Africa This Week 91022: Senegal’s Digital SMEs, Zambian Performing Currency, Ethiopian Airlines’ Profit, And More

Due to the effect of the COVID-19 crisis on markets and the economy, the Senegalese Agency for the Development and Support of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (ADEPME) has demonstrated the importance of digital tools by launching its “Employment, Economic Transformation and Recovery” program, known as “ETER”. The recovery program, which aims to boost and promote the digital transformation of SMEs, was launched by Senegal’s Agency for the Development and Supervision of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (DASSME). Sponsored to the tune of 24 million USD by the World Bank over a period of four years, the e-SME component of the ETER program aims to enable 5,000 small and medium-sized enterprises to adopt more sophisticated technologies to improve their competitiveness.

Following a recent attack on Burkina Faso’s Prime Minister’s military-led supply convoy, the Prime Minister on Tuesday visited survivors of the attack, which included civilians, drivers, and traders. The attack, which occurred on Monday, left 37 people wounded, which consequently led to the hospitalization of dozens of children at the Charles-de-Gaulle Pediatric Hospital in Ouagadougou. During the visit, the prime minister saluted the emergency team for the bravery, serenity, and responsiveness with which they took charge of the wounded. Burkina Faso’s ruling junta, which seized power in January, declared the fight against the insurgency a top priority, saying that it had intensified the army’s “offensive actions” and also initiated a process of dialogue with certain armed groups through religious and local leaders.

As of 1st September 2022, the Zambian currency, Kwacha, has exceeded the Russian Ruble to become the world’s best-performing currency. Following confirmation of a $1.3 billion relief package to assist the country by the IMF due to its long years of economic mismanagement, Zambia’s official currency has bucked the trend of depreciating currencies in Africa over the last 12 months and was pushed to the best globally. Inflation decreased by 12 percentage points during the last 12 months, which has won praise for the new government that took office in August 2021. When it comes to managing inflation, Zambia is one of the best-performing nations on the continent. From 9.9% in July 2022, inflation dropped to 9.8% in August 2022. A projection by the Central Bank of Zambia expected inflation to average 11.4% in 2022, fall to single digits in 2023, and return to the target range of 6% to 8% by 2024. Inflation decreased by 12 percentage points during the last 12 months, which has won praise for the new government that took office in August 2021.

Despite the rise in the cost of fuel and the post-COVID slowdown in travel, reports reveal that state-owned Ethiopia Airlines is in remarkable financial health. The airline achieved a turnover of $ 5 billion during the 2021–2022 financial year, a 79% growth in comparison with the previous year. Ranked as Africa’s number one airline in 2021,Ethiopian Airlines recorded an increase in international passenger traffic and a 74% decrease in operating costs. During the period under review, the number of international passengers carried by Africa’s leading airline increased by 36% to 6.9 million, while cargo volume increased by 59% to 7,700 tons.

A UK-born Ghanaian, Kwasi Kwarteng, who is an enthusiastic Brexit supporter and backer of the newly appointed Prime Minister of the UK, Liz Truss—with whom he is a long-time friend and neighbor in Greenwich, southeast London—has been appointed as the UK’s first black Chancellor of the Exchequer. Kwasi is taking over as head of the British Treasury with the onerous task of trying to pull the UK out of a serious cost of living crisis without plunging the public finances into the abyss. He takes over from Nadhim Zahawi, an Iraqi-born Kurd, who himself succeeded Rishi Sunak, of Indian origin, and Sajid Javid, of Pakistani origin, embodying a more inclusive face of the Conservative party. Mr. Kwasi is the son of Ghanaian immigrants who came to the U.K. in the 1960s. He co-authored the book “Britannia Unchained” in 2012 with other conservatives, including Liz Truss, who advocated a smaller state and called British workers “the worst slackers in the world.”

In a covert allusion to programming that includes members of the LGBTQ community, Egypt’s media regulator requested on Wednesday that Netflix and other streaming services follow the “societal standards” of the country with a mainly Muslim population. The announcement comes the day after Netflix received a request to remove “offensive content” from its streaming service from Gulf Arab nations, which reportedly targeted shows featuring gays and lesbians. In accordance with the statement from the Egyptian government, streaming services must adhere to the “societal norms and values of the country” they are broadcasting from. According to the statement, they were instructed to take “appropriate steps” if they broadcast any material that went against societal norms. In Egypt, where homosexuality is widely taboo, a 2013 Pew Research Center survey indicated that 95% of respondents said it should be “rejected by society.” Although it is not specifically forbidden by law, members of the LGBTQ community are frequently accused of “immorality” and “debauchery” and prosecuted as a result. Authorities frequently detain gay men during extensive police raids on private events or public places, including public restrooms, restaurants, and bars.

The Ugandan government has announced an increment in the salaries of its civil servants. This was contained in a statement released by the state Minister for Public Service, Grace Mugasa. In her statement, the minister said the increment is as a result of discrepancies in payments and promotions in the country’s educational sector. According to the Ugandan parliament website, Mugasa said that the Ministry of Public Service approved the structures for the education ministry, adding that recruitment and payment of salaries for the structures will entirely depend on the country’s wage bill. The minister further added that the Salary and Review committee would be appointed to begin working towards implementing the increment.

Burundi lawmakers on Wednesday officially confirmed General Gervais Ndirakobuca as the new Prime Minister. Ndirakobuca was unanimously confirmed in his new position by the 113 Mps following the proposal of president Evariste Ndayishimiye, who appointed him to replace Alain Guillaume Bunyoni. Bunyoni’s replacement comes days after the president warned of a coup plot against him without ever naming suspects. Until his appointment, Gervais Ndirakobuca headed the country’s ministries of the interior, community development, and public security. The 52-year-old was hit in 2015 by European and US sanctions for allegedly silencing those opposed to former president Pierre Nkurunziza’s third term bid.

Writer, journalist, and legal researcher, Alafarika for Studies and Consultancy.

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