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Religion, LGBT, Ethnicity: Ranking African Intolerance

The painting ''Mandela'' by Chinese artist Li Bin in Johannesburg
The painting ''Mandela'' by Chinese artist Li Bin in Johannesburg

Neighbors don't always need good fences. The weekly Jeune Afrique reports some encouraging findings in a wide-ranging study on tolerance for diversity taken in 33 African countries. Overall, the results indicated growing levels of tolerance for ethnic and religious diversity, though this was contrasted with lingering prejudice against homosexuals.

Research firm Afrobarometer conducted the poll in 2014 and 2015, asking 50,000 Africans how they felt about living next door to members of a different religious or ethnic group, gays, migrants or people who are HIV-positive. "We chose the figure of the neighbor because in our societies, it's someone we are really close to," said Richard Houessou, one of Afrobarometer's directors, in an interview with Jeune Afrique.

Most Africans in the study were unperturbed by ethnic and religious differences, and ethnic tolerance was strongest — reported by 99% of respondents — in Gabon and Senegal.

Religious tolerance, while relatively widespread, was more commonly reported in sub-Saharan states than in northern, mainly Islamic states. While in most sub-Saharan states the vast majority of those polled expressed openness to having neighbors of a different religion, in Morocco those toleratnt of the idea dipping to 67%, in Tunisia to 65% and in Niger, all the way down to 51%.

Gay neighbors are far less welcome in Africa, the poll found, with an average of 21% of survey participants in the 33 states saying they wouldn't mind living next to homosexuals, though younger Africans tended to be more tolerant than their elders. South Africa and Mozambique were the most tolerant states towards gays, with 67% and 56% of respondents, respectively, saying they wouldn't mind having a gay neighbor. By comparison, only 3% of Senegalese, 4% of Guinean and 5% of Nigerian and Ugandan respondents shared this view.

Afrobarometer also averaged the five measures of tolerance. By this standard, Namibia, Burundi and Togo were the most tolerant states, and Tunisia was the least.

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Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGO — TikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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