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How Africans will remember Queen Elizabeth II

A combative African review of Queen Elizabeth II’s legacy is inevitable given the British empire’s brutal colonial legacy on the continent.

Queen Elizabeth II and Jerry Rawlings, the former president of Ghana
REUTERS
This story was published on our Quartz Africa Weekly newsletter, News and culture from around the continent.
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Hi Quartz Africa readers,

The death of Queen Elizabeth II reignited a debate about the British monarchy’s legacy in Africa. Nigerian professor Uju Anya did not mince her words in placing the sovereign in the historical context of imperial rule and colonialism, and wished that her dying pain “be excruciating.” Twitter, where many first heard of the Queen’s death, swiftly deleted Anya’s tweet post.

Twitter claimed the post violated its rules, but some condemned the move for negating free speech. The episode teases the tone of the postmortem of the second Elizabethan age, which oversaw the last 16 years of forced British rule in Africa. In the decades since, a lot of effort has gone into moving past the uncomfortable colonial history by disbursing aid and development finance, as well as promoting the Commonwealth of Nations as the basis of a cordial future ostensibly based on cooperation not control. Upholding that sentiment, African leaders such as the president of Ghana, the incoming president of Kenya, and the Nigerian boss of the World Trade Organization issued statements expressing deep condolences and admiration for the Queen.

The punchier reactions to her death instead addressed head on the so-called elephant in the room: the Queen’s role as representative, and direct beneficiary, of an institution that reaped rich returns from oppressed territories. No wonder that a video of an aged woman describing the anguish of a Kenyan revolution brutally crushed by British soldiers during the Queen’s first year on the throne has gone viral.

As the crown passes to her son King Charles III, the debate over the British monarchy’s legacy in Africa will continue, but could be summed up with just a question: What does Britain owe Africa and when will it pay in full?

—Alexander Onukwue, west Africa correspondent


What to watch for in the Quartz Africa Member Brief

BY THE DIGITS

144: The approximate number of mobile money providers in Africa

70%: Africa’s share of the world’s $1 trillion mobile money market

$701.4 billion: Value of Africa’s mobile money transactions

$1.37 billion: Annual revenue of M-Pesa, one of Africa’s biggest mobile money operators in 2021

65%: Africa’s unbanked adult population

621 million: Number of registered mobile money wallets in Africa in 2021

Learn more about mobile payment startup MFS Africa in this coming Wednesday’s edition of the Quartz Africa Member Brief. To get the Member Brief directly in your inbox (and save 40%), become a member today!


Stories this week

The term “brain drain” is outdated. The expansion of faster internet connectivity in Africa and the normalization of working remotely means you no longer need to physically relocate to foreign countries when hired by the Big Tech, several CEOs told Faustine Ngila.

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A chart showing out-of-school children in sub-Saharan Africa in 2000 and 2021

South Africa is overwhelmed by cyber threats. Faustine Ngila explores why the country is a top target for cyber attacks and just how great the losses are on digital transactions.

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Nigeria pushed Africa’s pay TV leader to change its subscription model. Alexander Onukwue analyzes what’s at stake for Multichoice.

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Charting Africa’s smartphone sales

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Check out Quartz Africa’s Innovators 2021 list, which showcases the pioneering work being done by Moukoko and other female African innovators.


Dealmaker

NowNow Digital Systems, a Nigerian financial services company, raised $13 million in a seed round from NeoVision Ventures, and DLF Family Office. NowNow has operated agency banking services in Nigeria competing against the likes of OPay and TeamApt.

Google offered $4 million to 60 Black African founders. The tech giant unveiled the second cohort of its Black Founders Fund in Africa dedicated to offering grants of up to $100,000 to early-stage African startups founded by Black people. Nigeria has the most representatives in this year’s cohort, which features an even number of startups founded by men and women.


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Illustration: (Michael Haddad)

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Quartz Gems

THIS ONE TRICK TO GETTING PAST CHINESE CENSORS

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Need to Know: UNGA 2022

As business leaders and heads of state convene at the United Nations in New York, we’ll keep you up to date on the discussions setting up next year’s political and humanitarian global agenda. Count on us for coverage of the policymaking, and for breakdowns of the head-spinning jargon at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 77). Sign up to our newsletter.


Other things we liked

Bombed by accident, without consolation. For Al Jazeera, Abiodun Jamiu portrays the grief of Nigerian victims of air raids gone awry by the country’s army, an organization that continues to seem “incapable of introspection.”

France’s soccer prince enters the guarded life. For the New York Times, Tariq Panja showed how French superstar Kylian Mbappé, soccer’s highest-paid players, has ascended to an almost invincible status among his peers.


🎵 This brief was produced while listening to ‘African Queen’ by Thabsie ft JR (South Africa).

This week’s brief took you to 🇰🇪, 🇳🇬, 🇿🇦, 🇨🇲 and 🇨🇻


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