Items filtered by date: Wednesday, 17 April 2019
Nigeria’s inflation rate has dropped to 11.25 percent year on year for March 2019, the National Bureau of Statistics, NBS, said on Tuesday.
 
According to the report released by the bureau, the inflation rate for the month of March is 0.06 percent lower than the 11.31 per cent recorded in February 2019.
 

The report further states that on a month-on-month basis, the index increased by 0.79 per cent in March. The report also revealed that this was 0.06 percentage points higher than the 0.73 per cent recorded in February.

For urban inflation, the rate increased by 11.54 per cent year-on-year in March 2019 from 11.59 per cent recorded in February, while the rural inflation rate increased by 10.99 per cent in March from 11.05 per cent in February.

The NBS however said the urban index on a month-on-month basis, rose by 0.81 per cent in March, up by 0.05 percentage points from 0.76 per cent recorded in February, while the rural index rose by 0.77 per cent in March, up by 0.06 percentage points from the 0.71 per cent recorded in February.

The NBS further revealed food index rose by 13.45 per cent in March compared to 13.47 per cent in February.

According to the report, the rise in the food index was caused by increases in prices of bread and cereals, meat, fish, potatoes, yam and other tubers, oils and fats, and soft drinks, vegetables, and fruits.

The report lists Kebbi, Zamfara, Taraba, Kwara, Cross River and Delta as the states with the highest increase in prices.

Inflation was however highest on a month on month basis in Kogi (1.91 per cent), Plateau (1.77 per cent), and Lagos (1.63 per cent).

Nasarawa (0.26 per cent), Kwara (0.16 per cent) and Enugu (0.13 per cent), the report said recorded the slowest rise.

Published in News Economy

Riding on the success of mobile money growth in West Africa, with a contribution of over $50 billion in 2018, which is equivalent to 8.7 per cent of the region’s GDP, a new GSMA report has predicted that the West Africa mobile ecosystem economic contribution would continue to increase to reach $70 billion by 2023, which is about 9.5 per cent contribution to GDP.

The 2019 West Africa edition of the GSMA’s Mobile Economy report series was launched yesterday at the ongoing GSMA Mobile 360 – West Africa event in Abidjan, Côte d Ivoire.

The study attributed the expected rise in mobile money contribution to the rising mobile phone ownership and the ongoing migration to mobile broadband networks and services across the West African region, Nigeria inclusive.

Analysing the report, Head of sub-Saharan Africa at the GSMA, Mr. Akinwale Goodluck, said: “The report underlines the vital role the mobile ecosystem is playing in contributing to economic growth, social development and job creation across West Africa.

“To harness the power of a new generation of mobile users and mobile networks, we urge governments and policymakers in West Africa to develop regulatory frameworks that encourage innovation and investment in the sector, enabling the provision of mobile-powered digital services to citizens across the region.”

The report also revealed that the number of unique mobile subscribers across West Africa, reached 185 million at the end of 2018, equivalent to 48 per cent of the region’s population. The report however said the number would rise to reach 248 million by 2025, which is 54 per cent of the region’s population.

It said future subscriber growth would largely be driven by young consumers owning a mobile phone for the first time, since more than 40 per cent of the region’s population are under 18 years old.

The report also said 3G would overtake 2G to become the leading mobile technology in West Africa this year, supporting about half of the region’s mobile connections. However, 4G momentum is already building, as 10 new 4G networks have recently launched in West Africa, including the first ever 4G networks in Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone and Togo. 4G services were launched in Nigeria by Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) few years ago.

The report further explained that local mobile operators in West Africa are increasing investment in their networks and are expected to spend $8.5 billion ad capital expenditure (Capex) on network infrastructure and services over the next two years.

It said the West Africa’s mobile ecosystem directly employs around 200,000 people, supports 800,000 jobs in the informal employment sector, and a further 600,000 jobs across the wider economy, adding that mobile is the primary platform for accessing the internet in West Africa, and that at the end of 2018, there were around 100 million mobile internet users in the region, up almost 20 million year-on-year.

The new report ‘The Mobile Economy, West Africa 2019’ is authored by GSMA Intelligence, the research arm of the GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, uniting more than 750 operators and nearly 400 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset and device makers, software companies, equipment providers and internet companies, as well as organisations in adjacent industry sectors.

 

Source: ThisDay

 

 

Published in Bank & Finance

Despite claims by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) that the results of the 2019 presidential election were not on its servers, Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has insisted there were results from INEC’s server showing he won in the presidential election.

Atiku, during his submission to the presidential election tribunal, gave the “unique MAC address and Microsoft product ID of the INEC server” from which the results were obtained.

In the results declared by INEC from the 36 states and the federal capital territory (FCT), Buhari polled 15,191,847, while Atiku came second with 11,262,978 votes.

Atiku, in his petition submitted at the tribunal, claimed he garnered a total of 18,356,732 votes to defeat Buhari, who, according to him, polled 16,741,430 votes.

The electoral body had in its response to the petition of the PDP and Atiku at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, stated that the result of the election was never transmitted or collated electronically, adding that the results being paraded by Atiku was fabricated and not from its website.

However, in response to INEC’s claim, Atiku and the PDP in a statement released Tuesday said the address of the server from which the results were obtained are unique to INEC.

“The Servers from which the said figures were derived belong to the first Respondent (INEC). The figures and votes were transmitted to the first Respondent’s Presidential Result’s Server 1 and thereafter aggregated in INEC_PRES_RSLT_SRV2019, whose Physical Address or unique Mac Address is 94-57-A5-DC-64-B9 with Microsoft Product ID 00252-7000000000-AA535. The above descriptions are unique to the 15t Respondent’s Server,” they said.

“There is no conjecture in the votes and scores in the table pleaded by the Petitioners. The figures are factual. The Spokesperson for the 2nd Respondent’s Campaign Organization openly admitted that the data in question was in the first Respondent’s Server when he wrote and submitted a petition to the Inspector General of Police and the Director General of the Department of State Services (DSS) asking the Security agencies to investigate the 2nd Petitioner herein for allegedly hacking into the Server of the 1St Respondent and obtaining the data in question.

“Specifically, Mr. Festus Keyamo, SAN, the Spokesperson of the 2nd Respondent claimed in the said petition that it was the first Petitioner who smuggled the data into the Server,” PDP added.

Atiku and the PDP also alleged that the INEC chairman “committed grave errors in the final collation exercise” for the election by “falsely crediting” some persons with political parties, including “Okotie Christopher, Reverend Dr. Onwubuya and Ojinika Jeff Chinze.”

“The grave errors referred to in paragraphs 4 and 5 above were under the hands and signature of the first Respondent’s Chairman, (who was also the Returning Officer) in the conduct of the final collation of the results of the Presidential Election,” they claimed.

“The Petitioners state that the final results as declared by the first respondent are those that were transmitted online to the website of the first Respondent (www inecnigeria.org),” PDP insisted.

Published in World

The Nigerian Minister of Agriculture, Chief Audu Ogbeh has revealed that the country saved a whooping $21 billion from the importation of food into the country in three years.

The minister also added that the export of agricultural products from the country has increased by 500 percent.

Ogbeh stated this when he hosted officials of the Bank of Agriculture and the Bureau of Public and the The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, disclosed this in his office in Abuja while playing host to officials of the Bank of Agriculture, as well as those from the Bureau of Public Enterprises.

Ogbeh said: “Two banks in Nigeria announced that we have actually saved $21bn on food imports in three and half years, and the National Bureau of Statistics has affirmed that agriculture exportation has gone up to 500 per cent since we came in, and we are just beginning.”

The minister also espoused the need for value addition and cottage industries, as these would help decongest most cities in Nigeria.

“This is important so that young people can be comfortable in their rural environments, make money and live a good life. We want to minimise the tendency of our young people crossing the desert to Europe in search of happiness which does not exist there,” Ogbeh added

Published in Agriculture

What does a business do next after racking up cumulative losses of $935m? Go public, of course.

Jumia is billed as Africa’s first “tech unicorn”, a venture-capital funded company valued at more than $1bn on the New York Stock Exchange. Its lack of a profitable model didn’t seem to matter much on the first day of trading last Friday, as the stock surged by 75%.

The company was founded by two Frenchmen in Lagos in 2012, and Nigeria is its largest market. Jumia operates online marketplaces in 14 countries including Kenya, Morocco and Egypt. The largest owner is South Africa’s MTN, with other pre-IPO investors including AXA, Millicom, Pernod Ricard, Rocket Internet and MasterCard.

Mixed reactions

A sense of euphoria was clear as the stock soared in New York. Steven Grin, managing partner of Lateral Capital in New York, a Jumia shareholder, called the listing “a watershed moment” for entrepreneurship in Africa. Jumia, he argues, stands comparison with Alibaba in 2005 when Yahoo! bought a 40% stake.

Other investors, however, were more cautious. “We have watched MTN being burnt over and over again in Nigeria”, said Byron Lotter, portfolio manager at Vestact Asset Management in Johannesburg. Investing in Jumia “does come with heavy political risks”. MTN has said that a planned IPO of its Nigerian unit is on hold until a $2bn tax dispute with the Nigerian authorities is resolved.

What African credentials?

Cameroon-based Rebecca Enonchong, founder and CEO of AppsTech, sees the IPO as a “desperate exit for existing investors who are obviously running out of cash. Obviously they couldn’t find new institutional investors.”

  • Jumia’s 2017 losses of €165m ($187m) increased to €170m in 2018.
  • The company said in its IPO documents that continued losses mean it cannot guarantee that it will achieve or sustain profitability or pay any cash dividends in the foreseeable future.

Co-founder Jeremy Hodara told Jeune Afrique in late 2018 that losses “have bottomed out”.

Enonchong says African e-commerce is a very difficult and expensive market to get into. While Western e-commerce rests on the assumption that the post office will deliver to all points, that is often not the case in Africa. “You have to build your own distribution network.”

Other e-commerce operations have crashed and burned, including:

  • Jumia’s Nigerian rival Konga, which was taken over by Zinox Technologies in 2018 after firing 60% of its staff in 2017;
  • CFAO, the francophone Africa distributor, which suspended its online “Africashop”;
  • Naspers, which has twice withdrawn from the Kenyan market.

Enonchong questions Jumia’s African credentials, pointing out that the company is registered in Germany, has its headquarters in Dubai and its technical development in Portugal. “There’s little that’s African.”  Still, she says, the company has employed Africans on the continent in senior positions and allowed them to gain experience and exposure. The IPO, she says, also has the merit of getting people to talk about African tech.

Jumia, Enonchong argues, could and should have used some of the money invested in it to finance start-up companies capable of filling some of the gaps in African supply chains. But the company “never believed in local start-ups. They have not understood the market. They have not committed to the ecosystem, and act as if they were in a European ecosystem. African tech should not be judged on Jumia.”

Jumia did not take the opportunities provided to respond to the points made in this article.

Bottom line

Jumia’s first-day performance tells us little about the fundamentals of investing in African e-commerce. Investors who want long-term exposure in African tech should wait for the outcome of MTN’s tax dispute in Nigeria.

 

Source: The Africa Report

Published in Business

United Airlines has applied with the U.S. Department of Transportation for authority to begin new service between New York/Newark Liberty International Airport and Cape Town International Airport.

United plans to operate nonstop three-times weekly flights to Cape Town starting in December 2019.

"We are always looking at ways to expand our industry-leading international route network to offer our customers more convenient options. We're thrilled to announce the addition of Africa to our global route offering," said Patrick Quayle, United's vice president of International Network. "This new flight will provide customers with the only nonstop service between the United States and Cape Town."

United's nonstop service between New York/Newark and Cape Town will decrease the current travel time from New York to Cape Town by more than four hours and provide customers from more than 80 U.S. cities with easy one-stop access to Cape Town. If approved, United's service between New York/Newark and Cape Town will be operated with Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft featuring 48 seats in United Polaris business class, 88 seats in United Economy Plus and 116 seats in United Economy.

Cape Town is the oldest city in South Africa and the country's center of trade and commerce. Located at the shore of Table Bay, the city is home to some of the most popular attractions in South Africa including Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

Travelers to South Africa often begin their African journey in Cape Town before touring the Cape Winelands, viewing the African penguins at Boulder Beach or traveling beyond Cape Town to explore South Africa's natural beauty including its many national parks, game reserves and beautiful coastlines and beaches of the KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces.

Published in Travel & Tourism

Martial eagles are in rapid decline throughout South Africa and many other parts of their range in sub-Saharan Africa. These declines have been so steep, that this species is now considered vulnerable to extinction.

But conservationists still don’t have a very good handle on what could be driving these declines across Africa. Suggestions include: habitat loss, deliberate and incidental poisoning, hunting in response to the fear of livestock loss, collisions with power lines and pollution.

A recent concern is a reduction in available prey. Unfortunately, our knowledge of what this species preys on is relatively poor. We only really have two South African studies from the 1980’s.

Our research sought to overcome some of these limitations. We explored some alternative options for identifying important prey eaten by this species.

As martial eagles are beautiful, people love to take photographs of them and post these online. We realised that hundreds of photographers, amateurs to professionals, have been collecting data. To help answer some conservation questions we tapped into this resource of photographs taken at multiple locations across the continent over many years.

What they eat

Scientists use a range of methods to understand what raptors – birds that feed on smaller animals – eat. These include collecting and identifying prey remains from nest sites, inspecting pellets, which are regurgitated balls of indigestible prey parts, watching from hides set up at nests, or using remote technology such as placing camera traps at nests. Scientists can now even analyse the chemical properties, like stable isotopes in feathers to describe the types of prey eaten.

These approaches are incredibly valuable in assessing diet. Unfortunately, they present some limitations. Almost all are nest based. This limits them to the breeding season and prey that is brought to – and remains at – the nest. Martial Eagles also nest at really low densities. To get diet data from nests, researchers visit multiple sites in remote places and many times per season. This makes these studies challenging and expensive.

The research

Our study used the free web app MORPHIC, developed at the University of Cape Town to search Google Images and catalogue photographs of martial eagles with prey. Our sources included websites, social media and photography platforms.

We trawled through 4,872 photos and found 254 images of the species with prey, and recorded data on eagle location, age, feeding position and type of prey. The photos came from many different countries across southern and eastern Africa, including South Africa, Kenya, Namibia, Botswana and Tanzania.

These images revealed that reptiles, birds and mammals each made up about a third of Martial Eagle diet. Prey type proportions varied broadly between different regions. Mammals dominated in eastern Africa but reptiles were more important prey across southern Africa. This was the first research to explore Martial Eagle diet in any detail beyond the borders of South Africa.

Another limitation of previous approaches, was their inability to explore the prey of non-breeding individuals in the population. Unlike adults, non-breeding sub-adults don’t have a central place, like a nest, where prey remains accumulate. Using web-based photographs however, we were able to examine the diet of sub-adult martial eagles and test whether it differed from adults.

We found that sub-adults fed less frequently on bird prey. Birds are agile, so sub-adult eagles may need time to acquire the skills and technique required to tackle this type of prey. To our knowledge, this is the first study describing the prey composition of non-breeding sub-adults for any raptor species. We hope our novel method will allows researchers to undertake similar studies for other raptor species in the future. Differences in diet across ages, populations and raptor species may allow for the implementation of more targeted conservation measures.

What next

Our research contributes to conservation by providing key information on the ecological requirements of this threatened species. Our approach might also help inform conservation efforts for other predatory species under threat. Our approach can be used on any species, from raptors to big cats, as long as they are photographed widely enough across their range.

Anyone can tap into this online resource at minimal cost or effort and contribute substantially to global conservation. This powerful take on citizen science could help shape many aspects of future conservation research.The Conversation

 

Vincent Naude, PhD student, University of Cape Town and Arjun Amar, Associate Professor , Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Published in Engineering
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