Renewable energy company plans to invest $800 million on solar-powered telecom towers across Africa

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Hello.

1. Greenwish Partners, a renewable energy company run by a former Morgan Stanley exec, wants to invest $800m on solar-powered telecom towers across Africa. For some context, according to Bloomberg, there are over 240,000 cell towers in Africa at the moment, and most of them are powered by diesel generators to leapfrog the unreliability of grids on the continent. Africa is home to nearly half of the 1.2bn people in the world without access to reliable electricity, and this also hurts businesses. They want to reduce the total costs of power by 40% using hybrid systems (solar panel, battery, and diesel generators) for complete off-grid access. With over $250m raised and a partnership with Orange SA in Mauritius, they’ll begin with 250+ towers in the DRC this year, then move into other markets such as Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, and Ivory Coast.
2. Remember South Africa’s Project Isizwe, the campaign that has been drumming up free WiFi for citizens? We reported at the start of the month that it had appointed a new CEO, Dudu Mkhwazani. And now that the excitement has died down, the hard-hitting questions are being asked: how sustainable is a free WiFi model and is it even possible? According to the new exec, it costs about $7m to bring free WiFi to the citizens of a small city in SA, which is around 0.28% of the city’s annual budget, so it’s “achievable” — and one possible angle to the model could be to enforce a system where users can only access the free WiFi if their taxes have been paid. Hm. Link

+ It appears The World Bank started a fire in people when they estimated that for every 10% growth in broadband connection, there’s a 1.2% multiplier for GDP.

+ Speaking of which, the Nigerian government is pushing hard as ever with its “smart city” initiative, and you’ll be hard put to figure out what this’ll actuallyentail. Link

3. Finally, Snapnsave, the South African digital coupons startup, has raised $1.1m in equity funding from Kalon Venture Partners and Smollan Group. It’s worth noting that mobile-based coupons are becoming a trend in the country, with over 15% of smartphone owners having used them in the past year, so it seems like an area with high growth potential — at least from here. Link


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What else is interesting?

+ Kola Aina says what we need much more of in the ecosystem is an influx of high quality founders — as we get more of those, everything else will come. Link

+ Victor Asemota, on the main discussions on tech in Nigeria. Link

+ Quartz Africa reports that African governments are now keeping close tabs on their citizens more than ever before. Link

+ You should check out Alert Clinic –  it’s a pretty awesome app that helps you keep track of infectious disease activity in certain areas in Lagos. (See events’ section for launch.)

+ Somalia’s first community-based innovation hub, iRiseHub, is set to launch soon in Mogadishu. Images 

+ Tunbosun Ayinla has put out a release note for the new version of the Paystack WooCommerce Payment Gateway. Check it out here.


Opportunities

+ OMG Digital, Tress, and Paystack will be sponsoring 3 Ghanaian startups to come network and learn at the Y Combinator Lagos Meetup happening on September 23rd. Find out more here and apply.

+ NESA by Makers is looking for a Front End Web Development Instructor and a Back End Web Development Instructor. Send an email to teach@makers.ng to apply.

+ Applications for Airbus BizLab’s Africa4Future initiative are open, with a September 6th deadline. If your startup is in aerospace, apply and get an opportunity to pitch your product, here.

+ Union Bank is launching an acceleration programme with CcHub. The carrot seems to be strategic partnerships with and support from the bank. Link.

+ Union Bank is launching an acceleration programme with CcHub. The carrot seems to be strategic partnerships with and support from the bank. Link.

+ Are you developing open source VR/AR technologies that can help improve children’s lives? The UNICEF Innovation fund is offering $50,000- $90,000 in equity free funding. Apply by September 17, 11:59pm EDT.

+ AppsAfrica Innovation Awards are now open. The deadline for entries is September 10. Link

+ Apply for the Silicon Valley Accelerate Programme. Deadline is 22 September. Link.

+ PrognoStore is hiring full-stack engineers who can work with JavaScript, Java, Spring MVC, and test automation frameworks. Link

+ Imisi 3D and Hardware Lagos are organizing a hardware challenge to build an all-in-one solar powered VR headset. Find out more here and register here. Applications close on September 3.


Upcoming events

Lagos: On Wednesday, August 30, ABAN, VC4A, LAN, and V8 will host an investor masterclass around the topic of startup valuations. The session will be facilitated by Tomi Davies. Email events@v8africa.com for an invite.

Abuja: The Abuja Masterclass on the 31st of August will be ‘an introduction to Angel investing’ conducted by Tomi Davies. Check it out if you’d love to deepen your understanding of early-stage investing. Link

Lagos: The launch of Alert Clinic on the 31st, at Civic Hive, 42 Montgomery Street, Yaba, Lagos.

Lagos: At this month’s Usable meetup on the 31st, the discussion will be about the steps to take to recruit the right users for your research. Link

Lagos: MEST Masterclass, on September 1st: A Masterclass session for startup entrepreneurs looking to learn what angel Investors look for in startups. Link

Lagos: Paystack is organizing a Y-Combinator Lagos Meetup on September 23. Meet YC founders and gain insight into the process. Link.