Weekly Brief 23/06

Photo credit: Reuters

Focus: What Facebook’s Libra could mean for Africa

What’s going on?

  • Facebook is planning to launch a cryptocurrency called ‘Libra’. It hopes will “empower” unbanked people across the world by providing access to the global financial system
  • Eventually, Facebook hopes Libra will be accepted as its own form of payment

What does this mean?

  • At launch, you’ll be able to send Libra inside of Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, with it mostly being meant as an intermediary for transferring traditional currencies.
  • The moves of big tech firms such as Facebook, Amazon and Alibaba into financial services could speed up transactions and cut costs, especially in developing world countries
  • There’s an opportunity for an immediate impact in Africa (where most of the world’s unbanked reside) by way remittances. It currently costs more to send money to African than anywhere else. 

Why you should care

  • Facebook’s reputation for disregarding privacy and exacerbating immense political and social issues meant this announcement was followed by huge backlash and concern.
  • Robust regulation in the Cryptocurrency market in Africa is virtually non-existent and most governments view it with suspicion.
  • There are clear opportunities for Facebook to take advantage of the growing use of Whatsapp on the continent and amongst the Diaspora

    Read more here: https://qz.com/africa/1646901/what-facebook-libra-currency-means-for-africa/
Photo credit: ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images

AFCON 2019

  • AFCON 2019 kicked off this week in Eygpt. It’s expected to revive the football sector in the country and push its ailing tourism sector after recent years of political unrest and terrorist attacks.
  • Cameroon was stripped of the right to host the tournament this year due to a serious delay in preparations.
  • This year the tournament expanded to 24 teams from 16 and moved to a summer schedule ( it was previously held between January and February) 
  • Economists predict that the tournament will help raise the value of Egyptian pound against foreign currencies and gain billions of U.S. dollars out of the rights of live broadcasts, advertisement and sponsors

Read more here: https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2019/jan/08/egypt-wins-right-clean-africa-cup-of-nations-mess-cameroon

Photo credit: SkyTrax

Proposal to Nationalise Kenya Airways

  • Kenya’s government is in favour of a proposal by lawmakers to nationalize Kenya Airways Plc 
  • Kenya Airways is Sub-Saharan Africa’s third-largest airline. It is currently operating at a full-year loss of $59 million having lost market share to regional rivals like Ethiopian Airlines and RwandAir.
  • The Kenyan government already owns 48.9% of the airline and 7.8% is owned by Air France-KLM
  • The proposal argues that nationalising – which comes with a raft of tax exemptions – will boost the airline’s competitiveness in a region where it has lost market share to other state-owned rivals.

Read more here: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-18/kenyan-lawmakers-propose-nationalization-of-kenya-airways


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