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Today’s Quote

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”

Leon C. Meggison

Africa

China might have been spying on Africa

In 2012, the African Union inaugurated its new headquarters in Addis Ababa. Worth over $200 million, China fully funded the project and also built and paid for the building’s computer network.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema, president of Equatorial Guinea and then AU chairperson, reportedly proclaimed it “a reflection of the new Africa”. Five years after, however, the small computer unit of the AU discovered that the entire content of its servers was periodically transferred to Shanghai between midnight and 2 AM every day. The Chinese government has since denied the allegations.

Investors are backing Nigerian startups for nationwide expansion

Two years after launching with an unfashionable, but the vital business idea, Lifebank, a Nigerian startup focused on developing a smarter way to deliver blood to Lagos hospitals is getting new funding to expand its service. This Nigerian digital blood bank startup has closed a $200,000 seed round to drive its growth for the next 18 months.

With this investment, the startup now plans to expand and start off operations in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, and also in Kaduna, a state in Nigeria’s north.

Rensource, a Lagos-based renewable energy startup has also raised $3.5 million in bridge financing to expand its business. This is coming nearly 2 years after a previous seed round of $1.1 million in 2016. The new capital injection will primarily go into expanding its operations to Kano and Abuja. There are also plans to capture the B2B market with a ‘Powered by Rensource’ offering that will enable Nigerian businesses to leverage its infrastructure.

Did Egypt just launch a cab war on Uber and Careem?

In mid-January, Egypt’s local taxi drivers filed a lawsuit against Uber and Careem — two of the biggest e-hailing platforms in the country — for unfair competition. Their demand was for the government to suspend both services.

According to local taxi drivers, these companies allow owners of private vehicles to operate as taxis. But these drivers also skirt the requirements that taxi drivers must meet: fees for car inspections (which are more stringent for commercial vehicles), insurance (which is optional for personal-use vehicles), driver’s license renewals and business taxes. However, the Egyptian Administrative Court has postponed the hearing later in the month.

This court action led taxi drivers to organize protests calling for the suspension of Uber and Careem. The first demonstration took place in 2016 which soon spread to every governorate where Uber and Careem operate. If nothing is done, this protest could turn sour for the Egyptian government.

Political cyclone about to blow President Jacob Zuma away

The request for a motion of no-confidence on President Jacob Zuma, by the opposition party, Economic Freedom Fighters’ (EFF) has been scheduled for February 22, a day after the budget speech in parliament. The presiding officers of the South African parliament, on Thursday, said they had rejected the EFF’s request to hold the motion before next week’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Meanwhile, the Democratic Alliance is seeking another postponement of SONA despite Parliament’s rejection of the party’s initial request. The DA had requested a postponement until after President Jacob Zuma inevitably leaves office. According to DA’s Chief Whip, John Steenhuisen, “South Africans simply cannot be subjected to a SONA delivered by a discredited president heading a discredited administration”.

President Jacob Zuma has been under scathing criticisms and pressure from the opposition to resign from office. This was after a South African court found him guilty of corruption and the mismanagement of millions of $US being state funds. Zuma’s party, the African National Congress (ANC), recently replaced him as chairman, with the business tycoon, Cyril Ramaphosa tipped to replace him as president in case, should the no-confidence vote goes through parliament.

Cameroon

Dwindling Turnover of Cameroon’s Telecom Operators

Cameroon’s Telecom operators in 2016 witnessed a 0.5 % decreased in their turnover to the tune of CFA574.4 billion. This information was recently made public by Cameroon’s Telecommunication Regulatory Agency in a report on the country’s telecommunication market condition.

According to the regulatory agency, this “decline illustrates the impacts of the competitive activities being carried out in the sector given the 2% excise duty on the turnover of mobile operators and internet access providers.” The decline had negatively affected the telecom sectors’ contribution in Cameroon’s GDP in 2016. This is explained by their 3.24% contribution for that year, with a decreasing rate of 0.18%, as compared to the previous year (2015).

With the internet interruptions in the two Anglophone regions of the country since early 2017, there are clear indications to conclude that, the turnover of these telecoms for 2017 was much lower than that of 2016.

Douala Urban Council and European Raid Guild sign partnership to recycle electronic waste

The Douala Urban Council, and the French non-governmental organization “European Raid Guild” have recently signed off a partnership agreement in which they plan to engage in the recycling of electronic and electrical waste. The project which has been baptized as “Weecam”, shall run on a budget of four (4) billion FCFA. Financing is expected to come mainly from the French Global Environment Facility for a period of five years and will extend to the city of Yaoundé.

The project is expected to begin with the establishment of a system for the collection of urban electronic and electrical waste, as well as a recycling and recovery unit. The two signatories to the partnership are projecting that the Weecam project should be able to treat and recycle 5,000 tons of waste every year.

Cameroon’s Anglophone crisis: what hopes for the 2018 elections?

The future of the 2018 general elections in Cameroon is increasingly looking bleak following an escalation of the Anglophone crisis that started in 2016. Violent clashes have erupted between government forces and pro-independence militia groups since the forceful return of separatists’ leaders to Cameroon, recently arrested in Nigeria. About three security forces and a civilian are reported to be shot dead on Thursday in Mbingo, of Boyo Division in the North West Region.

The situation is already raising concerns about the feasibility of the 2018 general elections in the country, especially in the two Anglophone regions where there are palpable tension and rising insecurity. Strongman, President Paul Biya, 84, who has been in power for 35 years, is highly rated to win another mandate as president, in a yet to be scheduled presidential, parliamentary and municipal elections.

The opposition appears to be heavily fractionalized, coupled with high voter apathy among the largely youthful population, and rising calls for a boycott from Anglophone separatists.

World

Samsung takes the chipmaking crown

Samsung has ended Intel’s 25-year run as the world’s biggest seller of chipsets after it posted its 2017 end of year financials. The Korean tech giant’s chipset division which has long been its biggest hitter, grossed total revenue of $69 billion in 2017, eclipsing the $62.8 billion Intel reported for last year. Last year was Intel’s record year but it wasn’t enough to stop Samsung from knocking it from the top spot Intel had occupied since 1992.

The writing was, however, on the wall last year when Samsung beat Intel on a quarterly basis, but now, it has held out for an annual all-win. The company also revealed that it is making chips designed specifically to harvest crypto-currency coins. On the smartphone front, where its name is best known among consumers, the company said it plans to adopt “cutting-edge technologies” like foldable displays.

Uberall picks up $25M for its location marketing platform

Uberall, the Berlin-based startup that has developed a cloud-based platform to let small and large businesses get listed and market themselves across multiple location-based services, has raised $25 million in Series B funding.

The company says it will use the new capital for product development and international expansion, with a focus on the U.S where Uberall already has an office in San Francisco. Founded in 2013, Uberall offers a Software-as-a-Service for SMEs and larger companies to manage their various location marketing across all of the various platforms, from search and directories to maps and sat-nav.

The whole world is attacking cryptos on all fronts

This week hasn’t been very favorable for cryptocurrencies on many crucial fronts. First, Bitcoin crashed below $9.000 and that was only the beginning. Then on Tuesday, Facebook banned all ads advertising cryptocurrencies. A Forbes report says this ban was to remove the possibility of scams.

In the same vein, India’s finance minister said his country does not recognize cryptocurrencies as a legal tender.

Trump accuses top officials of politicizing FBI and justice department investigations

US President’ Donald Trump, has accused top officials of politicizing FBI and justice department investigations to establish Russia’s role in the Trump presidential campaign. According to Trump, this act will only cause damage to the Republican Party. “The top Leadership and Investigators of the FBI and the Justice Department have politicized the sacred investigative process,” he tweeted.

The President says he is going to approve the release of a memo that suggests the FBI abused its powers to spy on one of his aides. Democrats have however countered the move by Trump through his party. The Democrats argue that the memo, commissioned by the Republican head of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, is an attempt to undermine a federal inquiry into allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the 2016 election campaign.

Republican, House Speaker Paul Ryan, however played down the potential impact of the memo’s publication on the inquiry led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. According to him, Congress had a duty to see surveillance powers were used correctly.

Silicon Times

Events

  • Make a date with the Cameroon Entrepreneurship event at the Yaounde Congress Hall from March 29, 2018, 8AM to March 30, 2018, 7PM WAT and learn how to increase your impact to be seen and heard in a crowded market.
  • Join the Social Media Nigeria 2018 event organized by Market Advantage Consulting on March 1, 2018 from 10AM to 1PM at the Civic Innovation Lab Abuja, Nigeria. You’ll learn from 10 social media experts and connect with over 300 participants.
  • Attend the 2018 International Bulk Wine and Spirits Show and meet leading suppliers of bulk and private labels from all over the world on February 26, 2018 at the Royal Horticultural Halls, London.
  • 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.
  • Don’t miss your chance of building an intelligent company during the Innovation Summit 2018 America event on March 22, 2018 in Chicago.
  • Take part in Innovation Summit 2018 Africa on March 6, 2018 in Nairobi Kenya, and learn how to digitally transform your business for accelerated growth.

Jobs

  • Get a full-time job as a Web Developer at Africacodes Concepts Limited in Lagos, Nigeria. Applications are open up until February 28, 2018.
  • Become a Network Management Engineer at ipNX in Ikeja, Lagos before April 30, 2018.
  • Apply for the position of Business Development Manager at Contec Global Infotech Ltd in Benin-City, Nigeria.
  • Get a placement as a Communication Officer at Best Group Inc. in Douala, Cameroon. Application deadline is February 10, 2018.
  • Send in your application and get a job as a Shop Manager at Jumia Cameroon in Douala.
  • The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, United States, is seeking an individual to join its IT team as a Senior Business Process Specialist before February 7, 2018.

Opportunities

  • Training: 12 weeks of intensive online training which guides creating and managing a business. Apply here. Deadline is March 1, 2018.
  • Mentoring: a world-class mentor to guide during the early transformation stages of the business. Visit the website to apply. Deadline is March 1, 2018.
  • Funding: $5,000* in seed capital to prove the concept, plus access to further funding. Visit website to apply. Latest date is March, 1 2018.
  • Meltwater Entrepreneurship Program is offering funding ranging from $50,000 – $100,000. Apply here. Latest date is May, 2018.
  • Are you a woman into the tech world? Then apply for the Challenge Rocket — Anita’s Moonshot Codeathon! ($27,250). Deadline is March 1, 2019.

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