Dear Quartz Africa readers,
A cab driver I spoke to in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, started off the ride by telling me about the tough economic times that he (and most of the world, frankly) has been facing in the past few years. He ended by saying something that loosely translates to, “but we keep pushing forward.”
This optimism in the future of the continent in the face of post covid-19 carnage, a war in Ukraine that has increased food and fuel costs, and general macroeconomic challenges that have led to the devaluation of several African currencies, might seem misplaced, but has been a common theme this past week.
I’m at the Africa Investment Forum (AIF), Africa’s largest investment marketplace bringing vetted large scale African projects direct to global investors. Championed by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and in partnership with several large regional and global funders, AIF has mobilized over $141 billion in investment interest in Africa since its inception in 2018, with $31 billion of that from this past week’s event.
“By 2050, 25% of the world’s population will be in Africa. Africa holds 65% of the world’s uncultivated arable land and is the largest source of renewable energy in the world…The future of Africa lies in investments, not aid,” said AfDB president Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, in his opening address.
Dr. Adesina struck an optimistic note along the lines of the cab driver while discussing the continent’s investment priorities for next year: ramping up special economic zones for agro-industrialization in the world’s bread basket; redefining the future of electric vehicles given the continent has the world’s largest cobalt reserves and sizable lithium reserves too; and unlocking investment opportunities in renewable energy.
That’s the secret of Africa’s resilience: despite the current challenges on the ground, the continent keeps “pushing forward.”
—Ciku Kimeria, Africa editor
What to watch for in the Quartz Africa member brief
By The Digits
78%: The proportion of companies facing difficulties in finding the talent they need in South Africa in 2022
10 million+: South Africans aged 15-24 years
2.5 million: South Africans aged 15-24 years currently in the workforce, either employed or unemployed
7.7 million: Total number of those aged 15-24 years in South Africa deemed “inactive,” having fallen out of the labor force
33.9%: Total unemployment rate in South Africa
4.8 million: Total number of youth (aged 15-34) looking for work but currently unemployed in South Africa
$8.5 trillion: Projected unrealized annual revenue by 2030 if the global talent crunch goes unchecked
Learn more about Rekindle Learning, a Southern African-based edtech in this past week’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
Kenya’s president is emptying his citizens’ pockets. President William Ruto promised to bring down the cost of living, but Faustine Ngila points out his policies are actually making Kenyans poorer.
Ghana expects an IMF deal by the end of the year. President Nana Akufo-Addo admitted however that even the $3 billion in aid won’t be a silver bullet to Ghana’s deepest problems, Alexander Onukwue writes.
Can Kenyans afford Safaricom’s 5G mobile internet? Accessing the new network for the first time, will cost at least $600. Faustine Ngila explains why many Kenyans won’t plug into 5G any time soon.
Nigeria has a curious plan to fight inflation. The central bank said new notes will be designed to mop up excess cash in the system. But the move appears to be making an already troubled naira weaker against the dollar, Alexander Onukwue reports.
Soccer can transform the African cultural and creative ecosystem. Soccer’s popularity on the continent is well known, but Meron Demisse and Lincoln Ajoku argue that the continent still has a long way to go to fully tap into all that the sport can offer Africa.
“There are, over the whole year, multiple opportunities to raise whatever issues with Egypt or other countries, related to civil liberties, human rights, and other related issues... I hope that for two weeks the focus will be on the people dying around the world.”
—Wael Aboulmagd, a top climate diplomat from Egypt, in an interview with Quartz
A major issue hanging over the UN climate summit COP27 in Egypt is the country’s subpar human rights record, which has come under fire from watchdog groups, European politicians, and climate activists in recent weeks. The country has thousands of political prisoners and oppressive laws for civil society groups. One prisoner, British-Egyptian dissident Alaa Abdel Fattah, has drawn particular attention after a prolonged hunger strike and is planning to stop drinking water if he is not released before COP27.
In an interview with Quartz, Aboulmagd, one of Egypt’s top climate diplomats, made clear that the country’s human rights record will not be on the conference agenda. But activists say Egypt can’t lead on climate justice with such abuses within its own borders, and tensions with European governments over Fattah’s case could strain the overall negotiations.
Get updates from the COP27 climate summit sent directly to your inbox with our Need to Know: COP27 pop up newsletter. Sign up today.
Egyptian fintech startup Money Fellows raised $31 million in a round led by CommerzVentures, Middle East Venture Partners, and Arzan Venture Capital. The company owns an app that enables the management of rotating savings and credit associations, with a little over 300,000 monthly active users.
To manufacturers, Mexico is the new China
The disparity in manufacturing wages between Mexico and China is starker than ever.
With fewer people in its labor market as a result of Beijing’s decades-long one-child policy, China’s wages have been rising. Low wages have long attracted businesses to open factories in Mexico, and the pandemic may have accelerated this trend as it pushed up labor costs along the supply chain.
But it’s not just a matter of wages. The availability of qualified labor and geographic proximity to the US also works in Mexico’s favor, as does the broader interest among companies in diversifying their sources in order to reduce supply chain risks.
Ambition: Can giving up be good for you?
We all want to achieve great things. But in the wake of the pandemic, some of us have stopped to reconsider: What’s the cost of all this collective desperation to succeed? From treating burnout to resisting oppressive systems, how can we get the things we want in life without sacrificing too much time, energy, and psychological well-being?
🎧 Listen to Work Reconsidered on: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google | Stitcher
Other things we liked
Africa’s last glaciers will be gone by 2050. BBC’s Patrick Hughes writes that Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mt. Kenya, the Ruwenzori mountains in Uganda, and Virunga National Park in DRC will lose their glaciers in the next three decades due to climate change.
At least 21 bodies were discovered in a mine in South Africa. For the AP, Mogomotsi Magome details the events leading to the killing of illegal miners in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg.
Truce at last in Ethiopia. The Washington Post’s Katharine Houreld describes the talks that will hopefully put an end to a two-year war between the Ethiopian government and Tigray fighters.
Al Shabaab killed 100 people in Mogadishu. For Reuters, Abdi Sheikh and Abdiqani Hassani report that two car bombs exploded and killed 100 people at the same location where 500 people were killed in 2017.
Davido’s son drowned at home. For NBC News, Minyvonne Burke explains the circumstances that led the singer’s son Ifeanyi David Adeleke to drown in a swimming pool two weeks after celebrating his third birthday.
Study in Silicon Valley. Looking for a fully sponsored Masters program in the US? Mastercard is offering African students scholarships at UC Berkeley with internships in Africa. Your flights, visa fees, tuition, housing, food, and living expenses are all covered. Here’s how to apply (Dec. 1)
Intern and work in the US. Bank of America’s winter internship program is open to African students. All your travel and accommodation costs will be covered plus an attractive salary while interning, with outstanding performers offered full-time jobs. (Dec. 31)
🎵 This brief was produced while listening to “Kokoloko” by Rvenio (Togo)
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Our best wishes for a productive and ideas-filled week ahead. Please send any news, comments, suggestions, ideas, affordable 5G, and cobalt reserves to email@example.com. You can follow us on Twitter at @qzafrica for updates throughout the day.
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