Today’s Quote

“If privately issued crypto-assets remain risky and unstable, there may be demand for central banks to provide digital forms of money.”

Christine Lagarde

Africa

Ghana’s Agrocenta raises $500,000 from Seedstars

The grand finale of Seedstars World’s early-stage competition took place on April 12, with 21 African startups among 65 finalists competing in Switzerland. A shortlist of 12 startups went head-to-head in the live final pitching face-off with four African startups chosen to take to the stage. Ghana’s online sales platform for smallholder farmers AgroCenta, was named the global winner of the contest, as it took home $500,000 investment from Seedstars World.

Agrocenta is an online platform that connects smallholder farmers to a wider online market to trade, access truck delivery services at the click of a button and also get real-time market information delivered to their mobile phones via SMS and voice services. Founded in 2013, Seedstars World is the global startup competition aiming at impacting people’s lives in emerging markets.

9mobile sales on halt!

Earlier on Wednesday, Nigeria’s Federal High Court in the Abuja Division said, ‘wait’ with 9mobile’s sale. Some aggrieved shareholders of 9mobile took the major stakeholders of the company to court. According to Vanguard, their plight was that they were left out of the telecommunications company’s decision-making process. 

The plaintiffs — Afdin Ventures Limited and Dirbia Nigeria Limited — claimed to be major stakeholders of the company and asked for a refund of $43,330,950, being the amount they invested in the telco.

However, Justice Binta Nyako, who presided over the case, ordered that every party involved should maintain status quo pending the outcome of the case which was adjourned until May 14, 2018.

Tek Experts officially launches in Nigeria

The global IT support company officially opened operations in Nigeria on Thursday, April 18, 2018. The firm provides business and IT support solutions for companies across the world and provides the services of a uniquely passionate and expert workforce that take intense pride in helping companies manage their business-critical operations. Their services include Software Support, Training and Education, Customer Success, Sales Support and Application Development.

A first of its kind in Nigeria, Tek Experts, in partnership with Microsoft, has set up a world class customer service and support center in Nigeria. The arrival of Tek Experts in Nigeria brings with it hundreds of jobs for the teeming number of unemployed citizens. So far, 300 employees are currently undergoing the best-in-class training. Tek Experts plans to additionally employ hundreds more to help develop infrastructure that will provide exceptional services to its clients.

After Lagos launch, Kenya’s mSurvey raises $3.5 million in funding

Kenyan mobile-first consumer feedback company, mSurvey, recently raised $3.5 million in a Series A round. The firm secured this funding in an investment round led by the Africa-focused VC firm, TLcom Capital. This funding will supposedly enable the company to continue building out its infrastructure and partnerships, in order to scale and expand across Africa. Just recently, mSurvey launched an office in Lagos, Nigeria

Commenting on the announcement, Kenfield Griffith, mSurvey co-founder and CEO says, “Completing our Series A round allows us to tackle this difficult, yet enormous opportunity that exists in connecting African consumers with businesses to develop trust, and ensuring that millions more two-way conversations can take place each year.” 

Nigerian Youths go wild on Social Media, over President Buhari’s London comments

Nigerian youths, on Wednesday, fired Social Media tirades at President Mohammadou Buhari. They accused him of describing the majority of them as lazy citizens who want the government to give them everything for free. Using the #lazyNigerians, Nigerians on Social Media, described his comment as derogatory. Reckless. And non-reflective of a president who aims to attract foreign investors in his country. They promised to get back to him in the upcoming 2019 presidential elections.

President Buhari was answering questions on a keynote address he made on; Making Business Easier in the country. In an instance where he had to speak about Nigeian youths, he said;

“We have a very young population; our population is estimated conservatively to be 180 million. More than 60 percent of the population is below the age of 30. A lot of them have not been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria has been an oil producing country, therefore they should sit and do nothing and get housing, healthcare, and education free.”

Cameroon

Cameroonians are gradually getting into UBA’s good book

Every good thing comes with hard work, and every hard work comes with a reward. Martin Che, erstwhile Managing Director of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Congo, is now the Regional Managing Director within CEMAC. Che has served the bank as a hardworking Cameroonian for many years. His new appointment has given him a responsibility to oversee the bank’s business operations in Cameroon, Congo, Brazzaville, Gabon and Chad.

Nevertheless, he wasn’t the only Cameroonian that was appointed. Vincent Ngimbock is now the new Managing Director of UBA Congo. Asu Ellis, Marcel Bitang and Dominique Mahend are now managing directors of UBA’s subsidiaries in Benin, DR Congo and Cameroon, respectively.  

A fresh round of fake news hits Douala International Airport

Earlier this week, news broke out about the urgent closure of the Douala International Airport that melted the hearts of most travelers. As it turns out, however, this was just another round of the ‘fake news’ mantra that has, in the recent past, helped some political candidates to win elections. In the wake of this news, many have been asking tons of questions such as; do I really have to get to Yaoundé before boarding a plane?

The Director General of the Airports of Cameroon, however, indicated that the audit which is supposed to have led to the suspension of the airport, was to take place. According to the director, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) team’s audit mission in Cameroon only began on April 18, 2018 starting with the Nsimalen airport in Yaoundé. From the April 22 to 27, they will be at the Douala Airport.    

Cameroon’s President promises an opportunity to personally meet the Queen and discuss Anglophone crisis

Cameroon’s Prime Minister, Head of Government, Philemon Yang represented the President, Paul Biya, in the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Summit that held in London, the United Kingdom from April 18 to 20, 2018. The Commonwealth Summit held under the theme; “Towards our common future.”

President Paul Biya was expected to attend the meeting, considering the recent visits of two top Commonwealth officials in the country. Patricia Scotland, Secretary General of the gentle man’s club, and Harriet Baldwine, Minister of State for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office visited Cameroon on working visits. They discussed issues relating to the Anglophone crisis that has held the country hostage for almost two years now. The Commonwealth summit was, therefore, an opportunity for the President to meet and discuss the crisis with the Queen.

World

IMF boss, Christine Lagarde endorses cryptocurrency

In what seems unexpected, IMF’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde, has underscored the importance of crypto-assets. In fact, she claims cryptos can transform how we save and invest. Lagarde affirms that cryptocurrency could help financial markets function more efficiently. However, trust is still a major challenge as governments across the world are distancing themselves from crypto-assets.

“An important initial step will be to reach a consensus within the global regulatory community on the role crypto-assets should play,” Lagarde wrote. Despite the recent crackdown on cryptos, businesses are still adding it as a payment option. Lagarde’s stance might change the way governments across the globe see digital currencies.

Basis, a year-old crypto startup just raised $133 million to launch stable version of bitcoin

Last year in New Jersey, Nader Al-Naji and two other Princeton graduates launched a cryptocurrency startup, Basis. Their goal was to stabilize cryptocurrency. Until recently, the 1-year-old startup announced a $133 million round of funding from monolithic VCs including, Bain Capital, GV, Lightspeed, and Andreessen Horowitz. The value of popular tokens like bitcoin and etherium, fluctuate wildly from day to day. But according to a Basis spokesperson, “A currency needs to be stable for people to really use it.”

According to Nader Al-Naji, co-founder and CEO of Basis, unlike bitcoin which relies on a fixed supply of coins that are mined, the supply of basecoin (formerly known as Basis) is “determined algorithmically.” The idea is to keep the value of one basecoin as close to $1 as possible, by issuing additional Basecoin when prices spike. However, systems like Basis will require a huge amount of initial capital to build a sustainable ecosystem of users. 

World War II bomb successfully defused in Germany

A bomb disposal unit of the German Police successfully defused an unexploded World War II bomb in Berlin, on Friday 20, 2018, after its discovery disrupted activities in the city. The 500kg (1100 pounds) explosive was found during a construction project near the city’s central train station.

The Police have since called on the people to return to their homes. The police had taken precautionary measures by evacuating all residents inside the 800-meter radius of the bomb discovery site. In September, 2017, a similar incident occurred when a 1,400-kilogram bomb was discovered in Frankfurt, displacing about 60,000 people.

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