22 MARCH, 2023
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Disney is pulling off its first round of layoffs.
Yesterday, Daily Mail reported that The Walt Disney Company will lay off 4,000 employees in the coming weeks.
According to one report, the executives have tasked managers to identify employees—other than the executives themselves, apparently😒—who are “redundant and disposable”.
This isn’t the first we’ve heard of impending layoffs at Disney, though. In February, returning CEO Bob Iger announced during an earnings call that Disney would cut over 7,000 jobs during the year in a bid to save $5.5 billion in operating expenses. This came after the platform also revealed it lost over 2 million subscribers on Disney+, its streaming service.
So far, nothing is known about which units will be affected by the layoffs, but senior managers are sniffing around for frogs camouflaging as princes.
THE WORLD WIDE WEB3
* Data as of 04:20 AM WAT, March 22, 2023.
The US is planning to tax NFTs. CoinDesk reports that the US Internal Revenue Service is considering whether to tax non-fungible tokens (NFTs) the same way it taxes other collectibles such as stamps, works of art, and fine wine.
Polygon and Immutable are partnering up to expand the Web3 gaming ecosystem and onboard 100 million users. TechCrunch reports that the partnership will help grow the scaling and adoption of the subsector. The collaboration will focus on making Web3-enabled games faster to build, easier to use, and less risky for larger gaming studios and independent developers to get involved.
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CBN WANTS NIBSS TO MANAGE OPEN BANKING REGISTRY
Hey there, remember that time we all cheered and did a happy dance when Nigeria released open banking guidelines? Well, now the Central Bank of Nigeria and industry experts are having a hard time agreeing on how to take the next step.
ICYMI: Open banking is a system that allows financial institutions and fintech companies to exchange the financial information of their users. Nigeria is the first country in Africa to nationally adopt open banking.
What is the next step?
The next step is to operationalise the rules for open banking by creating an open banking registry that will function as a public repository for details of registered participants. The registry will also function as a repository for the APIs that allow banks and non-banks to exchange customer data.
Last week, at a meeting with players in the financial sector, the CBN said that it wants the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System (NIBBS) to design and maintain the registry. But banking experts are saying No thanks, we don’t want that responsibility.
Who needs a cheaper middleman man?
Banking and fintech insiders have described the suggestion as “forcing everyone to watch one TV station in order to see broadcasts from other television networks”. They refused because it’s the opposite of open banking, as an aggregator (NIBBS) will be between the banks and fintech. They would rather have an industry-led infrastructure.
Moreover, NIBBS is a settlement corporation co-created by the CBN and the Bankers’ Committee. It may also complicate things if NIBSS is both a regulator of open banking and a participant in the open banking system.
The central bank thinks it would be cheaper to have NIBSS handle everything, but industry experts think that the cost is marginal compared to the inconvenience of a centralised open banking structure.
KENYAN PROTESTERS TO BOYCOTT SAFARICOM KCB AND RADIO AFRICA
The protest in Kenya rages on.
According to Business Daily, one Kenya leader, Raila Odinga—who contested against Kenyan president, William Ruto—has asked protesters to stop using products and services owned by telecom Safaricom, KCB bank, and media company Radio Africa. This is because of their alleged affiliation with the Kenya Kwanza administration.
To kick off what he calls the second phase of the ongoing protest, Odinga also announced that the protest will now be held twice a week, every Monday and Thursday.
What are the protests about?
Odinga and his supporters are agitated by the high cost of living. They are protesting against the regime of President Ruto which they say is illegitimate.
The protest has reportedly seen two people shot, one fatally, and hundreds of others arrested.
South Africans also recently protested against their current leader President Cyril Ramphosa for the lingering power shortage in the country.
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OPERA UPS ITS OPAY SUPPORT
Opera, developer of the eponymous web browser, has increased its stake in OPay from 6.4% to 9.5%.
This comes two years after Opera, in June 2021, sold off 29% of its stake in Opay for $31.1 million.
Earlier in 2022, OPay bought Nanobank, a fintech company headquartered in the Cayman Islands, for an undisclosed sum. At the time, Opera had a stake worth $127.1 million in Nanobank, a sum that OPay agreed to pay in eight quarterly instalments.
This year, however, Opera agreed to convert its fees into OPay shares. By choosing OPay shares instead of cash, Opera settled for $35.9 million less than the book value of its investment in Nanobank, leaving the internet brand with a net fair value of $76.3 million, as of year end 2022.
“The settlement was based on the valuation applied in the transaction as well as an estimate for the value of Nanobank’s remaining business. Opera has stepped into the relevant provisions of the sales agreement, including potential adjustments depending on the business performance. Consequently, Opera will report the value of its increased OPay ownership based on a weighted set of scenarios for the performance of the sold business,” the company statement reads.
Zoom out: Opera may have increased its OPay stake, but it doesn’t appear to want to keep it. It already sold almost all its stake in the fintech previously, and this time, it has marked its OPay ownership as “held for sale”, noting that it is banking on the value of said shares going up. ⏫
SOUTH AFRICA PLANS TO AUDIT ITS MEDIA SPACE
South Africa may be planning to ban Search.
South Africa’s Competition Commission has announced that it has published the draft Terms of Reference (ToRs) for a market inquiry into the distribution of media content on digital platforms.
According to the commission, the inquiry has been set up to address existing market features in digital platforms that distribute news media content. The features are said to impede, distort, or restrict competition, which may have adverse implications for the news media sector of South Africa. This imbalance, according to the commission, can have implications on fair payment for content and the sustainability of independent journalism.
The inquiry will be underpinned by the value of a properly funded press to advance a well-functioning democracy, including the diversity of views from smaller media businesses and media owned by historically disadvantaged persons.
Furthermore, the inquiry will focus on the interaction and dependency of South African news media businesses on relevant digital platforms as an intermediary, distributor, and link to online users for the dissemination of news content online. This includes the impact, thereof, on news media businesses to aggregate, display, create, and monetise their news content online.
The main digital platforms that the inquiry will focus on include search engines, social media sites, video sharing platforms, and news aggregation platforms. It will also look at new technologies adopted by digital platforms, such as generative artificial intelligence (AI) search support, including ChatGPT.
The main focus will be on the significance these may have on the operations of businesses in the South African news media sector, including news publishers and broadcasters.
Zoom out: South Africa’s move closely mirrors Australia where,in February 2021, a law aimed at making Google and Facebook pay for news content on their platforms was passed. At the time the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) stated that publishers have had little negotiating power because they were so reliant on tech monopolies like Google and Facebook. Canada also has a similar law in the works, with a similar reaction from the tech giants.
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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
Interview with Dieudonné Kayembe, founder of Kinshasa-based Motema.
Credable, an infrastructural digital banking platform, raises $2.5 million to scale products.
- 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 & Ngozi Chukwu
Edited by – Kelechi Njoku
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