Smart Cities in Africa: Nairobi and Cape Town

Smart cities leverage on technology and use the large amount of data their citizens generate every second to optimize resources, to connect people and to improve business and trading. A smart city targets energy savings and adopts environmentally friendly technologies, which helps promoting sustainable development.
Nairobi and Cape Town rank among the most advanced cities on the African continent on the smart city front. Nairobi, capital of Kenya and home to over 3 million people, won the title of Most Intelligent City in Africa for two years in a row. Going south, Cape Town blossoms as one of the best places to do business in the continent as the South African government continuously implements thoughtful planning and cutting edge technology to attract businesses and improve the lives of its citizens. Both Nairobi and Cape Town look at Singapore as a role model for the city of the future.

What Africa can Expect from the US in Foreign Policy

In the wake of controversial picks for Trump’s cabinet, the spotlight turns to his appointed choice for Secretary of State, the highest diplomatic rank in the United States government. After a brief interlude with Mitt Romney, which would certainly be a favourite pick among Republicans, Donald Trump showed that he would continue with his anti-establishment agenda and decided instead to recommend Rex Tillerson for the role.

Rex Tillerson is an experienced executive of the Oil and Gas industry, with 41 years working in ExxonMobil. Tillerson ascended to become the company’s chairman and CEO in 2006, roles that he occupied until the end of 2016 when he finally left the company. He was nominated US Secretary of State on early February.

However, more than one month into the role, a large number of vacancies in the US State Department are still to be filled. Adding this to the isolationist rhetoric Trump has preaching and to the recent proposed cut in funding to the State Department make one think that American foreign affairs will not be a top priority in the Trump presidency.

Unleashing Zimbabwe’s tourism potential

Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in Southeast Africa, bordered by Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana and South Africa. The country has a population of over 15 million people, from which around 2.8 million people live in the metropolitan area around its capital, Harare.

International tourism accounted for 20.3% of Zimbabwe’s exports in 2014 and generated a revenue of US$ 827 million to the country. The Victoria Falls and the Zambezi river account as the most sought-after sight-seeing places by the tourists visiting the country.

Although Zimbabwe holds unmatched natural beauties, the sector accounts for only a small portion of the country’s GDP.

Improving the laws to attract foreign investment, fostering private-public partnerships in hospitality and largely invest in the marketing of the Zimbabwean brand in the international market could be the first steps that will make the tourism sector gain more traction in the country.

Trump Effect on the African Oil

After the shock post November 8th with the results of the American presidential election, the world started studying what a Trump presidency in the USA would mean to the international markets and geopolitical environment. Africa is one of the largest exporters of raw commodities to the USA and will certainly experience changes in the trading dynamics with the world power once Donald Trump assumes his place in the White House, on 20 January 2017.

Among the raw products Africa exports, crude oil has a prominent place. The continent’s oil exporters had the USA as its largest buyer of the product until quite recently. In 2005, the USA imported 1.8 million barrels per day of crude oil from Sub-Saharan African countries. This figure remained fairly constant until 2010 when the USA’s domestic production of the commodity reached historically high levels.

By 2015, the USA was importing only 274 thousand barrels per day from Sub-Saharan Africa. The high revenues countries such as Nigeria and Angola extracted from oil, started to dry up. Could a Trump administration possibly revert this trend and propel the USA to buy more of the African crude oil once again?

Angola Beyond Oil

Angola has experienced rapid growth in the last decade, mostly propelled by the exploitation of its vast natural resources. Today, the country ranks as the third largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa. Its history, like that of many African nations, is characterised by struggle and battle. After its independence from Portugal in 1975, Angola entered into a 27-year long civil war, where two major opposition parties, MPLA and Unita, fought for supremacy. In 2002, the two parties finally agreed on a cease-fire and started to focus on rebuilding the country. The rebirth of Angola started in 2002.

Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, Gateways for East Africa

The East African coast occupies a strategic position that allows maritime connections between the African continent and the Middle East and Asia. The ports of Mombasa, in Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, in Tanzania, are the most important in the region and, since the colonial times, compete to be the most relevant in East Africa. Million of tonnes of goods are imported through both of them from other coastal countries and continents and exported to the world.

Cassava Market in Nigeria

Cassava is a starchy tuber mainly produced in the tropical and subtropical regions, both north and south of the Equatorial line. The root was first introduced to the African continent between the 16th and 17th centuries by the Portuguese, who brought the stems from Brazil. From the delta of the Congo River, where it was initially planted in Africa, cassava spread throughout the continent and, today, the tuber is cultivated in more than 35 countries in Africa.

In many African countries it became the main source of carbohydrates and has replaced some traditional staples such as millet and yam. Cassava has been successfully incorporated into many farming systems across the continent.