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Leo Holtz

Articles by Leo Holtz

COVID-19’s impact on overall health care services in Africa

13 days ago

By Leo HoltzIn addition to directly causing the deaths of at least 200,000 people in Africa, the COVID-19 pandemic is also disrupting critical health services and undermining years of progress fighting other deadly diseases, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB), and malaria, which continue to be the leading causes of death in the region. In order to better understand the extent of this impact, a recent report by The Global Fund utilizes data from urban and rural health care facilities in 24 African countries and seven Asian nations to investigate and compare the spillover impacts of the pandemic on essential health care services for HIV, TB, and malaria.
In 2020, access to health care services declined significantly throughout the world compared to 2019. The

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Mobile money dominates fintech investment in Africa

25 days ago

By Leo HoltzFinancial technology, colloquially referred to as “fintech,” is accelerating financial inclusion in sub-Saharan Africa—a region that traditionally suffers from limited access to formal financial services, such as credit, insurance, and banking. While in recent years the opportunities made possible by this technology have opened doors for many in the region—especially low-income households—users of fintech are utilizing the tool in more and more sophisticated ways, as seen in a recent paper by Financial Technology Partners, a boutique investment banking firm, which reveals promising investment trends in the African FinTech industry.
The population of Africa will likely continue to utilize the region’s rising cellular and internet penetration and adopt emerging digital payment,

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Africa in the news: Nigeria, climate change, and Tunisia updates

September 25, 2021

By Leo HoltzCOVID-19 maintains lingering economic disruption in Nigeria
On Tuesday, Nigeria’s National Bureau of Statistics and the United Nations Development Program reported that approximately 20 percent of workers in Nigeria lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, the joint research examining the pandemic’s impact on Africa’s largest economy uncovered a staggering 33 percent unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of 2020. Informal-sector workers particularly struggled to access credit and funding to stay open as commerce slowed. Notably, losses across sectors were not uniform, as more than half of the businesses surveyed managed to retain their staffing levels, a finding which the authors say suggests that Nigeria maintained “pockets of resilience” throughout the

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Cryptocurrency flows in Africa

September 14, 2021

By Leo HoltzThe use of cryptocurrencies in Africa is on the rise, as digital currencies offer a swift, convenient, and direct peer-to-peer channel for remittance payments, international commerce, and savings. To better understand the global landscape around cryptocurrency use, Chainalysis, a leading cryptocurrency market research firm, recently released a report examining key geographic trends around the financial tool, including in the nascent African crypto market.
Although Africa captures only 2 percent of the global value of all cryptocurrencies received and sent (Figure 1), making it the world’s smallest cryptocurrency economy, the rising prominence of this innovative form of money is altering traditional financial flows to and from the continent.
Figure 1. Summary of Africa’s

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