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Pope Francis arrives Madagascar during three-nation tour3 min read

Francis told his hosts that they should “create jobs and money-making activities which respect the environment”

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Pope Francis arrives Madagascar during three-nation tour
Pope Francis waves as he passes aboard his papamobile, a Karenjy Mazana II made in Madagascar especially for his visit, during his official visit to Madagascar in Antananarivo on September 6, 2019. (Photo by RIJASOLO / AFP)

True to his reputation as “pope of the poor”, Pope Francis began a visit Saturday to Madagascar.

Arriving from Mozambique, where he pleaded for understanding and the renunciation of violence in a country riven by 16 years of civil war and now jihadist attacks, the Argentine pontiff warned of the dangers of deforestation and the impact of environmental degradation.

Francis told his hosts that they should “create jobs and money-making activities which respect the environment and help people escape poverty.”

Madagascar is home to 25 million people, the vast majority of whom live in poverty with an income of less than two dollars a day.

The pope said there “were many causes driving excessive deforestation which benefits just a few people… and compromises the future of the country.”

The authorities must ensure social justice, he added, echoing concerns about the global environment highlighted by massive fires across the Amazon forest.

After the welcoming ceremonies, the pope’s first engagement Saturday is a mass and prayer vigil with at least 12,000 young scouts.

Pope Francis arrives Madagascar during three-nation tour
Pope Francis shakes hands to nuns at the end of the morning prayer at the Monastery of the Discalced Carmelites in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on September 7, 2019. (Photo by Tiziana FABI / AFP)

Tafika Fanomenza, 39, who is helping to co-ordinate the scores of volunteers involved in the preparations, as well as in the pontiff’s security, hoped Francis’ visit would help bring about change in Madagascar.

More than half of the young people on the world’s fifth-largest island are out of work, even if many boast good qualifications.

Political instability has done little to help the development of an economy largely dependent on agriculture, and the export of vanilla and cocoa in particular.

Liberal-leaning President Andry Rajoelina was elected to a second term last year mainly on promises of jobs and housing.

Crowds of 800,000 –

Sunday will mark the high point of Francis’ visit with a huge mass in the capital expected to be attended by some 800,000 pilgrims. 

Many had already started setting up tents on the outskirts of the city on Friday, armed with posters of the Argentine pontiff.

Prospere Ralitason, a 70-year-old farmworker, arrived with some 5,000 fellow pilgrims from the central-eastern town of Ambatondrazaka, 200 kilometres away.

“We are tired, but it’s worth making all these sacrifices to see the pope with our own eyes and receive his blessing,” he told reporters, impatient to set out on the final two-hour hike on Sunday to attend the mass. 

“We spent Ar 65,000 and brought three kilos of rice to make the trip to Antananarivo,” said another pilgrim and farmworker, Jean-Claude Rabemanatrika, 40. 

“There are five of us at home and we don’t have enough money so we had to choose just one family member to make the trip.”

Pope Francis arrives Madagascar during three-nation tour
Madagascar President Andry Rajoelina flanked by Pope Francis and his wife Mialy shovels soil on a baobab tree at the Iavoloha presidential palace in Antananarivo, Madagascar, on September 7, 2019. (Photo by MARCO LONGARI / AFP)

“We’ve provided toilet, showers, a sickbay and somewhere to cook for our 5,000 guests,” beamed Marino Andriamasy, 35, who is in charge of the makeshift site where the pilgrims are staying. 

John Paul II –

The last pope to visit was John Paul II 30 years ago.

“I was a lieutenant when I helped with the security of John Paul II in 1989. Today, I am a divisional general and overseeing security for Francis’ visit to Madagascar,” said Samuel Rakotomalala.

Some 700 police officers will be deployed at the site, which is also equipped with 200 surveillance cameras and the 12,000 young scouts will also help out.

In June, 16 people were killed and dozens hurt in a stampede outside a sports stadium in the capital during a free concert.

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The growth of digital and online marketing in Africa

Is Digital Marketing for Africa? How have businesses gained by marketing online?

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Growth of digital marketing

Innovative changes have over the years, proven to be a constant. Ways of doing things are changing globally at a rather fast pace; things that affect the way we live, the way we travel, study, do business, run homes and families, interact with others etc.

The influence of innovation is simply overwhelming! One sector that has been touched by the transformative wind of innovation is the business sector. In this article, we are going to evaluate the growth of digital marketing in Africa. Before we dissect the topic, let us first look at the meaning of digital marketing.

What is digital marketing? 

Wikipedia defines digital marketing as the marketing of products or services using digital technologies, mainly on the internet, but also including mobile phones, display advertising, and any other digital medium. From the definition provided by Wikipedia, one may sum up the meaning of digital marketing as the use of technologies in marketing as opposed to the traditional ways of marketing we all know.

Before the digital era, marketing and advertisements were only done using traditional methods such as public announcements, newspaper, radio, television, billboards, posters and flyers. Digital marketing on the other hand employ methods such as social media marketing, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), e-Commerce marketing, content marketing among other methods.

Advertising has been taken to a whole new level through the help of online marketing. Business owners, especially startups in Africa now save millions hitherto used in running newspaper advertisements and paying for sessions on television channels that expire after a short time. They now spend less than half of that amount to advertise on various digital platforms, which enjoy more audience than the traditional means, including television and newspapers. 

The state of online marketing in South Africa

 In South Africa, a study by World Wide Worx in collaboration with Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group found that as at the year 2010 the number of South African internet users have grown beyond 5 million. Ever since figures continued to advance upwardly.

By 2016 the number of internet users stood a little below 29 million. That was more than half of South Africa’s 52 million population. With that number of internet users, digital marketing will continue to grow in leaps and bound in South Africa.

Kenya and Digital Marketing

In Kenya, the story is pretty much the same as in South Africa. If you are familiar with Kenya’s marketing terrain, you will understand how big it has grown in a very short period.  Just a couple of years ago, expensive traditional methods of marketing still thrived in the country but today the story has changed as around 22% of all media consumption in Kenya is digital.

What is more, this number is growing fast! The German online portal, Statista reported that Internet advertising spending in Kenya is expected to grow from US$72 million in 2015 to US$151 million in 2020.

Digital marketing in Nigeria

Digital Marketing started to gather momentum in Nigeria around 2012 with the entry of e-commerce platforms such as Jumia and Konga in the country. The period between 2015 to 2019 saw a massive increase of Small & Medium Enterprises in the country with a population of 190 million people.

According to Statista, Nigeria had 92.3 million internet users in 2018 and it is projected to grow to 187.8 million internet users in 2023. This was 47.1 per cent of the population in 2018. It is expected to climb to 84.5 per cent in 2023. With 92.3 million people using the internet, the place of digital marketing in Nigeria’s business space has been secured. The prospect for the growth of digital marketing in Nigeria seems pretty good.

From the situation reports in South Africa, Kenya and Nigeria – three of the largest economies in Africa, digital marketing is growing really fast in the continent. The future of Businesses in Africa can now be viewed better through the lens of the digital.

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East Africa News

Mauritians go to polls in first post-Anerood ballot

He faces two opponents who say his appointment to the country’s top job amounted to little more than nepotism

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Mauritians go to polls in first post-Anerood ballot
Mauritian women check their names on a list before casting their votes for the parliamentary election at Soopaya Soobiah Government School in Reduit, Mauriitus, on November 7, 2019. - Nearly a million voters are registered for the parliamentary election in Mauritius, a stable democracy in the Indian Ocean. (Photo by Beekash ROOPUN / L'Express Maurice / AFP)

Mauritians on Thursday have their first chance to decide if Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth should continue to rule since he was hand-picked for the job when his father stepped down more than two years ago.

Nearly a million voters are registered for the parliamentary election in Mauritius, a stable democracy in the Indian Ocean. The more than 300 polling stations opened at 0600 local time (0200 GMT) and are due to close at 1800.

Jugnauth succeeded his father Anerood Jugnauth as Prime Minister without a popular vote when the older man stood down in 2017, two years ahead of schedule.

The 57-year-old is asking voters to judge him on his short time in office, pointing to his record on modernising public infrastructure and economic reforms in the former British colony.

But he faces two opponents who say his appointment to the country’s top job amounted to little more than nepotism.

The ballot marks the first opportunity for Mauritians to choose whether he deserves a mandate. Counting begins Friday, with results expected later that day. 

Observers expect a smooth election in the prosperous country of 1.3 million that has evolved from a poor, agriculture-based economy, to one of Africa’s wealthiest nations and financial services hub.

Campaigning lasted for a furious two weeks, with Mauritius bedecked in the flags and colours of the warring parties.

Mauritius, comprised of four volcanic islands roughly 1,800 kilometres (1,100 miles) off the eastern coast of Africa, is predominantly Hindu but has sizeable Christian and Muslim minorities.

New alliances –

For the first time in decades, three distinct political blocs will vie for power in the legislative elections. New alliances could be likely if none can clinch an absolute majority.

READ: Mauritius sets legislative elections for November 7

Jugnauth heads the centre-right Morisian Alliance, Navin Ramgoolam, a two-time former premier leads the centre-left National Alliance and one of his former allies, Paul Berenger, is going out alone with his Mauritian Militant Movement.

Berenger, who briefly served as prime minister between 2003 to 2005, has also denounced dynastic politics and accused Jugnauth of presiding over “scandals of all kinds”.

The Prime Minister has banked on the strength of the Mauritius economy — it grew 3.8 per cent in 2018 — and key reforms such as introducing a minimum wage and hiking pensions.

Mauritius has increasingly come under fire for helping global companies avoid paying taxes and was until October on a European Union watch list.

General unemployment, while low compared to the rest of the continent, also remains high among youth at 22 per cent, and inequality is seen to be rising.

Voters have to choose 62 MPs — 60 from the main island of Mauritius, and two from Rodrigues, a small island some 600 kilometres to the east.

The Electoral Commission then appoints eight other representatives from among those not elected, but who received a high number of votes, to rebalance the distribution of seats between parties and communities in the national assembly.

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East Africa News

Kenyan High Court orders IEBC to avail voters’ register ahead of Kibra polls

The Kibra constituency situated within Nairobi County, is home to 178,000-odd people and comprises the Kibera slums

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Kenyan High Court orders IEBC to release voters' register | News Central

Barely 24 hours to the Kibra constituency by-election slated for November 7th, the High Court of Kenya has ordered that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) immediately release the voters’ register to the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM).

Justice James Makau ruled that in failing to provide an updated register, the IEBC had violated the rights of the party and contravened electoral laws of the land. The vote is occasioned by the death of sitting Member of Parliament Kenneth Okoth, who lost his battle to cancer in July 2019.

Through its lawyer Jackson Awele, the party had moved to court on Monday, citing legal and procedural violations by the commission as regards the upcoming electoral process.

It petitioned the court to order the electoral commission to publish the Kibra Constituency voters’ register on the commission’s online portal and in all polling stations as required by law.

According to the party, the names of several eligible voters were missing from the register. Kibra residents have also raised concerns that the register was unavailable for public review in designated polling stations.

As per the dictates of the Elections Act, 2011 6(2), the IEBC is required to avail the register for inspection by the public ahead of any polling exercise.

The Kibra constituency, situated within Nairobi County, is home to 178,000-odd people and comprises the Kibera slums as well as adjacent estates: It was hived from the larger Lang’ata constituency prior to the 2013 general election.

While it is a historical opposition and ODM stronghold, the by-election is expected to be hotly contested. 24 candidates are set to vie for the vacant National Assembly seat but it is, for all intents and purposes, a two-horse race between the Jubilee candidate and ex-Tottenham player, Mcdonald Mariga and ODM flagbearer, Imran Okoth, the late MPs brother.

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