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What a wonderful story it would make: an African Amazon, or an African Tencent or even an African Alibaba. Who of us wouldn’t love that to be possible? Sadly, it’s not. And no amount of wishing or business school cut-and-paste sloganeering will make it so. Being sceptical about turning a collection of loss-making and insolvent media and Internet businesses into "an integrated multisided platform ecosystem in Africa that knits technology platforms, content creation and distribution and e-commerce into a consolidated value proposition aimed at attracting prime customers for monetisation" doesn’t inherently make someone an Afro-pessimist. It’s unlikely, at this stage, that even a well-resourced entity with a proven record in Europe, Russia, Brazil, India or Australia could usurp the dominance of the US Internet giants. Unless, that is, the US government were to decide to break them up in the interests of increased competition and fair elections. China, as in all things, is different. R...

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