AMAZON TO INVEST $1.8 IN SOUTH AFRICA
Amazon is doubling down on South Africa.
According to its newly-released economic impact study report, the company, via its cloud infrastructure arm Amazon Web Services (AWS), aims to invest $1.8 billion in South Africa by 2029.
More clouds: The investment will be made towards cloud infrastructure in the region. Per the report, Amazon estimates a $2.5 billion investment in South Africa between 2018–2029.
From 2018 to 2022, the company says it has invested $885 million, which has resulted in an estimated $657,000 approximately in local GDP contributed by this AWS Region.
AWS in Nigeria and Kenya: South Africa still hosts AWS’s only regional data centre in Africa. Last year, the service opened up a new Local Zone in Lagos, Nigeria, one of the only 15 Local Zones outside of the US. The marketplace arm of Amazon is also planning to open up shop in South Africa by the end of 2023.
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LAZERPAY SHUTS DOWN
Africa’s crypto promise continues to bite the dust as more startups shut down. Yesterday, Nigeria-based crypto startup Lazerpay announced its closure.
According to CEO Njoku Emmanuel, who took to Twitter to announce the news, the company has been struggling to stay afloat after failing to secure funding, and although they tried to “keep the lights on for as long as they could, they’re now at a point where they need to shut down”.
Layoffs and an acquisition? The shutdown comes months after the startup downsized its workforce in November 2022. Today’s announcement by the founder showed that those cuts were not nearly enough.
A source close to the matter told TechCabal that the layoffs happened after the founder rejected an unfavourable acquisition offer from an existing investor. According to the source, only two developers, the founder and the source remained working at the startup, but with no pay.
What next? Over its 17 months of operations, Lazerpay reportedly served over 3,000 businesses that could use its platform to collect payment in crypto. Now, all customers have until April 30, 2023, to move their funds from the platform. The startup is also open to conversations on selling its intellectual property (IP).
Big picture: Lazerpay joins the growing list of Africa-focused crypto startups that have fallen victim to the domino effect of FTX’s shutdown, as well as a general slow uptake in crypto on the continent. Paxful, LocalBitcoins, and LocalCryptos are three leading platforms that have shut down. Another, Fluidcoins, failed to raise funds and was ultimately acquired by Blockfinex.
ESKOM EMPLOYEES WANT MORE JUICE
South Africa’s power problems are getting worse.
Workers at the power-generating institution are demanding a 15% increase in their wages. Bloomberg reports that The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), a labour union, is asking for the same raise for all its workers as well as an increase in other allowances including housing.
A violent past: This comes ten months after its employees held violent protests which led South Africa to its worst power cuts since 2019. The illegal strike action, which involved lobbing petrol bombs at officials’ homes, led to Eskom offering a 7% raise for all employees for a one-year period.
The year is up and employees of the power-holding company now want more juice.
A representative of the NUM stated that this year’s negotiations will hold from April 19–21 in Johannesburg.
Lights out: Meanwhile, South Africans themselves are getting less and less juice from Eskom with every passing day. Just yesterday, Eskom announced an extension of its Stage 6 loadshedding as more of its generating units across the country broke down.
TC INSIGHTS: FUNDING TRACKER
- Victory Farms, a Kenya-based aquaculture startup, raised $35 million in a Series B round led by Creadev. Other participants in the round include Acumen Resilient Agriculture Fund (ARAF), DOB Equity, Endeavor Catalyst Fund, and Hesabu Capital. The company’s founders and angel investors, including Joseph Rehmann, Steve Moran, Kamran Ahmad, and Hans den Bieman, also invested.
- South African agri-tech startup, FarmTrace, also closed an undisclosed amount of funding from Secha Capital and Hassium Capital to expand its operations as a cloud-based management solution for farmers.
That’s all for this week!
Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for more funding announcements in Africa. You can also visit DealFlow, our real-time funding tracker.
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THE WORLD WIDE WEB3
* Data as of 06:40 AM WAT, April 14, 2023.
Bankruptcrypto exchange platform FTX has recovered $7.3 billion in assets. Per Reuters, the company benefitted from crypto’s brief rise this month and recovered both cash and crypto assets. The company is also in the early stages of deciding whether to reopen the firm and restart the company. Reopening the company would allow customers with funds stuck in the poorly-managed exchange to recover their money.
Zambia is wrapping up its crypto-usage tests in June. Reuters reports that the country has been running tests that simulate crypto usage in the country. Its central bank is also exploring how a central bank digital currency (CBDC) would work.
Twitter is partnering with investment platform eToro to bring real-time information about stock and crypto prices to its platform. According to TechCrunch, the platform is bringing more stock options for users. In December 2022, Twitter started allowing users to search for stock prices using their stock
TC LIVE: THE NEXT BIG THING IN FINTECH
Do you want to know what the next big thing is in the Fintech Industry beyond payment?
Join us this morning at 11 AM (WAT) as we will be discussing beyond payment: what’s the next big thing in African Fintech. Abraham Augustine – Senior Reporter, TechCabal will be discussing with:
- Daniel Adereti, chief operating officer at Pezesha
- George Imoedemhe, head of product at Bamboo
- Wesley Billett, co-founder & co-CEO at Happy Pay
- Ibukun Akinowo, International Expansion Lead, Smile Identity
This conversation is open to entrepreneurs, regulators/policymakers, investors, tech enthusiasts, business professionals, and anyone curious about Africa’s fintech industry.
Written by – Timi Odueso & Ayomide Agbaje
Edited by – Kelechi Njoku
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