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3 of the Top Eight Fastest-Growing Airbnb Countries In The World Are in Africa

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This week Airbnb is celebrating the first-ever Africa Travel Summit, an event bringing together innovators in tourism to discuss how technology can be used to accelerate inclusive and sustainable economic growth through travel across the African continent. Held in Cape Town from September 11-13, the Summit will convene over 200 Pan-African founders, CEOs, influencers and politicians, and will begin with an opening keynote by Chris Lehane, Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs at Airbnb, who will reveal a new report on how Airbnb is promoting travel that is local, diverse and inclusive in South Africa.

The Summit comes at a time when Airbnb is growing rapidly in Africa–especially in South Africa. The Airbnb community has grown quickly as guests from every corner of the world come to Africa to explore local destinations, participate in unique, one-of-a-kind Experiences, and connect with hosts from diverse communities across the continent. Over the past few years, destinations across Africa have emerged to become some of the fastest-growing Airbnb markets in the world.

Over 3.5 million guests have arrived at listings on Airbnb across Africa to date, with roughly half of these arrivals occurring in just the past year. Of the top eight fastest-growing countries in the world for Airbnb guest arrivals, three are located in Africa: Nigeria, Ghana, and Mozambique.

There are over 130,000 Airbnb listings across Africa. And across the continent, some of the top destinations are growing fast:

In fact, seven countries in Africa have seen guest arrivals more than double in the past year.

And in South Africa, though Cape Town is the most popular destination, other markets across the country have grown quickly:

According to an internal Airbnb survey of guests who traveled to South Africa in 2017, an overwhelming 82 percent say they are more likely to return to South Africa due to Airbnb. The survey data also demonstrates that guests are choosing to use Airbnb when they visit South Africa because they’re seeking a different travel experience, one where they can live like a local and explore specific, local neighborhoods. Airbnb guests to South Africa also specifically view Airbnb as a more environmentally friendly, authentic way to travel, with greater benefit to the local economies where they are traveling.

Airbnb guests are coming to Africa to explore unique, amazing homes across the continent, and they’re staying with a thriving array of hosts. In South Africa, 65 percent of Airbnb home hosts are women–one of the highest percentages for any country in the world.

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Zimbabwe Artists Unite To Raise Funds For Cyclone Idai Victims

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Cyclone Idah

Cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe

Last week Thursday, cyclone Idai hit Malawi, Mozambique, and Zimbabwe destroying human and properties on its path. It is said to be one of the worst disaster to hit the south-eastern African region. According to statistics, over 2.6 million people are affected across the three countries. Subsequently, the cyclone led to devastating flooding. The cyclone hit the port city of Beira in Sofala province at over 177 km/h (106 mph). Consequently, the port city of Beira which was once home to 500,000 people is now an ‘island’.

The President of Mozambique, Filipe Nyusi on Tuesday announced three days of national mourning. The official death toll as of Monday across Malawi, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique are 56, 98, and 200 respectively. However, many are still missing. President believes over 1,000 people may have been killed in the disaster. Consequently, the real death toll may remain unknown for many months as the disaster unfolds.

The urgent need for humanitarian services

There is an urgent need to rescue people still trapped within the devastated cities hit by cyclone Idai. Also, the survivors will be relying on humanitarian aid for survival. In the ‘new island’ people are clinging to trees and house roofs for survival. Speaking about the disaster, Manuel Rodrigues, Manica province governor, said,

“We saw people besieged and asking for help… on top of their roofs made up of zinc sheets. Others under flood waters. We can only imagine that they had been there for more than two or three days, without food and without clean drinking water.”

Several aid agencies in Mozambique are complementing government efforts in the distribution of food. Over 3,800 families are taking refuge in Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management.

Zimbabwe musicians rise for cyclone Idai victims

Veteran Zimbabwe musicians have taken to their social media pages to solicit for donations to assist the victims. They also used the medium to share their condolence with the victims. The hip hop icon, Ex Q, Jah Prayzah said,

Jah Prayzah soliciting for donations for victims of cyclone Idai

“Let’s join hands and help those who have been affected by the cyclone Idai. No donation is too small to make a change. Anything you think can assist those in need right now in Chimanimani please bring it over… to 31 Hebert Chitepo in Belvedere.”

Michael Mahendere, a renowned gospel musician wrote,

“Our hearts and prayers go out to those affected by the cyclone Idai. The scenes are saddening but we know that there is Hope in the God we pray to. The relief that comes from Him is permanent and we stand with them during this devastating season.”

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Central Bank Of Nigeria Did Not Ban Textile Imports. Here Is What They Did Instead

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On the 5th of March 2019, a Facebook post by the Nigerian Tribune, one of the leading tabloids in the country alleged that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has banned the importation of textiles into the country.

However, this is not an accurate representation of what happened. What the Central Bank of Nigeria did was add textile to items no longer eligible for foreign exchange. The governor of CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele said

“Effective immediately, the CBN hereby places the access to FX for all forms of textile materials on the FX restriction list.”

Making the announcement, the CBN Governor said the decision was to help revive the moribund industry. The CBN will continue to support cotton lint importation for use by textile factories. However, textile factories will have to make plans to source their cotton locally by 2020.

Businesspeople who import goods into the country buy foreign exchange from authorized dealers majorly banks. They use this foreign currency to pay their suppliers. The announcement means textile importers can no longer access the foreign exchange. This applies to other importers of items on the list. This brings the total amount of items on the restricted list to 41. However, in December 2018, CBN added fertilizer to the list to bring the total to 42.

How the policy will affect importers

The Central Bank of Nigeria trades 1 USD for 305 Naira. However, importers cannot buy the USD at the CBN rate for items on the restricted list. They will have to seek for foreign exchange from other sources including the black market. However, at the black market, the USD sells as high as 360N per USD and above.

Nigeria’s economy is largely dependent on the sale of crude oil. Following the plunge of oil price in 2015 which sank the country into recession, the CBN decided to ration foreign exchange to ensure it doesn’t run out of reserves. The CBN stated that,

“For the avoidance of doubt, please note that the importation of these items are not banned, thus importers desirous of importing these items shall do so using their funds without any recourse to the Nigerian exchange markets.”

What this means to the textile industry

According to the CBN, the policy is to boost the local production of the items on the list. The textile industries in the country are struggling to survive due to flooding of the market with foreign textile. Reacting to the ban, David Ibidapo, an economic and financial analyst said,

“This is a good initiative by the CBN, because if you look at what we spend on importation it is about 50 percent of our budget deficit. And imagine if that amount is being generated internally, it will automatically impact on our Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

The CBN also has an importer/exporter window which facilitates currency exchange between buyers and sellers. In addition to lowering the pressure on FOREX, Mr. Ibidapo is of the opinion that,

“This will also inspire local production of textile with the single digit rate the CBN is promising local textile industries that are interested in getting loans.”

List of items shut out from CBN foreign exchange

  • Rice
  • Cement
  • Margarine
  • Palm kernel/palm oil products/vegetable oils
  • Vegetable and processed vegetable products
  • Poultry-chicken, eggs, turkey
  • Private airplanes/jets
  • Indian incense
  • Tinned fish in sauce
  • Cold rolled steel sheets
  • Galvanized steel sheets
  • Roofing sheets
  • Wheelbarrows
  • Head pans
  • Metal boxes and containers
  • Enamelware
  • Steel drums
  • Steel pipes
  • Wire rods (deformed and not deformed)
  • Iron rods and reinforcing bars
  • Wire mesh
  • Steel nails
  • Security and razor wire
  • Wood particle boards and panels
  • Wood fiber boards and panels
  • Plywood boards and panels
  • Wooden doors
  • Furniture
  • Toothpicks
  • Glass and glassware
  • Kitchen utensils
  • Tableware
  • Tiles
  • Textiles
  • Woven fabrics
  • Clothes
  • Plastic and rubber products, cellophane wrappers
  • Soap and cosmetics
  • Tomatoes/tomato pastes
  • Euro bond/foreign currency bond/ share purchases

There are viable industries in the country producing items on the list. For example, Nigerian rice production has grown to 9.86 million tonnes in 2017 from 353,000 tonnes in 1968. Dangote Cement is among the largest producers of cement in the continent. However, the flooding of the market with foreign goods and the consumer preference for these goods is adversely affecting the growth of local industries.

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Kenya’s Mobile Money M-Pesa to Become Available on AliExpress

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The launch of M-pesa as a payment method on AliExpress

Sylvia Mulinge, Safaricom’s Chief Executive Officer (Left) and Boniface Mungania, Head of M-pesa Product Management at Safaricom (Right) during the launch.

Safaricom has secured a deal that will enable users to pay for online shopping at AliExpress using M-pesa. AliExpress is an online shopping platform run by Alibaba Group—A Chinese e-Commerce giant. This deal means that, in a few weeks time, Kenyan shoppers can use M-pesa to pay for goods on the platform.

Ant Financial, an affiliate of Alibaba, will be offering M-pesa as one of the payment options. Ant Financial is the Group’s affiliate that runs payment services. The deal targets microtraders across Kenya who source or import their supplies and goods from manufacturers in China. Shopping for goods from China will now be easier and more convenient.

M-pesa

Launched in 2007, M-pesa is a mobile money service that has not only facilitated transactions of businesses in Kenya, but has also transformed lives. Kenyans can literally pay for anything using the mobile money platform. They can use M-pesa to pay for medical services, school fees, and utility bills. The platform also offers loans and savings to the 21 million users in Kenya.

Under the new deal with Alibaba, Kenyans will be able to select M-pesa as the preferred payment method. Total cost will then be displayed in Kenyan shillings. The standard Lipa Na M-pesa Paybill charges will still apply. The new service with Alibaba comes under the M-pesa Global banner, which allows users to send and receive money globally.

AliExpress in Kenya

AliExpress is available to all Kenyans who have access to the Internet. With a wide internet coverage and easy access to Smartphones in the country, this means that anyone planning to shop online can use AliExpress.

Compared to Alibaba, shoppers can buy products in smaller quantities on AliExpress. Alibaba mostly sells goods on wholesale. The integration with M-pesa means that shoppers can complete all the transactions on their mobile phone and have their goods delivered at their locations. Previously, AliExpress only allowed payments through bank transfer, Western Union, Master Card, and Visa.

Online Shopping

The deal between Alibaba and Safaricom puts AliExpress at a strategic advantage in the online shopping market in Kenya. The addition of M-pesa payment method minimizes apathy associated with online shopping. The new service means shoppers can order and pay for goods at the comfort of their homes, office, colleges, or whichever location.

AliExpress continues to compete with other online shopping platforms in the country that include Jumia, Kilimall, OLX, Shopit, Mimi, Avechi, Pigiame, Electrohub, and Amanbo. In 2017, Safaricom introduced its e-Commerce platform, Masoko.

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