients, but as cases are expected to peak as they enter winter, a safe vaccine is urgently needed.

Effective internal and regional security, and foreign policy

Djibouti will be creating a $1.5bn sovereign wealth fund over 10 years, targeting investments locally and in neighboring countries in the Horn of Africa, with a focus on industries including telecommunications, technology, energy and logistics. It joins 17 SWFs already in Africa, with Botswana being home to the Continent’s first (now valued at $120 bn). Djibouti’s SWF will be small when compared to other SVFs (e.g. Norway’s ~$1tn and Saudi’s ~$700bn SWFs). However as a country of less than 1mn and host to both American and Chinese military installations, Djibouti is tactically positioned in one of the world’s busiest shipping straights.

Access to financial services and products

Zimbabwe has banned all mobile money services, and ordered the stock exchange to stop trading, after accusing them of conspiring “in illicit activities that are sabotaging the economy” that has resulted in multiple exchange rates in Zimbabwe, and in the Zimbabwedollar losing almost all its value in the last year. With mobile money the main form of payments in the nation, perhaps there are learnings from Kenya about how to make essential payments in the absence of cash, where Sarafu - a community inclusion currency (CIC) supported by Kenya Red Cross - is using blockchain cash to help low-income neighbourhoods pay for food during the pandemic.

Exporting culture & identity

Nigerian comedian, Josh2Funny (Josh Alfred) has gone viral with the #DontLeaveMeChallenge. The challenge, with over 2bn views across TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram, and translated in more than six languages, underscores the impact of Africa’s creative industries, in spite of a global pandemic. Just last month, Nigeria’s Minister of Information and Culture emphasized support for African creatives, outlining it as a critical sector for the nation’s economy post-COVID-19. With stay at home orders in effect, increasingly more African governments are prioritizing investments in digital content and African talent. 

Essential infrastructure, personal living-space & utilities

South Africa is centering infrastructure as a pivotal post-pandemic economic recovery tool, announcing development worth R2.3 trillion ($133 billion), over the next decade, recognising that they have underspent on infrastructure in recent years. Officially launched at the Sustainable Infrastructure Development Symposium in Pretoria on June 23, President Cyril Ramaphosa indicated a number of new projects, including plans for a Space Infrastructure Hub for satellites and a new city, all with the potential to create more than 1.8 million jobs. 

Proportional representation in politics, business and community leadership

The Kenyan high court has temporarily suspended the impeachment motion against Kitui Governor, Charity Ngilu. This comes days after Governor Anne Waiguru was cleared of impeachment, accused of gross violation of the constitution. These cases against female Governors have raised debate about gender inequality and accusations of bullying and victimisation of women in Kenyan politics, where parliament has repeatedly failed to enact the ‘two-thirds gender rule’ to ensure fair representation of women. However Ngilu herself is facing criticism for not nominating more women as members of the County Executive Committee.

Scaleable energy access

Nigeria has received a $750mn loan approval from the World Bank for its Power Sector Recovery Operation (PSRO) - aimed at improving access to grid electricity, driving financial and fiscal sustainability and building accountability. With 47% of Nigeria’s population unable to access regular electricity, and power shortages costing the economy an estimated $28bn, the Government also commenced the construction of its $2.8bn AKK Gas Pipeline - the single biggest gas pipeline project in Nigeria’s history. This is against the backdrop of protests over new electricity tariffs which will result in price hikes for Nigeria’s citizens.

End-to-end value chain capture

Cameroon’s Minister for Commerce announced an accelerated push towards it’s ‘Made in Cameroon’ strategy; to boost locally processed raw materials and finished goods. Government support has been promised for local companies including supply of large irrigated areas, improved seeds to smallholder farmers and subsidised fertilizer. The announcement follows a 16% fall in Cameroon’s trade volume in 2020 H1, with the country historically reporting higher than average trade levels with its CEMAC and Nigerian neighbours due to its economic diversification. Whilst the current slump is a step backward, the fall in demand has driven lower food prices for its poorest citizens demonstrating the potential benefits that can be reaped by increasing local supply via its new strategy.

Intra-continental connectivity, collaboration & trade

Nigeria's President Buhari raised concerns over Francophone West Africa’s decision to replace the CFA franc with the Eco ahead of Anglophone ECOWAS countries. At the virtual summit for the West African Monetary Zone other leaders, including the Liberian President, shared Buhari’s concerns. With AfCFTA set to eliminate tariffs on goods and services, a successful single currency could help facilitate trade, payments, and lower transaction costs among ECOWAS countries. Following a process arguably accelerated by France’s eagerness to address its challenging history with the CFA franc and to maintain influence in new arrangements, many fear premature changes to the CFA franc could jeopardize the collective goal for a single monetary union in the region. 

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