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12 - 07 - 2019

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The Kenyan government has ordered telecom companies in the country to shutdown mobile money and SMS codes of all the betting companies. The country’s betting regulator, Betting Control and Licensing Board (BCLB), claims that all 27 betting companies operating in Kenya are yet to renew their licenses after they expired on July 1, 2019. But compliance with the order won’t be easy though. Sports betting is a huge business in Kenya and provides a substantial part of revenue for companies like Safaricom. In addition to this, some betting companies are already challenging the order in court. For instance, SportsPesa has obtained a court order allowing them operate despite the order. This puts the telecom companies in a very tough spot as it regards compliance.

The number of tech hubs in Africa grew by 40% over the last year, according to a joint report by the GSMA Ecosystem Accelerator and Briter Bridges. The report identifies a tech hub as firms with physical locations, which provide support to tech innovators. These include accelerators, co-working spaces, and incubators, among a few others. There are now 618 tech hubs active in the African tech ecosystem. Many of these hubs are either emerging in non-capital cities of African countries, or they are emerging as niche hubs with a focus on particular markets and sectors. However the report also noted that not all tech hubs go on to be successful in Africa. Since 2016, over 150 tech hubs have collapsed, the report said.

Four African startups have emerged winners at the OCP Mining challenge in Morocco. They include: PilliotY (Morocco), GSTS (Morocco), Kriterion (South Africa) and Enova Robotics (Tunisia). The challenge was organised by the state-owned OCP Group and it targets innovators who are developing solutions for the different aspects of mining operations. As winners, these startups will implement their solutions at the OCP Benguerir mine over the next three months, with full support from OCP.

Microsoft says Teams now has 13M daily active users

Zambian fintech startup, Rent to Own (RTO) has raised €1 million seed funding from the Dutch development finance fund, Dutch Good Growth Fund (DGGF). RTO helps to provides entrepreneurs in Zambia with high impact assets (such as refrigerators, hammer mills and irrigation pumps). The company says the new funding will used to scale its business and acquire more customers.

Kenya-based travel company, HotelOnline has raised $320,000 from both its existing investors and new investors including Trond Riiber Knudsen Group and Shravan Shroff. As part of the deal Shroff wil joint company’s board. “We will use the investment to bolster our existing products and strengthen our focus on delivering outstanding quality to our hotel partners”, said Havar Bauck, co-founder and Chairman of HotelOnline.

South African telecom company, Cell C has started talks with its creditors to delay its debt payments, which stands at around $639 million. The cash crunch in the company has forced it to re-evaluate its spending, while also temporarily freezing hiring and reviewing contracts.

South African telecom company Vodacom has partnered with Mastercard to launch a new payments service called VodaPay. VodaPay works as both a secure digital wallet and a payments app. Users can also pay bills and scan QR codes to pay for items. With the launch of VodaPay, Vodacom joins a growing number of telecom companies on the continent who have flagged off their own financial services over the last few years.

Embedding a culture of design thinking

Kenya-based healthtech startup CarePay International has won first place at the Entrepreneurs for Resilience competition in Beijing, according to TechMoran. As a winner, CarePay has secured a new $300,000 funding which it says will prove useful for its expansion in Nigeria and Tanzania. Its success at the competition is coming just two months after it closed Series A round worth $45 million.

From TechCabal +  Econet’s Kwese Play Not Officially Shutdown. But its Future is Highly Uncertain +  Startup Acquisitions Continue to Grow Big in Africa. What Does this Mean for VCs and Startups?

That's it for now,

We'll be back next week.   - Abubakar
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