UK hung Parliament and satellites to improve Africa internet coverage

Jun 09, 2017, 12:45 PM

Presenter: Russell Padmore.

Headlines: The British Pound has fallen after the UK's governing Conservative Party lost its majority in the General Election.

The German industrial giant Siemens says half of Africa could have reliable electricity supplies within five years.

And greater use of satellites to increase internet coverage across Africa.

The decision of the British Prime Minister Theresa May to call a snap election to strengthen her power has backfired, after her government lost control of Parliament. The outcome of the vote could delay in negotiations for the UK's exit from the European Union and the uncertainty has undermined confidence in the British economy. The Pound Sterling has lost value against currencies like the Dollar and the Euro. It's reported Theresa May could cling to power in an alliance with the small Democratic Unionist Party in Northern Ireland, which won 10 seats. Here's BBC Political Correspondent, Susan Hulme....

The lack of a reliable electricity supply across Africa continues to hold back economic development, but the conglomerate Siemens says that could change quickly if governments cooperate with its plans to build more power stations. The German industrial giant says new technology means it can build more efficient smaller plants to generate electricity. The chief executive of Siemens, Joe Kaeser, told the BBC within five years half of the people in Africa could have access to electricity, compared to about a third of the continent's population today....

With millions of possible new customers to be gained technology companies are experimenting with ways to improve internet coverage across Africa. Google is testing balloons that float high above the earth to relay broadband signals and Facebook plans to use solar powered drones. But one of the world's biggest satellite communications companies claims access to the internet across could be improved by greater use of satellites. Inmarsat believes African telecom companies should make greater use of satellites because it is expensive to install cables in suburbs around major cities and rural areas are losing out. Rupert Davies, the chief executive of Inmarsat, told me more about the plan.

A plan to rescue debt ridden Kenya airways is expected to rushed through the parliament in Nairobi next week, before it closes ahead of elections. The state is expected to swap loans it's owed for shares in the troubled carrier, which is about one point four billion dollars in debt. The BBC's Michael Kaloki reports from Nairobi.

(A major part of the airline's debt is the 243 million dollars worth of unpaid loans owed to the state. The governent will swap this outstanding debt for shares in Kenya Airways as part of a restructuring plan that aims to help the airline fly back into profit. The government hopes to get approval for the deal from MP's before Parliament's term ends next week - ahead of the general election in August. The state currently owns nearly 30 percent of Kenya Airways while Air France KLM has a stake of nearly 27 percent. Kenya Airways almost crashed into bankruptcy with an over ambitious plan to expand its fleet and buy several new aircraft Boeing at a time when passenger numbers were falling.)

Now to Sri Lanka where expensive infrastructure projects are lying unused, even as the country is weighed down by the loans from China which were used to build them. The Sri Lankan economy is struggling with a debt crisis, and so the government is being forced to hand control of some of the projects to China. But that's fiercely opposed by people in some parts of the country. The BBC's Yogita Limaye reports.