Hi there! Here’s everything interesting in African technology today. If you’re reading this, you’re probably not subscribed to TechCabal’s daily digest. Click here to get this goodness in your mailbox every day at 7am (GMT +1).
First off, major stuff
1. Apparently, there’s a new regulation in Nigeria that insists SIM registrations be done in brick and mortar structures. This was revealed by the MTN Group Chairman, Phuthuma Nhleko, at MTN’s annual results presentation that took place yesterday. I find this problematic and not quite the perfect solution to whatever problem that may exist with the current system. The makeshift “offices” (they are more of umbrellas and chairs at various street corners, actually) that are in use right now work because they are ubiquitous and therefore make it easier for customers to have their SIMs registered. Restricting validity to permanent buildings cuts out a lot of people in rural areas (AND makes life more difficult). Guys, wyd?
+ Other highlights from the presentation include the fact that MTN is reportedly the largest distributor of digital music in Africa. This one I find interesting.
+ Now the bad stuff – 2016 was literally the worst year for the company. It was the most challenging year of 22 years MTN has been in business, and they reportedly lost R1.4 billion ($108 million). C’est dommage.
2. Safaricom is currently pilot testing their Lipa na M-Pesa cards and reports state they’ve released 16,000 of these cards so far. This pilot began in June 2016 and was only available to Safaricom employees. It’s been eight months since then and word is 47 companies have begun receiving payments using these cards.
+ Just look at Safaricom shaking up the Kenyan banking industry. :’). Meanwhile, our brethren in Nigeria want to block Whatsapp and Skype calls because it’s affecting their revenue. Someone please tell these guys that the traditional telco business model is not the road to profitability. The times, they are a-changin.
3. Uber drivers in Nairobi went on strike yesterday to protest reduced earnings. There have been mini protests here and there, but what makes yesterday’s different is the fact that drivers who refused to partake were harassed by their peers. Vehicles were vandalised/burnt, drivers and riders were harassed, and rides had to be cancelled for safety reasons. Pretty messy, if you ask me.
4. SA fintech startup, Yoco, has raised funds in a Series-A round led by Quona Capital and Velocity Capital. The plan is to expand to other parts of South Africa, and also add new products to their services.
5. Today marks Day 46 of the internet shutdown in Anglophone Cameroon. #BringBackOurInternet.
Entrepreneurs are invited to 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.
Then the interesting things…
+ Andela CEO, Jeremy Johnson’s piece on what an engineer looks like. Inspired by Celestine Omin’s (ridiculous) interview with US Customs.
+ This very much needed post by Nanjira Sambuli on analogue factors that affect the future of tech and work for women.
+ The second episode of Honey Ogundeyi’s Side Hustle to Empire video series is out. This time, it’s about branding. Link.
+ WISH Africa interviewed Bankole and he talked about the progression of the African tech space…and TC as a whole, of course. Link.
+ Today is Friday and the Lorde has blessed us with a single from her upcoming album. She danced on top of an Uber Black vehicle so of course I’ve added that to my bucket list.
Hot topic(s) on TechCabal Radar
+ We had an AMA session with Ventures Platform’s Incubation Manager, Fola Olatunji-David, yesterday, and it was quite fun, if I do say so myself. It all went down here.
+ How do you hide a link from Google SERP and then bring it back without compromising its PageRank? Our resident SEO experts weigh in. Link.
Lagos: Social Media Week is ongoing. Plan your waka with the full schedule here.
Johannesburg: Blockchain Africa Conference from March 1st to 3rd. Link.
Paris: Africa Digital Communication Conference , March 3rd. Link.
Lagos: The Lagos State Employment Trust Fund (LSETF) will be at Leadspace to discuss with entrepreneurs about their loan programs, March 3. Link.
Lagos: Cranium One’s pitch dating and networking session, March 3rd. Link.
Lagos: Comic Connect is on the 4th of March. Link.
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