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26 - 9 - 2018

Good morning, people!

Telkom has denied being in any merger discussion with MTN SA. However, MyBroadband has explored some challenges the telcos might face should they attempt a merger. The publication predicts a possible roadblock with the Competition Commission. This could be as a result of the competitive advantage the merger would grant the companies. Yet, there appears to be a way through, one that requires a strong political force.

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the MTN-CBN tussle appears to be approaching a gradual but "equitable resolution." For one, Standard Bank Group has withdrawn a cautionary announcement it sent to shareholders after receiving a letter from the CBN promising a review of the situation. The group's subsidiary Stanbic IBTC was among the four others sanctioned for its involvement in MTN's alleged foreign exchange breach. On an unrelated note, the latest NCC stats shows that MTN lost over 1 million subscribers in August, yet it maintains a leading market share of 40%.

WorldRemit has joined the list of financial solutions tapping into the chat banking space. The platform has added Whatsapp to its service, allowing its 3 million users get real-time notifications about their money transfers. Whatsapp is considered to be the most popular messenger app in the world, and Quartz Africa estimates about 172 million people in Africa use the platform. With the uptick in the number of social media users in Africa, experts believe chat banking could be the future of financial services in the continent.

A court ordered the shutdown of Omatek Venture's factory in 2017 after it failed to pay back a N5.9 billion loan taken from the Bank of Industry. The closure came shortly after the death of the company's founder, Florence Seriki. Omatek has fought hard in court and may still have a chance to get back its property. Techpoint details the troubled journey of the company, known to be the first to assemble computers in Africa, and a possible way out.

Busset, a transport tech company based in Cairo, has secured funding from Cairo Angels and 500 startups and international angel investors. The startup plans to expand its business to other markets in the MENA regions, hopefully reducing the number of cars and traffic. Transport tech startups have become the highest-funded sector in the MENA region, with a total funding of $151 million last year.

Altron is expected to report a spike in earnings of as much as 52%. The corporation, led by former CEO of MTN SA Mteto Nyati, says most of its operations saw a strong performance in the half-year period.

Alibaba Group is partnering with Kenya to conserve its wildlife through its cloud-computing arm. Making use of several features connected to Alibaba’s Cloud IoT platform, they plan to develop strategies to help protect wildlife in Kenya.

The Internet Society is partnering with Facebook to develop Internet Exchange Points (IXP) throughout Africa. Currently, 42% of countries in Africa lack IXPs, a physical infrastructure that can help ISPs offer better Internet experiences for end-users and spur interest in hosting content locally.

Following a recent deal with AT&T, South African startup RapidDeploy will be moving its headquarters to the US. RapidDeploy will be teaming with AT&T to offer its platform to the US’s 911 service. The platform uses cloud-based technology to provide emergency first responders with relevant information in real time. CEO Mark Essien says the company is making plans for another HNG Internship. The program will take off early next year, and may focus on machine learning. Africa has seen a increasing focus on machine intelligence, with a number of tech innovators looking to close the knowledge gap. Google and Facebook recently backed the African Master’s of Machine Intelligence (AMMI), Africa’s dedicated master’s degree program for machine intelligence.

Dark and Lovely and She Leads Africa are accepting applications for their Beauty Accelerator program. 5 beauty startups based in Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria or South Africa will be selected for the program and will also get a chance to pitch for $5,000. Apply here.

Reminder: Ventures Platform Foundation’s Ecosystem dialogue series will hold on Thursday and Friday. The discussion for this edition holding in Lagos and Abuja will focus on tax incentives for startups. Register here.

Correction: Lagos Startup Week which started on Monday will end on Saturday, September 29, not September 9 as stated in yesterday’s newsletter.

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