On the surface the rise of crypto lending is a case of new technologies and methodologies powering up financial inclusion – of nimble start-ups filling a need unmet by legacy players lumbering under the weight of their own processes and structures.
“The African markets have really been at the forefront of using simple, existing technology to solve complex financial inclusion challenges,” said Nathan Lynch, financial crime specialist for Thomson Reuters in the Asia-Pacific and Emerging Markets and author of The Lucky Laundry.
“We’ve seen with their innovative use of SMS and M-Pesa, for instance, that they can adopt really robust financial technology to solve the challenges of providing payment services.”
Crypto lending is another iteration of this phenomenon.
As the nutrition science consensus shifts in favor of saturated fat after decades in the dietary sin bin over odious health links, dairy players say it’s time for full-fat segregation to end – especially as dairy under-consumption remains prevalent across the globe.
Armed with what they consider compelling dairy consumption statistics plus an ever-growing body of peer-reviewed research showing saturated fat is probably not – at least singularly – the agent of ailments like high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity it has been tagged with down the decades, the push to have full-fat dairy reinstated in national dietary guidelines is well and truly on.
‘Satfat’-friendly data is being presented to the committees that inform such guidelines while multi-channel dairy education campaigns aimed at consumers, regulators and the broader food industry are amplifying the full-fat dairy message and its potential to elevate across-the-board dairy consumption.
Thandeka Nombanjinji-Nzama has the cranes and concrete of construction in her blood. She might as well have been born in a hardhat.
Her late father Ligwa Nombanjinji founded a construction firm in 1981, a business Nombanjinji-Nzama went on to successfully run for many years when Mr Nombanjinji became ill and her groomed-to-lead-the-business brother passed away, while still in her 20s.
That experience taught the PR and marketing-trained Nombanjinji-Nzama a lot about what it takes to run a big operation like Nombanjinji Family Property, but also instilled in her a burning desire to challenge what she considered an unhealthy male hegemony entrenched in the South African construction game.
A 2018 survey by the country’s Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) found just 11% of sector professionals were women. About a quarter of the biggest construction firms are at least 51% or more female-owned; 34% are black owned.
“When I got into the construction sector, I realised the immense patriarchal challenges and unsolicited red tape for females within the industry,” Nombanjinji-Nzama tells us.
Covid-19 led to widespread regulatory limits on mobile money transaction fees to boost financial inclusion through the pandemic. How have the controls impacted mobile money operators, which earn 80%+ of revenues from transaction fees? It looks like the controls are here to stay in some countries. In others, like Tanzania, Vodacom and Airtel successfully lobbied to remove a mobile money tax.
Africa’s two biggest mobile money markets – Kenya and Ghana – were early movers to scrap fees on mostly smaller transactions soon after the pandemic hit in early 2020. Other African nations soon followed with fee limits and mobile money tax relief.
Regulators and central banks in more than 20 African countries paused or reduced mobile money taxes while raising limits and imposing transaction fee restrictions or waivers on mobile service providers.
Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, Rwanda, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Nigeria, Gambia, Mali, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liberia, Egypt, Morocco were just some of the countries to impose controls designed to empower millions of mostly person-to-person (P2P) and cash-to-wallet retail mobile money users at the height of the pandemic.
Eighteen months on, certain governments have reintroduced or increased mobile money taxes to help replenish pandemic hit coffers while some cross-border transfer fee caps persist.
The central bank-led measures have proven highly effective at boosting financial inclusion and are likely to remain in some countries for the foreseeable future. Initial negative attitudes by mobile money operators are slowly changing in some markets but are being reinforced in others.
To hear 2016 winner Mat Hayman affectionately describe Paris-Roubaix’s brutal cobble stoning of bike and bone as “a bit special”, is to comprehend a little of the reverence in which the toughest of cycling’s five one-day monuments is held among (most of) the cycling community.
“Some riders get really hooked on it,” the 43-year-old Australian tells The Draft. “It’s the one race of the year they live for. It’s a bit special, it’s a bit out there but I fell in love with the it.”
The same can’t be said for all who’ve attempted Roubaix. Even though the Frenchman Bernard ‘the Badger’ Hinault, was in 1981 one of the few Grand Tour GC (general classification) riders to raise the famous mounted cobble trophy in the Roubaix velodrome, he only rode the race three times and later declared it “une connerie” – a bullshit race basically.
The Badger, like many others who have given Roubaix the swerve over the decades, turned his snout up at the random way 50+ kilometres of roughhewn, cobble stone farmer’s paths could cause punctures, mechanicals and crashes, not to mention a bodily jackhammering from hell.
Not Hayman, who even in Roubaix pavé royalty terms, is a bit special, sharing the record of 16 completed ‘Roubaixs’ (pl. Roubeaux?😬) with the Belgian Raymond Impanis (1947-1963) and Dutchman Servais Knaven (1995-2010).
“I liked it,” the Belgium-based Bike Exchange sporting director says by phone as he prepared to recon some of the pavé sections of this year’s 258k jaunt north to the Belgian border with his 7-man team this week. “But then I tended to be better at it than most.”