TechCabal Daily: Bank Alat. No, this is not a typo

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Rise and shine, people, today is Monday. New week, let’s get it!

1. If you were wondering what South African politicians you should follow on Twitter, here’s fifteen of them. Personally think Mbalula Fikile should have been number one, I’ve been following him since when he was sports minister when he was much more fun (warning, Zikoko link) and a walking meme (pictured above “stepping into Monday”). He’s minister of police now — less fun, but no less interesting.

2. A programmable bank account? The conventional wisdom (which a lot of stodgy banks aren’t keen on embracing in the first place) is to expose APIs that work at a general level. South Africa’s Standard Bank and development recruitment platform, OfferZen, are partnering to release bank accounts that can be programmed individually via API, effectively creating a personal sandbox within which anyone with the requisite skills can go wild about how they would programme their money. Sounds exciting, but it won’t be out until June 2017, so I’m not going to get ahead of myself. Link

+ Let’s hope it’s not stuntware – software that has more PR than business value, vapourware’s elder brother. And I just made this shit up, you can’t google it.

3. More fintech. Nigeria’s Wema bank is stunting with this cloak and daggers beta of theirs called “Alat”. Apparently, it’s a digital bank.

+ But, bia first…this “Alat” name, is that supposed to be a play on “Alert”? Nigerians love their bank alerts (warning, dance video).

+ Haven’t we seen this film before, with Access Bank’s Pay With Capture? Welp. Can only hope that Wema’s actual product isn’t as tacky as its name. Heh. Link

4. Apparently, only one African tech incubator/hub is profitable without grant funding…emphasis on without because as far as I know, the Co-Creation Hub in Lagos, which has had its own fair share of grant funding is doing pretty well for its self and has been for a while now, from a robust consulting and research business.

5. Speaking of hubs, the Kaduna state government in Northern Nigeria has just created one. The launch was well attended. Link

+ It has a blockchain lab. Interesting, considering that Nigeria’s Central Bank has disavowed all electronic currencies till further notice. The future will not be communicated via circular, obviously.

6. Techweez reports that Kenya’s cybercrime bill has been approved. Conspicuously missing from the report is what said bill, now law, actually means for Kenyan citizens., especially since African governments are becoming more sophisticated about online and digital censorship. I dey observe sha.

+ The bill was temporarily withdrawn from parliament in December 2016 for public consultation and to address loopholes.

7. Day 83. The internet shutdown in Anglophone Cameroon persists.

+ So far the blackout has cost the country nearly 3 million Euros. Link


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Other interesting things…

+ Nobody cares about number two, but did you know that Equitel is Kenya’s second largest mobile money service? MPesa is number one (JJCs, thank me). Link

+ Obinna Ukwuani and Lotte Elsa Goos have created a “New Economy Skills Accelerator” in Lagos. NESA is taking applications into its first cohort for web development. Link

+ In today’s fintech “innovation” news, Zimbabweans have started using POS machines to observe the traditional custom of giving cash at weddings because banknotes are scarce. Not very romantic, but whatever gets the job done? Link.

+ Speaking of weddings, I woke up from my weekend haze to this stunning picture from Jenni Naiaretti and Mark Essien’s wedding. Congratulate them!

+ For Nigerians who care, Ifeanyi Gbemudu reviewed the Access Bank mobile app. It rambles in places, but he’s got some solid points. Link

+ Seyi Taylor spent his weekend in 2G Nigeria and is experiencing an “epiphany” about the reality of how the average Nigerian accesses digital content and services. Epiphany here is also known as stuff you know in theory but are contextually disconnected from and forget until you are forcefully reminded. Link

+ Meanwhile, Trace TV is getting into the African SVOD market, and while the launch isn’t “big”, the talk sure is. To Balancing Act Africa’s Russell Southwood, they said “we’re doing in 2 weeks what Netflix did in 10 years.” All the best, mes amis. Link


Upcoming events…

Lagos and Abuja: Demo Africa Innovation Tour. April 10 and 12, respectively. Link

Lagos and Abuja: Open day at re:Learn, an opportunity for kids (5-18) to experience programming first hand. April 14th. Link

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POS machines are disrupting cash at weddings –