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
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.