Today’s Quote

“It doesn’t die and it comes back stronger”

Africa

Naspers physically shuts down OLX offices across Africa

The latest internet company backed by Naspers to run into troubled waters in Africa is OLX, a popular classified platform operational in 10 African countries. That number is set to drop to eight as the company will shut down offices in Nigeria and Kenya next month and operate the platform remotely.

The news comes days after Zinox, a Nigerian technology firm bought over Naspers’ stake in Konga, a 6-year-old Nigerian e-commerce company.

This move is a possible indicator that Naspers is slowly moving its investments away from Africa. The South African multi-conglomerate just led a $100 million investment round in food delivery firm, Swiggy, along with China’s online-to-offline service platform Meituan-Dianping. The round draws the curtains on months of negotiations which also saw SoftBank and Flipkart trying to woo the Bengaluru-based online food-delivery platform.

Pangea plans to connect Kenyan startups to investors

In 2017, 201 African startups received a $167.7 million investment, a 28% growth increase from 153 startups in 2016. South African startups were the most funded, followed by Kenya, then Nigeria.

Seeing that there is so much potential for startup growth in Africa, Norwegian accelerator Pangea, has set up base in Kenya with the aim of connecting African startups with the expertise, networks, and capital they need to grow. Sprouting from the ashes of the little investment in Africa’s startup ecosystem, Pangea’s plan is to create a pipeline that ensures access to investment for African startups.

The 2017-born company has been through an accelerator before leaving the nest to start operations in Africa. Pangea was founded by a group of Africans from different countries such as Togo, Ghana, Nigeria, and Eritrea, living abroad.

Nigerian Senate passes motion to check trespass of Cameroonian soldiers at border towns

In a bid to protect Nigerian citizens and Cameroonian refugees in border towns of Cross River State, the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, February, 7th 2018, passed a resolution urging the Nigerian military authorities to check complaints of harassment by Cameroon military. The Senate in its resolution admonished the military hierarchy to increase security presence and intensify border patrol within the area to prevent further acts of trespass by the Cameroon soldiers.

The sponsor of the motion,  Senator John Enoh, noted that the current agitation for the independence of Southern Cameroons has caused an influx of refugees into border communities in Cross River State with over six thousand of the refugees currently ‘squatting’ at Obanliku, Boki, Etung and Ikom Local Government Areas of the state.

The Nigerian senate also went further to summoned the Minister of Defence, Mansur Dan Ali, to appear before it and explain the reason behind the invasion by large numbers of refugees from the Republic of Cameroon to some border communities in Cross River State and its attendant security fallout.

Cameroon

MTN Cameroon launches Facebook Flex free browsing

MTN Cameroon on February 5, 2018 launched its new digital offer known as Facebook Flex, in partnership with the giant American social Media network. This offer according to MTN allows prepaid and postpaid subscribers to follow the news and chat with their loved ones for free.

Facebook Flex, specifically permits the subscriber to chat with his friends, read, comment, share, send messages to family members, without consuming his internet package. Subscribers can access Facebook Flex through 2 options; Download the Android Facebook app or, log on to www.facebook.com;  enter the free service access code: *222#. Then use Facebook Flex completely free.

However, MTN notes that the user can, at his discretion, use his internet volume to view photos and videos. As for the difference between Facebook Flex and Facebook, MTN explains that with the full Facebook mode, navigation is counted on your internet package, and you have access to photos and videos.

Cameroon’s Tech Engineer unveils locally made drones

A young Cameroonian startup Will and Brother, has fulfilled its dream of producing a Cameroonian made drone. The startup’s CEO William Elong on February 2, 2018, officially presented the drone was officially presented to the public at the Yaounde City Council Hall.

“Thanks to the great team of young people who chose to join this adventure full of uncertainties, but especially of determination,” said Elong during the Yaounde event. He noted that the they have three flagship drones: a fixed-wing UAV, with a range of 20 km and a range of more than 45 minutes, called Algo; a hexacopter drone dubbed Logarithm and a land-based drone named Sanaga.

William Elong revealed that the drone is “25 times cheaper” than market prices. But, the Will & Brothers did not want to reveal in public the prices of the drones, preferring to communicate them discreetly to the participants of the meetings.

Cameroon government creates Constitutional Council amidst an uncertain electoral atmosphere

President Paul Biya on February 07, 2018, finally established an 11-member Constitutional Council for the Country, 22 years after the Constitution spelled it out. A 77 year old magistrate, Clement Atangana Ndi was also appointed President of the said body.

The Constitutional Council, also known as the Council of the wise, has a responsibility to regulate “the functioning of the institutions [Executive, legislative, judicial and local authorities]” as spelled out in the Constitution. Some opinion leaders have however questioned the President’s decision to appoint members of this body which is supposed to be, according to the Constitution, ‘the regulating body of the institutions’.

They believe that this move is proof of the ulterior intentions of the presidential camp to hold ultimate political alternation cards. With general elections coming up this year, there is still uncertainty in the Anglophone regions relating to the holding of elections as tensions remain high between government forces and separatists.

World

Bitcoin comes crashing down again. Is this the end?

Last month, bitcoin’s value plunged amid fears that South Korea was about to ban trading in the cryptocurrency. Then it stabilized briefly before plummeting again. The volatile cryptocurrency hit a record high when it passed $19.850 in mid-December but then tumbled rapidly, falling to below $12,000 within days.

Its value has shifted unpredictably ever since, with frequent wild drops and recoveries. The speedy drops are partly the result of continuing fears about regulation. Earlier this week, its value dropped spectacularly, falling from $10,000 to $6,000 in four days. Die-hard bitcoin believers are digging in amid the crypto bloodbath as many investors wonder whether this is true cryptocurrency carnage, or if bitcoin has the ability to bounce back.

But the important thing is, each time Bitcoin crashes like this, it only comes back stronger. However, it now appears to be recovering. It was worth $8.325 as of Thursday morning, according to the Coinbase exchange, has seen its value increase by more than 5% over the past 24 hours.

Some have even taken to Twitter and Reddit to exchange stories of lost potential, and what it means to see thousands of dollars in investments vaporize within days.

Twitter finally makes profit

After 12 years of existence, Twitter finally posted its first-ever profit. Although a clampdown on fake accounts meant it lost users in the US and overall growth stalled, a $732 million revenue ensured a $91 million profit.

More interestingly, the bluebird company seems to have made more profit than Snapchat, a feat that was unimaginable last year. Now, Twitter has a market cap of around $25 billion, while Snap has a market cap of $24 billion. It’s a pretty narrow gap, but still a semi-big deal.

The two companies about matched each other at the end of 2017, as Snap was one of the more robustly weird and semi-disappointing IPOs of 2017. Snap’s stock was down more than 7% Friday morning, giving Twitter an opportunity to slide past the company. Twitter’s stock, meanwhile, was up more than 20% (and at one point was up more than 25%).

As of yesterday, these two companies were still jockeying for position as to who is more valuable, though Twitter still has an edge.

Walmart acquires virtual reality startup as part of its tech makeover

Walmart is stepping up its virtual reality drive as it acquires a small virtual reality startup, called Spatialand. The multinational retail giant hopes to someday transform the shopping experience across the company’s different websites and stores. Spatialand makes software tools that let creators transform existing content into immersive, virtual reality experiences.

The startup worked with Walmart’s technology incubator, Store No. 8, on a project last year, and has now been acquired by that group. This move comes as augmented reality, not virtual reality, gains popularity.

Donald Trump signs budget bill to avert government shutdown

U.S President Donal Trump just signed a sweeping budget bill to re-open the government after Congress briefly shut it down overnight. Federal funding for government services expired at midnight after the Senate missed a voting deadline.The 650-page budget document proposes an increase in defense spending and domestic services of about $300bn (£215bn).

A 240-186 House vote approved the budget plan. In his usual tweets after the signing, President Donald Trump said “Just signed Bill. Our Military will now be stronger than ever before. We love and need our Military and gave them everything — and more. First time this has happened in a long time. Also means JOBS, JOBS, JOBS!”

The shutdown, which lasted five hours, was the second under Donald Trump and Republican-controlled Congress this year.

Silicon Times

Events

  • Are you interested in entrepreneurship? Grab your ticket to network with young entrepreneurs and business gurus in Cameroon at the Round Table Pool Business Talk 2018 on February 17, 2018 from 1 PM to 6 PM at the Parliamentary Flat Hotel, Federal Quarters, Buea.
  • Take part in the DevFest Douala 17 all-day developer conference that offers speaker sessions across multiple product areas, codelabs and hackathons. Be there on February 17, 2018 from 9 AM to 11 AM.
  • 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.
  • Do all you can to make it to the Africa Tech Summit Kigali 2018 and explore the latest tech trends and connect with 250+ major stakeholders from across the continent from February 14 to 15, 2018, 12 PM daily at the Marriott Hotel Kigali, Rwanda.
  • Join the Harmony Innovation Hub on February 10, 2018 from 9 AM to 4 PM and learn how to tap into Oracle and Thunkable, with the opportunity to meet and network with industry leaders, young entrepreneurs and innovators.
  • 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

  • Get a full-time job as a Web Developer at Africacodes Concepts Limited in Lagos, Nigeria. Applications are open up until February 28, 2018.
  • Become a Network Management Engineer at ipNX in Ikeja, Lagos before April 30, 2018.
  • Get a job placement at Plan International Cameroon in Kousseri as a Coordinator. Deadline for submission of applications is February 14,  2018.
  • Are you a holder of a B.Sc in Telecom Engineering, Computer Engineering, Electronic/Electrical Engineering? Send your application to Vodacom Business Cameroon SA before February 18, 2018 and get a job as a Design/Transmission Engineer.
  • Your chance to work with Google is finally here. Send your application now and become an Associate Product Marketing Manager, Google Play and Android in Lagos.
  • Grab a job at Image Boosters Limited in Lekki, Lagos as a Social Media Manager. Send an email to contactus@imageboosters.com.ng before February 12, 2018.
  • If you’ve ever dreamed of using your graphic design skills to make an impact in the world, here’s your chance. Before February 13, 2018, apply on Jobberman and work as a Graphic Artist for the World Health Organization.
  • Work remotely as a Software Engineer (site reliability and infrastructure) at Sticker Mule.
  • How would you like a job as Marketing Manager at Coyuchi in San Francisco, United States?

Opportunities

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