Top stories around Africa this week

Mark and the Media. Facebook and Google are the 800-pound gorillas in online advertising because of audience reach and superior targeting. They enjoy another lesser-known advantage: they’re largely immune to ad blocking.

Voiceless Africa plans. The lack of a voice license is just one obstacle facing Vodafone as it targets as many as 12 new African markets.

Lower the rates. Kenyan banks need to lower their “remarkably high” interest rates and make a “credible down payment” to borrowers, central bank Governor Patrick Njoroge said.

Missing millions. South Africa plans to reform how local communities manage and spend mining royalties after a corruption probe found that $44 million paid by Lonmin Plc had been exhausted.

Militants’ payment resumes. Nigeria resumed delayed payments to former militants in the oil-rich Niger River delta, addressing some grievances amid attacks that cut crude production close to a 30-year low.

Price spurs farming. Tanzania may double cotton production to a four-year high next season as stronger prices for the fiber encourage farmers in the world’s fourth-biggest producer of the organic variety to increase cultivation, a government agency said.

The Nigerian fraud kingpin. The head of an international criminal network behind thousands of online frauds has been arrested in a joint operation by INTERPOL and the Nigerian Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC).

Bank profits drop in Kenya for the first time in 16yrs. Kenya’s banking industry last year recorded the first decline in profit since 1999 as costs outpaced income in the wake of two failures and more onerous regulations.

Hunger is killing the Ghanaian economy. A lot of Ghanaian kids are hungry and it is taking a toll on the West African country’s economy.

Fine eats off profit. MTN Group Ltd. reported a first-ever per-share loss as a public company as Africa’s biggest mobile-phone operator agreed to settle a record fine in Nigeria and was hurt by weaker earnings in South Africa.