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18 - 07 - 2019

Hello, folks! Welcome to another edition of TC Daily, your one-stop-shop for information about recent developments in the African technology scene! If this mail was forwarded to you, please take a moment to subscribe. Join our community!

The Zimbabwean government wants to sell its majority stake in state-owned telcos, Telone and Netone for at least US$300 million. It expects to complete the sale by the end of the year. The government has intended to privatize the parastatals for some time now (due to under-performance) so much that it issued them a 6-9 month ultimatum last year. In 2017, over a third of the country's parastatals incurred a combined loss of $270 million.

Mobile subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa will increase to 623 million, about half of the population, by 2025. This is according to the 2019 Mobile Economy report by GSMA. The report records that the region is the fastest-growing for subscriber additions. Last year, the mobile ecosystem across the region generated about $150 billion in economic value and it currently supports around 3.5 million jobs. 3G is expected to overtake 2G as the leading mobile technology later this year although 4G penetration lags the global average.

Singapore-based Gozem has added auto-rickshaws to its ride-hailing service in Togo and Benin Republic. Riders can now book auto-rickshaw trips within the Gozem app. The company already provides car rides in Lome while it offers motorcycle rides in both Lome & Cotonou. Gozem is looking to expand into Nigeria in the next few years. There aren't a ton of auto-rickshaw ride-hailing services across Africa. Last year, I wrote about Matatu (now called Zido Taxi) one of the very few that exists, virtually the only one in Nigeria and it may remain so.

MTN Group has hired ex-Vodacom executive, Yolanda Cuba as its Chief Digital and Fintech Officer. Reporting directly to the Group CEO, Rob Shuter, she will lead the expansion of the company's financial services and digital solutions. Cuba was previously Chief Officer, Strategy, Merger & Acquisitions at Vodacom as well as CEO at Vodafone Ghana. Cuba's appointment makes sense given MTN's push to grow revenue from digital services and mobile money. It launched a mobile money chatbot in Ivory Coast last month. Before then, it announced plans to release a messaging app similar to WhatsApp and WeChat.

In this eyewitness report, representatives of a trade association are heard harassing a motor-bike taxi driver in Lagos, Southwest Nigeria to pay 5 times the amount for a levy. It is unclear whether these drivers are members of the association although the one in the report didn't object to making the correct payment. While motor-bike taxis in the city have surged attracting investor interest, they operate in a regulatory grey area leaving them open to extortion. There's no policy framework guiding their operations and existing laws are restrictive. If the trend of harassment continues unchecked, it could hurt investor confidence because it creates uncertainty. It could also cause entrepreneurs to think twice about launching in Lagos, thereby, hindering the growth of the nascent sector in the city.

Applications are open for the SoGal Global Pitch Competition. Pre-Series A startups (raised less than $3M) with at least one woman/diverse founder can get in here before August 1.
Muhammad Samu (Auwal MS) has joined Google as Regional Program Manager for Developer Student Clubs. He will lead the Developer Student Club Programs for sub-Saharan Africa. Samu has more than five years of experience as a developer and has been involved in building developer communities within Nigeria.

In more developer news, Raphael Ugwu, Peter Ekene and Adewale Abati have joined Flutterwave as Developer Advocates. Flutterwave announced them in a football-style unveiling event. All three persons have experience in building developer communities. In their new roles, they'll be working with developers to improve how they build payment solutions using tools provided by Flutterwave.

Got a new product, service delivery or finance model that could improve the lives of assisted technology users? The Global Disability Innovation Hub and the UKAid have launched the Innovate Now Accelerator to help ventures in East Africa with assisted technology solutions go to market and scale. Learn more here and apply here before September 1.

From The Cabal + Following growing demand for tech talent and an exodus of developers, Nigerian tech companies face a shortage of talent. Wole Olayinka examines Hotels.ng's Internship Program and the other solutions companies are adopting to address the problem + Last year, Uber launched its bike-hailing service, Uber Boda in East Africa. The ride-hailing giant is however cautious about expanding the service to other markets within the continent until regulatory concerns are addressed, a departure from the cut-throat growth strategy of its early days. Abubakar has more here. 

That's All,

We'll be back tomorrow.   - Olanrewaju
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