16 MARCH, 2023
IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
Happy pre-Friday 🎉
We’ll be lording ourselves over all of you later today.😏
It’s still our anniversary month, and to celebrate 10 years, we’re hosting a couple of Twitter Spaces. Today, by 7PM (WAT), I’ll be on a Twitter space with Ngozi and Abraham to talk about building newsletters in a not-so-newslettery world.
We’ll talk about things like metrics of success, email culture, our writing styles, and that one TC Daily reader who keeps asking us to send them $1 million—we don’t have bro, we really don’t! 😭
Set a reminder here, and come ask us all the questions about emails, newsletters and digital media products.
P.S.: We’ll also answer questions about the giveaway we’re running. All you have to do to qualify to win some merch is open TC Daily 10 editions in a row!
THE WORLD WIDE WEB3
* Data as of 21:30 PM WAT, March 15, 2023.
South Africa is the highest crypto spending country in Africa. Nodo News reports that a new survey across four countries showed that while Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco have average annual spending ranging from $14 to $33, the average South African trader spends $51 every year. It’s still a far cry from Switzerland though, where the average is $961 per year.
German investigators have reportedly taken down the world’s largest crypto laundering site with over $2.88 billion laundered.AP News reports that the investigators seized about $47 million in bitcoin and 7TB of data from a platform known as Chipmixer. Hosted on the dark web, Chipmixer helps people disguise the source of their cryptocurrencies by mixing them with clean ones.
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NIGERIA LAUNCHES $672 MILLION TECH FUND
Nigeria is on the path to making tech work.
Six months after passing the Nigerian Startup Act, the Nigerian government has launched a $672 million fund for tech for young people in its tech and creative sectors.
The Investment in Digital and Creative Enterprises (i-DICE) Programme was launched by vice president Yemi Osinbajo on Tuesday.
According to the presidency, the African Development Bank (AfDB) will lead the fund with $170 million, while $116 million will come from Agence Francaise de Developpement. The Islamic Development Bank will also input $70 million.
Per AfDB, the fund will “marks the rollout of a flagship initiative that will drive vital funding for Nigeria’s digital and creative industries. In addition to the leaders of government, corporations, and development finance institutions, the event will feature youth working in the digital technology and creative sectors, students, and investors.”
“i-DICE is a government initiative to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the digital tech and creative industries and especially targeted at job creation,” said Osinbajo at the launch.
While the presidency announced that the fund will be targeted at 18 to 35–year olds, nothing much is known about the fund yet. AfDB, in a news release, did note that the fund will see investments across 200 tech and creative startups, and 450 tech-powered SMEs. Over 175,000 young Nigerians will also receive direct access to capacity-building services.
MTN GROWS IN MONEY AND IN PEOPLE
Pan-African telco MTN may not be everywhere you go yet, but it appears to be inching towards that goal.
The telco has released its annual financial results for the year ended December 31, 2022, showing strong growth in the number of its subscribers and mobile money unit.
MTN’s total subscribers rose 6% to 289 million, with data subscribers growing by more than 12% to 137 million and mobile money users up by 21% to 69 million. The company also reported a 15.3% increase in service revenue to R194 billion ($10.5 billion) while earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by 14.3% to R90 billion ($4.8 billion).
Mobile money transaction volume was up 34% year-on-year to 13.4 billion while the value of the transactions was up 16% (using constant currency) to $221 billion. The number of agents increased by 30% to 1.3 million and merchants by 86% to 1.5 million.
“The structurally higher demand for data and fintech services was sustained, with data traffic and fintech transaction volumes increasing by around a third each,” said MTN Group president and CEO, Ralph Mupita.
“To support this, we invested more than R38 billion in our network, IT and platform infrastructure—an increase of 17%, while at the same time reducing consumers’ average cost to communicate by nearly 23%.”
In South Africa, the company’s performance was solid with growth in service revenue of 3.6% to almost R41 billion ($2.2 billion) and an EBITDA margin of 39.2%. Loadshedding impacted EBITDA by R695 million ($37 million) as the company incurred additional expenditure to meet the requirements of power, security and repairs, the latter due to the vandalism of sites.
Zoom out: Tech companies may have had it rough in 2022, but telcos ate well. In February, Airtel Africa also reported its 2022 revenue of $3.9 billion, a 12% increase from 2021’s $3.4 billion. Its mobile money revenue grew by 29.8%, driven by a strong 32.5% performance in East Africa and 21.7% in francophone Africa.
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GOOGLE BRINGS AI TO WORKSPACE
Tech giant Google has announced that it is bringing AI-powered features to Google Workspace.
With the embedded generative AI in Google Workspace, writing is about to become a breeze. Simply type in your topic, and voila! Your first draft is ready.
If finding the right tone is a real word-juggling act for you, Google’s AI writing pal has got your back. From job applications to meeting notes to apologies to friends, the AI can edit your drafts or emails to strike the perfect tone. It’ll even add some quirky, playful messages to loosen things up if that’s your style.
The new feature will also enable you to auto-generate images, audio, and video in Slides, go from raw data to insights and analysis in Sheets, generate new backgrounds and capture notes in Meet, and enable workflows for getting things done in Chat.
Now, we know you’re itching to close this newsletter and find that AI button on Gmail, but hold your horses. This is just an announcement, and the AI features will only be available to a select group of “trusted testers” when they launch. So, stay tuned and get ready to write like a pro (with a little help from your AI friend).
Zoom out: Google is already using AI to save its users more time with Smart Compose and Smart Reply, generate summaries for Docs, and stay safe against malware and phishing attacks.
FLUTTERWAVE GAINS NEW LICENCE IN RWANDA
Flutterwave has obtained its Electronic Money Issuer and Remittance Licences from the National Bank of Rwanda. With these licences, Flutterwave can now offer money deposit and withdrawal, electronic funds transfer, as well as inbound and outbound remittance services to the lovely people of Rwanda.
Flutterwave will be offering a range of products to Rwanda’s e-commerce industry, including its cross-border money transfer solution, Send by Flutterwave. Flutterwave for Business and its suite of products, including Store, payment links, invoices, and checkout, will also be opened to Rwanda’s booming eCommerce market.
This is definitely a starting point for Flutterwave, which has been making moves to expand across East Africa. But it’s not just East Africa that the startup is fluttering across. This licence comes a month after the fintech acquired two licences in Egypt and expanded to North Africa.
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54GENE APPOINTS NEW CEO
Nigerian genomics startup 54gene has announced the appointment of Ron Chiarello as its new CEO.
In October 2022, TechCabal reported that co-founder and now ex-CEO Abasi Ene-Obong resigned from his position and was replaced by the company’s general counsel, Teresia Bost, who served as interim CEO. Bost also served as co-CEO to Chiarello before the latter was confirmed.
The new CEO, Ron Chiarello, joins 54gene with experience working as the founder and CEO of US-based biotech company, Alveo Technologies, which focused on cloud-based data analytics and molecular testing for infectious diseases. Chiarello, who holds a PhD in physics from Northeastern University, also headed a private consulting firm where he helped tech entrepreneurs “convert their ideas into businesses”.
“We have great trust and confidence in the vision and discipline Ron brings to his elevated role,” said board chair of 54gene, Jenny Yip, to Benjamindada.com.
Zoom out: Chiarello joins 54gene after the startup has had a particularly rocky year. After raising a total of $45 million in investments, the company’s relevance post-COVID allegedly dwindled. TechCabal reported that the expense of running a world-class lab in an infrastructurally-deficit country like Nigeria, coupled with some expansion moves that have resulted in more losses than gains, contributed to the company’s downwind. Between August and October 2022, the startup also laid off about 195 people, in a move to restructure its business.
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
How to file tax returns with the eTIMs taxpayers portal in Kenya.
Why are Nigerian states slow to domesticate the Nigeria Startup Act?
- 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.
- Oui Capital is organising a 2-day masterclass for female founders taking the bold step to build and execute on the African continent. Apply by March 17.
- 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 & Ngozi Chukwu
Edited by – Kelechi Njoku
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