Today’s Quote

“They steal our taxes and donor money… leaving public services to near-collapse and now when donors get angry and cut them off, then they come to us and punish us again by raising taxes to grab even the little income we struggle to make.”



Why Nigeria has been plunged into darkness

On Sunday, the Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) released a statement saying the electricity generated into the Nigerian national grid had dropped. A report said the drop totaled 1,087.6 Megawatts.

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The report, however, pointed accusing fingers at a ruptured gas pipeline of the Nigerian Gas Company(NGC) on June 15, and technical issues at Shell gas wells on June 16. After the rupture, most regions in Nigeria went into a period of blackouts. However, the TCN has not been able to come out clearly with the real cause of the rupture.

As a result of this rupture, six major power stations were, however, shut down due to their inability to generate electricity. These six power stations have, however, been able to generate 60MW only on each unit, losing a total of 211MW to generate electricity.

Nigeria’s 2019 Presidential election: GOD is Laughing at Buhari – Obasanjo claims

“But the God that did it yesterday will do it again today. Remember a particular leader who had a desire to transmute from military uniform to elected President…” Obasanjo said. “But our God is wonderful. God laughed. Now, God is laughing. When the time came, God revealed that he’s God. He is the omnipotent, omnipresent and eternal, who can do all things and who can make all things possible.”

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The above quotation is credited to former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo directed these words towards President Buhari’s insistence to seek re-election in the upcoming 2019 presidential election, despite calls that he retires. Obasanjo said he has, nevertheless, left in God’s hands, his resolve to boot Buhari out of office in 2019. He, however, advised the people that they also have a role to play by getting their Permanent Voter Cards (PVCs).

The former president was speaking during the week in a town hall meeting of the of the Coalition for Nigeria Movement (CNM) in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria. Obasanjo, Buhari and two old political bigwigs have refused to quit the political stage despite their old age. Obasanjo navigated Buhari’s presidential ship in 2015. He now thinks that the ship is, however, wrecking and must be stopped from sailing in 2019.

Orange Mobile Money increasing rate: A problem to customers

Recently, Orange increased its mobile money withdrawal rate due to increase in tariffs. Though Orange is entitled to increase its rate at convenience in respect to the terms of use of Orange money, customers still lament. They claimed they were not informed of the recent action.

When it comes to sending unwanted and undesirable promotion SMS to subscribers, Orange Cameroon is strong. But when it’s necessary to send SMS to warn users of an increase in tariffs, in accordance with the texts which they themselves have put in place, they are incapable.  

However, in accordance with Article 12 of the conditions of use of Orange Money, if Orange Cameroon is free, at any time to modify its tariff grid, then the users are not at the shelter a further increase in Orange Money rates. And this increase comes less than a year after that of August 2017.  

Cameroon has refused the US access to investigate human rights violations

The 38th Human Rights Council of the United Nations opened on Monday in Geneva, Switzerland. Though Cameroon boycotted the secession, she, however, received knocks from the human rights council.

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The UN’s High Commissioner of Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, indicted Cameroon’s government for trying to cover up her human rights violations in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon. Since the Anglophone crisis began in the two English-speaking regions, the government has, however, denied the Commission access to investigate abuses in various cities.

Representatives of the Anglophone Cameroon community have, nevertheless, added their voices. They called on the UN to provide humanitarian protective assistance that’ll ensure that Cameroon’s armed forces and civil administrative personnel out of the affected regions for a smooth return of refugees. Internally Displaced Persons too. And they want the UN to put in place a UN administration for the organization of an independence referendum. Is Cameroon heading for a separation into two countries?

Safaricom opposes tax increase on mobile cash transfers

Kenya’s state coffers seem to be running dry. So, the government is pushing to raise excise tax on mobile money transfers from 10% to 12%. But Safaricom-owned M-Pesa and other services, are protesting the increase. And as it turns out, the government expects to net around $270 million in additional revenues and it claims the extra income will fund a universal health care program to cover all households by 2022. Seems like a great idea though. 

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But M-Pesa thinks differently, saying the move could take a toll, as it will negatively impact mobile-led transfer services and payments. Besides, hiking duties on mobile payments would slow down Kenya’s progress towards a cashless economy, which the government has been encouraging in a bid to improve security and reduce the risk of fraud.  

While the taxes are levied on the service providers, the additional costs will likely be passed on to customers, many of whom are unbanked and rely on the service for essential daily payments. It’s not the first time mobile money platforms have come under the focus of the taxman in Kenya. In 2016, Kenya’s Revenue Authority pushed for access to private mobile money transaction records to identify possible tax cheats.

Exposed atrocities of Malian soldiers vindicate human right groups

On Tuesday, Mali’s Defense Ministry implicated some Malian soldiers for “gross violations” after the discovery of mass graves in its troubled central region. This is a region where violence between security forces and Islamist militants has plagued its inhabitants for a long time.

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The Defense Ministry confirmed the story after local media reported that 25 bodies had been found in mass graves. The mass-graved bodies are certainly casualties of a military crackdown on suspected jihadists and allied ethnic militia in central Mali.

Some national and international Human rights groups, including Amnesty International, accuse the Malian military of conducting extrajudicial killings, kidnappings, torture and arbitrary arrests against suspected sympathizers of jihadist groups. The Malian military, like most African military, however, rejected these accusations but promised to investigate the allegations. This story sounds similar to what is currently happening in Cameroon, where the military has been accused of gross violations against the English-speaking population in their fight against separatist movements.

Vodacom wins latest round against MTN with R325 million Transnet ruling

In less than two weeks after advertising authorities ruled in MTN’s favor, Vodacom has won the latest round in the battle between South Africa’s two biggest mobile operators. Three days after hearing MTN’s court bid to have Transnet’s R325 million deal with Vodacom, a High Court in Johannesburg dismissed the bid on Monday.

Vodacom is a South African mobile communications company, providing voice, messaging, data and converged services to over 55 million customers. Competition among mobile network operators is, however, intensifying amid a decline in traditional voice revenues.

MTN said in its court papers that it wanted Transnet’s contract with Vodacom, signed in February and involves the provision of mobile voice and data services to be set aside as the tender process had been “marred with irregularities.” The mobile operator, which has provided these services for years, has thus far refused to port Transnet numbers to Vodacom on the premise that both the first and second iterations of the tender process were irregular and skewed in its rival’s favor. Its refusal to hand over the services is despite the Independent Communication Authority’s ruling in April that it must do so.

One Global is set to transform Egypt through digitalization

Known for its specialty in digital innovation and fintech service, One Global look forward to transforming Egyptian markets. It also aims to expand by providing fintech services, both regionally and internationally.

According to One Global’s CEO, Ahmed Al-Gebaly, the country has a plan to digitally transform Egypt by 2030. Besides, the government also has an investment incentive that’ll contribute to improving the financial sector.

“One Global has a technological healthcare platform and special vaccinations for children, which serves about 17,000 children in Kuwait. It includes comprehensive medical history files of the children since birth, and it will soon be launched in Egypt through a legislative framework and the application of legal government standard adopted by international institutions” said Al-Gebaly.  

Akon wants to build a ‘real-life Wakanda’ using a crypto called AKoin

At the Cannes Lions Festival on Monday, Senegalese Grammy-nominated singer Akon announced Akoin — a cryptocurrency named after him.

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Akon believes crypto could be “the savior of Africa”. And he has already made plans to build a “crypto city” in Senegal which he calls “a real-life Wakanda”. Akon Crypto City will apparently be a short drive from the country’s capital in Dakar. Just like Wakanda in Marvel’s Black Panther, Akon claims his city will be a “futuristic environment” and will be “the first 100% crypto-based city and will use the Akoin ecosystem for transactions.”

However, as it turns out, Akon has very little knowledge of the technical aspects of his new venture. So, he’ll bring in a ton of geeks to help realize this drive. According to The Verge, the Akon’s futuristic city has already gotten a 2,000-acre gift from Senegal’s president.

How racist is Julius Malema’s opinion to deserve an investigation?

The leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters – EFF, Julius Malema of South Africa, is under fire for alleged racist comments against Indian South Africans. And South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) is, however, set to investigate Malema over the alleged racist comments.

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The former ANC youth league made a remark last week in which he accused Indian South Africans as racists towards black South Africans. He also said their communities in South Africa treat blacks as subhumans, even underpaying them for work done.

The public has thus, been asking how racist these comments are, considering that Malema and his EFF are known for fighting for the economic empowerment of black South Africans. What if Malema’s accusations are true? It’s now left to see how the SAHRC will establish the racism behind Malema’s comments during the investigation.

Angola is set to lead in hydropower supply  

While most countries are combating energy crisis through the help of the sun, Angola turns to boost its hydropower supply. Angola’s hydropower capacity has grown from 400 MW to 1,108 MW. Through its local Lauca and Cambambe dam, Angola has become one of the five largest hydropower countries in Africa.

According to International Hydroelectric Power Association (IHA), Africa added 1,924 MW to its installed capacity in 2017, with Angola playing a key role in this area.

Presently, Angola has 2,415 MW of installed hydroelectric capacity, a 72% increase between 2016 and 2017.

Can you buy an African citizenship for $1million?

Mauritius is attracting investors into the country through the sale of its citizenship and passport to foreigners. Those willing will have the opportunity to obtain Mauritian citizenship in exchange for a non-refundable contribution of $1 million to the national sovereign wealth fund.

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According to the Mauritanian authorities, the family members or dependents of applicants are also eligible for citizenship with an additional cost of $100,000/family member. There is also another scheme that offers Mauritian passports in exchange for the lesser sum of $500,000 paid to the Mauritius Sovereign Fund. Meanwhile, $50,000 shall be paid per passport for family members of the applicants.

This passport gives its holders access to 121 countries without visa requirements. Many have expressed fear that the Island will become a haven for unscrupulous businessmen or embezzlers of state funds in Africa. The $1 million price is a clear message that Mauritania is not for the poor.


Facebook shrugs off its data privacy concerns to add video ads to Messenger

Just a day after the company’s stock hit an all-time high of $199.58, Facebook announced that it will add auto-play video advertisements into private Facebook Messenger conversations. The move, which even the most polite users call “annoying,” shows that Facebook’s revenue strategy is still heavily ad-focused. And that Cambridge Analytica is merely a distant memory.

People thought advertisers would ditch Facebook. But in reality, advertisers started spending even more. In spite of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, advertising spending on Facebook increased 62% in the last quarter. But to grow ad revenue even further, Facebook needed to find new advertising inventory. So, it turned to Messenger.

Facebook has blitzed Messenger users with static ads for the past 18 months. Now, it will add video ads. But the company doesn’t believe the ads will impact user experience. In fact, the company says it will introduce video ads “gradually and thoughtfully.” While the move is unpopular among users, it’s unlikely that it will cut into the firm’s bottom line. After all, its revenue growth managed to accelerate despite a catastrophic campaign to #DeleteFacebook.

WHO says ‘gaming disorder’ is now a mental condition?

After much back and forth, the World Health Organization has added a new condition to its list of diseases: ‘gaming disorder.’ It’s now designated as a mental health condition. Gaming disorder, the group says, has characteristics similar to substance abuse and gambling disorders: taking precedence over other activities, loss of control of these behaviors and significant distress and impairment of relationships.

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But not all psychologists agree the designation is warranted. One said that in his experience, those addicted to gaming are using it more as a coping mechanism for either anxiety or depression.

Some health professionals have written it off as being overly broad and subjective. And, of course, the potential impact greatly differs from person to person and game to game. Though the WHO says the prevalence of gaming disorder is actually “very low,” it’s still a call for concern.

Europe’s IPO market is breeding unicorns

When Adyen went public on June 13, its stock jumped 100% above the initial share price. This valued the company at 14.8 billion euros ($17 billion). Adyen’s spectacular entry into the elite ranks of unicorns was all the more noticeable because it was a European firm. Europe has had a reputation of nurturing tech startups that couldn’t grow big enough to reach the billion-dollar mark. But 2018 may be the year that finally puts this stigma to rest.

A series of billion-dollar European companies have staged successful IPOs. And some are planning to list this year on exchanges from London to Sydney. This year’s string of big-value European IPOs started with Spotify’s listing in April. Then Avast, a Czech cybersecurity group, went public in May. Swedish digital payments firm Izettle should have been the next head-turner for investors. But PayPal swooped in with a better offer.

The amount of venture money available in Europe has also risen steadily. In 2017, VC firms invested $19.1 billion, up 33% from 2016. With plenty of venture cash feeding the momentum, Europe should remain a fertile ground for startups, IPOs and the not-so-rare unicorn sightings.

China and the US are back to trade threats. Again!

It’s hard to keep up with which tariffs are real and which are just threats. But last week, the US pulled the trigger. Then, it announced a new round of tariffs on Chinese goods and China promised to retaliate. Now, Trump says that if China goes through with its promise, the US will impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods.

The ongoing back-and-forth is taking stocks and businesses for a roller-coaster ride. For the first time in months, Chinese stock markets fell sharply on Tuesday after Trump’s threat. It has already jolted investors who worry that China’s huge economy may be slowing down.

If the US’ threats come to pass, it could increase the price you pay on everything from electronics to clothing. While the US gave no signal it was preparing to back down in the face of the sell-off, it’s, however, clear that China has much more to lose.

Alibaba is arming mom-and-pops with AI

Last December, an unmanned brick-and-mortar race began heating up between the Chinese e-commerce behemoths. The idea was for customers to walk into a store, shop and pay for the items via a mobile app without ever waiting in line. Now, Jack Ma’s Alibaba, however, seems to be breaking away from the pack.

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Over the past year, Alibaba has revamped about 1 million mom-and-pop shops, along with about 100 hypermarkets across China to support their new digital retail initiative. The renovations have transformed stores from brick-bound, offline vessels into state-of-the-art digitized bodegas of the future. Alibaba has now equipped these stores with AI apps, foot traffic sensors and, of course, Alibaba’s mobile-payment system, Alipay.

Last year, China accounted for 42% of global e-commerce transactions. Now, Alibaba wants to capitalize on China’s hyper-fragmented brick-and-mortar landscape, by making each business an AI-infused island. Aside from Amazon, retail giants in the West have done seemingly little to keep up with the pack. But Alibaba believes their tech is the foundation of this new digital future and that only businesses who buy in will survive. And, if Western companies aren’t careful, they could miss the boat.

Senegal redeems Africa’s image at Russia 2018 as a prophetic pig predict semi-finals line-up

Senegal became the first African nation to win her first match in the ongoing World football jamboree in Russia. The Taranga Lions’ 2-1 win over Poland on Tuesday was euphorically celebrated across the world and Africa in particular. This was after the other participating African teams like Egypt, Tunisia, Nigeria and Morocco, however, lost their opening matches.

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Senegal’s president Macky Sall, was in Russia to motivate his boys for success. The team’s victory, thus, redeemed the defeatist image that was already lingering in the mind of most Africans after the many defeats different African teams suffered.

With this victorious outing, there is now hope that at least, an African team may have the opportunity to sail through the second round of the world cup. After all, a British-based mystic or call it, prophetic pig named Marcus, has predicted the semifinals line-up of the World football competition, with Argentina, Belgium, Nigeria and Uruguay as the favorites.

Silicon Times


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