Virus has been ‘very devastating’ for many African airlines

Virus has been ‘very devastating’ for many African airlines

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A “new baby” was born with the revival of Uganda Airlines, the country’s president announced last year. But now its four new jets sit idle, business suspended indefinitely because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions.

Questions are swirling in Africa and elsewhere over the financial wisdom of sustaining prestige carriers that often have a tiny share of an aviation market that sees no recovery in sight.

African airlines had been piling on debt long before the pandemic but government bailouts allowed them to limp on for years. Now, as sub-Saharan Africa faces its first recession in a quarter-century, some airlines will find it harder to survive. That’s despite growing global interest in the continent of 1.3 billion people.

In some cases, local airlines are so important for pan-African business on a vast continent with historically poor infrastructure that their collapse would cripple speedy travel. In other cases, however, airlines have been seen as vanity projects for states that can hardly afford to support them.

Nowel Ngala, commercial director of Asky Airlines — a carrier launched in 2010 by a group of regional banks hoping to solve transport difficulties in central and West Africa — said the pandemic has been “very devastating “ to the company, whose nine aircraft are grounded. Revenue losses are substantial and there have been “serious impacts in terms of maintaining” the planes for whenever business resumes.

The International Air Transport Association in April warned that African airlines could lose $6 billion in passenger revenue compared to last year, and half of the region’s 6 million jobs in aviation and related industries could be lost. Air traffic this year is expected to fall by half, it said.

“These estimates are based on a scenario of severe travel restrictions lasting for three months, with a gradual lifting of restrictions in domestic markets, followed by regional and intercontinental,” the IATA said.

That three-month period is already nearing an end, with no return to normal air travel in sight.

Read more at Yahoo!Finance.

Nigerian artist uses graffiti to inspire youth

Nigerian artist uses graffiti to inspire youth

A Nigerian artist is aiming to inspire young people in his vicinity through graffiti art in a Lagos suburb. Fawas Adeoye, 28, has been painting for more than 12 years, creating backdrops for music videos to painting on canvasses.

“My graffiti art is strictly about educating people about and enlightening them. I see a lot of things happening in the environment, I feel like I’m in the right position to like educate people through my art and my craft. This is Mushin, this is where I stay and I feel like there’s a lot going on there, I need to like inspire people with my craft and that’s exactly what I am doing here”, he said.

The graffiti artist supports his passion by using spray cans from commissioned jobs. But sometimes he buys a few more spray cans to finish his personal projects.

“Most people think we are psychos like we are war dogs you know; they think we don’t know what we are doing, and we are not like that. Art is about inspiring people and educating people about it you know and that’s basically what it is; There’s nothing like being violent or being a vandal or something, you know. This is art, it’s like a weapon to me, you can change people’s lives through art, and it has actually changed my own life, I’m like a role model to a lot of people here”, the Graffiti artist said.

Each aerosol spray costs about $2.6 in Lagos. The graffiti artist uses at least 12-15 cans on an average painting.

“The painting with the lady with the face mask is actually about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. I feel like my voice needs to be heard because I am like a voice and I don’t need to be like tamed and like I need to be out there, I need to be unleashed”, Adeoye added.

As one of a new generation of Nigerian graffiti artists in Lagos, Fawas’ future certainly looks bright and promising.

Source: Africanews.

Nigerians’ love for cryptocurrencies on the rise, as it offers cheaper ways to transfer funds

Nigerians’ love for cryptocurrencies on the rise, as it offers cheaper ways to transfer funds

Nigerians do have a high passion for digital currencies and are among the greatest users of cryptocurrencies in the world.

In 2019 Google Trends, Lagos, Nigeria was the number one city based on online search volumes for Bitcoin worldwide. While recently, in May 2020, Arcade Research ranked Nigeria fifth globally with its 11% of connected Nigerians owning or using cryptocurrencies.

In addition, data obtained from Coinmarketcap recently revealed the  largest cryptocurrency users around the world, with Nigeria surging by 46% among its youth users. As a country, it gains stood Nigeria Up 211%.

These trends have shown that Nigerians do have a high passion for digital currencies and are among the greatest users of cryptocurrencies in the world. This is based on a major fact that Nigerians are using cryptos to avoid expensive and heavily bureaucratic money transfer systems currently available. Many Nigerians rely on remittances for their daily activities and any way of making the process effective cheaper would be of great benefit to them, this is where Bitcoin comes in

What you need to know: Cryptocurrency is basically, a digital currency based on an innovative technology called the blockchain. Its users range from small businesses to process payments, financial tech-based startups, and retail consumers that use it to send money across the border and as an investment asset.

Consequently, Asia’s arguably most popular cryptocurrency exchange listed Nigeria’s Naira to be first African currency supported on its Binance P2P platform, The Binance CEO said:

“We no longer need to bank the unbanked. We can empower them with cryptocurrency financial services directly. Nigeria is a vibrant innovation hub with a great passion for cryptocurrencies. We strive to provide the easiest cryptocurrency access and best trading service for the African community, and P2P trading is a more flexible approach, giving users the freedom to choose their payment methods and counterparty in a trade.”

However Nigeria’s central bank issued a statement about three years ago banning the use of bitcoin for transaction purposes, this statement was sent to all banks in Nigeria warning them against facilitating the trading of cryptocurrencies but that seems not to pause Nigerians growing love for cryptocurrencies.

Source: Nairametrics

How lockdown has impacted mental health

How lockdown has impacted mental health

When Nicola Cooper, 34, from Nantwich, Cheshire, found out she would have to stay confined to her household during lockdown, the thought immediately caused her anxiety to spike. In addition to being immunocompromised due to having Crohn’s disease and diabetes, she has bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, OCD and PTSD, having struggled with her mental health since she was a teenager.

“When I found out I’d have to stay at home for a long time, my anxiety skyrocketed because it was such a new thing and no one knew what was happening or how long it would last,” Cooper tells The Independent. “It was out of my control, and the routines I worked so hard at were thrown into disarray.”

Ever since lockdown was established across the UK on Monday 23 March, people’s everyday routines have changed drastically. While Boris Johnson announced a gradual easing of certain restrictions in England on Sunday 10 May, the lockdown and social distancing measures remain in place, and they’re having an enormous impact on people’s mental health.

According to a recent study of 2,000 adults conducted by wellbeing brand Healthspan, the average adult’s anxiety and stress levels has increased by almost 50 per cent in recent weeks. Research published by global children’s charity Plan International UK found that around 40 per cent of girls in the UK feel their mental health has worsened since lockdown was established, while a survey carried out by the Mental Health Foundation concluded that almost a quarter of adults in the UK feel lonely amid the lockdown.

Read more at Independent

China Releases e-Yuan Cryptocurrency and Investors are Going All-In

China Releases e-Yuan Cryptocurrency and Investors are Going All-In

With 70% of nations claiming to be in studying their own digital versions of money, China is by far the biggest one to embark on such a journey. China’s official state-run news agency, Xinhua, quoted President Xi Jinping as saying that blockchain serves “an important role in the next round of technological innovation and industrial transformation.”

The release of the e-Yuan has attracted worldwide attention from investors hoping the cryptocurrency will reach heights to parallel those achieved by bitcoin. However, it is yet unclear to what extent China will include the cryptocurrency in its financial system as international skeptics argue that the currency will never be fully decentralized.

E-Yuan may provide a solution for Chinese long-standing bad debt problem. The country currently has 2.4 trillion yuan ($341 billion) of officially recognized bad debt due to the illegal yet popular practice of obtaining multiple loans pledging the same collateral.

“Using smart contracts provided by the e-Yuan currency, the government of China will be able to track assets and liabilities and to ensure that multiple loans are not taken over the same collateral”, says a senior blockchain researcher J. Rothers.

The circulation of the currency will be controlled by the state and only authorized brokers and banks will be able to sell the cryptocurrency initially.

It is yet unclear whether the currency will be backed by any physical assets. China is known for recently purchasing large amounts of gold to back it’s fiat currency Yuan. It is likely that if the value if e-Yuan falls, the government would step in to provide physical asset backing in order to stabilize prices in investors’ favor.

After the e-Yuan announcement, Chinese technology stocks have been steadily reaching new record heights with Foreigners recently spending over $26.99 Billion on technology stocks listed in Shenzen stock exchange. All of this provides great returns for both e-Yuan and Chinese technology stock investors.

Many investors have been searching for high-potential stocks after the recent pandemic-related crash and this could prove the opportunity of a lifetime for many. E-Yuan may not only solve China’s long-standing problems but allow many middle-class individuals to move up the financial ladder through a secure investment strategy. Bitcoin’s price rose from $0.003 in March 2010 to almost $10,000 in March 2020. Will e-Yuan follow its path?

Source: Yahoo!News

The big restart: how businesses in England are coming out of lockdown

The big restart: how businesses in England are coming out of lockdown

Boris Johnson has promised to deliver a ‘comprehensive plan’ next week on how the UK lockdown may be eased in a bid to get the economy moving and children back to school.

The Prime Minister last night urged the UK to ‘keep going’ amid suggestions the UK lockdown will continue until June, despite saying the country was now ‘past the peak of this disease’.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, the PM reiterated calls for people to stick with distancing measures, saying he understood how ‘hard and how stressful it has been’ to not see family and friends, to worry about jobs and to manage children not in school.

Downing Street played down any expectations of an easing of restrictions yesterday, while Chris Whitty warned that a second wave of the virus could hit the UK in winter if lockdown is eased too soon, and it could be even more severe than the current outbreak.

Business Secretary Alok Sharma is set to put forward plans for an eventual ‘workplace by workplace’ approach to getting back to normal, but not until the Government’s ‘five tests’ have been passed.

How are businesses planning to come out of coronavirus lockdown? A Business Department spokesman said on Thursday: ‘The Government has already set out five clear tests to consider before making any adjustment to its approach.

‘It is only right the we work together with industry and unions to ensure workplaces are safe for both those in work now and for those going back to work as Government measures develop.’


How businesses plan to come out of lockdown and get UK up and running