Kenya Weighs $2.5 Billion Eurobond Issue

By CultureBanx Team

  • Kenya could pay a higher risk premium for the $2.5B Eurobond

  • African countries with IMF-funded programs usually benefit from discounted yields on their Eurobonds

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.

Walmart Vying For Young Black Shoppers With Google Voice Ordering

By Christian McKenzie

  • Walmart offers Voice Order grocery shopping through Google’s Home assistant

  • 14% Generation Z is comprised of African-Americans who are open to trying voice-assisted shopping services

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.

Companies Profit As African-American Student Debt Rises

By Fredrick Lee

  • HBCU students are more likely to default on loans over a 12-year period

  • Current U.S. student debt is at $1.5T

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.

Black Millennials Bet on School Choice

By Alexandra Bacchus

  • Black millennials value school choice in an effort to achieve education equality

  • 79% of African-Americans support voucher programs that send low-income students to private schools

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.

The War on Drugs: A New CBD Economic Boom

By Priest Willis

  • States where marijuana is legal show a significant rise in revenue collection from cannabis taxes

  • CBD industry could reach $22 billion in market size by 2022

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.

Amazon Takes Direct Aim At Jay-Z’s Tidal

By CultureBanx Team

  • Amazon Music plans to offer a high fidelity music streaming service

  • Tidal has the most preeminent hi-def music streaming offering

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.

Johnson & Johnson’s Multi-Billion Dollar Baby Powder Targets Minority Women

By Tracey Goins

  • Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder product contributed to $86B in revenue last year

  • Nearly 12K women claim Johnson & Johnson’s powder cause ovarian cancer

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.

Google Brings Artificial Intelligence Lab to Ghana

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.

Is Workplace Automation Driving Racial Income Inequality?

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.

The Weeknd Levels Up Into The Billion Dollar Esports Industry

By Taylor Durham

  • The Weeknd invests in eSports organization OverActive Media

  • In 2019, eSports will surpass $1B in revenue

CBx Vibe:Gold Watch” Lupe Fiasco

Esports is believed to be the next wave of competitive entertainment and everyone is taking notice, since its expected to surpass $1 billion in revenue in 2019. This cash flow has attracted some big names, such as Abel “The Weeknd” Tesfaye. The Grammy-winning artist recently announced his investment in OverActive Media, the parent company of the Overwatch League franchise Toronto Defiant. Just how ripe is this industry for more investment?

Why This Matters: It’s estimated that 380 to 400 million people worldwide will watch esports this year, including 165 million regular esports viewers. In order to fully capitalize on this audience, The Weeknd will work closely with OverActive Media during the 2019 season. His involvement and influence is expected to bring more attention to the industry. Also, he’s not the only entertainer dropping coins in this space, Drake invested in esports company 100 Thieves in October of 2018.

Facebook Taps PayPal Exec As 1st African American Woman To Join Board

By CultureBanx Team

  • Peggy Alford will become 1st African American woman to join Facebook’s board

  • Facebook’s workforce and leadership is only 3% black

CBx Vibe:Connected” Victor Oladipo

Social media giant Facebook (FB -0.28%) is doing a board reshuffle and now PayPal (PYPL -1.33%) senior Vice President Peggy Alford will have a seat at the table. Alford will become the first Black woman and the second Black person to join the company’s nine-member board. She’s coming onboard during a strong cultural shift at the social media giant that has been embroiled in scandals.

Why This Matters: The call for diversification in corporate America is as pronounced as ever. Last year former American Express (AXP +1.71%) CEO Kenneth Chenault became the first African American to be appointed to Facebook’s board of directors. For Alford, she will need to tap into her decades worth of leadership experience at some of Silicon Valley’s premiere companies like eBay (EBAY +0.03%) to help Facebook deal with its plethora of public missteps. She can also use her wealth of knowledge that comes from serving as a board director at the Macerich Company (MAC +0.97%), a real estate investment trust.

Changing the Game: Bandwagon’s Blockchain Approach For Live Events

By CultureBanx Team

CBx Vibe:Don’t Stop Believin” Journey

As a sports fan growing up Bandwagon founder, Harold Hughes realized being in a venue brought people together from different socio-economic status. He launched his blockchain-based ticket authenticity and fan identity management company to help event organizers connect with people directly. “Fans were using dozens of ticket marketplaces, so we decided to become a B2B marketplace to help organizers make the gameday experience even better,” said Hughes. The data and analytics company helps sports teams, festivals and event organizers know who’s actually there on the day of events in real time. He noted that it’s thought around $2.3 billion is spent each year on fake ticket sales.