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21 - 9 - 2018

Airtel is partnering with the manufacturers of Infinix, TECNO and itel smartphones to make life better. This will enable telecoms consumers to enjoy exclusive ‘double data’ offer for a six month period. Customers who purchase any of these smartphones will enjoy twice the value of any data plan they purchase on their newly acquired device. You too can plug into this, Find a retail store near you today, purchase any of the smart devices and let Airtel empower you to fulfill your dreams. 

MTN Nigeria is in the news again, this time it's positive. Stocks have surged following news that  Nigeria's Central Bank is looking to engage in talks to resolve the dispute over the $8.1B it claims MTN owes. The apex bank issued a statement assuring foreign investors that they were welcome in Nigeria specifically stating that it was already engaging the different banks involved and MTN itself. The MTN dispute in Nigeria has raised concerns among investors.

MEST has now launched its incubator in Kenya. This is its fourth incubator joining its other hubs in Ghana, Nigeria and South Africa. The space will house the East African office of its parent brand, Outside Insight, a competitive intelligence platform. Additionally, ShareHouse (AirBnB for warehouses) and Nestmetric (automated machine learning platform) will be the first two companies to move into the incubator.

According to a report by the International Data Corporation, Africa’s smartphone shipments increased 9.8% quarter on quarter (QoQ) and 6.0% year on year (YoY) in Q2 2018. A total of 22.4 million smartphones were shipped on the continent in Q2 2018. Transsion leads with 35.4% while Samsung follows with 23.2% of the shipments. On the other hand, the feature phone market was down 1.1% QoQ and 5.8% YoY in Q2 2018, but still make up a 58.3% share of Africa's overall mobile phone market with shipments totaling 31.4 million units. 

A Kenyan court has fined an insurance company, Kenya Oriental Insurance, for using an image of a man without his consent in a Facebook ad. The man, Kevin Kimani Mungai sued the company after alleging his photo was taken from his phone when he took it for repairs. The phone was insured by Kenya Oriental Insurance. Although the company argued that  the photo was not used for economic gain, the court dismissed its defense and fined it Ksh 500,000 ($4,962) including costs & interests.

Liquid Telecom could soon begin investing in start-ups according to its CTO, Ben Roberts. Liquid Telecom currently provides free internet to 30 tech hubs in seven African countries. The company started working with Microsoft in 2017 to offer cloud services such as Microsoft’s Azure, Dynamics 365, and Office 365 to select startups through free credits.

Amidst protests by Uber and Taxify drivers in Kenya, a new ride-hailing company, An Nisa has launched. The female-led company will only hire women drivers and will serve only women and children riders. In addition,  it will only take a 10% commission compared to 15% to 25% collected by ride-hailing services like Uber and Taxify.

Quartz's Africa Innovators 2018 list is out!  The list features 30 scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs. Check out the full list here and a collection of essays and ideas on innovation.

Trucking logistics startup, Lori Systems has expanded to Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. This follows multiple bids won by the company. The bids are associated with the newly built $4B railroad system in East Africa. The team has grown from 15 to 70 people since February and the startup partnered Kenya’s Standard Gauge Railway to help reduce costs for truckers moving bulk imports and exports. 

Online consultations for the Senegal Startup Act have begun. Recall last month we reported that about 60 ecosystem players had drafted the Senegal Startup Act, similar to the Tunisian one. A draft of the act has been sent to the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Planning at the Ministry of the Digital Economy and the Department of Taxes and Domains. The online consultation means anyone can view the draft and offer feedback here.  

According to a Bloomberg report, Rocket Internet is on track to post a profitable year since 2014. Rocket Internet posted a profit of $347 million in the first half of 2018. The company yesterday announced a share buyback program of up to $176 million (€150m). Jumia’s general merchandise value, the total value of orders placed on the platform before discounts, grew 67 percent in H1 2018.

LifeBank is hiring for a number of roles, check out the available positions here

Seedstars Lagos is taking place on October 19. Start-ups can now apply for a chance to be selected as one of the 10 finalists that will pitch at the event. Apply now, deadline is October 5.

The Vilcap Communities Africa programme is holding a forum next week in Lagos. The forum which will hold between September 24 - 28 is aimed at equipping entrepreneur ecosystem leaders across sub-Saharan Africa with the tools, resources and connections they need to catalyse impact investment. Last month the programme announced the 15 African tech hubs that will participate in the programme. Two other forums will hold in Nairobi and Capetown in October and November respectively. 

Connected Kenya 2018 will be holding from October 22 - 24. The event is targeted at celebrating the works of young Kenya innovators and entrepreneurs through the Connected ICT Innovation Awards. Startups and innovators have until October 7 to apply here.

Applications are now open for the AI and the News Open Challenge with a total grant of up to $750,000 available. The challenge is seeking solutions tackling problem areas such as governance of AI news platforms, stopping bad actors, empowering journalists and re-imagining AI and news. The competition is run by Ethics and Governance of Artificial Intelligence Initiative, a joint project of the MIT Media Lab and the Harvard Berkman-Klein Center for Internet and Society. Apply here before October 12.

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Thanks for reading.

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

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