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7 - 9 - 2018

Good morning, folks!

Another day, another MTN Nigeria related story. This time, Nigeria's Central Bank has gone ahead to directly debit $5.2 M from Stanbic IBTC. Stanbic IBTC is one of the banks the apex bank accused of illegally repatriating $8 B on behalf of MTN. Stanbic IBTC just like MTN maintains that it has done nothing wrong. The battle between MTN and Nigerian authorities now looks like a long drawn-out war.    

Meanwhile in Ghana, MTN has concluded its IPO in the country, mainly through mobile money. Over 100,000 people bought the shares through Momo wallet, MTN's mobile money service. The company was only able to raise about $237 million, short of its $745 million projections. A possible IPO in Nigeria has stalled due to the recent battle and Ugandan authorities are putting pressure on the company to go public in the country too.

Digital payments startup, Paga has raised $10 million in a funding round led by Global Innovation Fund. The startup will use the funds to build its core development team of 25 engineers across the world. It is planning to expand to other emerging markets including Ethiopia, Mexico and Philippines. Paga reached profitability in 2018 and has processed transactions worth $3.6 billion since inception in 2012.

In more fintech funding news, South Africa's Yoco has raised $16 million in Series B funding led by Partech Ventures with participation from Orange Digital Ventures, SA's FutureGrowth, Dutch Development Bank FMO, Quona Capital and Velocity Capital. The funding is Dutch Development Bank FMO's first direct fintech investment globally. Yoco is the second investment from Partech's Africa fund launched at the beginning of this year, the first being TradeDepot. African fintech startups (10) have so far raised no less than $183 M this year alone. 

Four fintech companies have been announced to join SA fintech accelerator, AlphaCode's recently launched $163,000 (R2.5 M) programme. The selected companies are Entersekt, Livestock Wealth, Click2Sure and Invoice Worx. The two year programme called Alphacode Accelerate will provide the teams with mentor-ship and prepare them for investment opportunities. 

Amplify Pay has been accepted into the 2018 Fintech Hive program in Dubai. The startup is the first and only African company to be accepted into the programme. The 12-week accelerator programme will provide Amplify and 21 others an opportunity to receive mentoring and secure strategic partnerships with some leading banks and other financial institutions within the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region. Start-ups will also pitch in front of investors at the end of the programme.

Kampala Angel Investors Network (KAIN) is holding its deal day on October 4. 10 startups are expected to pitch at the event in front of investors that can write ticket sizes ranging between $10,000 - $300,000. KAIN comprises 30 investors with 15 being active and 60% local investors. 

Following Theresa May, UK Prime Minister's trip to Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa last week, the country has announced innovation partnerships with the African nations she visited. They include a £32 million DFID accelerator programme, the rollout of digital skills & entrepreneurship programmes (including TeXchange, Global EdTech Awards, Go Global and Founders & Coders programmes) among other partnerships. 

Nigeria's Galaxy Backbone Limited and Huawei Technologies Limited have signed an agreement for the National Information and Communication Technology Infrastructure Backbone Phase 11 (NICTIB 11) project. The project will be financed with a $328 million loan from the China EXIM bank. Galaxy Backbone is an ICT services provider wholly owned by the Nigerian government that mainly caters to its agencies and institutions. 

According to a report by PayPal & Ipsos, South Africans are expected to spend 19% more shopping online this year compared to 2017. Total spend this year is expected to hit $2.9 billion with 60% of shoppers buying from foreign retailers. 75% of adults interviewed indicated convenience as one of the  major reasons they shop online and mobile is also driving the trend upwards as total spend is forecasted to reach about $4 billion by 2020.

Teams from St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College (Addis Ababa) and the University of Michigan have designed a genetics app called MiGene Family History App targeted at low and middle-icnome countries. The app which was programmed by xHub, an Ethiopian tech company, is used by healthcare providers to collect and store patient and family histories. The data can then be used to generate personalised genetic counselling information for patients and also for epidemiologic analysis.

Malawi’s biggest fiber network provider, Open Connect Limited is set to receive an investment from Harith General Partners (SA private equity firm) making it the majority shareholder in the company. The funding is part of more than $1 billion investment by Harith in infrastructure on the continent.

Google Launchpad Studio has announced its cohort of finance start-ups focused on applied machine learning. They include Ghana's Inclusive and Frontier Car Group, Cars45's parent company, among others. The startups will work with Google to discuss how machine learning can be utilized for financial inclusion, stable currencies, and identification services.

StartupSouth is holding a Digital Skills Training Programme in Port Harcourt in partnership with the British Council. The training holds between September 24 -26, Software and game developers and other creatives can apply here before September 9. Only 30 slots available. 

Launchlab and Mercede-Benz SA have launched the Mercedes-Benz South Africa Ideas Challenge. Focus areas include big data and machine learning for manufacturing, the digitisation of logistics and production, machine learning, and Industry 4.0. Start-ups and individuals can apply here before September 28. is calling for applications to its remote Digital Marketing and SEO Internship programme. Sign up here.

7 changes required for South Africa to attract tech startup VCs by Craig Mcleod

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That's it!

Have a wonderful weekend. We'll see you next week.
- Olanrewaju
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