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.

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