Exxon Mobil reports that its workplace malaria programme in Chad and Cameroon, which included employees, contractors, and the community, saved it US$ 8.9 million (for a US$ 3 million investment) in productivity gains. This figure does not include healthcare cost savings.
My Africa-based colleague Nigel Twose shared an illuminating story with me. His words follow:
Last Wednesday, I was sitting in the lobby of my hotel in Monrovia, waiting for my flight to Dakar and back to Jo'burg. Across from me were three men of Lebanese origin: the manager of the hotel, a 20-something, and an older man who had just left Lebanon to escape the war. The three of them were huddled over a laptop. One suddenly asked me: "Do you think Kentucky Fried Chicken would work in Monrovia?"
Astronomers, perhaps inspired by the Beatles, have actually found a diamond in the sky - with plenty of bling at 10 billion trillion trillion carats. Here on Earth, you probably know that most diamonds are produced in Africa, and that the sector does not have a great track record in corporate social responsibility.
The East African Submarine cable System (EASSy) has spawned a flurry of debate on the future of broadband in Africa. (And yes, most writers succumb to temptation and include the acronym in one bad pun or another.) EASSy, a huge fibre-optic undersea cable still in the planning stages, promises more immediate access to information and communication technologies in Africa.
Several new World Bank papers have been published in the last few weeks regarding private participation in infrastructure - for those that are interested:
Public-private partnerships are being used in nature conservation with good results. Much of the world’s biodiversity is found in developing countries, yet their national park agencies often lack the resources to protect biodiversity and promote tourism. Only 12% of global spending on protected areas occurs in the developing world. The IFC’s Nico Saporiti recently published a policy note on how public-private partnerships can aid conservation.
Two years ago, [Alicia] Polak founded The Khayelitsha Cookie Co., which now employs 11 women from the sprawling shantytown to bake high-end cookies and brownies that are distributed to top hotels, restaurants and coffeehouses throughout South Africa. The cookies come packed in plastic with a cartoon on the front showing a big, African 'mama' in traditional dress and the company slogan: "Creating opportunity one bite at a time."