In Business Africa this week we examine whether Zimbabwe’s new bonds will be worth more than the paper they are printed on, South Africa shuts its e-wallet service M-Pesa; and Cameroon puts quality over quantity as it targets becoming a key coffee producer.
Money maker: Zimbabwe banks on bonds
Since sustained hyperinflation sent Zimbabwe’s currency soaring into the stratosphere, the country’s never really got to grips with its cash crisis.
Zimbabwe’s inflation rate rose so dramatically in 2009 that paper money became practically worthless. At one point a hundred trillion dollar note could only buy a few basic groceries. Since then it has used a variety of foreign currencies, but now, a shortage of cash has forced Zimbabwe to take another drastic measure.
The Central Reserve Bank Governor John Mangudya says Zimbabwe will print its own version of the US dollar. The new Zimbabwe Bonds are not meant to replace but be traded alongside other currencies but critics fear the worst as Claire Muthinji and Ruth Lago report.
Vodacom shuts M-Pesa in South Africa
Britain’s mobile phone giant, Vodafone, this week announced that its underlying business is growing for the first time in nearly a decade.
Its business is booming in Europe but its real growth is coming from Asia the Middle East and Africa where bundle offerings and data take-up have boosted the firm’s earnings.
So, it may surprise some that the firm’s South African subsidiary, Vodacom, is dropping M-Pesa, its mobile money transfer and e-wallet service.
The platform has had almost unrivaled success in many major African markets, but the firm’s decided to shut up shop in the face of a rigid regulatory environment and fierce competition for the so-called unbanked population. Ken Karuri and Stephan Kungne report on M-Pesa’s demise.
Cameroon’s coffee festival
Cameroonians don’t drink a lot of coffee, according to official statistics but the country does claim to make some of the world’s best grains.
To increase consumption and boost sales, coffee growers now want the government to introduce regular coffee hours for civil servants. That’s one of many ideas the industry promoted during this year’s International Festival of Cameroonian Coffee; Jean-David Mihamle and Elvis Boh went in search of a good cup.