By CultureBanx Team
CBx Vibe:“Worried” Clyde Kelly
Debt, debt and more debt has continued to cripple Kenya’s economy even with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) urging the country to improve its revenue collection mechanisms and effectively limit borrowing. The IMF has made $1.5 billion available for Kenya to draw from in the event they experience balance-of-payments shock and the country’s central bank is considering taking the money.
Why This Matters: Kenya’s Central Bank Governor Patrick Njoroge had originally stated the country was not desperate to renew a $1.5 billion IMF loan, even as the government struggles to raise money to meet its maturing debt obligations. Right now Kenya’s average loan grace period has dropped from 10 years to an average of four years, exposing the country to a vicious debt cycle. The IMF wants the country to consider long term debt instruments to effectively space out repayments. Its first external debt to mature this year will be the $800 million syndicated loan that Kenya obtained from Standard Chartered, Standard Bank, Citi and Rand Merchant Bank back in March 2017. Read More
By Christian McKenzie
CBx Vibe: “Supermarket” Logic
Buying groceries at Walmart (WMT -0.52%) just got easier for customers who can now speak into any Google (GOOG -1.52%) Home assistant device to shop at the retail giant. As the most popular ordering category, grocery purchases make up 20% of voice-assisted shopping. If this service takes hold with Generation Z, which boasts a $44 billion annual buying power, it could prove to be a good investment for Walmart.
Why This Matters: Since 14% of Generation Z is African American and 38% of this demographic is open to using voice-assisted shopping services, Walmart needs to attract them as customers. Currently, Walmart tops Amazon (AMZN +0.74%) in popularity ratings among online grocery shopping sites. However, Google Home has a 23.8% share of the voice activated assistant market, lagging behind industry leader Amazon Echo with a 70% share. Read More
By Fredrick Lee
CBx Vibe: “Crazy” Gnarls Barkley
A college degree is seen as a path to the American dream, however, many students are unable to attain this goal under rising student loan debt. For African American students, having a large student debt is making it harder for them to work in their desired profession or save. At Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or commonly as HBCUs, students and their families have limited borrowing options as tuition continues to rise.
Why This Matters: Since 2013, student debt has grown by more than 500% to the current amount of more than $1.5 trillion in the United States. A college student carries an average student loan debt of $29,000, and for African American students, their debt is higher than other college graduates. Specifically, HBCU students are more likely to default over a 12-year period, than African Americans attending other four-year colleges and universities, according to the Wall Street Journal. Read More
By Alexandra Bacchus
CBx Vibe: “Choices (Yup)” E-40
Low confidence in the effectiveness of standard public schools is driving minority parents, and black parents specifically, to support school choice through charter schools and voucher programs. The problem is that not all parents in low-income communities have the bandwidth or knowledge to pursue alternative options for their children’s education.
Why This Matters: Voucher programs that use government funding to send low-income students to private schools are supported by 79% of African-Americans. That percentage drops to 65% when asked about voucher programs for all income levels, showing that African-Americans don’t necessarily see it as an option that all students should have access to once they are out of low-income communities. Read More
By Priest Willis
CBx Vibe: “What’s Free” Meek Mill Feat Rick Ross & Jay Z
It’s no secret the “War on Drugs” was ultimately waged on people of color and now that laws are changing, those very same people are falling behind in what’s quickly becoming one of the fastest economic booms of all time. As of today, there are over 14 publicly traded marijuana companies with one of the most well-known being the Cronos Group (CRON +3.87) that has a market cap of $5.7 billion. With billions of dollars on the line, was this ever really an issue of what was good for you and society?
Why This Matters: There’s a lot of money at stake and research firm Brightfield Group, recently raising its projections for the CBD industry, finding it could reach $22 billion in market size by 2022. States where marijuana is legal show a significant rise in revenue collection from cannabis taxes. So with proper reform systems, there’s bound to be a leap in economic growth due to extra revenue sources. Read More
By CultureBanx Team
CBx Vibe:“Who Gon Stop Us” Dej Loaf
Hip hop icon Jay Z’s Tidal company may be caught in Amazon’s (AMZN +2.54%) cross hairs, as they look to dive deeper into the music streaming business. The e-commerce company recently launched its fully free version of Amazon Music and now Music Business Worldwide claims they want to offer a high fidelity service, which has been Tidal’s claim to fame. In a streaming industry that Goldman Sachs forecasts will reach $80 billion by 2030, does Tidal have enough in its arsenal to fend off Amazon?
Why This Matters: Right now the artist owned platform Tidal has the most preeminent hi-def music streaming offering with its Hi-FI subscription tier that costs $19.99 per month. Amazon wants to slide in and of course take over this space with the launch of a high fidelity music streaming platform tier that will likely be in the $15 per month range, according to the publication. One bright spot could be Tidal’s music catalog that currently has 56 million songs, compared to just 50 million songs for Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers. Read More
By Tracey Goins
CBx Vibe: “Forget You” CeeLo Green
Despite growing concerns of carcinogenic agents, products giant Johnson & Johnson (JNJ +0.53%) continued to market and sell its baby powder to Black and Hispanic women. J&J segmented its marketing campaign without proper disclosure to the public that its product could potentially cause cancer, according to Reuters. A fixture of J&J’s family friendly image, its baby powder product contributed to $86 billion in revenue last year.
Why This Matters: Johnson & Johnson has been a longtime undisputed leader in talcum powder, a staple among African American households. Accused of aggressive marketing tactics, J&J commonly distributed samples of its iconic baby powder to beauty salons and churches throughout the black community. Baby powder, considered to be a cultural phenomenon, is commonly used for personal hygiene and many plaintiffs maintained they used baby powder in their genital region daily. Read More
By CultureBanx Team
Ghana is home to Google’s 1st A.I. research lab
Google wants to use A.I. to solve Africa's problems in health, education and agriculture
CBx Vibe: “Plugged In” Lecrae Feat. Zaytoven
Internet search giant Google (GOOGL +0.11%) wants to provide researchers with the necessary artificial intelligence products that can solve Africa's problems in every field, particularly in health, education and agriculture. The tech company opened its first A.I. research lab in Ghana to address the increasing interest in machine learning research across the continent.
Why This Matters: Artificial intelligence is becoming increasingly more commonplace in daily life, with companies like Google looking to incorporate it across their platforms. Originally announced last summer by Google, the center in Ghana is dedicated to A.I. research and its applications. Since it's one of the most disputed parts of technology, it will be interesting to see how machine learning algorithms created at this lab will help Africans level the global tech playing field. Read More
By Walter Gavin
Workplace automation will disproportionately affect young, hispanic & Black employees
45% of work activities could already be automated
CBx Vibe: “Them Changes” Buddy Miles
Workplace automation presents the larger society with a conundrum, as A.I. is set to upend companies, leaving African Americans especially vulnerable. Recent studies suggest that automation will disproportionately affect young, hispanic & Black workers with a kind of “creeping disruption.” How will this business impediment lead to more income inequality and what can we do about it?
Why This Matters: For generations of workers displacement has been a normal albeit unequal process, now technology is adding another layer to the mix. McKinsey found that African American workers are disproportionately concentrated in the kinds of support roles most likely to be affected by automation. Specifically, 60% of this risk is concentrated in production, food prep, sales, transportation and administrative support. Read More