Editor’s Note: April 10, 2019

Is Facebook trolling Africa ?

Social media giant Facebook is considering building a subsea data cable encircling Africa, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The aim is to increase access to bandwidth and boost its users on the continent.

In principle this could help solve a real problem – Africa has the world’s most expensive internet. 

According to the Alliance for Affordable Internet the average cost of 1 gigabyte of data on the continent is 9.2% of monthly income. While this is down from 12.5% in 2015 – thanks to the proliferation of subsea data cables – it’s almost double the global average, and a long way off the 1% – 2% considered to be affordable.

This is exacerbating a digital divide that threatens to undermine Africa’s competitiveness in the increasingly technology-driven global economy.

Yet it’s hard to tell if Facebook is being serious. The project has apparently been dubbed “Simba” after the main character in Disney’s The Lion King movie. With a remake set for release in July it almost feels like an ill-conceived marketing stunt, or a belated April fools joke. 

Assuming it isn’t, it will be interesting to see how the company – which has said little beyond warning that current talks may lead nowhere – plans to go about making this happen.

From The Continent

Algeria has appointed Abdelkader Bensalah, the head of the country’s senate, as its interim president following the resignation of Abdelaziz Bouteflika due to unprecedented public opposition against his rule. The announcement was met with anger by protesters, with Bensalah viewed as a part of the existing ruling order.  More: Al Jazeera


Nigeria has announced plans to set up an aircraft leasing company to help domestic and other African airlines finance new plane purchases. The government plans to own a minority stake in the venture, and is seeking private partners for the project. MoreReuters

The Daily Stat

22%

French retail giant Carrefour’s market share in Kenya, making it the country’s third-largest retailer. More: Reuters

The Global Perspective

Universal Music Group, the world’s largest music company, has partnered with Nigerian music streaming service uduX, becoming the first major player in the industry to licence its catalogue in the country. This is part of an expansion drive in Africa, which Universal having launched a division dedicated to Nigeria in July 2018. More: Variety

Remittances to sub-Saharan African countries rose by almost 10% to $46bn in 2018 according to new data from the World Bank. This is part of  $462bn sent to low - and middle-income countries (excluding China) for the year, compared to $344bn in foreign direct investment. More: World Bank

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