Editor’s Note: March 21, 2018

Big data elections are here to stay

Cambridge Analytica, the data analytics company notorious for its work on on the 2016 Trump campaign, has suspended its CEO Alexander Nix following undercover reports showing him discussing potential bribery and entrapment.

The incident is fuelling concerns about its alleged unauthorized use of tens of millions of Facebook account details to to predict and influence the 2016 presidential campaign.

Facebook’s share price has been hit and the scandal has reached Kenya, where Cambridge Analytica was hired by the ruling Jubilee party to support its 2013 and 2017 election campaigns. The party is playing down its involvement.

The media is revelling in the sensationalism of the story but it’s not clear if the company has broken any laws, what exactly its impact on election outcomes has been, or what the takeaway here is.

Most interesting perhaps is the light it shines on the changing nature of electoral politics. At a time when big data analytics is being touted as a powerful tool to reshape policy-making it seems only natural to extend its use to the business of getting elected.

It may seem unethical but is likely a reality electorates in Africa and elsewhere need to adapt to.

From The Continent

South Africa hopes to finalize a new mining charter during the first half of 2018, potentially ending more than a year-long standoff between regulators and the industry over plans to increase black ownership requirements. Mining companies claim the proposed changes would hurt investment and jobs in the sector. MoreBloomberg

Ghana, the world’s second largest cocoa producer, has reversed an earlier decision to cut the pay of cocoa farmers aimed at reducing a budget deficit due to a sharp drop in commodity prices in 2015. Neighboring Côte d’Ivoire, the world’s leading producer, cut prices last year. More: Reuters

The Daily Stat


The amount allegedly given to former French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s 2007 election campaign by ex Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi. More: Guardian

The Global Perspective

Ethiopia has agreed a $600m loan and grant from the World Bank to finance road and other infrastructure projects in urban areas. This comes on the back of a $375m loan earlier this month to fund a national electrification project. More: Reuters 

An Egyptian court has ordered ride sharing companies Uber and Careem to halt their operations in the country following opposition from taxi drivers and a legal challenge.Subject to appeal the allegation is the the ride-sharing companies’ drivers are exempt from paying hefty operating fees. More: Africanews

The Daily Follow

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