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Next stage of mobile banking: mobile remittances

Although remittances take up large share of foreign investment into any developing countries, barriers such as the high cost (up to 25% in some countries) and the long distances receivers have to travel, still keep remittance levels lower than could be. This is especially the case within Africa when compared to Latin America and Asia, places that have largely lowered the costs of cash transfers.

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Sources:

ACET August 2011, pgs. 10-13
http://newsletters.clearsignals.org/ACET_Aug2011.pdf#pg=11

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African urbanization trends

African nations are seeing the highest rate of urbanization throughout the globe. Much of this is due to rural urban migration patterns as people seek jobs and better lives.

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China-backed Project to Help Lethoso Leapfrog in Green Energy

"Lesotho is to harness the power of wind and water in a China-funded US$15-billion green energy project, the biggest of its kind in Africa. The Lesotho highlands power project (LHPP) will generate 6 000 megawatts (MW) of wind power and 4 000MW of hydropower, equivalent to about 5% of South Africa's electricity needs."
"Lesotho says the scheme will help end its plight as one of the world's poorest countries, “making it a case study in how investing in renewable energy can transform a nation's fortunes”

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Media, ICT as a Tool for Minority Empowerment in Morocco

"Morocco’s newly launched Tamazight TV channel aims to incorporate minority communities into mainstream culture and communication. The channel will conduct programs in the Berber dialect (Tamazight) which has been largely excluded from public and private institutions. As much as 28% of the country’s population only speaks Tamazight and the launch of this particular TV station points toward a larger trend in using Information Communication Technology (ICT) to represent the voice of the marginalized."

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New Digital Education Device in South Africa Doesn't Need Broadband, Steady Power Supply

"A South African company, The Content Company, has piloted a device that will help rural scholars bridge the digital divide. The purpose is to connect
underprivileged schools to live online information, without the problems normally associated with using modern computers in these areas. The innovation is called Streetwise and does not require broadband, good access to power, decent infrastructure nor significant technical support to work and keep working. The devices communicate via GPRS enabling them to work everywhere."

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Facebook Therapy in Zambia,

"Social networking sites appear to be growing in appeal beyond their traditional use as platforms to inform people about what’s on and what’s happening. Given the growth of mobile technology in Africa, these platforms offer cheap and easy access to therapy/counselling/advice for many people, especially the rural poor, who often need it (for HIV/AIDS advice, domestic violence issues, etc) but don’t have access to traditional opportunities e.g. face-to-face counselling."

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Food Security Fears Fuel Agricultural Land Grab in West Africa, Weak Property Rights Slow Investment

"Rising food prices, coupled with fears over future food security, as the global population moves towards the 9 billion mark in 2050, has led to a rush to acquire land for agriculture in West Africa (and other parts of the world) by foreign governments to grow their own food. As prices rise, foreign private investors have also seen an opportunity to make good returns on on agricultural investments through land leases."

"Land leases are mainly driven by Middle Eastern and Asian countries whose populations are growing rapidly, in the face of limited arable land."

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Sports Tourism Drives Infrastructure Development in GCC Countries, South Africa

"Over the past few years, [Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf] countries are witnessing the rise of sport townships, hi-tech stadiums and coaching academies... The sports events are indirectly linked to infrastructure development which includes housing, building and expanding roads and modernizing public transportation systems. Dubai has installed the region’s first monorail system. Qatar has approved the Doha Metro project which is likely to be completed by 2015. Similar projects are taking shape in other GCC countries as well.

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New Culture Among Providers in West Africa to Increase Telecom Access

A new 14000km, ultra-high capacity (5 terabits per second) fibre-optic submarine cable made landfall on the west coast of Western Cape... after landing stops in 13 countries, 11 of which are on Africa's west coast. The cable is the first to be funded by all South Africa's major telecoms operators... The “open access model” employed for WACS (West African Cable System) is a system that allows all the funders or telecoms operators that own bandwidth capacity on the cable to have equal access, despite them not having landing sites of their own...."

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Transition to "Modern" Agricultural Infrastructure Leaves Middle-Class Households Vulnerable to Drought

"Middle income households may become more vulnerable to droughts as they transition away from traditional from traditional to modern agricultural
agriculture towards more modern agricultural livelihood strategies -evidence from Malawi and Botswana."

Implications from South Africa Horizon Scan:

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