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28 - 05 - 2019

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PayJoy, a fintech startup that provides access to credit in emerging markets, has raised a US$20 million Series B funding round led by Greylock Partners. Union Square Ventures, EchoVC and Core Innovation Capital also participated in the round. The startup will use the money to expand, secure more partners and develop new technologies. The company which uses the consumer's smartphone as collateral and locks it when they default on the payment is present in over 10 countries including Nigeria and Kenya. This new round brings PayJoy's funding to date to about US$71.2 million.
Writing for Quartz, W. Gyude Moore argues that Africa should not take sides with the United States on the Huawei ban. He points out that up to 70% of Africa's IT infrastructure is built by Huawei using a mix of Chinese grants and loans thereby providing quality connectivity that is affordable, at a faster rate than its competitors. Read the rest of the article here.
Cassava Smartech's ride-hailing service Vaya, appears to be gaining some traction. The service which is only present in Zimbabwe launched in October 2018 and has now signed on 10,000 driver partners. According to the company's CEO, Eddie Chibi, the service is now available in every town in the country. Cassava Smartech is a subsidiary of Econet Wireless.

SpaceX's first batch of 60 Starlink satellites was expected to be visible over Nigeria earlier today. Do reach out with a photo or video if you caught a glimpse of it in Nigeria or any other part of Africa. This batch of satellites is first out of 12,000 spacecraft planned for launch by Elon Musk in an ambitious bid to connect the most remote areas of the earth to the internet.

Applications are now open for the 2019 American Express Leadership Academy Emerging Innovators Bootcamps. If you are a social entrepreneur or changemaker, find out more and apply here before June 30.

If you are a healthcare entrepreneur or innovator in Nigeria or anywhere else in Africa, we've got a stack of very insightful and valuable video and written content for you. They cover themes such as how to approach innovation in healthcare, amongst others. Check them out here. Also, get our deeply researched report, The State of Health Tech in Nigeriawhich examines the challenges health tech startups face, the opportunities in the space and makes actionable recommendations for entrepreneurs, investors and regulators to consider. Get the report here.
South Africa's newly re-elected President, Cyril Ramaphosa has signed the Carbon Tax Act into law. This makes it one of about 40 countries in the world to adopt a carbon-pricing program. The law which will go into effect from June 1st will apply to only Scope 1 emitters in the first phase until December 2022 after which the second phase is expected to begin. There has been opposition to the law, which has been in the works since 2010, with the state-owned utility Eskom arguing that it could increase the cost of electricity. South Africa is the continent's largest polluter and the new law is expected to drive the adoption of clean energy.
The 2018 AfrAsia Bank Wealth Report has revealed that Kenya is the largest market for luxury goods and service after South Africa. The report put the 2017 revenue for Africa's luxury sector at US$6 billion. Revenue for Kenya was US$0.5 billion while that of South Africa was $2.2 billion. It's quite interesting because Kenya's Central Bank governor recently announced that only 1% of Kenyans have over USD 10K in their bank accounts. Other countries in the top 5 are Morocco, Nigeria and Egypt with the report noting that the luxury market revenues for them are largely driven by luxury hotels.
Smartphones sales in South Africa have declined by 7% although the value of the market increased by 3%. While fewer people are buying smartphones, the few who do are purchasing higher-end phones. Unit sales for the feature phone segment also increased by 4% while tablet unit sales plunged by about 22%.

Is Facebook undermining democracy in Africa? by Larry Madowo for BBC Africa.

According to its newly released financial results for the year ended March 31 2019, South African telco, Telkom has seen an 85% growth in active mobile subscribers. It has also seen a 58% increase in its mobile services revenue although the company lost about 133,000 fixed broadband subscribers. The telco is seeking an equity partner to help scale its tower business and reduce dependency on its fixed-line business for revenue.

Kaspersky Lab has invited tech startups working on advanced cybersecurity projects to apply to its Kaspersky Open Innovations program. If you are building a solution in these areas; transport, blockchain, anti-fraud and industrial internet of things, apply here before July 28.

The WISH Africa Expo 2019 has announced the theme for its 2019 event, "What is African!". The theme was designed to displace assumptions and illuminate opportunities. Each sector of the expo has been selected with the aim of ultimately promoting the development of that industry. The sectors include Tech, Fashion, Real estate & architecture, Food & Drink, Art & design. Find out more about the event here.

From TechCabal +  Will Volkswagen Recoup its Investment in a Country with Little Mobility?  +  Meeting the Challenges of Morocco’s Industrial Hub Dream

That's All,

We'll be back tomorrow.   - Olanrewaju
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