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8 - 10 - 2018

Good morning, people!

Balancing Act's Russel Southwood did an interview with Telkom Kenya (formerly Orange Kenya) CEO Aldo Mareuse and he had a lot to say. They talked about Safaricom's dominance and the government's role in securing that dominance (it recently upped its stake in the telco from 30% to 40%), and investment firm Helios' strategy (they acquired Orange Kenya) for the Kenyan telco market. Maruese said Telkom will focus on driving data usage and enterprise plays instead of competing with Safaricom in the voice segment. He also spoke about the telco's partnership with Google's internet-over-hot-air-balloon project, Loon, and areas Telkom Kenya will be looking to innovate.  

Gist coming out of Malawi say the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) is threatening to suspend Airtel Malawi's license for failing to deactivate unregistered SIM after the telco allegedly missed a September 30 deadline. 

This year marks the 20th year since Orange Money was first launched in Cote d'Ivoire in 2008. In that time it has become one of France-based Orange Group's biggest growth driver with presence in 17 African countries (mostly francophone countries too), 40 million customers, 13 million monthly users and €26 billion in transactions in 2017. 

The Togolese government has announced plans to open up state-owned TogoCom to private investment following a restructuring of the old Togo Telecom Group. TogoCom, created in 2017, is the holding company for state-owned operators Togo Telecom and Togocel.

In what seems to be a new favorite pastime for African governments, Zimbabwe has joined Kenya and Uganda in the ranks of African countries hiking mobile money taxes. The Zimbabwean government, which is battling heavy fiscal deficits, has said the tax on mobile wallet and electronic transactions will increase from a flat five cents per transaction to two cents per dollar transacted. This follows a 12.6% increase in mobile money subscriptions to reach 5.6 million and number of mobile money transactions climbing by 38% to about 404 million. 

Much of the mobile internet in Zimbabwe still happens on WhatsApp, per this report from Techzim. In 2016, 34% of mobile internet data in Zimbabwe was on WhatsApp and two years on, that number has slightly increased to 34.4%. This is despite a drop in the number of mobile internet subscriptions.

Estonia-based Taxify has been busy. It has partnered with Google Maps to launch a Taxify transit option in Maps (similar to an arrangement Maps had with Uber). The feature has started rolling out globally in 15 countries (Nigeria and South Africa are the first African countries getting it). Meanwhile the ride-hailing startup also launched in two new Nigerian cities, Owerri and Ibadan (the biggest city in West Africa).

Jeremy Johnson, co-founder and CEO of Andela, was on the "This Week In Startups" podcast hosted by American angel investor and founder of LAUNCH Media, Jason Calacanis. Did you know quite a few African countries are actually reaching out to Andela to come set up shop in their locales? Or that the company is generating tens of millions of dollars in annual revenue, and it’s doubling year-over-year? Well, it's all in there so you wanna check it out. 

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That's All!

We'll see you tomorrow.
- Akindare

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