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Nigeria joins oil war, makes brutal price cuts

…Selling barrels at record discounts to Brent…Traders see lackluster buying, weak demand from refiners Nigeria opened a new front...

African cities must prepare for surge in populations

Researchers predict that in 2030, Lagos, Cairo and Kinshasa will each have to support more than 20 million people, while Luanda, Dar es Salaam and Johannesburg will have passed ten million. By 2035, close to 30 million people could live in Lagos alone, turning Nigeria’s commercial hub into the largest megacity on the continent, according to the World Bank African Cities report. There is growing concern that African cities are developing informally, as current urban planning has proven to be ineffective and private development is often deterred by opaque or inappropriate regulations. When it comes to investments in infrastructure, industrial and commercial structures, and affordable formal housing, African cities have, until now, failed to keep pace with the concentration of people. In Dar es Salaam, 28% of residents live at least three to a room; in Abidjan, that number rises to 50%; and in Lagos, Nigeria, two out of three people dwell in slums. The World Bank’s African Cities report has also found that in cities like Antananarivo, Madagascar; Brazzaville, the Republic of the Congo; and Harare, Zimbabwe, non-contiguous built-up areas are scattered throughout the centre, with more than 30% of land within five kilometres of the city centre still left unbuilt. In Ghana, buying land has often proved difficult as people often try and sell land that may not even be theirs. Others even end up building on land thinking they own it; only to find out when they need a loan that the land is not theirs. Tackling the problem with land registration, startup company Benben has been designed as a digital land registry and transaction system. “With the inevitable population growth, African cities have an exciting opportunity to embrace technology to leapfrog ahead of the world in terms of affordable services and smart cities. Through adopting innovative technologies such as blockchain and AI, there is the potential to uplift millions of people into prosperity and the formal economy,” said Daniel Bloch, co-founder of BenBen. Abbas Jamie, director innovation and transformation, Aurecon Africa, added: “The [issue] of rapid urbanisation is a wicked problem that requires developers and their professional teams to think more systemically. “We still find too many examples of Western products, systems and technology implemented in Africa that is not appropriate for our conditions. We need to ensure that whatever we implement has an African lens applied to it. We need to have empathy and place our people at the centre of everything we do.”

Exchange rate fluctuations hit Africa Re results

Africa Re saw a slight decline in gross written premium (GWP) for the year ending 31 December 2016, compared to 2015, blaming it on fluctuating exchange rates. The GWP for the full year fell slightly to $642m, down from $689m in 2015. Net profit also fell slightly to $100m, from $103m in 2015. Speaking at the company’s annual general meeting, chairman of the board Hassan Boubrik said the results were commendable in “a challenging economic and trading environment”. He also pointed out that ratings agency Standard & Poor’s had affirmed the A- rating of Africa Re, while AM Best had upgraded its rating from A- (positive) to A (stable). Mr Boubrik also highlighted some key decisions, including readjusting the corporation’s retrocession programme, the approval of major investment projects and, above all, the decision to improve the group’s enterprise risk management.

Four African countries at significant risk of political instability

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NGN17bn netted in two months by Nigeria’s anti-corruption commission

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has recovered more than NGN17 billion in the past two months, through a whistleblower...

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