17 NOVEMBER, 2022
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Happy pre-Friday ☀️
The Next Wave show is officially Live!
If you missed the broadcast of the first episode on CNBC Africa, you can catch up here.
This episode features Ovo Emorhokpor, founding partner at Beta Ventures, Elizabeth Rossiello, founder & CEO of AZA Finance, Lizanne D’Souza, VP of products at Flutterwave, and Ricardo Schaefer, partner at Target Global.
In this episode, we explore the world of African fintech, looking at how much progress the industry has made, what challenges and opportunities lie in the market, and what the future looks like for current and future players.
The Next Wave is brought to you by TechCabal in partnership with Flutterwave. It airs on Wednesdays at 4:30 PM (WAT) on CNBC Africa (DStv Channel 410).
If you’ve got any questions about the show, send an email to email@example.com.
* Data as of 20:20 PM WAT, November 16, 2022.
FTX LOSES FINANCIAL SERVICES LICENCE IN SOUTH AFRICA
Embroiled cryptocurrency exchange FTX has lost its financial services trading licence in South Africa.
According to reporting by MyBroadband, South African cryptocurrency market maker Ovex has cancelled and removed FTX as a juristic representative, cutting off the international exchange’s access to its local Financial Service Provider (FSP) licence.
“FTX is now unlicensed to market its services in South Africa…people should avoid using FTX,” Ovex community manager, Nick Bergonzoli, told MyBroadband.
FTX’s South Africa connection
FTX invested in VALR, the largest exchange headquartered in Africa, and Ovex, a market maker that has trading volumes exceeding R8.6 billion ($500 million) per month.
VALR raised R863 million ($50 million) in a Series B funding round led by Pantera Capital, with help from Alameda Research, a division of FTX. FTX also bought a stake in Ovex in April 2021.
VALR and Ovex distance themselves from FTX
VALR founder and CEO, Farzam Ehsani, has assured users the company has no exposure to FTX or FTT.
“If you own Apple shares, and then you die, it doesn’t affect Apple. Same story [goes] for VALR [‘s relationship with FTX],” Ehsani stated.
Ovex CEO, Jonathan Ovadia, assured customers that the company had no exposure to FTT, and moved any operations they had on the exchange off by November 7 on November 16. It stated that it terminated its relationship with FTX in the lead-up to the bankruptcy proceedings.
Zoom out: Some African crypto startups have not been as lucky as VALR and Ovex. Nigerian Web3 startup Nestcoin’s entanglement with FTX, for example, has cost the company $4 million and led to it laying off almost half of its staff.
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KENYA’S BASIGO RAISES $6.6 MILLION IN FUNDING
BasiGo, a Kenyan-based electric vehicle manufacturer, has raised Ksh 804.5 million ($6.6 million) to build more electric buses for public transport.
The funding was raised in an investment round led by Novastar, Trucks VC, and Toyota’s VC arm—Mobility 54. Other investors include Moxxie Ventures, My Climate Journey (MCJ), Susquehanna Foundation, Keiki Capital, and OnCapital. This round brings BasiGo’s total funding in 2022 to $10.9 Million.
Where is BasiGo headed?
This investment follows a successful six-month electric bus pilot, featuring over 100 electric bus reservations from Nairobi’s leading public bus operators, local financing agreements with leading Kenyan banks, commercial orders and the production of 15+ electric buses.
BasiGo will use this investment to begin locally assembling electric buses in the country next month. Its target is to deliver 100 units by the end of next year and 1,000 units by 2025. The e-buses will come in 25 and 36-seater capacities, with a range of about 250 kilometres.
In Nairobi, where all of its clients are located, BasiGo will also implement the necessary infrastructure to charge the e-buses.
How affordable are these buses?
Bus owners can acquire the e-buses through BasiGo’s Pay-As-You-Drive model. After an upfront cost similar to that of a diesel bus, the bus operators will pay a Ksh 20.74 ($0.17) subscription fee for every kilometre, a fee that covers the leasing of the e-bus battery, charging services, and general vehicle maintenance.
With an eight-year or 600,000 km battery manufacturer warranty, BasiGo’s eco-friendly public buses seem to offer a higher return on investment to bus drivers, who are currently paying Ksh 30–50 ($0.25–$42) for diesel alone.
KENYANS TO ACCESS LOANS WITHOUT COLLATERAL
Kenya’s president Ruto is making big bets on hustlers.
He is implementing the Hustler Fund, a Ksh 50 billion ($409 million) fund designed to give small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) access to credit on affordable terms that do not require collateral. The fund will give Kenyans access to loans of between Ksh 500 ($4) and Ksh 50,000 ($409) without collateral at an interest rate of 8% per year.
This fund lowers the bar for the economically disadvantaged, but certain standards and rules have been put in place to regulate its implementation. As part of the regulations, individuals will be required to be over the age of 18 and hold a Kenyan identification card to qualify for the loans. They must also be members of registered associations for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) like SACCO societies and Chama.
The Treasury also revealed that offences like misappropriation of funds and giving insufficient or falsified information will see Kenyans fined up to Ksh 10 million ($82,000)or face an alternative five-year jail term.
Whitelisting the blacklisted
In September, Ruto announced that over four million Fuliza loan defaulters would be removed from the Credit Reference Bureau (CRB) and other blacklists. Also, after he declared that the CRB’s operations are “punitive” and “arbitrary”, the Central Bank of Kenya released a statement restricting CRB and other commercial facilities from using negative credit histories to deny Kenyans loans.
This Hustler Fund is another of Ruto’s moves to give Kenyans increased access to credit. It is well-intended, but it is also another expense for a government that is struggling to meet debt and subsidy obligations.
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ETHIO TELECOM ANNOUNCES PRIVATISATION PLANS
For decades, the state-owned Ethio Telecom reigned as the only telecommunications operator in Ethiopia, serving a population of about 120 million people and recording monopolistic gains.
But this year has come with changes: Ethio Telecom made room for another telco—Safaricom—to operate, and has now announced its plans to be privatised.
40% is at stake here
According to TechWeez, Ethio Telecom is giving up a 40% stake to private players as a means of loosening its stand and welcoming fresh development ideas.
But this is not the first time Ethio is announcing its privatisation plans. It launched a process last year but postponed that indefinitely, with the country’s finance ministry citing “recent developments and fast-moving macroeconomic changes” as reasons.
Now, two weeks after the peaceful settlement of the prolonged war in Ethiopia, the door for partnerships has swung open, even to international telecommunications companies
The interested companies are expected to submit their expression of interest by December 20, 2022.
Ethiopia is ending its game of monopoly
After prime minister Abiy Ahmed assumed power in 2018, he made it clear that he was going to end the monopoly of the telecoms sector. It took him four years, but it’s finally happening.
Safaricom Ethiopia has already grown its subscriber base to over 7,640,000, and the government has made it clear that international telcos are welcome to submit bids for licences.
EVENT: Z! FEST
2022 has been a lot. From crypto crashes to inflation, and even regulation scares, our heart rates and hairs have been up all year.
junior sister publication, Zikoko, wants to bring that all down to the dance floor with the second edition of its festival, Z! Fest.
Z! Fest’s Class of ‘22 offers techies the chance to break away from their screens in a party designed for stress relief. If you like food, drinks, loud music, and the sheer threat of meeting new cool people, then Z! Fest is the place to be.
Register now to join Ayra Starr and other artistes at Z! Fest.
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Big tech companies are laying off employees, and their African offices are not exempt. Can these offices survive this downturn?
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- TechPR is open for applications to its Be Seen with TechPR programme.Two startups will get media coverage on two relevant media platforms, introductions to key journalists covering their sectors, media relations training, and media assessment worth $5,000. Apply by November 18.
- Applications are open for the UK Research and Innovation African Research Leaders’ Programme. Talented researchers in sub-Saharan Africa leading quality health research in the region can apply to get up to £750,000 in funding. Apply by December 1.
- The Fondation Maison des sciences de l’homme and the Institut Français de Recherche en Afrique of Nairobi are offering a three-month-long fellowship in France for postdoc researchers from Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda, and Eastern Congo (Kivu) who have presented their thesis from 2017. Laureates will receive a monthly stipend of €1,600 at the start of each month. Apply by December 9.
- If your startup or innovation is focused on climate-smart agriculture practices, apply to the THRIVE|Shell Climate-Smart Agriculture Challenge for a chance to win $100,000, a spot in a prestigious accelerator, publicity and more. Apply by December 11.
- Applications are now open for Apple’s Entrepreneur Camp. The immersive virtual camp will give founders and developers from underrepresented communities mentorship, technical support and access to the alumni network. Apply by December 5.
What else is happening in tech?
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