May the best immune system Win 😷

What’s giving you hope right now?

Hello Friend, 

Welcome to a new month, What’s giving you hope right now?

For us, it’s the fact that millions of people around the world are thinking and working towards helping each other live better lives in a time such as this.

FYI: You can now add your comment to the web version the weekly newsletter.

Now to the stories of this week

It’s time to go back to work

Imagine you were the president of a country right now, what would you do when you’re few weeks into the lockdown, you’re barely in control of the situation but your citizens are complaining that it’s not working for them? 

Continue or call off the lockdown?

Well, the answer depends on how much you have to give to your citizens. If you’re like most African nations, you don’t have a lot to dole out so you’d have to call off the lockdown and hope that all the other measures in place would help you win or simply let the best immune system win.

Earlier this week Nigeria called off the lockdown in 3 states - Lagos, Ogun & Abuja. But, extended the lockdown in Kano state which has seen a surprising rise in the number of cases & deaths. It’s pretty much the same approach taken by other African countries such as Ghana - whose playbook Nigeria appears to be following, South Africa & DR Congo.  

Big Picture: One thing that was clear from Nigeria’s President’s address - which was already out on Social Media minutes before he gave the actual speech - is that the reason for calling off the lockdown wasn’t because Nigeria has curbed the spread of the virus but because life must go on. After all, the virus kills some people but Hunger kills everyone.

Comparing the performance of different countries

It’d be helpful to consider the actual population of countries when comparing the number of cases/death in different countries. 

As per HBR “We saw many media outlets reporting total cases and comparing the virus growth curves to argue that certain methods work better or to criticize government policies. However, is it fair to compare 100 infection cases in the U.S. with 100 cases in Singapore? The U.S. has over 320 million people, Singapore 5.6 million. Absolute numbers should always be seen in context. Once we adjust COVID-19 cases per capita, the numbers look very different.” 

Apple Music goes big in Africa

Music streaming platform, Apple Music, recently announced it expanded its services to 17 more African countries making it now available in 167 countries. The full list of new African countries includes Tunisia, Algeria, Tanzania, Angola, Sierra Leone, Benin, Seychelles, Chad, Republic of Congo, Liberia, Namibia, Madagascar, Mozambique, Senegal, Malawi, Mauritania, and Mali.

Apple Music, a division of Apple Services, generated $46.3bn in revenues last year. it’s estimated to have about 70 million subscribers, while its competitor has 130 million subscribers as at the end of Q1, 2020.

Why is this important

For Apple Music -  Penetrating the African market appears to be a viable strategy to grow digital revenues because of competition with other music streaming platforms and the growing consumption of digital content by African users. Its major competitor and the biggest music streaming platform by subscribers, Spotify, exists only in 5 African countries. 

For African Music Creators -  Apple Music provides an opportunity for African musicians to capture a wider audience online. This can also help them with brand building with the aim of securing deals with major labels and sponsorship deals.

Competition from “The African Spotify”

This poses more threat for Boomplay, with 62 million users - albeit an unknown number of paying users - and a catalogue of 5 million songs and videos, Boomplay is the biggest and fastest-growing music streaming platform in Africa. How would they respond?

Big Picture

Social distancing regulations around the world has resulted in the cancellation of shows and concerts, the only way music lovers can physically experience their favourite music stars. While it is speculative how long this change will remain or whether it will impact general perception towards attending shows, music artists can leverage streaming platforms as another source of revenue. 

IMF loans to Nigeria & other African Countries.

Nigeria appears to be a little step further into easing its financial woes as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Tuesday, April 28th approved the sum of $3.4 billion as financial assistance to Nigeria. 

More detail, Please

Sure. The $3.4 billion (IMF) is about half of the $6.9 billion financial assistance Nigeria is looking to get - remaining $2.5 billion (World Bank) and $1 billion (AfDB). The $3.4 billion or SDR 2,454.5 million is the maximum amount of IMF emergency financing available to Nigeria.

FYI: SDR means Special Drawing Rights: an international monetary reserve created by IMF as a supplement of the current reserve of existing members. SDRs are units of account for the IMF and not a currency per se. They represent a claim to currency held by IMF member countries for which they may be exchanged.

Africa: Over 25 African countries got the COVID- 19 emergency fund from the IMF with about 21 of them being in Subsaharan Africa, under Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) and Rapid Credit Facilities (RCF), totalling to SDR 5,892.89million/ $8.082.67 million. Nigeria collected the most amount $3.4 billion, followed by Ghana $1 billion, while the least loan collected was $12.29 million by São Tomé and Príncipe, Democratic Republic.

The loan to Nigeria and other countries comes at a low-interest rate, for Nigeria, it should at about 1.05% interest rate. 

What Nigeria has done so far

  • Devalued its currency to ease the burden on its foreign exchange reserve.

  • Agreed to publish what loan is going to be used for

  • Agreed to reduce the number of Ministries, Agencies & Departments. Nigeria has 719 MDAs, with 111 Institutions formed from 1999 to 2018. Finally, agreeing to the recommendation made as far back as 2011.

Dig Deeper: Read an abridged version of the recommendations and Government’s response 

In a nutshell: The loan does not solve Nigeria’s current economic problems but if used properly, can be a major aid until Nigeria finds another monetary intervention.

No more wars but let’s look at last year’s Global spending on Military

The year 2020 started out like it was going to be filled with wars or at least that’s the picture the media painted, however, we’re fighting another type of war.

Let’s look at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s report on how much countries around the world spent on their military for 2019

Source: Axios

A few highlights

  • Global military expenditure is estimated to have been $1917 billion in 2019, the highest level since 1988. 

  • At an estimated $41.2 billion, military expenditure in Africa accounted for 2.1 per cent of the global total in 2019

  • Algeria’s military expenditure of $10.3 billion in 2019 was the highest in North Africa (and Africa as a whole) and accounted for 44 per cent of the subregional total. 

  • Three countries do not have a military and therefore have no military burden: Costa Rica, Iceland and Panama. 

  • Here are the biggest relative increases and decreases in military expenditure from 2018 - 2019

Question on our mind: With providing good healthcare and reviving the economy on top of the list of every government’s priority, should we expect military spending to decline this year? After all, war is the last thing on any one’s mind now or so we think.

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Worth Reading 📚

Quote 💭

Often it isn’t the mountains ahead that wear you out, it’s the little pebble in your shoe.

– Muhammad Ali

Thank you for reading this week’s edition 💙

Written by Daniel Adeyemi, Damilola Amusan & Bright Azuh