Mtukudzi makes Africa’s hot top 20 trends

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Life Achievement Award - Oliver Mtukudzi.

ZIMBABWEAN superstar Oliver Mtukudzi has been named among the top 20 most interesting trends around Africa by the magazine DestinyConnect.

The list features blistering mobile telephone sales, edgy furniture made from reclaimed wood and humanoid robots directing traffic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

Musician, businessman, philanthropist and human rights activist, Mtukudzi, is ranked 16th and described as arguably the most internationally recognised cultural icon to have emerged from Zimbabwe.

“He sings about political violence and the hardships of everyday life (without directly criticising the regime of President Robert Mugabe), incorporating different musical traditions and amassing a following across Africa and elsewhere after a series of overseas trips,” says Destiny Connect.

“He’s also a Unicef Goodwill ambassador for eastern and southern Africa.”

After Tuku, in 17th place, are the unique solar-powered humanoid robots the DRC has introduced across Kinshasa in a bid to decrease the number of road accidents across high-traffic areas of the capital and to replace corrupt policemen.

The 2,4m robots, operated by the country’s National Commission for Road Safety, regulate traffic by raising and bending their steel arms and helping pedestrians to cross streets safely.

Equipped with rotating chests and surveillance cameras, they’re made in DRC and designed by engineer Therese Izay, who runs a women’s technology co-operative in the DRC.

She hopes the robots will be installed in cities across Africa and beyond to create jobs for female engineers.

In first place is Africa’s mobile industry success story which remains one of the best investment opportunities on the continent, with subscription numbers set to jump by 50% to 930 million by 2019. Penetration rates have exploded faster than anywhere else in the world, climbing to more than 75% by the middle of last year from around 1% in 2000 — fast closing in on the global rate of more than 90%.

Revenues from the industry are set to rise from $60 billion in 2012 to $119 billion by 2020, which will be around 8% of Africa’s gross domestic product, higher than comparable regions.

The industry is also an important employment-creator: Jobs generated are expected to rise from 3,3 million at present to 6,6 million in 2020. The trend has largely been driven by rising incomes and falling costs, while mobile telephony has leap-frogged over fixed-line coverage.—www.newzimbabwe

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