TechCabal Daily: Unpaid debts and takeovers

Hey there! Today’s TechCabal digest is brought to you by DIYlaw; get N2000 off your next company incorporation here with our coupon code – DIYLAWTC. Here’s everything interesting in African technology today.

Today’s Thursday

1. Three Nigerian banks – Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and Zenith Bank – along with some foreign banks have reportedly taken over Etisalat Nigeria as a result of the telco owing about N541.8 billion ($1.72 billion). The loan was obtained in 2015 to finance a major network rehabilitation, and Etisalat hasn’t been able to pay it back owing mostly to the recession in Nigeria. This is a developing story, so we’re going to have wait and see how events pan out.  But there’s a lesson in this – pay your debts on time so you get to keep your company. Wait, you probably already knew that.

+ The guys on Radar have some interesting theories about the whole thing. But it is worth noting that Etisalat hasn’t come out to say something (anything), and none of the four big news outlets in Nigeria (Punch, Guardian, ThisDay and Vanguard) have reported this.

2. In other telco news, MTN South Africa CEO, Mteto Nyati, has resigned to join Altron as the new Chief Executive. Nyati joined MTN in 2014. Before that, he was the MD of Microsoft SA. He’ll be resuming at Altron on July 1, and Godfrey Motsa will be taking over as the new MTN South Africa CEO effective March 13.

3. Yet another VOD service is making its way into the African market. This time, it’s Southeast Asia’s Iflix and they plan to launch in 7 African countries – including South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria – by June.

+ Iflix recently raised $90 million in a funding round led by Liberty Global and Zain, and it’s said that they’re using this boost to take on Netflix and Showmax. They’ve already set up a head office in Cape Town, with branch offices in Johannesburg, Accra, Lagos and Nairobi.

4. To celebrate International Women’s Day, Merck launched their STEM for Girls and Women program in Liberia yesterday. The program will empower and prepare young African women researchers for the road ahead in Africa’s development.

5. It’s now been 52 days of no internet connectivity in Anglophone Cameroon. #BringBackOurInternet.


You can now apply to Ventures Platform‘s (VP) accelerator program. It’s a 4-month program that’s designed to support startups at the MVP stage with mentorship, business re-engineering, workspace, living space, back office support, shared services and seed funding. Deadline’s March 11. Link.


Other interesting things…

+ Building Netsob is a new series on TechCabal that chronicles a young Nigerian entrepreneur’s journey towards building his first startup. The first post went up yesterday. Link.

+ Is the African tech space corrupt? Victor Asemota thinks so. He wrote on the importance of ethics in the tech industry here.

+ WorldRemit’s VP of Product, Alice Newton-Rex, wrote a post about how women in Ghana are using mobile money. Fun fact – mobile money transactions to Ghana have risen by 300% in the last 12 months. Link.


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Hot topic(s) on TechCabal Radar

+ There’s going to be an AMA with Dave McClure, founder and Managing Partner of 500 Startups today at 8:30 pm (WAT).  Link.

+ Turns out you can now post directly to WordPress from Google Docs. Link.

+ MediServe is a new service that allows Nigerians search for medical practitioners, and private/public hospitals in their vicinity. Link.


Upcoming events…

Cape Town: SABAN Angel Investor Training is today. Link

Johannesburg: DevConf is happening today. Link

Lagos: Seedstars’ Growth Hacking series at Seedspace on the 11th of March. Link

Kampala: Google Cloud Next’17 Extended – Viewing Party​ at Outbox Hub on the 11th of March. Link

Singularity University’s Global Impact Challenge East Africa application deadline is on the 10th of March. Link.

Ventures Platform accelerator programme applications will close on the 11th. Link

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