BUSINESS BRIEFS: SEPTEMBER 2018

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Jack Ma’s sermon to entrepreneurs

Ali Baba founder Jack Ma last month officially launching the Netpreneur prize in South Africa, a $10 million competition for tech innovators. The prize will “further [Africa’s] digital economy through local entrepreneurship.” The competition will host an annual pitching session, awarding $1 million in prize money over ten years. Ma drew on his own story of trying to launch an e-commerce company on achingly slow bandwidth in China 19 years ago. He recalled trying to register an internet company when the concept itself seemed unfathomable. He sees a similar environment in Africa.

IEBC to adopt blockchain technology

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chair Wafula Chebukati announced last month they are considering blockchain technology to offer real-time results, as part of reform efforts to enhance the integrity of voting. He said the technology will be used to enable presidential candidates to securely access results. Blockchian is a distributed-ledger technology that’s used to verify and record cryptocurrency transactions to boost transparency and reduce perceptions of opacity.

Treasury warns of hard times

Kenyans should prepare for tougher times ahead to meet the demands of debt repayment as the country’s appetite for loans remains high and not likely to narrow anytime soon. Treasury has said citizens will have to squeeze more taxes, be ready for inflationary pressure and fight bankruptcy as government prepares to plug the gulf left by heavy borrowing. Data presented to Parliament last month show the country’s appetite for bilateral and commercial loans has been on the rise compared to the less expensive multilateral loans, putting a strain on the dragging revenue collection.

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