Zimbabwe Strikes A Deal With The IMF To Stop Printing Money

Zimbabwe Strikes A Deal With The IMF To Stop Printing Money

By CultureBanx Team

  • The IMF will monitor vital currency reforms for Zimbabwe’s Central Bank

  • 3 years ago, Zimbabwe paid off more than $100M of arrears on IMF loans

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The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has thrown a life-saver to Zimbabwe by dispensing currency reform advice, not loans, as long as they stop printing money. For decades Zimbabwe has buckled under the weight of astronomical levels of inflation due to its debilitating currency crisis.

Why This Matters: In April, the country’s central bank decided to introduce yet another currency into its already crippled financial system called RTGS that’s fallen in value since it launched. The BBC reported at its height prices were almost doubling every day and the central bank printed notes worth 100 trillion Zimbabwe dollars to try and keep up.

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Africa’s Uprising Catches the Attention of the NBA

Africa’s Uprising Catches the Attention of the NBA

By Christopher Pitts

  • 6 of the 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa

  • Amadou Gallo Fall will now serve as president of Basketball Africa League (BAL)

With the uprising of Africa as an emerging market, it seems only fitting that the NBA would capitalize on years of grassroots basketball initiatives. Recently hired Amadou Gallo Fall, the NBA’s current Vice President and Managing Director for NBA Africa, will now serve as president of Basketball Africa League (BAL), which speaks to the league’s commitment to promoting diversity initiatives. With Fall in place just how profitable could the BAL become for the NBA?

Why This Matters: At the launch of BAL, Commissioner Adam Silver stated “combined with our other programs on the continent, we are committed to using basketball as an economic engine to create new opportunities in sports, media and technology across Africa.” Not to mention that Six of the 10 fastest-growing economies are in Africa. Silver noted there are more than 400 companies in Africa that generate more than $1 billion annually, but sports there has not seen the same growth, at least not yet.

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Google & Microsoft Banking On Africa’s AI Labeling Workforce

Google & Microsoft Banking On Africa’s AI Labeling Workforce

By CultureBanx Team

  • Kenyan AI data labelers make around $9 a day

  • AI data preparation expected to hit $1.2B by the end of 2023

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Information prepared by data labelers in Africa, the construction workers of the digital world, create an important part of Silicon Valley’s efforts in AI. Companies like Google (GOOG -0.64%), Microsoft (MSFT +0.05%), Salesforce (CRM +0.52%) and Yahoo use Samasource, a U.S. firm that creates training data and information around images, by using some of the poorest tech laborers in Africa. Since AI is nothing without human labeling, will tech companies continue to walk the fine line of off-shoring what is slated to be the most dynamic part of the global economy?

Why This Matters: Data image labeling is a necessary part of machine learning and there's an obvious motivation for these companies to use workers in parts of the world where wages are rock bottom. Not to mention the market for AI data preparation was $500 million in 2018 and is expected to hit $1.2 billion by the end of 2023, according to Cognilytica.

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Microsoft’s $100 Million Hyper-Scale Data Centers Land In Africa

Microsoft’s $100 Million Hyper-Scale Data Centers Land In Africa

By Donitra Clemons

  • The reach of Silicon Valley is expanding throughout some countries in Africa

  • Microsoft will invest $100M into their Africa Development Center initiative

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Building on the “hyper-scale” data center model, Microsoft (MSFT +0.51%) started in South Africa, it has opened new sites called Africa Development Centers (ADC) in Kenya and Nigeria. As countries in Africa are increasingly viewed as the next frontier of the global tech landscape, foreign companies are allocating more funds towards developing Africa’s digital framework.

Why This Matters: Tech giants like Microsoft and Google (GOOG +0.95%) are establishing a greater presence on the continent, by launching hubs dedicated to learning and developing technologies including data science, AI, and cloud computing.

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Kenya Weighs $2.5 Billion Eurobond Issue

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

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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.

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