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Today’s Quote

“If we want our regulators to do better, we have to embrace a simple idea: regulation isn’t an obstacle to thriving free markets; it’s a vital part of them”.

James Surowiecki

Africa

The battle over 9mobile is far from over

Following a $1.72 billion debt default and the subsequent takeover by creditors, an acquisition loomed over 9mobile. A few weeks down the line, however, ownership of the distressed telco was finally up for bidding. Teleology Holdings Limited and Smile Communications Limited were companies that notably came up with substantial bids to acquire the struggling telco. Teleology Holdings, however, won the bid

To finalize the takeover, Teleology Holdings was directed to make a non-refundable cash deposit of $50 million within 21 days or lose the bid to Smile Communications Limited. Smile on the other hand surprisingly contested the verdict on the grounds that Barclays Africa did not do a thorough job of vetting the processes.

They subsequently called for a review of the process, expressing disappointment in a letter addressed to Barclays Africa on February 21, 2018.

In fresh reports by The Guardian, the Executive Director of Operations at Smile Communications Ahmad Farroukh, further argues that his company has the expertise and finance to better manage the struggling company, and effect a transformation within 90 days.

“The first value is that we are Nigerian company already existing in the Nigerian telecoms space. So, we will come up with our existing assets to boost the 9Mobile operations. We will seek the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC’s) permission to flip our existing 800MHz frequency to 9Mobile to enhance its operations. What we are bringing to 9Mobile is huge,” Executive Director, Operations, Smile Communications, Ahmad Farroukh, said over the weekend.

Barclays Africa has not yet yielded to Smile Communication’s request. But the undertones surrounding the development are quite surprising; especially in light of the fact that 9mobile’s takeover is considered a done deal.

Will there be an injunction or will Barclays Africa ignore the claims by Smile Communications?

Hostel listing platform, myPadi raises seed funding from EchoVC

myPadi, a 2-year-old startup that provides hostel bookings for students, announced that it has raised seed funding from EchoVC. EchoVC is a seed and early-stage capital firm that invests in technology companies around North America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Although the exact amount raised from EchoVC remains undisclosed, Joel Amawhe, the founder of myPadi says the figure amounts to “five digits in US dollars.”

According to Joel, this fund will help accelerate myPadi’s expansion into more cities, serving more schools, growing the team and improving their product. Founded in 2016, myPadi is a hostel booking platform that enables students to discover off-campus accommodation through its listings from verified landlords. As such, the platform provides photographs, virtual tours, pricing, amenities, and reviews.

“We are very excited about our investment in myPadi and in a market that has been estimated to be worth $20 billion per year,” Uche Ogboi of EchoVC remarks. “The inadequate supply of student hostels in universities across Africa has created a great need for off-campus student accommodation and myPadi provides an elegantly organized solution to this problem; we see myPadi as the future go-to platform for all student needs.”

Prior to receiving this fund, myPadi was part of Ventures Platform’s second acceleration program where it received $20,000 initial funding. Awarded the best e-housing startup of the year (2017) by NITDA, it also represented Nigeria at GITEX 2017 in Dubai and received $5,000 in grant funding plus 3 months business advisory service from Accenture Nigeria, courtesy of the National Economic Summit 2017.

The company has so far listed 5,000 vetted rooms for students in 60+ tertiary institutions in Nigeria.

Political gods keep chasing President Zuma, even out of office

Former South African President, Jacob Zuma has not had the quiet time to recover, after haven been chased out of office by his own party the ANC last Month; now he is being chased by his own deeds while in office.

South Africa’s Chief Prosecutor, Shaun Abrahams has recently confirmed that the former President, is to face prosecution for 16 charges of corruption. Mr Abrahams said he believes there are “reasonable prospects of a successful prosecution”.

Mr Zuma, 75, was facing his ninth no-confidence vote in parliament before he resigned as president. The present corruption charges relate to a 30bn rand ($2.5bn; £1.7bn) government arms deal in the late 1990s, before he became president and his alleged bribe requests from a French arms company to support an extravagant lifestyle.

Cameroon

Casino group to launch Cameroon’s first Cash and Carry warehouse

Casino Cash and Carry Cameroon (3C Cameroon) will inaugurate Cameroon’s first-ever warehouse supermarket, under its new banner “Bao”, in Bassa industrial Zone later this month.

The cash and carry concept consists of offering wholesale items at discounted prices. These discounts depend on the volume of goods bought. Depending on the success of this warehouse in Cameroon, Casino group will invest between FCFA 15 billion and FCFA 20 billion to build nine others, creating 150 direct jobs per warehouse in Douala, Yaoundé, Bafoussam and Ngaoundéré.

“Bao” promises to encourage professionalism by elaborating terms of services, production planning with the guarantee to sell the products, helping producers meet the health regulations and the standard practices as well as organizing distribution channels to consolidate and optimize the transportation of goods.

Casino group in this way, modifies its business strategy to adapt to the tough competition in Cameroon’s wholesale distribution market with the introduction of new market players like Carrefour and other local distributors flooding Yaounde and Douala with supermarkets.

Will the giant telco, MTN fold out of Cameroon?

On March 14, MTN Cameroon reassured its clients and partners of a continuous service in a communique from the company’s CEO, Saim Yaksan. Saim Yaksan said the company places great importance on its Cameroonian operations and has no plans of exiting the country.

This, however, comes on the heels of a series of news that the telecommunications giant will be exiting certain markets, including Cameroon. Cameroon’s regulatory body ART, fined MTN Cameroon FCFA 3.5 million in the third-quarter of 2017. This fine came with a one-year reduction in the telco’s license period for failing to comply with the regulations on the spectrum and subscriber registration.

As such, these reports seemed to have capitalized on this financial situation to conclude the mobile telco giant was in for an imminent exit.

 

How can a major election hold without the President?

Everything being equal, Senatorial elections are scheduled to take place in Cameroon on March 25, 2018. This will be the second time since April 2013, that senatorial election will be held in in the country.

The elections will produce 70 senators, while the President shall nominate 30 to make 100 senators. About 9,000 local council representatives are expected to elect the 70 senators for a 5-year term of office. However, the ruling CPDM party of President Paul Biya is set to win a sweeping majority in the elections as they control the majority of local councils over the national territory.

No matter who wins the elections, one thing is very clear. The elections may hold in the absence of Mr. President. The President has been invited by of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, and the duo is expected to meet in Beijing on March 22, in a state visit that will last up to March, 25.

People are therefore wondering why the president will decide to stay out of the country during a major election. Is it because his party the CPDM is already sure to sweet at least more than 90 percent of senatorial seats, going by the number of councils they control?

World

When the search giant threatens to shut down cryptos

Four days ago, Google published a report announcing its plans to update its financial services policy from June 2018. This update will restrict the advertisement of certain financial services, including cryptos. The ban will apply to Google’s platforms like YouTube as well as third-party websites where it sells ads space.

Google will also ban cryptocurrencies and related content including cryptocurrency exchanges, initial coin offerings (ICOs), cryptocurrency wallets and trading advice. Google’s announcement, however, comes barely two months after Facebook revealed plans to ban crypto ads on its platform to better detect deceptive and misleading advertising practices.

Since the two biggest providers of digital advertising are cracking down on cryptocurrencies, companies and individuals with cryptocurrency offerings will have limited ad options. At the sight of this announcement, Bitcoin’s market value has already dropped by 9.1%.

Last summer, cryptos were riding high. But since they’re being sold on unregulated markets, there are a lot of concerns about things like fraud and money laundering. And investors have been particularly spooked lately especially with the IMF calling for more government supervision of the market earlier this week.

How did the world gain access to Stephen Hawking’s brain?

Early Wednesday morning, the world lost one of the greatest physicists of the modern era, Stephen Hawking. For more than 5 decades, Stephen Hawking, 76, battled with ALS — a neurological disease that gradually immobilized his entire body and rendered him speechless. That is until a computer gave him his voice back.

Hawking was diagnosed with ALS in 1963, at the age of 21, and was given 2 years to live. He, however, overcame the odds — but by the late 70s, his ability to speak waned, and by 1985, it ceased altogether. For years, he used a program called the “Equalizer,” which allowed him to use a hand switch to select letters, words, and phrases from a computer screen, which would then be fed through a speech synthesizer.

This new method enabled him to speak up to 15 words per minute — but Hawking eventually lost the ability to use his hands.

In mid-2000, Hawking used a “cheek switch,” which utilized infrared beams to detect tiny movements in his facial muscles. But with this method, he could only speak 2 words per minute. In 2011, Intel developed a new user interface for Hawking called ACAT that provided him with various shortcuts to speak. Another company, SwiftKey, integrated predictive typing into his rig, which allowed him to select words after typing one or two letters.

Without these developments, the world may have never had access to Stephen Hawking’s brilliant mind.

‘Superman’ goes on retirement

Asia’s second-richest businessman Li Ka-Shing, is going on retirement at 89. The business tycoon who was knighted in 2000 is to hand over control of his global empire in May ahead of his 90th birthday, SkyNews reported.

A regulatory filing to the Hong Kong stock exchange via his sprawling ports-to-telecoms company CK Hutchison (CKH) revealed, which includes the UK mobile provider. Mr Li’s eldest son Victor would assume the chairmanship, though his father would keep an advisory role.

Mr. Li Ka-shing’s retirement will bring the curtain down on a career in business spanning 75 years. His career, according to Forbes have earned him a net worth of $35bn (£25bn), positioning him among the top 30 richest people in the world.

The story of how the ‘Superman’ achieved his success is that of from rags to wealth. Despite all these riches, Mr. Lika-shing according to SkyNews, has not forgot his humble beginning in China. He, unlike others, has refused to fall into the trappings of wealth, donating over $2bn to charitable causes. What a lessons of wealth multiplication to others.

Silicon Times

Events

  • Attend the Leading Women Conference 2018 and discover the characteristics of a winning woman. The event is slated for March 24, 2018 at Port Harcourt, Nigeria
  • Grab your ticket before April 9, 2018 and learn how to effectively deal with climate change at the CRS Global Climate Summit, 2018 that will take place from January 9 to 13, 2018 in Calabar, Nigeria.
  • Make it a date with the African Innovate Conference 2018 at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge that brings together leading entrepreneurs and change-agents from across the African continent. Secure your seat before April 7, 2018.
  • 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.
  • 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

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