Palladium is Africa’s Modern-Day Vibranium

By CultureBanx Team

  • Palladium is one of the best-performing commodities of 2018

  • 40% of palladium comes as a byproduct of platinum mining in South Africa

Palladium, usually ignored in favor of gold, silver and platinum has recently eclipsed them all, and is one of the best-performing commodities of 2018. The metal is typically used in cars along with jewelry and is on track to become more valuable than gold for the first time in 16 years. About 40% of palladium supply comes as a byproduct of platinum mining in South Africa.

Why This Matters: Over the past two decades, the metal has been slowly replacing platinum as a lower-cost material for the pollution-control of catalytic converters on gasoline-powered vehicles. More than 80% of the world’s palladium is used for this purpose.

Burger King Cooks Up Nigeria Growth Plan

By CultureBanx Team

  • Burger King is planning to venture deeper into Africa

  • The global fast food market grew 4.9% to $708B in 2017

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Africa’s largest economy Nigeria is on Burger King’s global expansion radar. Restaurant Brands International (QSR -4.31%), which is the fast food chains parent company has been steadily looking outside of the U.S. for new growth areas. Is West Africa the right place for Burger King?

Why This Matters: There’s a good reason for the American company to venture deeper into international territory. The global fast food market grew 4.9% to $708 billion in 2017, according to Euromonitor. That is more than in the U.S. which was only up 3.8% to $247 billion.

Africa’s New Diamond Trade is Madagascar’s Vanilla Crop

By CultureBanx Team

  • Madagascar produces about 80% of the world’s vanilla

  • Vanilla producers expect prices to remain high during the 2018-2019 season

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Madagascar’s vanilla cash crop has become more precious than silver and prices are continuing to soar. The country’s northeast mountain area produces about 80% of the world’s vanilla, one of the most expensive flavors.

Why This Matters: Vanilla is used in everything from ice cream to alcohol and even cosmetics. Madagascar’s vanilla producers expect prices to remain high during the 2018-2019 season. Green vanilla bean prices have reached $56 per kilo, once the vanilla is ready for export its price is eight to ten times higher than that of green vanilla, and is expected to sell between $376 and $560 per kilo.

Facebook Becomes Uganda’s Internet Plug

By CultureBanx Team

  • Facebook connects remote parts of Uganda to high speed internet

  • Ugandans must pay $0.05 per day to use Facebook

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Facebook (FB -3.00%) has laid 500 miles of fiber wires in northwest Uganda to provide millions of people with connectivity infrastructure. It’s expanded the isolated northwest of this East African nation’s network capacity by providing faster internet access.

Why This Matters: The Ugandan cable project is the largest one Facebook has helped construct on the continent, in partnership with Bharti Airtel’s Ugandan unit and Mauritius based Bandwidth & Cloud Services Group. Facebook has 131 million monthly active users in sub-Saharan Africa. Right now Ugandans must pay $0.05 per day to use Facebook.

African Music Bops Attract Universal Music Group

By CultureBanx Team

  • Universal Music Group strikes a new licensing deal with Africa’s Boomplay

  • Boomplay has more than 36M users

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The world’s largest music publisher Universal Music Group (UMG) is pushing further into Africa through a new licensing deal with Boomplay. This new agreement will cover multiple markets across the continent, which is widely fragmented but remains one of the last true music growth opportunities in the world.

Why This Matters: Boomplay is Africa’s leading music streaming service with more than 2 million songs and thousands of music videos, spanning genres like Afrobeat, Afropop and hip-hop. They have more than 36 million users and add nearly 2 million new users each month. Under the terms, Boomplay will distribute music from UMG’s labels through its streaming service in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia.

Africa’s Seychelles Issues World’s 1st Blue Bond

By CultureBanx Team

  • Seychelles raises $15M in a 10-year blue bond

  • The nation’s fishing industry employs 17% of its population

The tiny island nation of Seychelles is the first country to sell debt earmarked specifically for ocean projects, raising $15 million in a 10-year blue bond. Nuveen, Prudential and Calvert Impact Capital are the three investors who bought the bond. Proceeds from the blue bond will be used to expand its protected marine areas, invest in fisheries and offer grants and loans to ocean-related industries.

Why This Matters: The Indian Ocean archipelago’s economy is dependent on the ocean and on fisheries for nutrition, livelihoods and other blue economy sectors like tourism. Seychelles’ fishing industry employs 17% of its population.

Naspers Play to Become South Africa’s Craigslist

By CultureBanx Team

  • Naspers has classifieds businesses in 40 markets

  • The online classifieds market is worth about $24B globally

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Africa’s most valuable company Naspers has evolved from largely being a traditional newspaper media company into an internet conglomerate. Now the company is trying to morph again, this time making a multi-billion dollar bet on the future of publishing.

Why This Matters: Naspers is yet to find similar success in Africa like it has with international investments in companies like Tencent, which they own a 31% stake in. So far, several of its investments on the continent in classified platforms and e-commerce marketplaces, notably including Nigeria’s Konga, have been written off.

Lost Guap: The Price of Printing Currencies in Other Countries

By CultureBanx Team

  • Liberia’s central bank lost $104 million worth of banknotes

  • The U.S. prints approximately 7 billion banknotes per year

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Missing cash to the tune of $104 million in Liberia is still unaccounted for, after it was printed overseas and passed through the country's main port and airport. With Africa being the fastest growing region for banknote printing and several countries having this process done outside of their borders, should we care where our money is printed?

Why This Matters: A number of highly specialised companies make cash for most of the world's currencies. Liberia uses outsourced printing for its banknotes simply because it’s expensive and difficult to do within the country. They are also trying to avoid having to keep up with fast moving technological advances to prevent counterfeiting.