Author: shu

China’s Infrastructure Grants to Africa and the Missing Local Content in Usage

By ,

China’s Infrastructure Grants to Africa and Missing Local Content in Usage

Is it fair to say that China, through her infrastructure grants is Africa’s “Santa Claus”?

As what can be described as the “second scramble” for Africa heightens, China’s influence on the continent is ever alarming. The economic giant appears to be on a full aggressive neocolonial mission.

It’s a mission in which she certainly wants to assert herself as the world’s future center of global economic determinism. This, probably, explains her massive infrastructure grants/loans to African institutions and states.

The new headquarters of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has the fingerprints of China all over it. The $200 million (£127 million) edifice is Beijing’s gift to the Pan-African institution, as she (China) continues to strengthen her influence.

China’s Infrastructure Grants to Africa and Missing Local Content in Usage

China provided 90 percent of skilled and unskilled construction workers during the building of the $200million AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

ECOWAS is currently depending on the same China for the financing of a new headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria. The project promises to gulp another $32 million in grants from the Communist People’s Republic.

In terms of consolidating her influence on African states, Beijing is to build numerous public infrastructures in sub-Saharan Africa. For instance, she’s financing parliamentary structures in Zimbabwe, Congo, Malawi, Guinea-Bissau, and Lesotho, etc. She’s also reconstructing Gabon’s burnt parliament and renovating Sierra Leone’s.

Recently, the Tanzanian government signed a US $64.4 million grant with China for two major infrastructure projects in the country. The first project includes the construction of the University of Transport in Dar es Salaam, worth US $62 million. The second project is a feasibility study costing US $1.4 million towards constructing a Standard Gauge Railway (SGR). The Chinese are also financing similar projects in Nigeria, and other African countries.

China’s Infrastructure Grants to Africa and Missing Local Content in Usage

Chinese and Nigerian construction workers on the Chinese funded Abuja-Kaduna Railway Project

While most of these infrastructures indicate that funding is by Chinese grants, some are with loans. Some of these loans come from the Exim Bank of China. All these may sound good for Africa’s development but there are a good number of germane concerns.

Concerns about China’s Infrastructure grants/loans

It appears China, through these grants is increasingly becoming a “Santa Claus” to Africa. This is evident in that beneficiary institutions and governments basically have no leverage over them. Lopsided memoranda are often signed, giving the Chinese government total leverage to manage the projects. That’s why it’s common to find indigenous Chinese companies in charge of the award and execution of Chinese-funded projects.

Money for the projects is often released from China’s Exim Bank, directly into the accounts of executing companies. These contractors buy their materials from Chinese markets and shipped to the beneficiary countries. In some cases, the Chinese mount these materials within China before shipping. Skilled indigenous Chinese contractors are paid to execute the projects within the beneficiary country. And at the end of the day, an almost absolute percent of the grant finally goes back or remains within the Chinese economic space.

How does this benefit the beneficiary country?

Basically, the only benefit for the receiving institution or state is the physical project, with a few unskilled employment opportunities. Very few or no skilled local African personnel acquire technical training at the end of such projects. Management of technological installations in such infrastructures is still dependent on the Chinese firm concerned.

Spy technologies are even sometimes allegedly installed in order to track the activities or secret dealings of the beneficiary institution. Such is the case with the new headquarters of the AU in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. A French Magazine recently accused China of hacking AU headquarters’ computer systems every night for five years and downloading confidential data.

Need for local content in the execution of Chinese projects

Local content is almost completely missing in the execution of Chinese grants/loans inspired projects. There’s need for African governments to review the rules governing Chino-Africa relations. This is especially necessary in the domain of trade and implementation of Chinese-funded projects in Africa. The population of the beneficiary country must be able to acquire skilled knowledge at the end of such projects.

African leaders must completely review the idea of China supplying both the financial and necessary human resources. This should apply, especially, in cases where such financial resources are proceeds of a loan from the Chinese government. Nigeria and Rwanda for instance, are two African countries already enforcing local content orders or laws. These laws provide opportunities for a reasonable percentage of local skilled labor especially, in executing foreign-financed projects.

Where such local skills are not available, the foreign contractors, as part of the rules of engagement, must train a reasonable percentage of local labor on the job. This is to help build the capacity of local citizens in such domains. By so doing, they can effectively manage such infrastructures upon completion or do similar jobs for the nations.

 

The Ingenuity of the African Youth & Overdependence on Foreign Gifts

By ,

Overdependence

Amidst global socio-economic competitiveness, can the present generation of African youth undo Africa’s overdependence on aid/gifts?

Africa is rising and her youthful population isn’t lacking behind. This is visible through the increasing ingenuity of a good number of African youths. Through independent multi-sectoral startups, these young hustlers are already making tangible contributions to national developments across the continent.

However, the search for funding for such ingenious initiatives, has resulted in their almost total dependence on foreign gifts, with its attendant consequences. It’s therefore important that this rising breed of African youths also rise against overdependence on foreign aid/gifts at this stage.

Africa’s Overdependence on Foreign Aid

Much of post-independent Africa largely depends on foreign aid, despite economic growth in parts of the continent significantly outpacing the global average. For instance, Ethiopia has a split personality as one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.

The economy, between 2004 and 2013, grew by about 10% a year. The country has also been the center of attraction for foreign investors. Nevertheless, a third of Ethiopia’s population earn below $1 a day, with the government receiving $504 million (£324 million) in aid from the UK in 2011/12, thereby making it the biggest recipient of bilateral aid for the country that year.

Overdependence

Of course, such aid/gifts have often come with serious strings or conditions attached. In most cases, they serve the interests of the donors. The late erudite Pan-Africanist, Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, posits that, “Independence cannot be real if a nation depends on gifts.”

According to Nyerere, real independence demands that African states negotiate with foreign donors on acceptable conditions for loans and gifts. This, however, is not the case as African leaders often reluctantly accept unilaterally set conditions by donors.

Overdependence of African youth startups on foreign gifts

Regrettably, most young African startups and youth-initiated small projects, are today also leaning towards overdependence on western donors. This is continuously being manifested through one-sided partnerships between initiators of these small projects and their western financiers.

Many Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and other development initiatives run mostly by the youth, are victims of such overdependence. Their projects are totally dependent on western benefactors for financing. These benefactors dictate the tune in the management of these resources, most of which serve largely, the interests of such patrons.

It’s therefore, not uncommon to soon find such organizations or small projects transferred and managed from abroad. In some scenarios, the aid to such foundations, organizations or small projects hardly leaves the donor country. The initiators find themselves in donor nations through a technical form of brain drain. Cases where founders of such small projects or startups appear not to be absolutely loyal to donors or infringe laid down rules between the two, have mostly ended in litigation.

The way forward for the African Youths

In a 21st century society driven by the knowledge economy, the present generation of African youth must start thinking beyond aid. It’s unproductive and unprofitable for any young startup to spend valuable time seeking for aid or gifts from agencies that would dictate the rules of their operations.

Ingenious African youth should take initiatives to create innovative and salable ideas and not begging for funding. As future leaders, it’s not yet time to seek to be successful but time to seek to be valuable. Creative African youth must develop their gifts to be so valuable that they will receive payment to perform them.

Like President Akufo-Addo of Ghana pointed out during his keynote speech at the 2018 Oxford Africa Conference, the aid/gifts dependence mentality is a product of the economic structure defined for Africa by the colonial masters. It was never meant to economically transform the continent and its population.

That is why the socio-economic and political transformation of Africa in the 21st century cannot be gotten through aid. It has consequently, become necessary for African youths and governments of this generation to begin looking at Africa beyond aid.

Apart from her huge mineral deposits, Africa is also rich in vibrant human capacity.  This is resource that can effectively attract investors on equitable rules of engagement. The youths, as leaders of tomorrow, must reset their minds to deliberate qualitative change. Change, that seeks to abandon the colonially inherited economic structure.

The African youth must concentrate on developing their own gifts and not depending on gifts. Only through this can Africa and the future generation of her youthful leaders gain the respect of the world.

The Hustler’s Digest – Orange Cameroon Dancing to the Tune of Digital Education

By ,

The Hustler’s Digest - Orange Cameroon Dancing to the Tune of Digital Education

Today’s Quote

“Education is a sector in transition. There are some common challenges… We’re shifting into this mould of digital pragmatism where institutions are looking at how they are changing their practices.”

Ian Fordham, Microsoft

Africa

$20m investment by MainOne in Cote d’Ivoire for provision of wholesale connectivity services

The Nigerian open-access connectivity services provider group, MainOne is to invest $20m in Cote d’Ivoire for provision of wholesale connectivity services. This is after it obtained the  C1B license from Minister Bruno Koné, the country’s Minister for Communication, Digital Economy and Postal Services. The license was to enable MainOne land its transAtlantic submarine cable and build transmission infrastructure in Cote d’Ivoire to strengthen connectivity.

According to the Chief Executive Officer of MainOne, Funke Opeke, “Cote d’Ivoire is the largest economy in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and a very important hub for business and transport in West Africa…”

Consequently, its cable landing will provide open-access infrastructure within Cote d’Ivoire and other WAEMU countries to expand internet access for all users in the region and support rapid development as well as facilitate increased non-resources trade and improve public services to aid the evolution of regional businesses.

Former Nigerian President, Chief Obasanjo blasts President Buhari

Former Nigerian president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, on Wednesday, made another cutting remark at the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration. According to Chief Obasanjo, President Buhari, bungled his trip to the US for talks with President Donald Trump, thereby losing another opportunity to “self-redeem.” President Obasanjo had earlier within 2018, described the Buhari administration as a total failure and that he cannot be seen trying to reinforced failure.

President Buhari had on Monday April 30th, met with the US president at the Whitehouse. President Trump during the meeting expressed concern over “…the religious violence in Nigeria, including the burning of churches and killing of Christians”. He encouraged the Nigerian State to do the needful to immediately secure communities and protect innocent civilians, including Muslims and Christians.

Political drama has continued to unfold among the different political divides in Nigeria as the 2019 general elections approach. There has consequently been increasing political bickering, accusations and counter accusations among political stakeholders relating to the performance of the Buhari administration and whether he deserves a second mandate or not.

Orange Cameroon contributes to Digital Education

Indeed, education is the key to success as Solomon Ortiz once said. In order to make education more flexible for students, Orange has decided to commit to the digitalization of Cameroon’s public Universities. This decision was signed on April 27, 2018, by the company’s managing director, Frederic Debord, and the Minister of Higher Education, Prof. Jacques Fame Ndongo.

According the minister of higher education, this commitment will help in meeting the objectives set by Cameroon’s president of distributing laptops to students. These objectives include, distance learning and a better appreciation of ICTs.

Notwithstanding, the new support by Orange will help to prove the digital standard of the public universities and this will give students more knowledge of ICT. It will also improve the love for education and will reduce the workload on these institutes.

President Paul Biya decries dissemination of fake news

As the world celebrated World Press Freedom Day on May 2, Cameroon’s President Paul Biya took to his twitter account to decry the spread of fake news. According to the President, “Disinformation, slander and lies for selfish gains, have eclipsed the dissemination of real news,”

President Biya’s statement came at a time when international rights agencies are reporting an atmosphere of fear and restrictions employed by the government to force journalists to self-censor their work for fear of detention and high fines. Many Journalists in the troubled Anglophone regions were recently arrested and locked up in line with their duty.

The President’s act of decrying the dissemination of fake news on twitter on Press Freedom Day, appears more to be a justification of his government’s anti press freedom activities.

Kenya’s Safaricom, goes into social networking

Kenya’s mobile network operator, Safaricom, is going into social networking. The mobile network operator is launching a platform that will allow its customers to send and receive money while they chat. The move is to make the messaging service, also known as Bonga (which means “to chat” in colloquial Swahili), more social.

The  Bonga chat service positions Safaricom as a social networking site, allowing its near-30 million subscribers to not only send direct messages on a singular free platform but it will also help them conduct business meetings and enhance their commercial experience. Users will have access to a special M-Pesa button that will allow them to send and request money.

Is the Kenyan President really serious about this?

Kenya’s president, Uhuru Kenyatta, is seeking for forgiveness from the Kenyan people. In his first State of the nation address since winning a second term in office, President Kenyatta said the people should forgive him, if in anyway during the heated elections, he contributed in damaging the unity of the country.

Kenyatta in his speech also praised the resistant opposition leader, Raila Odinga, for accepting to collaborate with his administration towards the restoration of national unity and reconciliations. “Hon. Raila and I stood together not because we agreed on every item of politics or policy, but because we agreed that Kenya belongs to all of us.” He said.

May be the President should begin by seeking forgiveness from the families of those who died from police excesses during the post-election protests and the judges of the supreme court whom he described as “thugs” for annulling the elections. Notwithstanding, Kenyatta may just be speaking from his heart.

South Africa’s Wezart art subscription service globalizes African artists

South Africa’s Wezart has launched an artwork subscription service that will help African artists sell to the world.  It should be noted that Wezart is the South African art and fashion marketplace which helps African artists and designers sell to the rest of the world via its e-commerce platform. It focuses solely on new-age African identity in fashion and art, allowing Africans to sell their modern contemporary creations as efficiently as possible.

Early this week, the startup rolled out an artwork subscription service, which allows companies and individuals to rent artwork from artists through subscription, rent-to-buy artwork they want to own, and commission portraits. The service is the first of its kind in South Africa, and empowers artists by allowing them to make a living from their work before it is sold.

Egyptian online rental platform secures a $1 million funding

An Egyptian Startup, La Reina just raised a US$1 Million from its country’s leading tech firm, Algebra Venture.

La Reina is Egypt’s first online rental platform that was founded in 2016 by Ghada El-Tanawy and Amr Diab. The platform caters for women standing on either side of a demand and supply equation, enables women to rent their used gown to each other online.

Also, the company plans to use the acquired investment to expand its team. “We are certainly focusing on the team,” says Amr Diab, La Reina’s co-founder. In addition, La Reina has caught the attention of US-based global venture capital fund, 500 startups. “We have been watching the La Reina team since the beginning and were impressed with their innovative approach to solving a huge regional pain point,” says 500 startup partner Sharif El-Badawi.

M & A Capital  launches Reverse Factoring  as an alternative financing platform for SMEs in Senegal

On April 26, 2018 in Dakar, the Pan-African investment company M & A Capital and the Agency for Development and Supervision of Small and Medium Enterprises announced the start of the project “Reverse Factoring ” as an alternative financing platform for SMEs through a joint venture called M & A Fintech.

This initiative responds to the desire to provide an alternative to the traditional mode of financing of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Small and medium industries (PMI), very small businesses (TPE) and very small industry (TPI).

Financial Afrik  reveals that this project has strengthened the financing capacity of these structures for the Senegalese economy by improving capitalization, working capital requirements (BFR) and short-term cash management. This is due to the establishment of a secure tripartite platform between banks, suppliers (SMEs, PMI …) and prime contractors (large enterprises).

 

World

Why is WhatsApp founder quitting Facebook?

On April 30, WhatsApp co-founder Jan Koum announced plans to leave the company, owned by parent company, Facebook. Koum has worked with Facebook and served on the company’s board since Facebook acquired WhatsApp for over $19 billion in 2014. In a Facebook post, Koum said it was “time for him to move on.” And that he’ll be taking some time off to pursue non-tech related interests.

Nevertheless, Koum, did not detail his reasons for leaving Facebook. But The Washington Post said he was departing because he has clashed with Facebook execs over the messaging app’s strategy and Facebook’s attempts to use WhatsApp personal data, monetize the service, and weaken its encryption. And this is one thing he had fought so strongly against.

The social giant had originally promised not to share WhatsApp data with Facebook. However, that changed less than two years after the acquisition, leading to ongoing disagreements over data sharing.

€3.25 million to station all your web apps in one place

Paris-based SaaS startup, Station, is setting out to build a web browser that unifies work applications in a single interface. It has now raised €3.25 million in a seed round of funding led by Accel Partners.

Founded out of Paris in 2017, Station wants to create a browser for businesses that gathers all your cloud-based web apps into a single portal. However, this will not help if you are still using traditional applications such as Office on your desktop. But there has been a snail shift to subscription-based software that’s accessed in the browser. And Station believes it has a solution to boost productivity by sidestepping browser tabs like Chrome and Firefox.

With $3.25 million in its bank, Station said it plans to accelerate its product development and grow its user base. But what this really means is, Station just solved a personal issue we all experience–the over-accumulation of tabs in our browsers.

China’s 21st richest man to purchase 70% of marriage and dating site, Baihe

Fosun International chairman and business magnate, Guo Guangchang, plans to purchase a majority stake in marriage and dating website Baihe.com for just under RMB 4 billion ($630 million).

Baihe’s shareholders entered into an agreement with Yuanhong Investment to sell 869 million shares at a price of RMB 4.6 ($0.72) per share. Guo controls 100% of Yuanhong, which will make him a controlling shareholder of Baihe when and if this deal goes through. However, there has been no indication as to when the purchase will be concluded.

The Chinese online dating market has expanded dramatically, and the sector is experiencing a period of increased growth. According to Statista, the number of users of online dating platforms will increase by 45% by 2020. In 2019, total revenue in the sector is predicted to reach RMB 4.4 billion, up 600% from 2010. Guo’s interest in Baihe, therefore, comes as no surprise.

What’s the relationship between the Nobel Prize and a sex scandal?

The Nobel Prize in Literature for this year has been postponed. The postponement came in the wake of a sexual and financial scandal rocking the Swedish Academy, the cultural institution in charge of awarding the prestigious prize.

“We find it necessary to commit time to recovering public confidence in the academy before the next laureate can be announced,” the academy’s permanent secretary, Anders Olsson noted.

Some people may have questioned the relationship between the sex and financial scandal within the academy and the Nobel award. But authorities of the Swedish academy say their action is out of respect for previous and future literature laureates, the Nobel Foundation and the general public. It’s therefore an issue of credibility.

Silicon Times

Events

Jobs

Opportunities

Featured Articles

Nigeria’s Burgeoning Techsphere and the Arrival of CloudCover – Virtual SIM Technology

By ,

Nigeria’s Burgeoning Techsphere & the Arrival of CloudCover - Virtual SIM Technology

CloudCover recently joined the Nigerian tech space. Are Nigerians ready to give them a share of the market?

Nigeria’s tech ecosystem is growing with an increasing influx of investors into the market. Mobile operators, broadband companies, content providers and other technology-focused companies around the globe are pitching their tents in Nigeria. Of course, the underlying aim is to tap from the large market provided by the over 180 million Nigerians.

Lagos, Nigeria,  has recently been declared set to overtake Nairobi, Kenya, as Africa’s start-up capital. This is probably because Nigeria boasts of many tech/eCommerce startups like Konga, Jumia, Andela, iRoko, Farmcrowdy, and Flutterwave, among others. There equally exist investments like; ‘Yabacon Valley’ and the $360 Million African ecosystem investment, where Nigeria got about $109 Million.

These consequently reflect an increased investor interest within the Nigerian tech space/ICT market. CloudCover, certainly wants to grab its own share of  the big market.

Nigeria’s Burgeoning Techsphere & the Arrival of CloudCover - Virtual SIM Technology

In the first quarter of 2012, the Telecommunications and Postal sector was the primary driver of growth of the Nigerian economy. The sector is the fourth highest contributor to the nation’s GDP. From recent developments in the Nigerian tech space, it can be said that the above situation has not declined but there has instead been an improvement.

 

However, there’s still a problem.

Accessibility to high-speed Internet connection and telephone services remains a huge challenge. It is, therefore, not uncommon to find Nigerians migrating from one Internet and telecom provider to another in search of better Internet connection and communication services.

The recent arrival of CloudCover in the Nigerian ICT market thus, provides a glimmer of hope.

About CloudCover in Nigeria’s ICT Market

CloudCover is a multinational provider of multi-network mobile data services. The company provides a portable CC1 Mi-Fi device which allows users to access the best available network anywhere in over 100 countries, including Nigeria.

Nigeria’s Burgeoning Techsphere & the Arrival of CloudCover - Virtual SIM Technology

Some Executives of CloudCover displaying the portable CC1 Mi-Fi device in Abuja

The company has existed in Nigeria since 2017 and has been servicing citizens in all 36 states. It is a pioneer in virtual SIM technology in the country. It supports the states, Federal government and the private sector to strengthen the growth and impact of the ICT industry.

CloudCover, therefore, works towards providing constant reliable Internet connectivity for subscribers on an extensive scale, with just a single device. It reduces the burden of tough decision-making which Internet providers go through in a country. And so, the service becomes very necessary in a country like Nigeria with multiple service providers.

On April 24, CloudCover hosted Critical Information Communication Technology (ICT) stakeholders in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital. The session was to discuss the future of the Internet in Nigeria. Through its leading 4G/LTE device – CC1 MiFi, CloudCover presents an unwavering solution to the fluctuating Internet services in Nigeria. This will help subscribers to cut down on extra cost in buying different SIMs and Mi-Fis.

Nigeria’s Burgeoning Techsphere & the Arrival of CloudCover - Virtual SIM Technology

CloudCover executive lectures ICT stakeholders in Abuja on the Virtual SIM Technology

Mission of CloudCover

Virtual SIM technology is increasingly being adopted around the globe, especially in Western countries. Consequently, this concept clearly appears to reflect the future of mobile technologies. Nick Dixon, CEO of CloudCover shares this position.

“Constant connectivity to the Internet in today’s world is priceless. With so much innovation being shared and discovered in the cyberspace, it has become imperative for one to stay connected regardless of time and location. People in today’s generation are relying on the Internet to do a lot of many different tasks. This is why we created the CC1 Mi-Fi that keeps you constantly connected locally and internationally,” he argues.

Nigeria’s Burgeoning Techsphere & the Arrival of CloudCover - Virtual SIM Technology

Nick Dixon, CEO of CloudCover

With this, it is obvious that the Virtual SIM technology innovation is the future of Internet and cellular technology in the world. Considering its vibrant and flourishing ICT market, Nigeria thus provides a favorable and enabling environment as one of its testing grounds in Africa.

 

Biometric e-Gates at Ghana’s Airport; An Emulative Innovation

By ,

Biometric e-Gates at Ghana’s Airport; An Emulative Innovation

African governments are increasingly living the realities of the digital age by adopting and implementing different digital/e-governance practices. The underlying objective of embracing these practices is to ensure an efficient governance process that facilitates governments’ services. One of such e-government services in Africa is the Biometric         e-gates innovation introduced at Ghana’s Kotoka International Airport, Accra.

Biometric e-Gates at Ghana’s Airport; An Emulative Innovation

The e-Gates, installed at the arrivals and departure halls of the airport, provide an automatic border control solution.

 

The biometric e-gates control and visa management system is part of a bigger e-migration initiative by the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS). The aim of this innovation is to enhance security clearance procedures and passenger processing. Thus, the e-Gates, installed at the arrivals and departure halls of the airport, provide an automatic border control solution. They also lessen the workload for immigration officers, as they perform identification, authentication and verification functions.

This novelty is a combined achievement of Ghana’s Ministries of the Interior, Communication and Aviation. Equally part of the success is; the Ghana Immigration Service (GIS), the Ghana Airports Company Limited, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority and contractors – Gemalto, Josanti and Dart Company who all collaborated to achieve the fit.

Cost of the Biometric e-Gates

The realization of the project is thanks to the sponsorship of the Ministry of Communications. A total of $18 million dollars has been spent so far to this effect. According the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation (GBC), the project is part of the government’s digitalization agenda. Obviously, it is out to facilitate information exchange and safeguard efficiency in government services. It covers the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), the GIS headquarters and subsidiary offices, Disaster Recovery, two sea ports and three land borders.

The government says the focus of the e-immigration system is the provision of an end-to-end integration of border control operations. This also includes permit and visa management systems, business processes (including document and record management). Added to these are a web-enabled system, improved and efficient information technology infrastructure and interconnection with key stakeholders.

 

The GIS is expected to make optimum use of the new Secure Border Management System. It is specifically developed for Ghana but conforms to global standards and completely different from the current system.

A survey by Ghanaian aviation experts reveals that more than six out of ten travelers support digitalization of airport services. They appreciate a faster deployment of biometric technologies to speed up check-in, boarding, and security procedures.

How the Biometric e-Gates Work

The biometric e-gate has been developed under the e-Transform programme, a World Bank funded project under Ghana’s Ministry of Communications. It performs three major functions – identification, verification and authentication of travelers’ documents.

At the biometric e-gate, a passenger places the identification page of his/her passport on a screen for an automatic identification scan. After identification, the e-gate opens for the passenger to go into the verification booth. Where the biometric information conforms, the door automatically opens for the passenger to go out to the other side. However, where the information doesn’t conform, the door remains shut. An alarm then triggers, requesting the passenger to wait for an officer.

This is an indication that with the e-gate, it is pretty difficult for any falsification of identity at the airport. It’s not going to be business as usual for those individuals involved in faking and stealing other people’s passports.

A necessary and emulative innovation?

Generally, Ghana is among the African countries that have chosen to move with the digital age and the new media. A larger percentage of the country’s population consists of people of the digital generation. Consequently, adopting the biometric e-gates innovation is not only enhancing governance and security in the aviation industry. It’s also to meet up with the needs of its largely digital-driven population.

The e-gate is a novelty worth emulating by other African countries. Aviation standards in the developed world are changing to new daily digital realities. African nations therefore cannot afford to lag behind.  The port of entry in any nation plays a significant role in the first impression of first-time visitors. A modern and efficient aviation system thus, gives visitors a positive first impression about governance in the country.

Nigeria’s Teleology Holdings Limited Finally Acquires 9Mobile

By ,

The long dragging bid by telecom investors to acquire 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat, Nigeria, is almost coming to conclusion. Nigeria’s Teleology Holdings, has made a significant move closer to acquiring the fourth largest telecom operator. Teleology recently made a non-refundable deposit of $50 million as prerequisite paying to buy off the company.

This was in response to the request of Barclays Africa and Nigeria’s telecom regulator, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), who are overseeing the bidding process.

Nigeria’s Teleology Holdings Limited Finally Acquires 9Mobile

Teleology recently made a non-refundable deposit of $50 million as prerequisite paying to buy off 9Mobile

The $50 million deposit represents tax that the NCC must collect. A final decision on whether or not to sell-off the telecoms firm to the bidder will then follow. Teleology Holdings will still have to pay $500 million within 90 days after winning the bid. This represents the purchase value of 9Mobile in terms of financial value.

Apart from fulfilling the financial requirements, Teleology will also need to meet certain conditions to definitively take control of 9Mobile. According to NCC, “the selected company must have the technical skills, beyond its financial capabilities, to strengthen 9Mobile and not aggravate its problems. The bidder (must) have substantial funds to improve the sector and not just to recycle fund facilities already in the economy… the company taking over should have adequate technical infrastructure in the field”.

About 9Mobile and Teleology Holdings

9Mobile is Etisalat’s rebranded name, the fourth largest mobile telecom firm in Nigeria. Etisalat adopted 9mobile, following the approval of NCC and confirmation by its successor company, Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Limited, EMTS.

Nigeria’s Teleology Holdings Limited Finally Acquires 9Mobile

9Mobile is Etisalat’s rebranded name, the fourth largest mobile telecom firm in Nigeria.

EMTS says, the rebranding is a testament to the company’s dynamism, responsiveness and agility as a business. This is coupled with its endeavour to leverage the power of technology to deliver innovative services to meet customers’ needs.

Chief Executive Officer, Boye Olusanya, notes that 9mobile, as a new trading name represents the firm’s “0809ja heritage,”. It also epitomizes “9ja-centricity”, and its “evolution over 9 years of operations in Nigeria.”

According to Mr. Olusanya, the change in Etisalat’s trading name does not, in any way, change the true values that anchors the company.

In 2013, Etisalat Nigeria, sourced a $1.2 billion syndicated loan from 13 local banks. Its inability to repay, forced lenders to take over the management, rebrand the company and put it up for sale.

Teleology Holdings is a private equity firm set up by 12 telecom industry veterans. MTN Nigeria’s pioneer CEO Adrian Wood, currently heads Teleology.

The company is reportedly Wood’s conception and some Nigerian investors, solely to revive the embattled 9mobile. Teleology currently manages over $11 billion in portfolio investments. Mr Wood is also CEO of Brymedia, West Africa Limited and a Cambridge and Harvard Universities graduate of Economics.

Teleology Holdings partnership and reinforcements

Teleology appears determined to complete balance payment of the $500 million bid price of 9Mobile. It is also focusing on transforming the company for healthy competition in the Nigerian telecoms market. Based on these and mindful of the need to meet necessary requirements for complete takeover, it is partnering with Safaricom. Safaricom is the biggest telecoms operator in East Africa.

Nigeria’s Teleology Holdings Limited Finally Acquires 9Mobile

9mobile is partnering with Safaricom, East Africa’s largest telco

The CEO Adrian Wood, has also announced the reinforcement of the company’s network through the deployment of new 3G/4G telecom stations. It is also providing rural areas with broadband Internet and the installation of several thousand kilometers of optical fiber.

The partnership, reinforcements, and the viability of the Nigerian telecommunications market are ingredients for 9mobile’s success. It wouldn’t be surprising therefore to hear that Teleology Holdings limited has recovered its $500 million investment in no time. What is required is just an effective, result oriented and prudent managerial system.

Black Panther: Afrocentrism and Feminism in Hollywood

By ,

Black Panther; Afrocentrism & Feminism in Hollywood

Black Panther is an American superhero movie, that focuses on the Marvel Comics. It is the first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) to center on a superhero of color. The protagonist here is an African prince-turned-king T’Challa – Chadwick Boseman, aka the Black Panther. The Black Panther movie is directed by Ryan Coogler, who co-wrote the screenplay with Joe Robert Cole, and stars Chadwick Boseman, alongside Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, and many other stars who also featured in the movie.

Black Panther Movie; Afrocentrism & Feminism in Hollywood

LONDON, ENGLAND – FEBRUARY 08: Cast, Director and Producers attend the European Premiere of Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther” at the Eventim Apollo, Hammersmith on February 8, 2018 in London, England.

The Black Panther movie hit the cinema on February 16, 2018 in the United States of America. It got premiered in Los Angeles on January 29, 2018 in 2D, 3D, IMAX and other premium large formats. The Black Panther movie is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures.

The setting and plot of Black Panther Movie

The narrative of the movie is on the Black Panther or T’Challa, who gets recognition after becoming the king of Wakanda. Wakanda is a small fictional African nation, located in equatorial Africa. It shares boundary with the nations of Narobia, Uganda, Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia and derives its name after its native inhabitants, the Wakandans. The nation is highly abundant in Vibranium,which is the main component of the Black Panther’s shield.

Black Panther Movie; Afrocentrism & Feminism in Hollywood

T’Challa, rises to the throne as King in the isolated, but technologically advanced nation of Wakanda.

In the movie, T’Challa, returns to his home country of Wakanda after the death of his father, T’Chaka. He rises to the throne as King in the isolated, but technologically advanced nation. However, a vindictive supervillain, Erik Killmonger, challenges T’Challa’s supremacy as the new king of Wakanda. Killmonger, has been a childhood victim of T’Chaka, the late father of T’Challa. He (Killmonger) therefore sees the accession of T’Challa to the throne of Wakanda as an opportunity for revenge and sabotage.

Black Panther Movie; Afrocentrism & Feminism in Hollywood

T’Challa’s supremacy as the new king of Wakanda is however challenged by a vindictive supervillain, Erik Killmonger.

An enemy roughly tests T’Challa’s political mettle as king and Black Panther in this formidable conflict. A conflict that puts the fate of the inhabitants of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Locked in this treachery and danger, T’Challa, rallies his allies and releases his full power to crush the enemies.  The outcome of this fight is the security and safety of the people of Wakanda and their way of life.

Financial worth of the ‘Black Panther Movie’

Entertainment gurus have described Black Panther as one of the best films set in the MCU. Consequently, its financial worth has maintained geometric increase ever since its release. The movie is currently the highest grossing movie of 2018. According to Forbes, a $426.6 Million opening made Black Panther the top-grossing film with a black cast. In just four days after it release, the movie earned $242.1 million in the United States.

In February 17, 2018, CNN Money projected  ‘Black Panther’ for a blockbuster weekend. Domestically, the film as of March 10, 2018, grossed $521 million, making it the ninth-highest release of all time. While on a global scale, it crossed the $1 Billion mark at the Global Box Office

Afrocentrism in ‘Black Panther Movie’

In an exposition of the afro-centric spirit, the movie gets its name after the pro-black rights, the Black Panther Movement.  The setting of the movie is largely Wakanda, the fictional African nation. It features the first mostly black collaborative cast in superhero-film history.

Black Panther works wonderfully as a soothingly mocking critique of deep-sited colonialist attitudes. It is surprising that Michael B Jordan plays the villainous Killmonger, rather than Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa, whose character best symbolizes black anger against historic oppression. It is the former who wants to use Wakanda’s riches to fuel a worldwide black uprising. By contrast, the hero (and by extension Coogler himself), has another roadmap to the revolution in mind.

Black Panther Movie; Afrocentrism & Feminism in Hollywood

Black Panther is set mostly in the fictional African nation of Wakanda and features the first mostly black collaborative cast in superhero-film history.

Rather than fight to reverse colonialism, the superhero makes it clear in the mid-credit scene at the UN, that Wakanda will use its power to reframe the conversation entirely. He rejects the use of violence as a means of redistributing wealth, while looking at education and technology as empowerment tools for the oppressed.

For sure, Wakanda will give aids to recipient nations without any strings attached, unlike that of western nations. They are not to open up their economies to Wakanda business interest.

Generally, the road-map of the superhero is a clear message on peaceful revolution and international trade and diplomatic collaboration in a global world. A probable message that Africa is rich and capable enough to warrant the respect of the West. Consequently, adopting a diplomatic, rather than a radical approach against colonial and neocolonial influences is the right way to go.

Feminist Innovation in ‘Black Panther Movie’

Women empowerment is one of the attractive innovations in the Black Panther. It is outstanding novelty in the history of superhero movies. Black Panther projects an all-female royal guard and a brilliant female inventor/engineer. The film successfully gives female characters depth and range on the same level of its male heroes and villains. There are more main female characters in Black Panther than there are in any other movie by MCU film.

Black Panther Movie; Afrocentrism & Feminism in Hollywood

Black Panther projects an all-female royal guard and a brilliant female inventor/engineer.

In the movie, nearly all of the women support King T’challa in some way. Ramonda is his mother, Shuri his sister, Okoye his general, Nakia a spy, and the rest of the Dora Milaje are his guards. Each of them plays a specific function – either as a super-genius, freeing young girls from assumed sexual slavery, maintaining a royal front in the face of chaos, or making hard choices when it comes to dueling loyalties. Okoye, leader of the royal guard, resembles nothing we have seen before in superhero movies. She not only symbolizes warmth, but she uncompromisingly represents black female pride and power, a destroyer of Wakanda’s enemies.

Black Panther Movie; Afrocentrism & Feminism in Hollywood

Okoye, leader of the royal guard

Evidently, the success of Black Panther as a movie and as a character, is highly dependent on the women of Wakanda. The overarching message is that Women can get things done. Discount them at your own peril.

Conclusion

Individuals, especially of the black race, who have watched ‘Black Panther’ will certainly have plenty of talking points afterward. From its portrayal of Afrocentrism and feminism, to the overall importance of having an all-black superheroes as main characters, rather than sidekicks. The financial worth, with its recent $ 1 Billion mark shall preoccupy movie grossing analysts for some time.

The Hustler’s Digest – Truecaller Flies Into Kenya

By ,

The Hustler’s Digest - Truecaller Flies into Kenya

Today’s Quote

“We’re swimming in a sea of stories, trying to find our way in a universe and commercial marketplace of infinite choices.”

Michael Margolis

Africa

Cogebank launches Coge mBank to venture into mobile banking

Africa is embracing the mobile banking revolution, and Rwandan bank Cogebank, certainly doesn’t want to be left out. The bank announced on February 28, 2018, the launch of a new service, Coge mBank – its mobile banking arm. According to company officials, Coge mBank will facilitate access to banking services and customer transactions, including the payment of goods and services from their phones.

“The implementation of this application is in line with digital aspirations and is a manifestation of our commitment to bringing financial services closer to our customers,” said Cherno Gaye, CEO of Cogebank. In the process, Yvon Gilbert Nishimwe, head of e-banking at Cogebank believes that the mobile wallet application is also a time-saving opportunity that allows customers to carry out banking services and other transactions anywhere and at any time.

After months of flying, Truecaller finally perches in Kenya

Last year, Truecaller revealed that it was scouting for an ideal location to set up an office and launch a developer’s program in Africa. Part of that plan became fruitful a month after Truecaller launched the Truecaller Software Development Kit (SDK) program in Nigeria. And now, the other half, with the launch of its Nairobi regional office.

According to Zakaria Abdulkadir Hersi, Truecaller’s Director of Business Development and Partnerships, Africa — Kenya is an ideal choice because it is Truecaller’s largest market in Africa and one of the top five globally. The Truecaller app has 6 million active users in Kenya, and blocks 4.4 million calls per month.

It now begins to make sense as the Swedish Caller ID company revealed that Kenya was one of the top 20 countries affected by spam calls in 2017 with scam calls making up 91% of the reported spam calls. Meanwhile, Truecaller will use the headquarters in Nairobi to run operations in Nigeria, South Africa, and other key markets in Africa.

Equatorial Guinea’s main opposition party dissolved

The main opposition political party in Equatorial Guinea, Citizens for Innovation (CI) has been dissolved by the country’s legal authorities.  The country’s Deputy Attorney General Anatalio Nzang argues that the opposition party has been undermining state security. He added that the law on political parties demands the automatic dissolution of any party that undermines state security.

According to the country’s legal authorities, the decision to dissolve the CI party dates back to November 2017 in Aconibe south-east of Equatorial Guinea, during a parliamentary election campaign, that saw clashes between the party’s supporters and police officers. In the wake of this dissolution, the prosecutor also announced the conviction of 21 CI party supporters to 26 years in prison for sedition and ten years for breach of authority. They were also fined alongside their party some 210,000 euros.

The CI party leader Gabriel Nze Obiang Obono in a reaction to the dissolution of the party said: “This is a false story from the government. The CI party which has no weapons was campaigning at the time, when the ruling party blocked our campaigns all over the country, which was done in collaboration with the police. It cannot be said that the supporters attacked a military camp. At each stage of the campaigns, our unarmed supporters met armed men. What can unarm people really do against armed people?”

It is worth noting that the Citizens for Innovation party won only one seat in Parliament, with the ruling party winning 99 out of 100 seats. Since the vote, restrictions on freedoms and arrests, particularly of political opponents, continue unabated. This has led to the European Eunion (EU) expressing concern on the clamp down on the opposition in the country.

Cameroon

Cameroon Government begins taking austerity measures as economic crisis looms

The Cameroon Prime Minister, Philemon Yang, recently signed a circular redefining the official travel missions of high-ranking officials. According to the Prime Ministerial circular, officials and directors of state owned companies and Corporations will now fly economic class in their official travel missions abroad.

The list of officials under this category include; board presidents, managing directors and deputy managing directors of all public companies.  The Prime Minister also asked the officials to choose direct and cheaper itineraries for their flights during each official trip. This decision according to the Prime Minister has been instructed by the President whose attention was continually being drawn to the excesses of these officials during their official trips.

“Apart from being organized without prior authorization from the competent supervisory authorities, the plus-value of these trips for the company is not always perceived”, he noted.

The Prime Ministers circular is coming at a time when the economic atmosphere of the country is looking gloomy, but these officials seem not to be aware of it as they still engage in a spending spree and wastage of state resources during such mission travels.

Will & Brothers Consulting plans to launch a one billion FCFA fundraising campaign for global expansion

One month after officially presenting his made in Cameroon drones to the Cameroonian government, William Elong, founder of the Will & Brothers startup, and developer of the drone, intends to expand his business to France and United States. Based on this, the startup plans to launch a fundraising operation to raise FCFA 124 million.

“We want to enter the European and American markets. Locally, the first fundraising (124 million FCFA, emphasis added), allowed us to obtain the results that you have all seen: take office space, recruit Cameroonian engineers, buy equipment to mount our UAVs in Douala, etc. Now we think we need to go quickly to the international level. Honestly, I am convinced that we can become the best in the world, ” William Elong, the founder noted.

According to Elong, what gives Western drone companies advantage over them, is simply their exposure to better sources of finance, which facilitate research and development. After his successful launching his 100 percent made in Cameroon drone with various professional applications, William Elong, was ranked among the top 10 young entrepreneurs in Africa, by Forbes Africa.

The Social Democratic Front Party elects Joshua Osih as it Presidential candidate, sparking a nationality debate about him

Last Saturday’s elective convention of the Social Democratic Front (SDF) party did not only witness the exit of Chairman Ni John Fru Ndi, from his long time quest to be President of Cameroon, but also saw the election of the party’s deputy leader Joshua Osih, as its presidential candidate. Mr. Osih, a member of parliament of the SDF, will possibly confront President Paul Biya in the upcoming presidential challenge.

Osih’s election is good news especially to the younger generation of Cameroonians who believe in a change of the present political status quo in the country. Osih, who doubles as a businessman, hails from the troubled Anglophone South West Region of the country. “Etoudi is within our reach,” he said, referring to the Cameroon’s presidential palace.

However, shortly after his emergence as the SDF presidential candidate, Mr. Osih’s political detractors are already  working, by raising issues about his eligibility for the presidential race. They base their arguments on the fact that one of his parents (mother) is not a Cameroonian. The French media has been hitting hard on the SDF candidate, describing him as a foreigner.  They have even predict a possibility of his candidature being thrown out by the recently created Constitutional Council.

World

Amazon acquires smart doorbell maker, Ring, for $1 billion

Last month, the doorbell wars began heating up in the startup-verse. Now, the big players are taking over as Amazon intends to buy smart doorbell maker, Ring, for more than a billion dollars. The e-commerce titan will let Ring operate as an independent business – much like they did with Zappos and Twitch, while reaping the benefits of the company’s home-security hardware.

A few weeks ago, the Alphabet-owned home security company, Nest Hello, announced a March ship date for their new “smart” doorbell. Since then, Amazon has been snatching up the competition: over the past year, they acquired Blink and a laundry list of other smart security gadgets.

The financial details of the acquisition appear to be vague. But if the sale price goes above $1.2 billion (the price they paid for Zappos), then Ring will be Amazon’s second-largest acquisition after Whole Foods. And of course, this move just fuelled the fiery fight among companies like Amazon, Google, and Apple to turn “dumb” homes into “smart” homes.

China now has control of all Chinese iCloud data

Apple is moving iCloud accounts registered in mainland China to state-run Chinese servers, along with the digital keys needed to unlock them. This has human rights groups and privacy advocates worried because Chinese authorities now have all the tools they need to access users’ data. Apple made the move to comply with China’s regulations on cloud services, and it highlights the trade-offs global companies make to do business in China.

The move was  expected since last year, as Apple announced its partnership with Guizhou-Cloud Big Data (GCBD). That is, a Chinese firm supervised by a board of government-owned businesses, with close ties to the government. However, the tech giant has said it will not transfer accounts over to the new data center unless users first agree to the updated terms of service.

It is the latest development in a pattern of Apple acquiescing to Beijing’s demands. Last July, Apple deleted VPN apps from the App Store that let Chinese internet users to evade censorship. Meantime, both Apple and GCBD may still have access to all user data. From what it may seem, this move could very much force Apple to obey various government requests to access Chinese iCloud data.

Meanwhile, Apple has confirmed that it uses Google’s public cloud for data storage for iCloud services. This is BIG because, although it is an unexpected partnership, this fact had earlier been reported in 2016. However, Apple never confirmed it, until now.

Spotify just filed to go IPO

Earlier this year, Spotify filed paperwork to go public. Now, it’s official. Spotify has filed to list publicly, and its plans include bypassing the typical fundraising event and will instead just list shares directly. It’s an unconventional approach, but one that makes sense for the music streaming firm.

The documents state that it is targeting a $1 billion IPO, but this is just a placeholder. This has been a long time coming for many observers. Spotify is hoping it can go public and convince investors of its ability to stay ahead of the competition in key areas like music recommendations.

Spotify, previously raised about $2.7 billion in both debt and equity. Before now, the company has been relatively vague about its financial status. However, according to the filing, the company posted almost $5 billion in revenue last year. As of last December, Spotify recorded 159 million monthly active users, bringing in 46% more than the year prior.

Though with a good as their 2017, they also recorded losses of $1.5 billion. Turning a profit has been a sore subject with the company in the past. Most of their revenue goes in the payment of licensing fees and ever-fluctuating royalty rates to music labels, publishers, and songwriters.

They have reportedly paid more than $9.7 billion in such royalties since their launch in 2006.

US teachers kick against Donald Trump’s proposal to arm them with guns

Teachers across the United States are opposing Donald Trump’s suggestion that some school staff should be armed with guns. The teachers went wild on social media with a series of emotional tweets using the hashtag, #ArmMeWith. Many teachers are against the idea of guns in schools for self-defense during attacks. They prefer better school supplies and mental health resources over guns.

“Pencils, paper, technology, books, art supplies, counsellors… Not Guns,” was the wish list of one teacher on instagram. The trend emerged a days after Mr Trump spoke with survivors of the tragic shooting which claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida on, February 14, 2018.

Trump, took to his twitter platform to argue his ideas. He says that has not asked for teachers to be given guns, but that, arming 20 percent of “adept teachers” with military training would mean they can “fire back if a savage sicko comes to a school with bad intentions.”

Silicon Times

Events

  • In honor of this year’s Women’s Day celebrations, Makonjo Media invites women to its Smart Instagram Marketing for Girls. The event will take place at the Makonjo Media office, on March 7, 2018. Time is from 2PM to 5pm. Makonjo office is at Baird Memorial street, Bonduma, Buea.
  • Interested in becoming a consultant, grab a ticket to attend the Management Consulting Training organized by Skyhigh University Center, Douala. Event runs from April 2 to 7, 2018, 10AM to 2PM daily.
  • You can’t afford to miss the Disruptive Entrepreneurship seminar on March 3, 2018 from 8AM to 1PM. Venue is at Rhema Restaurant Buea, Cameroon.
  • Connect with top customer experience firms in Cameroon as they share their stories at the Cameroon Customer Experience Summit 2018. The event holds on May 12, 2018 from 9AM to 5PM at Place St. David, Douala Cameroon.
  • Meet individuals like yourself who are ready to take action for a digital awakening in Cameroon. Attend the Cameroon Digital Thought Leaders Luncheon event on April 16, 2018, from 1 AM to 5PM in Douala, Cameroon.
  • Apply for the 2018 Young Enterprise Scale-up (YES) Bootcamp. Deadline is March 30, 2018.
  • Grab an invitation to attend the Afrikonnect 2018. Event holds from March 22, 2018, at 12AM to March 23, 2018, at 12AM in Casablanca, Morocco.

Jobs

Opportunities

  • Are you from Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Laos, Cambodia, Philippines and Indonesia, using innovative tools to influence society?  Apply for the Tanzania Sudden Opportunity Grant (€5,000 to €500,000). Deadline for submission of ideas is 31st December 2018.
  • The Africa’s women Development Fund is a grant making foundation that supports local, national and regional women’s organizations. That’s women working towards the empowerment of African women. Apply for Africa’s women Development Fund ($50,000) today by sending your application to the email awdf@awdf.org. Deadline is March 7, 2018.
  • Global change maker will be bringing 60 Changemakers to the 2018 Global Youth Summit. It is a fully funded, and life-changing youth opportunity. This is usually a week of training sessions, networking and workshops. To apply, follow this link. The application deadline is Sunday 4th March 2018 6 p.m.
  • Having made its debut investment in Nigeria’s FarmCrowdy, Techstars Atlanta is receiving applications for this year’s Accelerator program in Atlanta. Applicants stand a chance to get $120,000 in funding and follow-up funding. The three-month program will help startups gain traction through deep mentorship engagement, rapid iteration cycles, and fundraising preparation. Apply here. Deadline is March 13, 2018.
  • CcHub has supports the growth of startups using technology to solve local and social problems through its incubation program. Access an $25,000 investment and more follow-on funding of up to $250,000 today by applying CcHub Incubation Program 2018.
  • Want to grow your wealth? You have the chance to buy shares and become a member of the Jongo Investment Cooperative. Contact +237 677-517-951.
  • Apply to join Venture Finance in Africa Research and participate in its annual benchmark study on African venture performance. Deadline is December 31, 2018

Featured Articles

 

 

 

The Hustler’s Digest – Black Panther forces America to celebrate Africa

By ,

Black Panther forces America to celebrate Africa

Today’s Quote

“In Tanganyika we believe that only evil, Godless men would make the color of a man’s skin the criteria for granting him civil rights”.

Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, addressing British Governor, General Richard Gordon Turnbull, prior to taking up the premiership in 1960.

Africa

Teleology Holdings won the bid on 9mobile acquisition

Last month, Teleology Holdings and Smile Communications were the only two telcos that had placed substantial bids to acquire 9mobile. Each of them bade $500 million and $300 million, respectively.

Fresh reports now confirm that Teleology Holdings was announced the preferred bidder in the sale of the struggling telco. In this light, Teleology Holdings will make a non-refundable cash deposit of $50 million within 21 days or lose the bid to Smile Holdings. For what it took Teleology to win this bid, it won’t take long for the company to deposit that cash.

Going by the official statement released last month by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) amidst speculations that Globacom had won the bid, Teleology Holdings will have to apply in order to commence the processes for securing the regulatory approvals from the Boards of the NCC necessary to give full effect to the transfer.

Expresso ventures into Africa’s mobile money market

After several years, the telecoms operator Expresso, a subsidiary of Sudanese telecoms group Sudatel, announced the launch of its mobile money service, E-Money. This launch will allow the firm to expand its range of products, and enter the daily life of Senegalese, via the very lucrative service of money transfer and purchase of services via mobile money.

According to Abdalla Saeed, General Manager of Expresso Senegal, “this new service will benefit all our customers and all segments of Senegalese society. Expresso intends to increase financial inclusion by providing end-to-end and affordable financial services. The vision of our Group is to be at the forefront of companies with the ambition to enable our African continent to transform and develop in the digital economy.”

Besides providing standard banking services for money transfers, bill payments and telecom products, E-Money will also allow Expresso customers to access a wide range of financial and services.

South Sudan and Somalia take global stage on corruption

The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International has published its 2017 Corruption Perception Index report, relating to the most corrupt countries in the world and the fight against this social ill in the world.

Transparency international, in its report says there’s been a surge in the corruption burden in more than two-thirds of countries, with crackdowns on NGOs and media exacerbating levels of corruption. War-torn countries like South Sudan and Somalia are identified by the report as two countries where the global corruption burden is worst.

According to the report, several countries significantly improved their Corruption Perception Index (CPI) score over the last six years, including Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and the United Kingdom.The Majority of countries, according to the agency are making little or no progress in ending corruption, while journalists and activists in corrupt countries are risking their lives every day in an effort to speak out.

Cameroon

Two ads firms merge to become the leader of classified ads in Francophone Africa

Cameroonian classified ads website kerawa.com recently announced the conclusion of a merger agreement with Afrimalin. The website that bought Leportail.ci earlier in 2017 made this known in a statement published on February 12, 2018. The statement reveals that the new entity formed by Leportail.ci, Kerawa.com and Afrimalin.com will become the leader of classified ads in Francophone Africa.

“For us, it seemed natural to merge to progress quickly. We have decided to merge with kerawa.com and leportail.ci which are leaders in Cameroon and Côte d’Ivoire, respectively. With this, we can exceed the million visitors monthly and increase the countries we cover from 8 to 10”, Thibault Launay, co-founder of Afrimalin explained.

This merger has led to the presence of Afrimalin in 10 countries namely; Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea, DR Congo, Senegal, Congo Brazzaville and Gabon.

Cameroon officially concludes privatization of water production and distribution

President Paul Biya, on February 20, 2018, officially terminated the privatization of water production and distribution in the country. This was through a presidential decree signed to reorganize the Cameroon Water Utilities (CAMWATER) which was until then in charge of managing potable water. The company is now in charge of the production and distribution of water in urban and semi-urban areas.

For over ten years now, Camerounaise des eaux (CDE), a private consortium made up of ONEP, MEDZ, DELTA holding and INGEMA, has been in charge of the production and distribution of water in the country. During these years of privatization, the services have not been the best (with the water shortage constantly being experienced in Yaoundé in the past few months). The government has decided to end the privatization and return the water sector to a public company as had been the case for decades.

Before the privatization to CDE, Société Nationale des eaux du Cameroun (SNEC) handled water production and distribution service in Cameroon.

Cameroon’s main opposition leader in a running battle with Anglophone separatists

The Chairman of the main opposition party in Cameroon, Ni John Fru Ndi, defied threats from Anglophone separatists to organize an elective convention of his Social Democratic Front (SDF) party. Despite the total shutdown of economic activities witnessed in the Anglophone town of Bamenda, in protest against the convention, the event still went on as planned under very tied security.

The party’s convention to elect its presidential candidate in the upcoming election and a new party chair had previously been postponed on three occasions due to the ongoing Anglophone crisis. In his opening speech, the chairman John Fru Ndi castigated the Biya’s regime for mismanagement of the Anglophone crisis and announced his non participation in the presidential race.

The SDF, whose strongest base are the two Anglophone regions has come under heavy criticisms from Anglophone Cameroonians for insisting on holding the convention at a time the region is politically unstable. Pressure from the people had led the Catholic and Presbyterian churches to refuse offering their premises as venues for the convention.

World

Walmart watched as $30 billion in market capital circled down the drain

Shares plunged more than 10% on February 20, 2018 after the world’s largest retailer missed fourth-quarter earnings expectations. Walmart reported a drop in profit and online sales growth during the 2017 holiday season. It was Walmart’s worst single-day stock performance in more than 30 years.

The stock rout slashed about $30 billion off Walmart’s market cap, which finished the day at around $280 billion, down from $310 billion on February 16, 2018. Walmart’s poor quarterly results are the latest evidence of how even the giants of retail are under siege from Amazon. On its earnings call, Walmart executives said the company would double down on its investments in e-commerce and online grocery sales, a consumer sector that’s thought to increase both shopper numbers and loyalty.

While Walmart’s shares have fallen about 5% this year, Amazon’s are up 25%. The company gained a modest 1.4% on February 20, closing at $1.468.35. Walmart isn’t the only retailer feeling the pinch as Amazon has begun wreaking havoc on other grocers like Albertsons.

Travel platform KKDay raises $10.5 million

KKDay, a startup from Taiwan that operates a platform that helps travelers find local activities, raised $10.5 million recently. With participation from existing backers like Hong Kong-based VC MindWorks, Japanese travel operator H.I.S, led the funding round.

KKDay caters to Asia’s burgeoning regional tourism market. The idea is to allow travelers find experiences, tours and travel in their destination city. The target is to digitize and then take a slice of the travel tour and activities market that is predicted to grow by to reach $183 billion by 2020. To get there, KKDay has turned to a traditional player for help.

H.I.S which recorded more than $5.5 billion in annual sales, is an old school, bricks and mortar travel firm, whereas three-year-old KKDay is a new, digital entrant that’s predominantly Asia-focused. Hence, there is plenty of potential to work together. KitSplit, which operates an online rental marketplace for creative equipment, also announced that it raised $2.1 million in seed funding.

Black Panther resets Africa’s image

Racist teachings about Africa influenced American perceptions for centuries. In mid February this year, the high-profile superhero comic, Black Panther hit the air. And then social media took the “Panther” craze to another level with people of every color and ethnicity posting selfies in multicolored warrior helmets, neck beads, spears and gold-plated everything.

That excitement, credited to a high-profile superhero film made by a mostly black cast and crew, running a $200 million budget in white Hollywood, made many Wakanda-ready. Who would have ever thought that many Americans would get excited about celebrating a story about Africa and Africans?

Silicon Times

Events

  • On February 28, 2018, take part in the Angel Investor Masterclass Abuja event and understand how to mobilize early-stage investment.
  • You can’t afford to miss the Disruptive Entrepreneurship seminar on March 3, 2018 from 8 AM to 1 PM at Rhema Restaurant Buea, Cameroon.
  • Connect with top customer experience firms in Cameroon as they share their stories at the Cameroon Customer Experience Summit 2018 on May 12, 2018 from 9 AM to 5 PM at Place St. David, Douala Cameroon.
  • Attend the maiden edition of Moments in Space organized by ActivSpaces on February 24, 2018, 10 AM at ActivSpaces Buea and expose your startup to influencers.
  • Secure your place at the Leadership Round-table Summit and learn how to be a good leader on February 24, 2018, from 9 AM to 4 PM at the Theater, Creative Art Department, University of Lagos.
  • Get your ticket and attend the Wearable Technology Show 2018 from March 13, 2018 at 9 AM to March 14, 2018 at 5 PM, London, United Kingdom.
  • If you’re a first-time buyer looking for help to get on the property ladder, join the London Home Show Spring 2018 on March 3, 2018 from 11 AM to 5 PM at the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Center, London.

Jobs

  • Program officer at RainForest Alliance needed to work in Yaounde. Applications are currently going on.
  • Guinness Cameroon S.A. Douala, needs the services of a Sales Manager for Beer Partner Markets. Apply before March 8, 2018.
  • Get a job as an International Accountant at Amnesty International in London. Follow this link to apply before March 7, 2018.
  • Get a job at Save the Children in Spain as a Director of Social Intervention Programs before March 12, 2018.
  • Become the Chief of Child Protection at the UN Children’s Fund in Windhoek, Namibia. Apply before March 15, 2018.
  • Beetle Heritage Holding SA / CA is currently looking for a Community Manager in its marketing department in Douala. Deadline for application is February 26, 2018.
  • Send in your application now and get a chance to become an Administrative Assistant at Citibank Cameroon.

Opportunities

  • Are you an African Entrepreneur with a business in Africa? Would you like to receive training, funding and mentoring to help your business grow? Here’s your chance to apply for the #TEF2018.
  • The UNFCCC–UNU Early Career Climate Fellowship Program is a fully-funded fellowship that offers young people from a unique opportunity to build great careers. Apply here. Deadline is 28th February, 2018.
  • Do you run a church, Mosque or any religious organization? Then participate in the upcoming training on Web Development for Evangelism organized by Makonjo Media, Buea. Training will run from April 18 to 21, 2018. Visit; www.makonjo.com for more information.
  •  Time is running out. Apply for the Education for Sustainable Energy Development (ESED) Scholarship Program 2018. It all ends on March 9, 2018.
  • The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalist is now accepting applications from Professional Journalists for its 2018 Fellowship Program. Latest date is March 12, 2018
  • Are you a start-up into Blockchain, Drones, Virtual and Augmented reality, Data Science then Apply for the UNICEF Innovation Fund. The fund invests in frontier technologies existing at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs. Application deadline is  February 28, 2018 at 23:59 GMT
  • Are you an aspiring scholar from any of the Southern African countries or do you know anyone from there? Then apply for the Ruth First Education Trust Scholarship Program.  Deadline for applications is 15th March 2018.

Featured Articles

The Hustler’s Digest – Fundraising Or Fund Leveling?

By ,

The Hustler's Digest - Fundraising or Fund Leveling?

Today’s Quote

“The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion leads to action while reason leads to conclusions.”

Donald Calne

Africa

Airtel Nigeria chooses Ibadan to launch its first 4G LTE service

After 18 months of its announcement, Airtel Nigeria finally launched its first 4G LTE mobile network service. Following the popular trend, you would have expected the usual areas – Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt for this launch. Interestingly, the telco chose Ibadan. Among mobile network, this seems to be the new trend and it has been around for a while now. Ibadan was the city of choice for Smile to launch its pioneering 4G service.

Before Glo spread its 4G LTE service nationwide, it did a test-run in six less populated cities. Even 9mobile (then Etisalat), which appears to be the only one to have launched in Lagos first, did so with a tightly controlled approach. MTN launched 4G LTE nationwide at once, but not before trying it out in Rwanda and Ghana.

Speaking on February 14, 2018, at an event in Ibadan, Airtel CEO, Segun Ogunsanya confirmed that the telco will, however, be rolling out to other cities across the country “in the coming months” as well.

A new South African fintech startup has emerged to curb fraud

As online fraud in South Africa steps up, buying and selling goods online puts both buyers and sellers at risk. TradeSafe, a fintech company that safeguards a buyer’s funds in trust until the seller delivers what was promised was launched to address this problem. Only once the buyer is happy with the goods or services received, does TradeSafe release the funds.

Inspired by the personal experience of its co-founder and CEO Jethro O’Brien, “there is a pressing need for our services due to the high levels of fraud and criminality in these environments, more particularly in South Africa’s oil and gas sector especially with the trading of diesel.

With this platform, buyer and seller must sync before any transaction can take place. So scammers, beware. TradeSafe is here to hold your product or money hostage until you deliver and proof you’re legit. Online dealers now ask, “could this be the end?”

South Africa celebrates, while Zimbabwe mourns

Parliament on February 14, 2018, elected Cyril Ramaphosa, former Deputy President and acting President of South Africa as the country’s new president. This marked a turning point in the history of the country, following a slow-motion collapse of the once-legendary ruling party under Jacob Zuma, the former president.

Jacob Zuma had on Wednesday night resigned as President, under mounting pressure from his African National Congress (ANC). He left both the leadership of the party and the continent’s second-biggest economy in the hands of Ramaphosa. Zuma, of recent, came under heavy criticisms from members of the opposition, on his handling of the economy, coupled with mounting allegations of corruption, fraud, and racketeering

While South Africans were celebrating the resignation of Zuma and the election of Ramaphosa at the helm of the nation, there was rather a mourning atmosphere in neighboring Zimbabwe, following the passing away of the main opposition leader, Morgan Tsvangirai, at the age of 65. He had been suffering from colon cancer for at least two years, but his condition deteriorated rapidly in recent days despite treatment in neighboring South Africa.

Cameroon

Financial Crisis shutting down African forest Exploitation Company in Cameroon

The Rougier Group, an African company specialized in the exploitation of forests in Africa is putting up its subsidiary assets in Cameroon for sale, due to what it calls financial difficulties. The firm disclosed this information on February 13, 2018, during a board meeting of the company.

The Rougier group, during the board meeting also appointed a new managing director in the person of Francis Rougier. His primary mission is to implement measures to cope with the difficult situation in which the French firm currently finds itself. The newly appointed executive will also have to continue talks regarding the sale of the group’s Cameroonian subsidiary’s assets. The present financial situation of the firm indicates its employees are already “technically unemployed”.

The Rougier group, in 2017 saw its turnover slump by 7.5 percent. According to the company, it difficulties encountered in Cameroon are mainly linked to unpaid VAT loan arrears. Furthermore,“ the severe choking of Douala port greatly impairs operations of Cameroonian, Congolese and Central African subsidiaries”, the group added.

MTN & ORANGE Cameroon get new Managing Directors

The two major telecom multinationals in Cameroon, MTN and ORANGE now have new Chief Executive Officers. South African, Saim Yaksan, and French citizen, Frédéric Debord were in separate statements from their companies appointed; acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of MTN and Managing Director of Orange Cameroon respectively.  

Saim Yaksan will be responsible for keeping MTN Cameroon on the path of growth and strengthening its leading position in an increasingly competitive telecommunications market” the MTN statement noted. Frédéric Debord, as the new Managing Director of Orange Cameroon, replaces Elisabeth Medou Badang, who has been “promoted to the Executive Committee of Orange Middle East and Africa as Zone Director and Spokesperson.

Prior to their appointments, Saim Yaksan, an experienced administrator with MTN was Director of Transformation within the group, while previously served as Director of Ooredoo Kuwait Operations. The former CEOs Philisiwe Sibiya of MTN and Elisabeth Medou Badang of Orange Cameroon have been called up for other duties.

Cameroon youths call on aging Paul Biya to run again for President

Some young Cameroonians under the name of Cameroonian youths last Wednesday, February 13, 2018 in Yaoundé, called on the President of the Republic to run again for another mandate in the upcoming Presidential elections. This was during the celebration of the President’s 85th birth anniversary at the Congress Hall in Yaoundé.

In the ceremony in which the Secretary General at the Presidency, Ferdinand Ngoh Ngoh represented the President, young leaders such as Amandine Abomo for buyam-sellam, Christian Bako Bassagock, on behalf of University students, Jean-Marc Afesi Mbafor of the National Youth Council and Ornela Tamasoh of the “Friends of Popul,” all pledged their support to the President.

The youth leaders all called on the president to once again present himself for re-election in the upcoming presidential elections. The Secretary-General at the Presidency promised to take the message to the head of state. Some other Cameroonian youths have however questioned the capacity of the president to withstand another mandate. They called on him to retire and allow the younger generation to take over control.

World

UJET raises $25 million for its expansion drive

UJET, the U.S-based startup producing software to improve customer service announced that it has raised a $25 million Series B funding led by GV (formally known as Google Ventures). This round brings UJET’s total funding raised to more than $45 million. This San Francisco-based startup intends to use the capital to scale its business and open a New York office next month and its European Union headquarters in the second quarter of this year.

UJET’s software lets customers reach support agents directly in a smartphone app, on the web or by phone. According to Anand Janefalkar, founder and CEO of UJET, his firm’s tools can help other companies significantly reduce the amount of money they spend on customer support.

Other startups have recently raised large rounds of funding to make customer support less painful for everyone including Intercom, which has received $115.8 million from investors; and Helpshift, which successfully raised $38.5 million from Nexus Venture Partners and a host of others. The most recent is Lumi, a Los Angeles startup that just raised $9 million for a packaging business.

A major Indian bank just lost $1.8 billion in fraud

While some startups were busy fundraising, other financial institutions were “fund leveling.” One of India’s biggest state-controlled lenders, Punjab National Bank (PNB), announced that it had uncovered $1.77 billion worth of fraudulent transactions at one of its Mumbai branches.

That’s about 1/3 of the bank’s entire market value and 50 times its net profit from last quarter.

Unfortunately, Punjab remained relatively mum about the cause, but the problem has likely been ongoing for 7 years. The bank only offered that it “detected some fraudulent and unauthorized transactions,” which caused other banks to advance money to customers abroad. With 1m people entering India’s labor force each month, this fraud could severely impact the flow of small business loans given out by the bank, and some analysts predict it could cause a “ripple effect” on other Indian banks.

China and Russia catching up with the military power of the West   

“The West no longer has a monopoly on world-leading defense innovation,” a leading defense expert has remarked. China and Russia are challenging the military supremacy of America and its allies and the West can no longer rely on the strategic advantage it has enjoyed until now.

According to the UK’s Independent, the Military Balance 2018 report, produced by the International Institute of Strategic Studies (IISS) warns that while war between the great powers is not inevitable. Washington, Moscow and Beijing are now systematically preparing for the possibility of conflict.

The report details China’s drive in acquiring and expanding its formidable arsenal in the air, to include the Chengdu J-20 combat aircraft entering service in 2020. This means the US is losing its monopoly on stealth aircraft. Meanwhile, its PL-15 extended-range air-to-air missile system will be equipped with electronically scanned radars – technology few other nations possess.

Silicon Times

Events

  • If you’re a Buea-based artist in Cameroon, don’t miss Beta Night’s seminar to educate artists on the role bloggers play in their music careers on February 24, 2018 from 7 PM to 10 PM.
  • Don’t miss your chance of building an intelligent company during the Innovation Summit 2018 America event on March 22, 2018 in Chicago.
  • Get your ticket now for Armand Morin’s Marketing University Momentum from May 26, 2018 to May 27, 2018 to take place at the Amba Hotel Marble Arch, London.

Jobs

  • The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalist is now accepting applications from Professional Journalists for its 2018 Fellowship Program. The latest date is March 12, 2018.
  • Are you a start-up into Blockchain, Drones, Virtual and Augmented reality, Data Science then Apply for the UNICEF Innovation Fund. The fund invests in frontier technologies existing at the intersection of $100 billion business markets and 1 billion person needs. Application deadline is  February 28, 2018, at 23:59 GMT.
  • Are you an aspiring scholar from any of the Southern African countries or do you know anyone from there? Then apply for the Ruth First Education Trust Scholarship Program.  Deadline for applications is 15th March 2018.
  •  Are you interested in becoming an Entrepreneurship Mentor? Then, the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is requesting your application for the 2018 Entrepreneurship mentoring program. Latest date for application is March 2018. Apply here.

Featured Article