More jobs were created than lost in South Africa. Hit by the current economic realities, several companies are cutting jobs in South Africa. Thousands of jobs have been lost in agriculture, mining and construction. Furniture retailer JD Group was this week reported to be cutting over 4,000 jobs, among other job cuts in the country, but opportunities lost in mining, agriculture and construction were gained in the finance industry making South Africa’s unemployment rate decline to 24.5 percent in the fourth quarter.
Other issues remained. The rand plunged the most in five weeks against the dollar and bond yields soared after Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan failed to convince traders that the nation can avert a credit downgrade to junk.
South African companies not doing enough to satisfy regulators in Nigeria. While some South African companies’ troubles are economic, others have to do with customers and regulators. In Nigeria MTN Group says it has agreed to pay $251 million to Nigerian telecommunications regulator NCC as negotiations on a record $3.9 billion fine continued. MTN was penalized for failing to disconnect more than 5 million unregistered lines.
Fellow South African company DSTV also has the Nigerian parliament to contend with after reports of exploitation by the cable TV’s customers in the country. MultiChoice has started taking actions in compliance with orders by the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), including adding new channels to the DSTV network but sanctions and orders may not end with the CPC as Nigeria’s Senate is now involved. A public hearing will be held to discuss the perceived exploitation of Nigerians by DSTV. The pay TV service faces more than just the Netflix threat.
BlackBerry is showing its true expertise as Apple and Samsung lay claim to devices. BlackBerry, Wednesday, announced the launch of its new Professional Cybersecurity Services practice that will further expand its security portfolio by offering organizations new consulting services, tools and best practices to assess and thwart ever-changing cybersecurity risks. Though a smartphone pioneer, the company is becoming better known for security software and services business these days.
The performance of regional stock exchange BRVM is impressive; investors are watching. As many as 12 new companies will list on BRVM, the West African regional stock exchange over the next five years, including three this year. The bourse has outperformed peers in Ghana and Nigeria, making it one of the few on the continent to post a gain in the past year.
Fighting to remain in the dark in Kenya. Kenya’s ambition to increase its power generation suffered a setback on Tuesday as a wind power project worth $114 million was cancelled. The irony was that the people of Nyandarua County, most of who lack access to power were the ones against the project.
Zim’s return will hurt a lot of people. Zimbabwe is fighting to save its economy and is ready to make difficult decisions to get financial aid from the International Monetary Fund. It also wants diamond miners to leave its Marange fields as it seeks to amalgamate the mining sector, a move the miners are against.
South Africa’s Shoprite posted gains amid economic troubles. Africa’s largest food retailer Shoprite Holdings has posted a 8.9 percent rise in half-year profit, thanks to growth from markets like Nigeria and Angola, where the company would have expected to struggle owing to the effects of the slump in oil prices on the oil-based economies.
Facebook wants to improve its Search. Search was one of the first features Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg built for Facebook when he started it at Harvard in 2004. Those first college students could have a profile, and they could search for friends to add—and that was it. Throughout the years, Facebook has made some moves to enhance the search bar that it prominently placed on the top of the page, but for the most part, it languished.
Uber drivers at risk globally; one recently escaped being burnt alive in Kenya. Uber is facing increasing challenges in Africa. One of its drivers escaped death recently. His attackers set his car on fire with him inside. The taxi hailing service has asked the authorities to condemn the violence in the strongst possible terms. One sad thing is that when local taxi drivers attack Uber drivers, they attack their own as Uber does not ‘own’ drivers.
President for life. Yoweri Museveni has won elections in Uganda, he may amend the constitution to allow him to remain the president for life.