WeChat ready to challenge Facebook, WhatsApp for mobile supremacy in Africa

wechat_phoneNot satisfied with merely being a titan on the mainland, Tencent is also apparently well and truly conquering Africa with the rise of the WeChat Wallet launched last November. Thanks to a long-term partnership with leading African media company Naspers, the Chinese service is also gunning for competition from the US.

Way back in 2001, Naspers acquired a 46.5% stake in Tencent for $32 million. While their stake has since diluted down to just 34%, it is now worth $65 billion.

In the context of Africa’s growth — in which China is known to have a vested interest — WeChat’s looks to be acquiring as much market share as possible during the country’s early Internet-using years, which are allowing for experimental business maneuvers. Indeed, the WeChat Wallet, which facilitates p2p money transfers, prepaid credit purchases, etc., doesn’t even require a bank account.

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Vision 2030 Projects That Will Change the Face of Kenya

160114173431-two-rivers-mall-super-1691454512470409400Kenya’s Vision 2030 is the national long-term development policy aimed at transforming the nation into a middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment.
Kenya’s vision to transform into a middle-income economy by 2030 is taking shape with resources being directed to meet the infrastructure required to move the country into an industrialized nation.

Major changes have already taken place and the vision that looked unattainable when it was launched in June 2008 by then President Mwai Kibaki, is shaping up and the next few years will see Kenya’s face transformed completely through enormous and varied transport systems, energy and technology schemes among other developments.

Kenya’s Vision 2030 is the national long-term development policy aimed at transforming the nation into a middle-income country providing a high quality of life to all its citizens in a clean and secure environment. The Vision comprises of three key pillars: Economic; Social; and Political. The Economic Pillar aims to achieve an average economic growth rate of 10 per cent per annum and sustaining the same until 2030.

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Obama signs Africa electricity initiative into law

7f956c0f89b84a6792dc22725029046fWashington – President Barack Obama signed into law on Monday a measure aimed at expanding electricity to millions of households in sub-Saharan Africa, a measure supporters say will save lives and accelerate growth on the continent.

The Electrify Africa Act, which unanimously passed the House of Representatives and Senate, leverages partnerships with the private sector in order to bring first-time electricity access to some 50 million people in underserved parts of Africa.

Virtually no new US federal funds are allocated for the project, which instead will use a system of loan guarantees to add 20 000 megawatts of electricity to the continent’s grid by 2020.

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GUINEA IMMIGRATAION MATTERS (Jan. 29, 2016) – Employers required to submit Africanization plans

IMPACT – MEDIUM
What is the change? The Republic of Guinea has adopted new work permit rules that require employers hiring foreign workers to train local workers. The government has also increased the annual duty on work permits and designated certain jobs for Guinean workers only.
What does the change mean? Employers hiring foreign nationals must obtain authorization from the public employment service and the Guinean Agency for the Promotion of Employment (AGUIPE) and submit an Africanization plan that sets out the employer’s steps to train Guinean nationals for jobs held by foreign workers.
Implementation time frame: Immediate. Companies currently employing foreign workers who were hired before the new rule was adopted will have 90 days to submit Africanization plans.
Visas/permits affected: Work permits.
Who is affected: Companies hiring foreign nationals. Nationals of ECOWAS member states are not affected.
Impact on processing times: The requirement that employers submit an Africanization plan may lengthen the overall process.
Business impact: The measures seek to protect the local work force and make sure employers have plans to transition skills to Guinean workers.
Next steps: Companies with foreign staff holding supervisory and senior executive roles should prepare their Africanization plans. Companies already employing foreign nationals must submit the plans within the 90-day deadline. Companies applying for work permits must submit the plan with their applications.
Background: According to a ministerial order on regulating foreign labor, employers must submit Africanization plans to train Guinean nationals for jobs held by foreigners. Plans must be executed within two years for supervisory positions and four years for senior executives. AGUIPE will review the plans before issuing work permits.
In other changes, the government has increased the annual duty that employers must pay each year on work permits from US$300 to US$1,000 and has issued a list of protected jobs that may only be occupied by Guinean nationals. The list includes jobs in manufacturing, maintenance and repair, transport, construction, agriculture and others.
BAL Analysis: Employers should be aware of the new requirements to put in place training and transition programs. To avoid potential delays in processing, companies should make their Africanization plans available as soon as possible.

DHA scraps unabridged birth certificate rule for updated passports for minors

Cape Town – The departments of home affairs and tourism have finally announced that the controversial visa laws – which required all minors travelling to or going out of SA to have an unabridged birth certificates – will be replaced in favour of an updated passport for minors with printed details of both parents – to come into effect over 3 to 12 months time.

Director-General of the Department of Home Affairs, Mkuseli Apleni addressed media on Friday to relay the progress made since the announcement of the amendment programme outlined by the Inter Ministerial Committee (IMC)at the end of October last year.

Despite much upheaval from the tourism industry about the DHA taking the full three months allowed to the department in order to put the IMC changes into effect, Apleni said at the briefing,  “We are indeed on course”.

The DHA said going forward, South Africans applying for new passports for minors will receive a document detailing both parents particulars, and that this would be the accepted travel document instead of the unabridged birth certificate. The process however, still needs to be rolled out.

While South Africa has two versions of the birth certificate, an abridged (issued for newborns up until 2013) and an unabridged birth certificate detailing both parents details (issued to all new borns since 2014) – this requirement has not been scrapped, since all parents need to apply for it when registering their babies, the department said.

What will change over the next 3 to 12 months is the need to travel with the birth certificate document, since the new updated version of the passport will become the recognised travel document.

Added to this, the department said international visitors who have gone through the process of applying for a visa in order to enter South Africa, would not be required to provide birth certificate identification provided both parents are travelling with the minor. Parents of minors from visa exempt countries are however advised to strongly travel with the birth certificate, should it be requested by immigration officials.

Additional priorities to be addressed in the next three months include: 

– Add visa facilitation centres, including in Zimbabwe, United Arab Emirates and Botswana.

– Consider a visa-waiver for India, China, Russia and other countries.

– Look at issuing visas on arrival for persons travelling to SA having in their passports valid visas for the UK, USA and Canada or any other country that applies stringent checks on visitors to their countries, to ease travel for tourists.

– Consider granting a certain category of frequent travellers (business and academics) from Africa a 10-year Multiple Entry Visitor’s Visa.

– Open two Business Visa Facilitation Centres in Durban and Port Elizabeth, in addition to the centre recently opened in Sandton.

 

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