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Although it is the most talked about, China is not the only Asian economy looking to Africa – and bankers are moving to facilitate the flow of capital.

A case in point: South Africa’s Standard Bank announced a partnership on 23 April with the largest bank in South Korea to provide services for its clients doing business in Africa.

The agreement with Woori Bank, which has been in the process of privatising from state ownership since 2010, aims to support the South Korean lender’s clients even though the bank has no presence in the region.

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China Railway Construction Corp Ltd (CRCC) has signed two deals worth a combined $5.5 billion for construction projects in Africa, Xinhua reported late on Monday, as the country’s railway firms increasingly flex their muscle overseas.

CRCC’s China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) unit will work on a $3.5 billion intercity railway line in Nigeria’s southwestern Ogun state, Xinhua said, citing the area’s state governor, Ibikunle Amosun. Read more

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Starting a new business within the continent of Africa can be as terrifying as it is exciting. At any given time, a fledgling company can come up against a number of common challenges.

From hiring the right people to defining your brand… start-ups must overcome these obstacles to ensure success. This is according to Dan Karua, Managing Director, Lamudi, Kenya.

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 Men’s Fitness

How to avoid the possibility of eating poisonous rice.

Eaters of white and brown rice have healthier diets— they take in more fruits and vegetables and less saturated fat and added sugar, a Baylor College of Medicine study of more than 14,000 adults showed. But all’s not well in Riceville. It turns out, the grain is often tainted with carcinogenic metals, especially when crops are grown in once industrial areas. In China, the concern is cadmium, a metallic compound that may cause cancer and kidney disease. In fact, a Greenpeace East Asia test found unsafe levels of cadmium in 12 of 13 rice crops sampled. Stateside, arsenic is the enemy, though the FDA has so far deemed levels too low to cause immediate adverse health effects.

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Gilat Satcom has unveiled the launch of its ‘Village Island’ portfolio, which according to the company enables rural villages and remote communities in Africa where ARPUs are low to take control of their digital futures. According to the company, the Village Island will be launched at the Innovation Access Digital Africa summit, which is set to take place during 14th-16th April at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

The company revealed that Village Island has been developed to provide internet, VoIP and IP video over a private satellite network. According to Gilat Satcom, this will allow connectivity for individual villagers starting from USD 1 a month. Read more

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MTN Business has launched Bring Your Business Online, a platform that gives small and medium-sized businesses (SME) increased visibility by providing online presence on the MTN managed domain for less than R20 a month.

“SMEs are the lifeblood of the South African economy, however, many of them are limited from reaching their full potential because they rely on word of mouth or traditional methods of promoting their services. With this new solution, MTN Business gives them a secure online platform to expand their reach through the expansive footprint of the digital world,” says Alpheus Mangale, Chief Enterprise and Business Officer at MTN Business. Read more

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EVEN though Africa accounts for about 15% of the world’s human population, its air traffic handles only 2.85% of air passengers. It is also home to only two airports which feature in the top 150 worldwide airports for highest annual passengers handled: Johannesburg’s OR Tambo and Cairo International, at two opposite sides of the continent leaving a lot of empty space.

By any means, there is plenty of room for new developments, not merely for the expansion of old ones. Indeed, when looking closely at Africa’s air traffic future, there appears to be several new airport projects and a few new routes gaining strategic significance. Read more

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A “critical milestone” has been reached in South Africa’s plans to build new nuclear power stations, the government has said.

In a statement, the government on Wednesday said the stage was now set for the preparatory stage of the procurement process that would be undertaken in line with the country’s legislation and policies.

The announcement came at a time when the majority of South African households and businesses were experiencing emergency load shedding as a result of the poor maintenance of power utility Eskom’s stations and transmission lines. Read more

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Russia is keen on further expanding its footprint in Zimbabwe’s business circles and has cast its eyes on agriculture, promising to set up vast equipment assembly plants at a knock down cost.

There is a growing demand for agricultural produce in Russia, which is under sanctions from the European Union and has in turn imposed an embargo on basic foods, as well as meat and many other products, from Western countries.

The company will also ensure that an assembly plant is built in Zimbabwe to supply the African markets

Russia is seeking alternative markets and products subject to the one year embargo on beef, pork, poultry, fish, fruit, vegetables, cheese, milk and other dairy products from the US, Canada, the European Union, Norway and Australia.

Setting up an agricultural base in Zimbabwe might help mitigate food shortages.

On Monday, a 12 member Russian delegation, comprising of technical expects, led by Igor Avakumo, pitched proposals to their Zimbabwean counterparts. Read more

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Five men in dark business suits gathered before Maria Kiwanuka in a semicircle. They were international bankers and they had a pitch to make.

Ms. Kiwanuka, the finance minister of Uganda, was sitting up on a small riser, her bright pink and gold dress a sharp contrast to the men’s suits.

Bankers are jockeying for the next sovereign debt deal in Africa, a continent that foreign investors have long been wary of for its economic woes, rampant poverty and political instability. Now that narrative is changing, and one sub-Saharan nation after another is jumping into the debt market. Read more