Up till now, all the Big 5 tech companies—Meta, Amazon, Netflix and Google—except Apple have conducted layoffs in what CEOs are calling “preparing for the economic realities”.
Now, though, Apple is reportedly conducting layoffs, but sources say it’s a very small number. Per The Verge, only a small group of people from one of the company’s retail teams will be affected. Unlike other companies, though, Apple is allowing the victims affected employees to apply for other jobs at the company, and those who can’t get in will get four months’ severance pay.
Like Apple CEO Tim Cook said, layoffs appear to be a last resort for Apple. The company is instead slowing down hiring, delaying bonuses, reducing travel budgets, and pushing back projects, and its CEO is even taking a pay cut. For now, it does appear that this Apple fell far from the tech company tree. ✨
*If you found that last line a tad cringey, we did too. But if we had to see it, so do you.🙏🏽
THE WORLD WIDE WEB3
Name of the coin
Price of the coin
24-hour percentage change
* Data as of 05:05 AM WAT, April 5, 2023.
Dogecoin prices are skyrocketing and Twitter is to thank for it. CoinDesk reports that doge soared by over 35% within 24 hours after Twitter, in an update, replaced the Twitter bird logo with the Shiba Inu dog associated with the coin. So far, the move—intentional or not—hasn’t moved doge to the $1 price mark as it still stands at $0.10.
P2P bitcoin exchange platform Paxful has suspended all its operations. CoinDesk reports that the exchange has halted its marketplace with CEO Ray Youssef stating that the platform had suffered regulatory and staffing challenges.
Investors still believe in crypto and Web3. Canada-based blockchain infrastructure firm, yesterday, announced a $120 million raise at a $3 billion valuation. Per TechCrunch, investors include Sequoia Capital, Samsung Next and Andreessen Horowitz. The funding will be used for the firm’s growth initiatives across the Asia-Pacific region.
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KENYA WILL LAUNCH ITS FIRST OPERATIONAL SATELLITE NEXT WEEK
After two years of preparation, Kenya is ready for space.
If you’re asking how it’s a Kenyan satellite if it’s launched from the US, your answer lies in why some African startups are “headquartered” in Delaware and California.🤷🏾♂️
Anyway, the satellite was tested and developed by Kenyan engineers and will reportedly be used to provide data on areas like agriculture and food security for Kenya, a country suffering a severe drought that’s affecting over 5 million people.
The satellite will also be used to develop Kenya’s technical capacity on the whole value chain of space technology development and applications. According to director of the KSA Hillary Kipkosgey, Kenya is looking to explore the possibilities of tech using the satellite.
The Taifa-1 follows closely behind Kenya’s 2018 foray into space when it launched 1KUNS-PF, an experimental non-operational nanosatellite from the International Space Station. What’s different though is that the 2018 launch was an experimental launch with the purpose of mapping Kenya’s vicinity. 1KUNS-PF de-orbited in 2020.
Zoom out: Kenya’s launch comes closely behind Uganda’s November 2022 launch of the PearlAfricaSat1. So far, at least 15 African countries including Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Nigeria and Ghana have launched satellites into space. There are also 125 new satellites being lined up for development by 2025 by 23 African countries. It is projected that Africa’s space market will be valued at over $10 billion in 2024.
RUTO’S HUSTLERS FUND DISBURSES $198 MILLION
It looks like Kenyan President Ruto’s Hustlers Fund is hustling hard! It has already managed to dish out Ksh 26.4 billion ($198 million) to a staggering 18 million Kenyans in just five months.
ICYMI: The Hustlers Fund is a Ksh50 billion ($375 million) fund that President Ruto rolled out to give loans to hustlers—small business owners who do not have access to traditional loan structures. Twenty-four hours after the Hustlers fund was launched, about Ksh 408 million ($3.06 million) was disbursed to 1.14 million Kenyans. After a few weeks, the president added Hustlers Fund Micro Credit to the structure of the fund, allowing Saccos and Groups to borrow on behalf of their members.
How the Hustlers Fund works
Any Kenyan can take a loan from the Hustler Fund but must repay it in 14 days, and the interest rate is 8% annually, calculated daily. Depending on your credit score, the maximum amount you can borrow is Ksh50,000 ($375).
If you don’t pay back the loan within 14 days, your credit score will take a hit. But don’t worry, you’ll be given an additional 15 days to pay. However, if you still don’t repay the loan by then, the interest rate will increase to 9.5% annually.
And if you go more than 30 days without paying back the loan, your Hustlers Fund account will be deactivated, and you’ll lose all the credit scores you’ve accumulated on the fund.
Are people paying back their loans?
TechMoran reports that by February, Kenyans had borrowed Ksh19.6 billion ($147 million) from the Hustlers Fund and borrowers had repaid Ksh10.605 billion ($79.7 million). However, there are still concerns that the fund is yet another channel for corrupt people looking for get-rich-quick schemes.
And, truly, some people are not paying their loans. In the same February, President Ruto affirmed that 800,000 borrowers have defaulted on their payments.
SAFARICOM FINANCES 1 MILLION 4G PHONES
Guess who is looking digital inclusion in the eye this year?
This programme is bridging the digital divide in Kenya by providing affordable access to the internet to everyone.
The journey to 1 million
Safaricom launched the cool initiative three years ago in partnership with Google as a Ksh20-a-day smartphone loan programme. Customers who could not afford to walk into a store and walk out with a 4G device now own one through the programme by paying Ksh20 ($0.15) in daily instalments. The accumulated cost is more than that of paying it all at once, but it is more financially convenient for people who can’t afford it.
Building on this success, Safarocim plans to upgrade about 4 million 2G and 3G-enabled handsets to 4G, TechMoran reports. Not only will this increase digital inclusion in the country, but it will also boost Safaricom’s data business and revenues.
So, everyone wins.
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SA LAUNCHES AFRICA’S FIRST COMMERCIAL CLINICAL SEQUENCING FACILITY
A partnership between South Africa’s Akili Labs, a molecular diagnostics and secure genomic data storage solutions company, and BGI Genomics, one of the world’s leading genomics companies, will see a technology transfer agreement that will provide the southern region of Africa with clinical-grade sequencing solutions.
Side bar: Here’s what these technical words mean. Genomics is the study of the total or part of the genetic or epigenetic sequence information of organisms, and attempts to understand the structure and function of these sequences and of downstream biological products.
What this means is that South Africa now has a world-class lab that can be used to test and detect rare diseases. If COVID ever comes back, we may be even better prepared.
More on the partnership
Akili Labs specialises in cost-effective and accessible diagnostic services by selecting technology and optimising processes and has regional offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town in South Africa, as well as Lusaka in Zambia and Maryland in the United States.
BGI Genomics, meanwhile, is headquartered in Shenzhen China and its services cover over 100 countries and regions, involving more than 2,300 medical institutions.
“Improving the cost and turnaround time of genetic sequencing services will play a major role in expanding precision medicine-driven healthcare in Africa,” said Charles Faul, co-founder and CEO of Akili Labs.
SA’s healthtech boom
This year, South Africa has been getting a significant amount of attention from healthtech firms. Last week, Nasdaq-listed healthtech firm Olink announced a partnership with Cape Town-based protein processing facility D-CYPHR to research numerous diseases including diabetes and tuberculosis.
In February, another Nasdaq-listed global healthtech firm Dexcom launched its flagship continuous glucose monitoring system, the Dexcom G7, in South Africa.
REPORT: THE NIGERIA STARTUP SCENE 2022
The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in partnership with TechCabal Insights has released the second edition of the Nigerian Tech Ecosystem report.
The report contains insights that touch on all aspects of tech startups to deepen your understanding of specific sectors in the Nigerian tech ecosystem. It covers startups in sectors such as fintech, logistics, security, health and government sectors in the ecosystem. It also covers the gaps in the ecosystem, the distribution of tech hubs/incubators nationwide, and the economic impact of selected sectors in the country amongst other vital information.
ALX Africa is calling for young African learners who are interested in data analytics, data science, cloud computing, and salesforce administration to apply to its new world-class programmes at no cost to them. Apply to any ALX course here.
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.
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 Africa’s 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.
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