15 MARCH, 2023
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Meta is laying off more employees.
Yesterday, CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced that the company would be laying off 10,000 workers in another move to cut costs.
In addition to the 11,000+ workers it laid off in November, the company has now laid off over 21,000 in total…none of which include Zuckerberg or the leadership staff who made the decisions that led the company to its present state.
The company reportedly lost $13.7 billion in Zuckerberg’s failed foray into the metaverse, and with “the economy” biting as hard as it is now, Meta is now staring reality in the face.
Meta is also slowing down its hiring across departments and shutting down low-priority projects. So far, Zuck expects that the company will save at least $86 billion this year if they’re efficient enough.
THE WORLD WIDE WEB3
* Data as of 22:22 PM WAT, March 14, 2023.
After nine months of stagnation at ~$20,000, bitcoin was back up at $26,000 yesterday as more traders believe it’s time for crypto’s comeback. CoinDesk also reports that the prices promptly increased after the US Bureau of Labour Statistics (BLS) released a report stating that inflation in the US had dropped from 0.5% to 0.4%. Ether’s prices also increased by 10%. Meanwhile, the price surge saw a single person deposit over 20,000 bitcoin worth $500 million!
OpenAI, the company that created ChatGPT, has announced the launch of GPT. TechCrunch reports that GPT4, the latest update for the Open AI’s language model, will accept text and image input from users. Unfortunately, though, this new superior ChatGPT model is only available to ChatGPT Plus subscribers.
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NIGERIA WELCOMES BACK OLD NAIRA NOTES
Is Nigeria’s cash crisis over?
Ten days after Nigeria’s Supreme Court ruled that the ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1,000 notes would remain legal tender until December 31, 2023, the country’s apex bank acknowledged the court’s ruling.
How did we get here?
Nigeria has been experiencing a cash shortage stemming from a decision by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) October 2022 decision to redesign the country’s three highest bills. Citizens originally had till January 31, 2023, to submit all old notes to commercial banks.
After numerous requests, the deadline was extended to February 10 due to a scarcity of new and old notes. Right before the extended deadline was up, the Supreme Court passed an injunction to temporarily halt the country’s pending ban on its old ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1,000 notes.
The CBN, and the federal government, however, ignored the ruling and continued to enforce the ban.
On March 3, the Supreme Court ruled to keep the country’s old notes in circulation till December 31, 2023, but banks, financial institutions and other companies still disobeyed the ruling, as the CBN was still enforcing the ban.
Now though, the apex bank has announced that it will comply with the ruling and allow old and new notes to circulate until the end of the year.
STANCHART AND ABSA BANK MAKE RECORD-BREAKING GAINS
Kenyan tier-one lenders Standard Chartered Bank and Absa Bank are having a “profit party”, and everyone’s invited!
Business Daily reports that StanChart’s net profit skyrocketed by 38% to a ceiling-shattering Ksh12.44 billion ($95.7 million) in 2022. On the other hand, Absa’s profit soared to Ksh14.6 billion (~$112 million), prompting the bank to pay a record dividend to its shareholders.
More about Standard Chartered’s profit
The top-tier lender’s revenue has shot up by a whopping 16%, raking in Ksh34 billion ($26.6 million). And it’s all thanks to their consumer, private, and business banking, which increased the volume of transactions. Not to mention their wealth management business, which contributed Ksh15.6 billion ($120 million) to the top line. The corporate, commercial, and institutional banking unit also chipped in with Ksh13.6 billion ($104.6 million).
But that’s not all: Standard Chartered also cashed in on currency trading, which netted them Ksh5.97 billion ($45.9 million). Their fees and commissions from forex trading also added to their non-funded income, boosting it by 19.6% to Ksh11.3 billion ($86.9 million).
About Absa’s groundbreaking dividend
Absa Bank’s payout rose to Ksh1.35 ($0.01) per share, which is Ksh6.2 billion ($47.7 million). That’s more money than they’ve ever paid out to shareholders. Last year’s payout was Ksh1.10 ($0.0085) per share.
Absa’s net profit grew by 34.2%, amounting to Ksh14.6 billion ($112.3 million) by the end of 2022. They also saw a 27.7% increase in interest income, which went from Ksh25.3 billion ($194.6 million) to Ksh32.3 billion ($248.5 million). There is also their non-funded income, which rose by 17.7% to Ksh13.7 billion ($105.4 million). Just like Standard Chartered, they made a profit from foreign exchange trading earnings—about Ksh6.6 billion ($50.7 million).
Zoom out: Many Kenyan banks saw a surge in profit from foreign exchange trading due to the increased volatility of foreign currencies caused by the Russia-Ukraine conflict.
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Y COMBINATOR LAYS OFF 20% OF ITS STAFF
According to TechCrunch, Y Combinator is cutting 17 staff members, or almost 20% of its headcount, in a scaling-back operation that will also see the accelerator write fewer cheques for late-stage companies.
YC CEO, Garry Tan, stated that the reason for the scaling back from late-stage funding is because it is a “distraction from our core mission” which is a focus on early-stage startups.
No relation to Silicon Valley Bank collapse
According to Tan, despite the fact that over 30% of Y Combinator’s startups were exposed to SVB, the scaling down is not tied to its collapse. He added that the accelerator had been strategising about the shift “well before” the collapse.
Zoom out: Y Combinator has been active in Africa over the years, with 95 startups from 15 African countries having participated in the accelerator programme since the first African startup was accepted into its Winter 2009 cohort.
DISTRIBUTED POWER AFRICA PARTNERS WITH AFRICA DATA CENTRES
Africa Data Centres (ADC) and Distributed Power Africa (DPA) are taking a sunny step together with their 20-year Power Purchase Agreement.
The deal will supply 30% of ADC’s South African facilities with renewable solar energy, making them a shining example in the country’s data centre industry.
A shining example?
Yes, because DPA will be providing power to ADC from the sun, which is renewable energy that has no adverse effect on the environment. DPA will feed ADC with 12 MW of energy from their solar farm near Bloemfontein. This will bring ADC closer to its goal of achieving carbon neutrality. More data centres should aspire to that.
Moreover, this move will relieve the strain of ADC’s power on South Africa’s struggling electricity distributor, Eskom. Poor facilities and leadership have left Eskom unable to meet the country’s electricity demands, but that hasn’t stopped data centres from setting up shop and plugging in.
Just like ADC, other South African data centres shouldn’t let Eskom’s shortcomings hold them back. Therefore, finding a sustainable replacement for Eskom would be a win-win for both the data centres and Eskom. The data centres will have a more reliable power supply, and Eskom can redirect its energy towards those who cannot afford alternative solutions.
ADC is indeed taking a sunny step forward and leading the way towards a brighter future.
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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 16—Building newsletters readers want. How has TechCabal grown to build seven newsletter products, and what drove this growth? How does TechCabal measure success when it comes to its newsletter products, and what are its plans? Register here.
- March 21—Meet the team telling African tech stories that matter. TechCabal captures the players, human impact and business of tech in Africa. We provide the content, reporting, data, and context to help the world understand how tech is changing Africa. Who are the journalists doing all of this important work? Find out here.
- 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
Naspers Foundry is folding: where are its alumni?
How South Africa wants to protect its bank customers with a deposit insurance scheme.
- 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.
- Rwandan startups have been invited to apply for the ZEP-RE InsurTech Programme, which will support scalable startups in creating new markets and optimising efficiency. Apply by March 15.
What else is happening in tech?
Written by – Timi Odueso, Ephraim Modise & Ngozi Chukwu
Edited by – Kelechi Njoku
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