China waives the debt of 17 African countries — Quartz Africa

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Hi Quartz Africa readers,

China this week granted financial relief to 17 African countries by canceling the debt of 23 interest-free loans that were due in 2021.

China is Africa’s second largest lender. The debt decision signals the Asian powerhouse’s intention to remain Africa’s preferred long-term development partner, especially “in the face of various forms of hegemonic practices and intimidation”, as Wang said. Yi, Chinese Foreign Minister, in what could have been a veiled speech. reference to the recent controversial visit of the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, to Taiwan.

The relief was announced on August 18 in an address Chinese and African diplomats at a follow-up meeting to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held last November in Senegal. At the time, China cut its financial commitment to Africa by 33%, which was interpreted as a sign of concern over Africa’s indebtedness at a time of slowing Chinese economic growth.

Although specific details of the debt relief were not disclosed, China’s top diplomat appeared to criticize US and European sanctions against Russia in its ongoing war in Ukraine. Yi said Africa wants “a friendly and supportive cooperation environment, not the zero-sum mentality of the Cold War…mutually beneficial cooperation for the greater welfare of the people, not rivalry between big countries. for geopolitical gains”.

Some African leaders, particularly in French-speaking countries demanding an end to France’s influence in the region, will likely have found themselves acquiescing to Yi’s words. —Alexander Onukwue, West Africa Correspondent


Stories this week

Africa’s first e-money is struggling to win hearts. With an average of 1.35 transactions per active wallet, eNaira has yet to convince its skeptics, writes Alexander Onukwue.

MTN has activated 5G in Nigeria. The telecom giant has become the first to make 5G available in Nigeria after the start of a pilot project in seven cities including Lagos and Abuja. Alexander Onukwue asked the company what the cover will look like when the service is fully launched.

Japan is changing its approach to Africa. To counter Chinese, European and American influence in Africa, Japan is shifting its focus from aid to foreign direct investment (FDI), reports Faustine Ngila.

The new scramble for Africa is happening on the cloud. Faustine Ngila details how data is the new oil in Africa, with US companies leveraging it to their advantage, and African companies mostly missing out.

Togo is responsible for securing African cyberspace. Faustine Ngila explains why Togo was the chosen location for the new United Nations cybersecurity center to counter cyberattacks in Africa.

Was Kenya’s presidential vote hacked? Presidential candidate Raila Oginga’s running mate Martha Karua and anti-corruption campaigner John Githongo allege hackers gained unauthorized access to the voting computer system.

Wanuri Kahiu’s debut in Hollywood is a success. The groundbreaking Kenyan director known for Rafiki—a lesbian love story – took Hollywood by storm with her first directorial debut on Netflix.


Benin thrills crowds with historical artifacts

PIUS UTOMI EKPEI

Anthropomorphic statues representing kings Glélé and Béhanzin, icons of the Kingdom of Dahomey

Nearly 130 years after French soldiers entered the palace in Abomey, southern Benin, and seized royal property in a sign of colonial conquest, month-long exhibits in the African country de l’Ouest honored the return of 26 artifacts, providing an opportunity to showcase a vibrant contemporary. artistic traditions. Alexander Onukwue shows how state-sponsored exhibitions, which have attracted more than 200,000 people in a matter of months, connect a nation to a royal history from which it had been forcibly separated.


Is Africa ready for the metaverse?

REUTERS/ TINGSHU WANG

“It’s good for the future but we are not there yet, economically we are struggling. People barely understand the concept of metaverse. If you tweet about the metaverse in Africa, people get curious but confused. Those who understand it don’t know how to merge it with their businesses” Egline Samoei, founder of Brand Moran, a Nairobi-based social media analytics startup.

Meta wants to spread the Metaverse hype to 16 African countries and has announced a series of programs under its global Extended Reality (XR) fund to develop Metaverse talent.

But for many Africans, the concept of the metaverse is still too theoretical, and few see how it can improve their livelihoods or businesses. Coupled with the restrictively high costs of VR headsets, slow internet speeds, and high data costs on the continent, Fausting Ngila foresees a bumpy ride for metaverse adoption.


Spotlight on a Quartz Africa 2021 Innovator

Kalista Sy is the creative force behind one of the most-watched African shows on YouTube—Mistress of a married man (The mistress of a married man). The show is produced by Tuesday TV—Senegal’s first private television channel that started in 2003—and has racked up millions of views.

Marodi TV is considered one of the best platforms for broadcasting Senegalese and French-speaking content in Africa. During confinement, she often trended on French Twitter, as a large French-speaking community discovered her series and became addicted.

“In my work, the place of the woman is rehabilitated, she is no longer confined to a secondary role or a submissive woman, she is an actor of her destiny”, says Sy to Quartz Afrique, adding that her characters are often strong and financially independent. “It’s important that women are at the origin of the scripts, that they have a central place in the production,” she adds. “It will help empower and create strong female role models to help little girls grow and aspire.”

Check out the Quartz Africa Innovators 2021 list, which showcases the pioneering work being done by Sy and other African women innovators.


A negotiator

Subbasean Egyptian startup allowing companies to manage subscriptions, raised $2.4 million in a roundtable led by Global companies. HALA companies, Plug in and use, Ingressive capitaland camel enterprises. SubsBase says it has grown 200% month-on-month since 2021 and will focus its new funding on growth in the Middle East and North Africa region, where it is based.


quartz gems

THE PREQUEL BATTLE

HBO game of thrones prequel Dragon House debuted to millions of subscribers over the weekend, and the streaming service even experienced outages as demand surged. The show aired just 11 days before Amazon’s release the Lord of the Rings prequel, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power.

Even before Dragon abandoned, it drew more enthusiasm. Google Trends data on both series over the past 30 days shows that Dragon garnered far more interest from potential viewers than JRR Tolkien’s sword and sorcery-based tale. Searches for the two shows were nearly identical until July, when the first trailers for both shows were released.

Clearly, Amazon is still finding its original content studio legs and could learn a thing or two from how HBO controlled its budget and promoted the series (High Valyrian language on Duolingo was a nice touch).


Other things we liked

How Single Instant Payments Work in Nigeria. For Decode Fintech, Tochukwu Ironsi peels back the layers to show how nigeria deals with real time payments at a rate that only five other countries in the world can match.

Monetization is not easy for African podcasts. For TechCabal, Daniel Adeyemi explores the podcast landscape in Africa, showing how issues like cost of internet data and advertisers’ expectations affect the chances of podcasts becoming profitable.

Google opens its Wallet in South Africa. Techcrunch’s Annie Njanja reports how the new payment service worksas the country moves towards a cashless society after the launch of Apple Pay last year.

Uganda pushes for affordable internet. Jonathan Kamoga from East Africa reports that a plan to cut internet costs in half aims to achieve financial inclusion.

Angola’s outgoing president will remain in power. For Bloomberg, Henrique Almeida and Candido Mendes detail how the President João Lourenço was re-elected in the most contested vote in the country’s history.


ICYMI

Up to €50,000 in grants for filmmakers. Can you use the film to tell African stories that address human rights issues? Movies That Matter features up to €50,000 ($49,972) in grants to support projects that fuel a conversation about human rights in Africa. (September 4)

$50,000 for fintech innovators. The Ecobank Fintech Challenge is open to all African fintech innovators where the final winner will pocket a cash prize of $50,000. All finalists will be inducted into the Ecobank Fintech Fellowship. (September 15)


🎵 This brief was made by listening to “Soo dadaal” by Mursal Muuse ft Hodan Abdirahman (Somalia)


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Our best wishes for a productive and idea-filled week ahead. Please send your news, comments, suggestions, ideas, returned artifacts and affordable VR gear to africa@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter at @qzafrica for updates throughout the day.

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