23 MARCH, 2023
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Today, we continue our 10th-anniversary celebration with another Twitter Space.
In the last 10 years, the African tech ecosystem has evolved quickly. We know this firsthand at TechCabal.
What does the future look like? Join us for an insightful conversation with Victoria Crandall, Stephen Deng, Hope Ditlhakanyane, Emeka Ajene, and Ngozi Dozie, hosted by our news editor Muyiwa Olowogboyega, where we answer these questions.
THE WORLD WIDE WEB3
* Data as of 04:30 AM WAT, March 23, 2023.
In France, lawmakers have agreed to ban all forms of influencer promotions for crypto. CoinDesk reports that French social-media influencers will no longer be allowed to hawk unlicensed crypto products under a plan voted on by lawmakers on a key legislative committee on Wednesday. If they do, they face two years in jail and a $32,000 fine.
European crypto startups raised $5.7 billion in funding last year, says CoinDesk. Despite 2022’s crypto winter, a new report from crypto VC firm RockawayX and startup data provider DealRoom shows that crypto startups in the region grew in value.
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META BLACKLISTS EX-SAMA EMPLOYEES
Forty-three ex-employees of content moderation firm Sama are suing Meta, Sama’s former client. The suit alleges that the social media giant instructed their new content moderation partner, Majorel, to blacklist them.
These ex-employees are also suing their former employer, Sama, claiming they were given the boot in an unlawful manner.
According to TrendsKe, the moderators claim that Sama failed to issue proper redundancy notices and didn’t follow the required 30-day termination notice. They also allege that their terminal dues were tied to signing non-disclosure documents.
A string of denials
However, Sama denies all of these allegations and insists they followed Kenyan law. They say they communicated their decision to discontinue content moderation in what amounts to a town hall meeting and followed up with an email and notification letter. They even conducted a survey to make the process and compensation as clear as possible.
The company is denying the accusation just like it denied the allegations in a 2022 lawsuit by a former Sama content moderator, Daniel Motaung. He accused the Kenya-based company of forced labour, human trafficking, unfair labour relations, and union busting. The company has also been accused of running a “content moderation sweatshop” for artificial intelligence startup, OpenAI.
A string of lawsuits
TrendsKe reports that this current suit is the third Meta is facing in Kenya, after another case was filed in December by Ethiopians over claims that the social media giant had failed to employ enough safety measures on Facebook, which, in turn, fueled the conflicts that have led to deaths, including the father of one of the petitioners, and 500,000 Ethiopians during the Tigray War that ended late last year.
E-NAIRA RISES AMIDST NIGERIA’S CASH CRISIS
Nigerians are turning to the central bank’s new digital currency, the e-naira, as cash becomes as scarce as hen’s teeth. The currency in circulation has taken a nosedive from ₦3.2 trillion ($6.9 billion) in September to ₦1 trillion ($2.17 billion), as of today, Bloomberg reports.
The cash crunch had folks swiping their cards and tapping on their bank apps more. E-payment gateways saw an uptick in activity, but a lot of those online transactions failed. Banks couldn’t keep up with the e-payment stream, leaving many customers stranded or turning to the e-naira for transactions.
The e-naira was rolled out last October but didn’t receive increasing interest until the cash crunch caused by the naira redesign policy. The number of e-naira wallets has skyrocketed more than twelvefold to 13 million since October, and the value of transactions has climbed 63% to ₦22 billion ($48 million) this year, according to Godwin Emefiele, the big boss at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Data showed that other non-bank e-channels like PoS transactions rose from ₦807.16 billion ($1.7 billion) in January to ₦883.45 billion ($1.9 billion) in February. Apps like OPay and Pocket also got a lot more love from customers who were eager to ditch the banks.
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WILL TIKTOK BE BANNED IN THE US?
TikTok users in the US are waiting with baited breaths to see what the outcome of a potential ban of the app will be as the President Joe Biden administration continues to demand that the app’s owners, ByteDance, sell some of their stake.
Though the US government has offered no evidence that the Chinese government has accessed user data from TikTok, which is the main reason for the ban, their concerns about the security of consumer information in the hands of the company are not unfounded.
ByteDance employees have in the past reportedly accessed US user data, and the Department of Justice and the FBI have launched an investigation into allegations that some ByteDance employees had obtained TikTok user data to investigate the source of leaks to US journalists.
Already, the US, the UK and Canada have banned employees from the use of TikTok on government-owned devices.
TikTok, on the other hand, has reassured advertisers that the app is unlikely to be banned in the US.
Meanwhile in South Africa
A ban in South Africa is not on the cards yet.
In July 2021, South Africa enacted the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) which states that any organisation which manages personal data needs to comply with the Act to remain compliant or face fines by the Information Regulator.
Not abiding by the act can attract fines in the range of R1 million to R10 million rand and/or a prison sentence.
With the TikTok ban centred around the issue of data protection, and South Africa being stringent on the issue as seen by the passing of the POPIA Act, it will be interesting to see whether the country will follow the US route in banning the up should cases of data breaches via the app be reported.
FACTOR[E] VENTURES’ NEW STUDIO
Factor[e] Ventures, a team of venture builders that invests in early-stage companies in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia, has launched a new venture studio specifically for African startups.
The new venture studio, Delta40, will invest $100,000 to $600,000 in African energy, agriculture, and mobility startups.
Delta40 secured early funding and strategic support from the Autodesk Foundation, the Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP), the IKEA Foundation, the Bezos Earth Fund, Wilson Sonisi, as well as government, private sector, and finance institutions. The venture studio will be based in Kenya, with operations in Nigeria.
In addition to providing capital, Delta40 will also act as a co-founder, offering product testing, technology brokering, and early-stage commercialisation, and working side-by-side to increase the speed of venture building. Venture studios are few and far between in Africa, compared to venture capital (VC) firms. Venture studios typically develop an idea, create a company around it, and then hand over the reins to a qualified CEO while remaining on as part of the board of directors.
The venture studio’s approach aims to reduce the effects of climate change in Africa. “Although only 3% of global carbon emissions come from Africa, more than 60% of African households will be affected by climate change if we do not act. A decade of investing in energy, agriculture, mobility, and water innovations in emerging markets has affirmed that there is a great opportunity at the formation stage to support local and diverse founders as they connect their technologies and markets,” said Morgan DeFoort, managing principal at Factor[e] Ventures.
The venture studio has already started building six startups and is actively evaluating new ideas.
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EVENTS: TECHCABAL AT 10
Here’s a list of all the Twitter Spaces we’ll be holding to celebrate our 10th-year anniversary.
- March 23—What is the future of tech in Africa? In the last 10 years, the African tech ecosystem has evolved quickly. We know this firsthand at TechCabal. What does the future look like? Join us for an insightful conversation with Ola Brown, Stephen Deng, Hope Ditlhakanyane, and Ngozi Dozie where we answer these questions. Set a reminder here.
- March 30—The role of the media in covering African tech. How can the media help Africa’s developing tech ecosystem? What responsibility does the media owe the ecosystem, and what can the media expect in return? Should the media only cover the good stories? Find out here.
IN OTHER NEWS FROM TECHCABAL
How to register and file tax returns with the LIRS eTax platform.
Inside WomHub’s creative space for female founders in Cape Town.
- The Jasiri Talent Investor Programme is looking for highly driven individuals with a history of achievement and/or entrepreneurial action who aspire to launch a high-growth venture. Apply by April 23.
- The Growth Africa Accelerator Programme is calling for applications from ambitious and committed entrepreneurs from Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Zambia or Ghana with the potential to grow and create impact through their businesses. Apply now.
- The HiiL Justice Accelerator Programme is now open for applications from Kenyan startups with solutions that help people resolve their legal problems. Eight selected startups will receive $10,000 in equity-free funding as well as the chance to win up to $21,000 on Demo Day. Apply by March 31.
- Google has announced that the Google for Startups Black Founders Fund is now accepting applications from Black founders across the African continent. Apply by March 26.
- The Africa Business Heroes (ABH) Prize Competition, a philanthropic initiative sponsored by the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Philanthropy, is calling for participation from Africa’s entrepreneurial talent. Apply by May 12.
- Dream VC has announced that it’s now open for its Launch Into VC (LIVC) and Invest Accelerator programmes. Junior professionals keen on breaking into the investor space can apply for LIVC to get a carefully curated investor talent accelerator led by existing venture builders. Senior professionals should apply for its Investor Accelerator 2023 Programme where future investment leaders and ecosystem builders will be upskilled. Apply for LIVC and Investor Accelerator Programme by April 16.
What else is happening in tech?
Written by – Timi Odueso, Ephraim Modise & Ngozi Chukwu
Edited by – Kelechi Njoku
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