BBC Strengthens Links in Africa

The commercial arm of the UK’s national broadcaster the BBC gas struck a deal with a South African company called Rapid Blue.  The company is a a rising star in the production world  responsible for the African versions of X-Factor and Pawn Stars.  BBC Worldwide has actually bought an investment stake in the company although there were no specific financial details released.


It appears  that the investment in Rapid Blue demonstrates a desire for the BBC to expand into Africa.  The company is obviously already very well known throughout Africa particularly through it’s World Service broadcasts which are listened to extensively throughout the continent.

Rapid Blue was established in 1993 and is based in South Africa, Nigeria and Angola.  It specialises in original productions and translating international TV formats for the African and South African markets.    Much of their productions are broadcast outside Africa though and making their content for an international market has been part of their success.

The BBC has in fact been working with Rapid Blue for some time already producing such shows as the Weakest Link and an African version of the popular Bake Off series.   There is an increasing demand for local content across Africa, which has previously been satisfied with programmes from the European and US market.   However it is this demand that the BBC Worldwide hope to tap into and obviously they have a huge catalogue at their disposal to act as a blueprint for the African market.

Many people in Africa already watch the BBC and other UK TV stations online by using a British VPN to bypass the blocks on watching outside the UK.  In fact it is estimated that many thousands use the BBC iPlayer service regularly despite it being technically inaccessible from Africa.  It is hoped that the BBC will be able to tap into this potential demand with broadcast actually made for the South African market.

Further Reading:

Information on watching UK TV and the BBC is available here in this video demonstrating how you buy IP address software.


Is Africa Suffering From Global Problems?

We often have great news to report on this site with regards the African economy.   There are many positive economic and social stories from across the continent, apart from a few obvious problem areas like Zimbabwe.  However there are some worrying economic indicators that suggest that the growth in Africa is not continuing unaffected by the general global problems.

Last year, African exports to China fell a massive 38% whereas in the other direction Africa imported more than 3.6% more – obviously not good news for African suppliers and producers.   Worst still in many ways was that foreign direct investment fell by about 40% in the first half of the year, without such investment infrastructure changes that are still needed will move very slowly.

Obviously China has suffered it’s own problems over the last 12 months and in some ways it highlights how dependent African growth is on the Chinese economy.   It is not inevitable that a Chinese slowdown will be matched by one in the African economy however it is very likely particularly as other countries are similarly affected and hence less likely to invest and buy from African businesses.

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Of course, investment is dependent on all sorts of considerations and in the past political instability has been one of the major problems.  Nowadays that is less of a problem in most countries but it has been replaced by other issues such as terrorism and climate change.    The effect of climate change has actually been cited by the World Economic Forum as one of the biggest risks to world economic development  and in Africa especially.

Ethiopia which has enjoyed some great economic success is now experience the biggest drought in decades,  IN Zambia there are issues with power deficits and problems with a weak currency.  Fiscal deficits and currency shortages are affecting many countries such as Angola and Nigeria.   There are a host of other problems which are severely impacting the African economic growth potential too.

The  good news that despite challenging global economic and local issues, the fundamentals that have attracted high levels of investment to Africa still remain.  There is a still a massive potential in the continent and there has definitely been improvement in overall levels of education, health and infrastructure in most countries.  Yet attracting more investment to Africa is essential and it will take more than a simple slideshow video maker to bring  the sort of finance required to make a real impact.

The story has changed in Africa and yet the positive developments over the last few years means that success is still possible,   It is important that African governments continue to transform their economies and invest wisely in their businesses.  It is likely that economic development could be fuelled by the agricultural sector – the one area where Africa has a potentially huge competitive advantage over the rest of the world.

John Collins

ISIS Target African Tourism

Latest figures suggest that the recent terrorist attacks by the Islamic State have had a significant effect on tourism in parts of Northern Africa.   These countries like Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco rely on tourism heavily and millions rely on these visitors to support themselves and their families.

The figures make depressing reading, despite an overall upwards trend in International tourism, visitors to North Africa have fallen by nearly 5%.   However certain countries have been affected disproportionately such as Tunisia and Egypt due to the direct attacks on those countries.  Beach resorts such as Sharm el-Sheikh have previously been regarded as a secure and safe place for a foreign holiday,  However when the passenger jet was loaded with a bomb at the resorts airport then that perception changed overnight.  Tunisia has also been affected by the Sousse arrack where 38 people were killed by a Islamist gunman.


The attack on Tunisia was particularly devastating as there was a previous attack at the Bardo museum were 22 people were killed.  The whole area has been subject to the political instability following the Arab spring and there have been many initiatives to bring tourism back to the area.

The problem is that attacking tourism is an effective tactic for terrorists who want to destabilise these areas.  The fear of repeat attacks is enough to have a dramatic effect on tourism anywhere in the world but especially in those places with a less established police and security infrastructure.

Many travel firms and tourists will simply use the advice from the Foreign office, particularly those from the UK.    Even travellers from other countries will follow the UK guidelines as many use the British media like the BBC using an England based proxy to access them.  For example currently the information on Tunisia suggests that ‘further terrorist attacks are possible’ – hardly the sort of backdrop people want for a relaxing holiday.    Although guidance suggests that you should be safe people are not likely to be persuaded by the need to be ‘especially vigilant’.

The problem is that individual attacks are usually quickly forgotten by travellers after all they could happen anywhere, but when there are multiple attacks in a short period of time such as in Tunisia the effect is much more entrenched in people’s perceptions.

There will always be holiday destinations which are affected by political, economic and social unrest so it’s best to keep informed and do your research before travelling.

Helen Cartwright

UK TV Guide

Paynet Awarded New Security Certification

Electronic payments supplier Paynet has received the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), a vital security certification in the monetary and payment sector.

The award ensures that card management center and the Paynet substitution are safest surroundings managing sensitive payments data belonging to customers, authorities and fiscal institutions.

“I can actually say that in my 27 years in Information Technology, we’ve never undertaken this type of complicated endeavor given the extensive payment services that Paynet offers. Certifying conformity to the international standard needed executing new variants of applications, hardware and applications at each stage alongside some other 350 new processes and procedures. We’re pleased to direct Kenya as well as the East African banking and payment card business right into a world of high security payments,” remarked Mr Matthewman.


Paynet places the biggest monetary substitution in the East Africa region. This peerless switch is utilized by over 72 banks in the area. It powers millions of ATM established MPESA withdrawals for Vodacom in Safaricom and Tanzania and the interlinking of tens of thousands of ATMs to the PesaPoint inter-bank network.

Based on an updated registry of service providers by Visa and MasterCard and other international card partners, Paynet is now a “Level 1 service provider” and the only institutions certified because of this rigorous security certification in Kenya. Card processors as well as switch providers, banks must certify because of this standard to ensure protection of consumers of Debit, Credit, ATM Cards.

Paynet lately formed business mix with Interswitch Transnational in an East- West payments partnership that will further expand the region’s pan-African payments vision.

It will be a welcome improvement for the ever growing digital industry in many Eastern African countries. Such businesses have been at a significant disadvantage particularly when trying to make or receive payments online with accounts often refused or declined. In fact many African entrepreneurs try to hide their location in order to open accounts, a typical tactic is to use something like a UK VPN such as this one, which enables people to operate online as if they were from the UK.

PCI Security Standards Council (PCI SSC) is an open global forum, started in 2006, that’s responsible for the development, direction, instruction, and comprehension of the PCI Security Standards, including the Data Security Standard (PCI DSS), Payment Application Data Security Standard (PADSS), and PIN Transaction Security (PTS) requirements. The Council’s five founding international payment brands — American Express, Discover Financial Services, JCB International, MasterCard, and Visa Inc. — have agreed to incorporate the PCI DSS as the technical necessities of each of their data security compliance programs.


Nigerian Political Update – Buhari Targets South East

Awka — With six days to the presidential election, All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, will storm the Eastern commercial nerve centre, Onitsha, Anambra State, with his campaign train.

Where he’d hold town hall meetings, as portion of his campaign tour ahead of the March 28 presidential election, Buhari, who’s anticipated there on Monday, will also be in Owerri, the Imo State capital, and Enugu.

Mbadinuju, who addressed reporters in Awka ahead of Buhari’s visit, said the APC presidential candidate will participate in a town hall meeting with all the Organised Private Sector (OPS) in Onitsha.

Speaking on his defection, he clarified that he chose to join up with the APC because it has proved to be a promising political party of future and the current.

Spoke of his ugly experience with PDP, including his registration with APC and that said he has already informed the PDP executive members in his Umuaku Ward of his decision to remove his membership, in Ihiala local government place.

He explained: “It is distressing, because, as a founding member of PDP, who toiled hard to make sure that it got approval of the majority of our folks, I ‘d quite high hopes for the party.

“But, it’s important to join APC now, because, it’s the correct thing to do, because, it’s proved to be a promising party for the current and future, as everything good about PDP has since vanished. Although there is a distinct lack of international coverage on these important regional elections, you can find reports on global media – try the UK stations like the BBC, this post illustrates a method.

Additionally the Anambra State Chairman Chima Okafor, of the APC Presidential Campaign Council, clarified the town hall meeting is targeted at addressing some crucial policy issues affecting industry and business in the South East and its own tactical value to Nigeria.

Based on Okafor, the occasion was geared towards showcasing the policy push of Buhari in the industrial and business sectors, where Igbo folks feature conspicuously.

He explained: “For the point of training our people in the five South East states to the economic plan of General Muhamadu Buhari, we’ve intended this occasion in the commercial town of Onitsha so that you can make sure that our nominee bares his thoughts on how he means to bring back the production capability as well as the industrial magnificence of the South East area of Nigeria.

Carl Henderson
Technical Information

African Investment – Progress Report

Investor trust in Africa will not enhance this year although petroleum importers will gain as the biggest petroleum exporters were hit by poor costs, a Reuters survey found on Thursday.

The predictions are poorer than in the boom years that China’s voracious appetite drove while such growth rates are high by international standards.

“East Africa is going to function as the standout area, in huge part thanks to reduce petroleum costs, but this will not be sufficient to counter bad news out of Nigeria and South Africa.”

Growth predictions for Ghana and Nigeria were revised down from preceding surveys. The most recent predictions were gathered in the past week.  There was an interesting report last week on one of the BBC’s Newsnight programmes – which you can watch from the USA and outside the UK using this.


Authorities in Nigeria anticipate half a percentage point more increase compared to survey median but it is still significantly less than the 6.23 percent 2014 approximation. Ghana’s market is estimated to possess grown 4.1 percent in 2014.

The survey calls Kenya, east Africa’s biggest market, will grow 5.9 percent this year, compared with an approximation for 2014 of 5.3 percent, as consumers gain from lower energy prices.  The Treasury expects the market to enlarge 6.9 percent.

Analysts said inflation and Kenyan increase would gain more from your petroleum price drop than from the effect its largest trading partner.

South Africa, the continent’s second-biggest market, has been hampered by electricity restraints. It’s predicted to grow a comparatively paltry 2.5 percent this year.  However, the largest two markets are expected to increase interest rates in 2013 as inflation stays in expectation of the usa hiking as well as high rates.

Petroleum makes West Africa budgets fall

But Thalma Corbett said the authorities need additionally tighten monetary policy desired and to cut back the petroleum standard premise farther.  The most recent Reuters survey on petroleum costs imply petroleum will probably average $58.30 per barrel this year, down $15.70 from last month’s poll, the largest month-on-month outlook revision since last fiscal disaster fall.

Ghana’s government can also be reviewing its 2015 budget estimates given a drop in the petroleum costs, which could have an adverse effect on foreign exchange reserves and the current account balance.

Further Reading