Quartz Africa

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How Senegal became a soccer fan favorite at World Cup 2018

As the World Cup moves into its final group stage matches, one of the teams that has quickly become one of the neutrals’ favorites is Senegal.<p>Prior to the tournament, the team received very little by way of attention. For teams from Africa, Nigeria stole the headlines with their popular jersey and …

Soccer

A masterpiece by one of Europe’s most influential Baroque painters has been found in South Africa

Smuggled out of Nazi Germany decades ago, the striking painting by one of Europe’s old masters has hung in a Johannesburg home without attracting undue attention for years. But this week, Sir Peter Paul Ruben’s <i>Portrait of a Gentleman</i> has resurfaced to much attention.<p>Baroque Old Master Rubens lived …

Art

Africa’s tourism boards market to nearly everyone but black tourists

A cursory search of travel boards of some of Africa’s favorite vacation destinations reads like a lesson in the African cliché: roaring lions, curious giraffes and dancing locals on the way between the airport and the game park.<p>Many African nations have long recognized how lucrative tourism is to …

Tourism

South Africa’s forgotten child soldiers have grown into traumatized adults

Johannesburg<p>At 14, they dropped out of school, picked up semi-automatic guns and arranged themselves into guerilla armies that would defend their neighborhoods. Now as adults, they struggle to integrate into the country they gave up their childhoods for.<p>While the brutality and dissociation of child …

Africa

Climate change means your city could run out of water soon too—here are Cape Town’s three lessons

Cape Town’s “Day Zero” experience – the prospect of dam levels dropping dangerously low, taps running dry and water rations being distributed from public collection points – speaks powerfully to the urgency and complexity of climate change adaptation.<p>The recent arrival of the South African city’s …

Cape Town

Nigeria isn’t ready to hold free and fair elections next year

The 2019 presidential elections in Nigeria will be the country’s sixth since 1999, when it shifted to democracy after a long period of military rule. Most of these elections have been tarnished by acts of violence – including attacks on politicians – and vote rigging often influences the results.<p>In …

Africa

How Nigeria’s stylish in-demand World Cup jersey is making millionaires out of bootleggers

Nigeria’s stylish soccer kit has been one of the major stories of the 2018 soccer World Cup.<p>Since being unveiled in February, the kit has become a fashion item and have been voted the best jersey at the World Cup. Nigeria’s soccer federation claimed there were pre-orders of up to three million …

Africa

After 120 years, Nigeria’s stolen art could be returning home from Britain—but only on loan

Nigeria’s looted art could be returning home from cultural institutions such as the British Museum after officials said they were open to the idea of it being a loan. Some of the most prized items stolen by British forces are the Benin kingdom’s bronze statues.<p>The statues were pillaged in 1897 as …

Africa

Zimbabwe has cut data tariffs in the run-up to its first social media-led election

Harare, Zimbabwe<p>Zimbabwe’s upcoming election is a battle for the youth vote like never before and it is mostly playing out online and through social media platforms. The southern African country will hold presidential, parliamentary and local government elections on July 30 this year to choose a …

Social Media

Ethiopia needs to end the persecution of a key ethnic group to achieve real reform

The political upheaval that Ethiopians have become accustomed to seems to be a thing of the past—for now. Many have praised the new prime minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April 2018, for restoring calm to much of the country. Some have even dubbed his reform agenda a massive turn around for …

Africa

The world’s first mobile-only government bond in Kenya is popular, but missed its target

When Kenya launched M-Akiba, a mobile-only government bond, last year, the goal was to offer ordinary citizens access to the nation’s capital markets. All they needed to buy to invest in the government bonds was a mobile money account.<p>Given mobile money is so ubiquitous in Kenya with over 27 …

Africa

The unseen hand of China in Africa’s largest economy

Sometimes a throwaway sentence is more illuminating than it ought to be. A line in an article in Roads & Kingdoms in January about the Chinese in Lagos did just that. Near the end of the piece, the author wrote:<p>On my final night in Lagos, Fang invites me to the Huawei offices for dinner, handing me …

Africa

How traveling across the Sahara became a crime

If global media reports are to be believed, every person who leaves their home country in Africa is heading for Europe. That’s simply not true. 80% of Sub-Saharan migrants are merely moving between countries on the continent.<p>Part of these journeys involve migrating to or across the Sahara, from …

Africa

Scientists are exploring a lost rainforest hidden in a Mozambique volcano for the first time

It’s hard to miss Mount Lico, a relatively isolated cliff jutting out 700 meters (nearly 2,300 feet) above the plains of northern Mozambique. Yet for hundreds of years, people were unaware that inside the ancient volcano lay a hidden rainforest, protected by the volcano’s high walls.<p>Discovered by …

Biodiversity

M-Pesa is pushing against a tax hike on mobile money services in Kenya

A proposed tax increase on mobile money transfers in Kenya is drawing protests from several services, including M-Pesa.<p>As part of a new tax proposal to raise government revenues, Kenya’s government is pushing to raise duties on mobile cash transfers by 2%. The government expects to net around $270 …

FinTech

The rise of supermarket shopping in Kenya is increasing the risk of poor nutrition

The middle class boom in many African cities has inevitably resulted in several life style changes but one is proving particularly dangerous.<p>A rise in supermarket shopping<i>—</i>an offshoot of rapid urbanization<i>—</i>has resulted in locals eating higher amounts of processed food than fresh food typically …

Agriculture

The problem with simply growing more tech hubs in Africa

Paris<p>More than 130 new hubs have opened in Africa over the last two years, and there are still not enough.<p>Many hubs get financial and technical support from foundations as well as tech and telco corporates among others. More recently, Facebook and Google have both rolled out significant new Lagos …

Innovation

Now, even the World Bank thinks land reform is a priority for South Africa

The latest World Bank report on South Africa is not only remarkable for the collaborative method it employed, but also for some of the conclusions it reached on issues like land redistribution.<p>The report, which includes contributions from a long list of external consultants including myself, the …

South Africa

Mozambique’s own version of Boko Haram is tightening its deadly grip

Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province is being held to ransom by an Islamist guerrilla movement. After months of skirmishes between police and members of the <i>Al Sunnah wa Jama’ah</i>, the region has now erupted into full violence.<p>Since mid-May, 35 people have died in a series of brutal attacks. Various …

Africa

The benefits of African countries stepping up their use of data and evidence to inform policy

Rigorous, reliable evidence should be used when making decisions for any society. That’s because the use of evidence helps decision makers to maximize limited resources such as money and expertise. It’s also a way to avoid harm and to select the courses of action that have been shown to be …

Africa

A bloodless malaria test by a young Ugandan inventor won Africa’s top engineering prize

The $33,000 Africa Prize for Engineering Innovation has been awarded to a 24-year old Ugandan engineer for his invention of a bloodless malaria test. Before now, small blood samples taken from suspected patients in hospitals or pharmacies were used to test for malaria but with Matibabu, the device …

Africa

Why googling squatter camps in South Africa returns pictures of white people

Google squatter camps and South Africa and images of impoverished white people are returned. The search has incensed and confused South Africans, who took to social media on June 14 to question this skewed representation of poverty in South Africa.<p>With apartheid’s segregated past casting a long …

South Africa

The history behind Morocco’s “Africa” World Cup not being fully embraced by all Africans

Morocco’s fifth bid to host the World Cup, like its previous four, ended in disappointment.<p>After a vote by FIFA member nations on June 13, the “United” bid of the United States, Canada and Mexico was picked ahead of Morocco to host the 2026 World Cup. Morocco notched 65 votes, compared to 134 by …

Africa

Zimbabwe is trying to transform itself into a leading tech hub with China’s help

Harare, Zimbabwe<p>There’s a quiet buzz in Zimbabwe right now for the opportunity of informational and communications technology might have as a transformational impact on the beleaguered economy. The southern African country, which has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa, is looking to China …

Artificial Intelligence

Connecting to the internet costs more in Johannesburg and Cape Town than it does in New York and Zurich

South Africa may have some of the world’s cheapest cities to live in, but using the internet in Cape Town and Johannesburg is surprisingly expensive by global standards.<p>South Africans living in the country’s two major cities spend more on their monthly internet costs than people living in New York, …

South Africa

The US wants Kenya to crack down on illegal investments by South Sudan’s elite

The US is promising to investigate and prosecute South Sudanese officials involved in money laundering and plundering national assets.<p>During a trip to Nairobi on yesterday (June 13), Sigal Mandelker, the US Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, urged Kenyan officials …

Africa

Google is throwing its weight behind artificial intelligence for Africa

Africa’s nascent artificial intelligence sector just got its biggest boost from Google which is opening its first Africa AI research center in Accra, Ghana’s capital.<p>Though Accra has a vibrant tech industry, it would not have been the obvious location for many Africa tech watchers when compared …

Artificial Intelligence

One of Africa’s most prominent film festivals now includes TV and web series

One of Africa’s most celebrated film festivals is embracing the small screen. For the first time, the Zanzibar International Film Festival is including television and web series.<p>This year, the festival will include three days of series screenings, the festival said in a statement on June 12. It’s a …

Africa

Futurists in Ethiopia are betting on artificial intelligence to drive development

“I don’t think Homo sapiens-type people will exist in 10 or 20 years’ time,” Getnet Assefa, 31, speculates as he gazes into the reconstructed eye sockets of Lucy, one of the oldest and most famous hominid skeletons known, at the National Museum of Ethiopia. “Slowly the biological species will …

Artificial Intelligence