Some African francophone countries take control of their forex reserves
The topics you have to be able to discuss this week
1. Africa steps away from French treasury
Francophone African nations have for decades left the management of their foreign exchange reserves to the French treasury, even though they gained independence from France years ago. Benin’s president, Patrice Talon, says the countries now want control over their currency. The reserves will be withdrawn from the French central bank, he told Radio France Internationale. In future, the Central Bank of West African States based in Senegal will hold reserves for Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo. The CFA franc is pegged to the euro, and its convertibility is guaranteed by France.
2. Poultry in a petri dish
A US company has grown chicken nuggets in a lab, at a cost of $50. Just Inc, the maker of plant-based mayonnaise and vegan eggs, is using cellular agriculture to take extracted animal cells and turn them into chicken nuggets, Bloomberg reports. Technicians grow the cells in nutrient-rich liquid. The lab-grown meat is still being refined — the texture is still too smooth and not quite fibrous enough — but restaurants are already being lined up.
3. Google’s medical move
Google is teaming up with a US health-care firm to collect the personal health information of millions of US citizens, The Wall Street Journal reports. The initiative, code-named "Project Nightingale", appears to be the biggest effort yet by a Silicon Valley giant to gain a toehold in the health-care industry through the handling of patients’ medical data. It says the data includes laboratory results, doctor diagnoses and hospitalisation records and amounts to a full health history, complete with patients’ names and dates of birth.