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22 - 08 - 2019

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Isa Pantanmi, the former Director-General of the National Information Technology Development Agency (NITDA) has been appointed as Nigeria's Minister of Communications. Pantami was DG of NITDA for three years and will now be replaced by Kashifu Abdullahi, his Technical Assistant. However, critics have pointed out that the recruitment process that saw Abdullahi become the new DG was not transparent. Pantami holds a PhD in Computer Information Systems and spent about a decade as a lecturer at the Federal University of Technology Bauchi (ATBU), Nigeria before joining NITDA.
MTN has overtaken Dangote Cement to become the most valuable stock on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. MTN Nigeria closed with a market capitalization of $7.82 billion on Monday following its listing 3 months ago. But the telco's ambitions, it appears, are way bigger. It has secured a license to offer financial services in the country and it could leverage its position as the largest telco by subscriber base (65.3 million subscribers) to dominate financial services in the country.
Only 30% of Africa’s Sub Saharan population has access to electricity. Challenges with Africa’s energy systems extend beyond power generation. Transmission and distribution have been poor, ensuring that in many countries, the power generated doesn’t always reach customers. In this TechCabal article, Abubakar explores growing efforts by the private and public sectors to fix Africa's electricity challenges. Join the conversation about "how to fix the continent's power challenges" on our companion forum, Radar.
Ride-hailing company, Bolt has now launched, Bolt Food, its food delivery service in its home country of Estonia. The startup which first revealed its plans to rival UberEats in South Africa in March says it will launch its food delivery service in Africa in 2020. Bolt reached unicorn status last month after it closed its Series C round with the aim of funding its international expansion. 
 Register to attend the 4th edition of the Spotlight Nigeria Business Forum. The event is hosted by Friends of Nigeria with the support of the Embassy of Nigeria Paris. Strategic partners include: the France Nigeria Chamber of Commerce & Industries (FNCCI), Paris Chambers of Commerce and Industries, ADEPTA (a network of top Agriculture companies in France), PwC, Council of Investors in Africa (CIAN), Nigeria Export Promotion Commission (NEPC), Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), Netherlands Africa Business Council (NABC), Business France, French Foreign trade advisors, amongst others. To register, visit: https://spotlightnigeria-france.com/participant-registration/
E-commerce giant Jumia says it has uncovered improper sales practises within its Nigerian sales force that amounted to 4% of its first-quarter sales. The company says it found cases where improper orders were placed and subsequently cancelled. The announcement by Jumia will be seen as giving credence to the report by US short-seller, Citron Research, accusing the company of fraud. Jumia's operating losses increased by 60% and analysts continue to question its path to profitability. The company's stock is now trading below its $14.50 listing price. Jumia began trading on the New York Stock Exchange in April.
Econet founder, Strive Masiyiwa has announced that Sasai, its payments and chat app has been downloaded in more than 75 countries.  Masiyiwa did not mention the number of downloads or active users. Sasai was launched in Zimbabwe about 3 weeks ago and is modelled after China's WeChat. Sasai is one among a number of super apps emerging across the continent to replicate the success of WeChat and Indonesia's GoJek. 
Technology giant, Google, says it is turning its focus to Artificial Intelligence for its next Google Launchpad Accelerator Africa cohort. While previous cohorts have featured startups working with AI, the company says it is doubling down efforts to help more AI-focused startups grow through its accelerator programme. Google has generally started to step up its investment in AI in Africa to align with its plan to become an AI-first company. It launched its first AI lab in Accra in April and appointed Senegalese research scientist, Moustapha Cisse to lead its AI efforts on the continent.
The Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) has announced the 22 finalists for its annual awards. 22 women founders and entrepreneurs have been selected as finalists across eight different categories from more than 200 applications. Caroline Corbett (SmartBlade, South Africa), Rebecca Enonchong (AppsTech, Cameroon), and Diane Temogne (Engineering Consulting and Services, Cameroon) were named in the Tech Entrepreneur Award category.  
Nigerian education finance startup ScholarX, a Google Launchpad Accelerator alumnus, has partnered with iManage Africa to hold a benefit concert, AcadaFest. The concert which holds on September 15 aims to raise 10 million naira ($28,000) in scholarship funds for university students. It will feature Nigerian music stars, Waje, Bez and Johnny Drille. Tickets are available here.
 

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