In case you missed it, here are three major stories from Africa’s business landscape this past week:

Twitter removes ‘legacy’ verified blue ticks

Last Thursday, many Twitter users said goodbye to its ‘legacy’ blue ticks following Elon Musk‘s controversial decision to switch up the platform’s verification system. 

Previously Twitter’s verification system aimed to ensure that accounts belonging to notable individuals and organizations contributing content to the platform were genuinely being run by those entities. The blue checkmark system, introduced over a decade ago addressed criticisms and lawsuits from celebrities who were unhappy with users impersonating them on the platform.

However, Musk’s new system charge of $8 a month for verification through Twitter Blue could affect that. Many have argued that the arbitrary system could make it easier for bad actors to spread misinformation and fake news on the platform by purchasing the verification badge. This could damage the verification system’s credibility and undermine users’ trust in verified accounts. Subscription fees for Twitter Blue are N3,560 per month for individual Nigerians and N460,500 per month for businesses. 

In a surprising turn of events, Twitter has begun reinstating the verification badge to large accounts – accounts with over one million followers – even if they didn’t pay for it.

Tanzania signs $667m deals with Australian firms to boost mining sector

Last week, the Tanzanian government signed framework agreements with three Australian firms, worth $667 million, to harvest graphite and rare earth minerals. The agreements with Australian companies, Evolution Energy Minerals, Eco Graf Ltd, and Peak Rare Earths Ltd, are expected to establish Tanzania as a key supplier of strategic minerals, such as those required for smartphones, computers, batteries, and electric vehicles. 

Tanzania’s mining sector’s performance has improved significantly in recent months with the sector contributing 9.7 per cent of the total GDP  from July to September 2022 alone. This deal is expected to raise Tanzania’s profile on the global stage and stimulate economic activity throughout the value chain for the benefit of the people in the Lindi, Songwe, and Morogoro regions, as well as the entire country. 

IMF predicts a fall in economic growth in Africa

Growth in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) is expected to slow to 3.6 per cent as a “big funding squeeze”, tied to the drying up of aid and access to private finance, hits the region. According to the International Monetary Fund’s report on the region’s economic outlook, this is the second consecutive year of an aggregate decline in SSA growth.

If no measures are taken, this shortage of funding may force countries to reduce fiscal resources for critical development like health, education, and infrastructure, holding the region back from developing its true potential.

The IMF is playing its part. Between 2020 and 2022 the IMF provided more than 50 billion dollars to the region, more than twice the amount disbursed in any 10-year period since the 1990s. And as of March 2023, the IMF had lending arrangements with 21 countries, with more requests under consideration. 

ICYMI: Market roundup

The market opened for four trading days last week as the federal government of Nigeria declared Friday 21st  April 2023 as a public holiday to mark the Eid al-Fitr celebration. 

  • The NGX All-Share Index depreciated by 1.08% to close the week at 51,355.74 trillion. 
  • The top gainers were Transnational Corporation PLC (44.97%), Ikeja Hotel PLC (19.83%), Consolidated Hallmark Insurance Plc (15.79%), Fidelity Bank Plc (13.95%), and R.T. Briscoe (13.64%). The top decliners were Zenith Bank Plc (-12.20%), Champion Breweries Plc (-10.14%), Africa Prudential Plc (-10.00%), Vitafoam Nigeria Plc (-8.65%), and United Bank for Africa PLC (-7.65%).
  • The naira rose to close the week at N461.52/1$ on Thursday compared to the N462.25/1$ recorded at the beginning of the week. 
  • Brent crude closed the week at $81.75, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude closed at $77.87.
  • The global cryptocurrency market cap stood at $1.17 trillion, at 5:50 PM Sunday, the 23rd of April, 2023. Bitcoin stood at $27,646.46 (an 8.87% decrease in 7 days), Ethereum stood at $1,868.72 (an 11.03% decrease) and Binance coin stood at $330.38 (a 4.74% decrease).
  • Chargel, a trucking platform that matches clients with the most suitable providers (truck and driver) from its network of transporters, has raised a USD 2.5 million seed round led by Logos Ventures.
  • CoaChess, a Tunisian startup, has announced securing a pre-seed funding round worth USD 191 K from Omicrone. The company offers a wide range of services, including beginner-friendly lessons and advanced learning techniques aimed at further developing players’ skills regardless of their level.

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