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26 - 08 - 2019

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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:
Over the past week, whatever was left of the reputation of "the Nigerian" took a major hit. The news cycle has been filled with Nigerians arrested for cybercrime, specifically business email compromise (BEC) and romance fraud. First, it was this New York Times expose, next it was Invictus and last week 80 Nigerians were busted in the US. Young Nigerians now have to deal with a more complicated fraudster stereotype. There have been campaigns on Twitter to fight the narrative. But what are the facts about Nigeria's role in the global cybercrime problem? To effectively change the narrative we need a factful approach. Inspired by this series of tweets, I did a quick research about the global cybercrime industry. So here are the facts: Cybercrime cost the world almost $600 billion, or 0.8% of global GDP in 2018. The two key countries in global cybercrime according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) are North Korea and Russia. BEC, advance fee and romance fraud which Nigerians are more known for resulted in about $1.8 billion (a mere 0.3%) in losses in 2018 according to the FBI. So while Nigeria does have a 'growing' fraud problem that it needs to deal with, it is not the most problematic nation with regards to fraud neither is it the face of cybercrime. We need these facts to effectively report the problem and deal with it as well as to fight wrong stereotypes. On to today's news.
Palladium, a global consultancy has launched its first impact investment fund, the Palladium Impact Fund I. The $40 million fund will focus on small and medium-sized enterprises in emerging markets, especially agribusiness value chains and off-grid clean energy in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Palladium has 75 offices across the world and its portfolio companies include Naasakle, a shea nut harvesting and processing business in Ghana, and PEG Africa, an off-grid solar energy company. It currently has another 10 investments under due diligence.
Travel & tourism startup, Tastemakers Africa has raised $1 million seed funding led by Precursor Ventures.  Tastemakers curates and sells African travel and cultural experiences including paragliding tours, wine-tasting and concerts. The company will use the money to increase the experiences it offers from 200 to 10,000 as well build out machine learning capabilities to better match suppliers, experiences and clients.
Opera's OPay has been witnessing impressive growth as I wrote in this TC Daily edition. However, one thing that has been driving its growth over the past few months is ORide, its bike-hailing service. With a transaction volume of $10 million daily for OPay, ORide is driving financial inclusion by combining ride-hailing with agent banking. Its drivers also serve as agents to funnel cash into OPay’s mobile money system. Wole has the full story in this TechCabal article.
Sierra Leone has partnered with Kiva, an impact lender to launch a block-chain based national digital identity platform. The National Digital Identity Platform (NDIP) as it is called is expected to boost financial inclusion in the country by helping residents develop credit histories. It will also enable people to access eGovernment services. Built on the Kiva protocol, the project is owned by the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Sierra Leone and supported by the U.N. Capital Development Fund (UNCDF) and the U.N. Development Programme (UNDP). The Sierra Leone government has a strong digital agenda that is evident in its appointment of 32-year-old, Harvard and MIT-trained, Dr Moinina David Sengeh as its Chief Innovation Officer.
Econet has put up its media unit, which operates the telco's Kwese assets, for sale. This follows its announcement earlier this month that it was shutting its pay-TV unit due to Zimbabwe's economic challenges and a shortage of foreign currency. Ernst & Young will oversee offers for all or part of the company’s shareholdings in businesses in Botswana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi, Mauritius, Ghana, Kenya and Dubai.
ABAN Angels and Briter Bridges are working on a comprehensive mapping of Africa's investment landscape. The database will be made available to the public. If you invest in Africa, get in here.
Telecoms company, Ericsson has appointed Fadi Pharaon as its senior vice president and head of market for Middle East and Africa. Pharaon has spent about two decades at Ericsson holding several roles with the latest being Senior Vice President, Head of Networks and Managed Services - Europe and Latin America. Pharaon is replacing Rafiah Ibrahim who stepped down earlier in the year amidst a number of senior-level departures. Rafiah Ibrahim is now an advisor to CEO, Börje Ekholm.
Cars45 has announced a premium car inspection service and is currently testing it in Lagos. With the new service, the company will visit a user's location to inspect, provide an evaluation report and purchase a car for a fee of $33. Cars45 was founded in 2016 by Etop Ikpe and closed a $5m Series A round in 2017 led by Frontier Car Group with the aim of improving its platform. 
Naspers has gotten enough votes from its shareholders to proceed with a listing of its international internet assets on the Euronext in Amsterdam. Naspers initially planned to conduct the listing which includes Tencent, Russian internet platform, Mail.Ru  and U.S. online marketplace Letgo via a holding company called Prosus in July. However, it needed at least 75% of investors to endorse the spin-off, which is now scheduled for Sept. 11. The company says it is now interested in investing in machine learning.

Bye for now,

We'll see you tomorrow.   - Olanrewaju
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