Today’s Quote

“I never switched sides. I just switched lanes, got older and realized everybody ain’t the same”

Africa

Stanbic IBTC Bank launches innovation hub in Yaba

The banking sector is fast-changing and the biggest paradigm shift has always capitalized on satisfying customer expectations. To match the growing quest for seamless banking, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Thursday, launched its own innovation hub dubbed the Blue Hub in Yaba, Nigeria.

According to Chief Executive of the bank Demola Shogunle, changes and trends in the banking industry inspired the creation of Blue Lab. The hub is supported by the Co-Ceation Hub (CcHub) and billed as an innovation hub for incubators with great ideas.

With this move, Stanbic IBTC has joined Guaranty Trust Bank(GTB) in the league of banks supporting and building innovation hubs and co-working spaces. Stanbic IBTC bank also promises to launch the ‘next big thing in tech’ through innovations from the Blue Lab.

HiCarByeCar achieves 8-figure valuation by international investor

The pre-owned, motor sales platform announced that they have achieved an eight-figure valuation during their latest funding round, led by a prominent Swiss private-equity and venture capital investor.

“We are very excited to have the support of our international partners, who have shown a key interest in growing our business and committing to this new business model.” Michael Zahariev, founder, and CEO of HiCarByeCar noted.

Founded in 2016, the South African tech startup had an ambitious goal – to improve the car selling experience for both sellers and dealers, while seeking the highest price for the seller.

Utilising a unique business model, the company has been running solely on determination. After two years of constantly developing the concept, HiCarByeCar.com has grown into a truly innovative service bound to disrupt the car sales industry.

Zimbabwe youths denounce Mugabe at a party rally

Youths from former President Mugabe’s party, the ruling ZANU-PF, on Wednesday, chanted slogans denouncing him, in an unthinkable prospect before the November de facto coup that ended his near four-decade rule. The incident happened when President Emmerson Mnangagwa, met with youths at the ruling party headquarters in Harare. The youths took turns to denounce the former president, Mugabe.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa, since assuming office, has always referred to the veteran Robert Mugabe as a leadership “icon” of Zimbabwe’s independence war. However, recent news that Mugabe is backing a new political party has strained relations between the two.

‘‘We will only take a position when issues are known and are factual. But we are not happy with what we are hearing in the media.” President Mnangagwa told the party youth as they chanted “Down with Robert Mugabe,” a slogan the former president had previously used against his rivals during party rallies.

 The Herald newspaper, which had previously referred to him as “Comrade” after his resignation, on Wednesday began referring to him as “Mr”, a title usually reserved for opposition rivals.

Cameroon

Cameroon wants to make its financial services interoperable

Interoperability is now a fundamental option for governments in the digital transformation of administrations and businesses, as well as in the development of financial inclusion. With this in mind, Cameroon’s government is embarking on a mission to interoperate its mobile financial services.

In an exchange workshop on the interoperability of financial services on March 7, 2018, the Minister of Posts and Telecommunications, Minette Libom Li Likeng, revealed that the government intends to implement a regulatory model in the ecosystem of electronic transfer and interoperability between the various actors in the field. The aim is to encourage the financial inclusion of Cameroon’s unbanked population.

To achieve this goal, the government is collaborating with the INTERSWITCH group, the Interbank Monetary Group of Central Africa (GICAM) and CAMPOST.

” Indeed, CAMPOST has a network of more than 300 interconnected postal offices all over the country, which will allow all operators to interconnect with the national and international banking system. ” Minister Minette noted.

And this convention will serve as a “switch” in the interoperability process.

Unlicensed telcos risk paying between FCFA 100 million and FCFA 500 million

Last year, Cameroon’s telecommunications regulatory agency ART, set a 6-months deadline for telecoms operators in Cameroon to submit their license applications. That offer expired in October 2017. Now, Philémon Zo’o Zame, Managing Director of ART has taken a step further in the agency’s fight against unlawful operators in the sector.  

Until recently, the managing director published another statement reminding that unlicensed operators could incur fines worth between FCFA 100 million and FCFA 500 million. This deadline has passed and in line with the agency’s mission, a team will check the licenses this month.

Despite this strict warning, it’s surprising how some operators and added-value suppliers still operate in the telecoms sector without licenses.

Can Biya’s cabinet shakeup appease Anglophone Cameroonians?

In a bid to appease Anglophone Cameroonians over repeated cries of political and socio-economic marginalization, President Paul Biya, on March 2, 2018, made a shocking cabinet reshuffle that saw the appointment of two top politicians of Anglophone extraction into key ministerial portfolios. Dr. Nalova Lyonga was named Minister of Secondary Education whiles Atanga Nji Paul was appointed Minister of Territorial Administration which translates to the Interior Ministry portfolio.

These are the first Anglophones to be given the opportunity to manage these two ministries since the unification of both French and English Cameroons in 1961. Separatists argue that these new ministers from the beginning of the crisis, refused the existence of an anglophone problem, a situation that resulted in confrontations between citizens and security forces.

Citizens of the North West and South West regions began a protest against perceived marginalization by the majority French government in Yaounde, since late 2016. The fallouts from the crisis continue to spiral. This has led to a refugee emergency, escalating tensions between the government and separatist forces and an uncertain electoral calendar in 2018. 

World

Cigna buys Express Scripts for $52 billion

In the latest of healthcare consolidations, health insurance provider Cigna, announced that it will purchase the largest pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), Express Scripts, for $52 billion in cash and stock. Both companies are in a rebound. Antitrust regulators blocked Cigna’s attempt to buy Anthem for $48 billion last year. Then, Anthem dumped Express Scripts as a partner last October in favor of launching its own pharmacy business.

Back in February, Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan Chase announced their mission to launch a healthcare company. While this mega-deal could be a way for Cigna and Express Scripts to avoid being swallowed by the amigos, it marks yet another PBM teaming up with a major insurer to cut expenses.

Cigna and Express Scripts say the acquisition would allow them to lower drug costs by connecting patients’ medical and pharmacy histories. However, the ball’s in the US government’s court to determine whether this will save consumers money, not just the providers. Meanwhile, the 3 healthcare amigos are giving providers a taste of their own medicine

Overstock Venture arm invests $3 million in blockchain payments startup

Bitt, a Barbados-based blockchain payment startup, has announced a $3 million investment from Overstock’s VC subsidiary, Medici Ventures. As part of the new deal, Medici Ventures has agreed to buy additional 8.6% stake in Bitt, following a previous $4 million invested by the blockchain VC firm in 2016.

In a release, Bitt said the new fund will help further develop its payments solutions, aimed at bringing financial inclusion for residents in the Caribbean region.

“These are very large issues in developing countries and success in Barbados will effectively signal to others in the region that persistent issues related to, for example, poverty and large informal sectors, can be tackled to the benefit of economic development,” said Rawdon Adams, Bitt’s CEO.

Bitt launched a blockchain-based version of the Barbadian dollar in early 2016 that aimed to serve underbanked residents.

Nigerian becomes Italy’s first black Senator

A Nigerian-born immigrant in Italy, Toni Iwobi, is first-ever black Senator in the history of Italy. Mr. Iwobi, who is a member of the Anti-immigration Lega (League) Party, announced “with great emotion” he had been elected in Brescia, Lombardy, to the upper house of the country’s parliament.

The far-right League became the second-largest party in parliament in Italy’s general election. Reacting through a Facebook post, Mr Iwobi noted that: “After more than 25 years of battles as part of the League’s great family, I am about to start another great adventure!” Mr Iwobi’s party has used his election as evidence of the non-racial disposition of his party, the League.

Toni Iwobi moved to Italy in 1976 and joined the League in 1993, serving as a local councilor. He was elected to the upper house on Sunday to represent the northern city of Bergamo – the League’s heartland. Mr. Iwobi, has however received bashing from some black Italians and Nigerians for supporting an anti-immigrant party, when he is a product of immigration in Italy. Italian international Footballer, Balotelli in reaction to Iwobi’s election tweeted that; “Maybe I’m blind or maybe they haven’t told him that he’s black yet. Disgrace!”

Silicon Times

Events

  • 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.
  • 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 like-minded individuals 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

  • 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. 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.
  • Get the chance to network during the 2018 Global Youth Summit. Follow this link to apply before March 4, 2018.
  • 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. Apply here. Deadline is March 13, 2018.
  • Access an $25,000 investment and more follow-on funding of up to $250,000 today by applying for 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

 

Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in DIGEST, ENTREPRENEURSHIP
Related Categories: