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10 – 09 – 2019

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Access Bank, Axa Mansard, among other financial industry players, have signed up to VerifyMe’s proprietary Know-Your-Customer (KYC) solution. VerifyMe offers real-time ID verification that is compliant with CBN tier 3 and international Anti-Money Laundering (AML) standards. Organizations can access up to 200 verifications per minute for faster decision making.
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Sierra Leone has announced a $25 visa on arrival policy for member states of the African Union. This is in addition to its free visa on arrival policy for ECOWAS countries. It is also planning to implement a US$80 visa on arrival policy for other countries including the US, EU members and the BRICS nations. The government says it is doing this to promote tourism and attract foreign direct investment but its new policy does more than that. It embodies the principles of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement which is expected to increase regional trade by about 16 percent or $16 billion.

In Africa’s southern region, there’s the curious case of the continent’s most industrialized nation doing the exact opposite. The xenophobic attacks and the government’s lackadaisical response make its commitment to the AfCFTA quite unclear. Read TechCabal’s coverage of the AfCFTA and its implications for the continent here.

The Ugandan government is “reinterpreting old criminal libel laws and enacting new ones to restrict digital activism,” according to an article by Uganda Business News. Contrary to the country’s constitution, the government has used laws including the Computer Misuse Act to criminalise criticism of the president. In a recent conviction, Stella Nyanzi, a university lecturer and human rights activist was charged with the offence of cyber harassment because of a derisive Facebook post she wrote in which she called the president “a pair of buttocks” and the first lady “empty-brained”. Read the rest of the story here.

MTN has been fined about US$70,000 by the South African telco regulator for changing the price of its 1GB WhatsApp data bundle without adequate notice. ICASA’s Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) says MTN gave it a 2-day notice instead of seven (7). In its defence, the telco says it suddenly changed the price due to an unprecedented demand on its 3G network but not without first asking for leniency on the notice period. MTN will challenge ICASA’s decision in court.

Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 11th at 1 pm, TechCabal is holding a Twitter chat with Ridwan Olalere, Director of Operations, ORide by OPay. Ridwan is one of the speakers at TC Townhall: Mobility, a forum about the future of Africa’s transport and logistics tech sector. Got any questions for Ridwan? Please email us via or fill this form. Learn more about TC Townhall: Mobility and get tickets by clicking here.

Reach Robotics, the consumer robotics startup founded by Nigerian, Silas Adekunle in Bristol, UK has shut down. Although Adekunle didn’t provide much information about the reason for the shutdown, his announcement implies that the market either doesn’t exist or is not large enough. The founder has however hinted that he and/or the company will pivot to the non-consumer robotics and the STEAM Education sector.

Women in Tech Week 2019 is holding in Ghana between October 9th to 25th. The theme of the event is Scaling Technology in Africa and speakers include Nancy Matimu, VP, Head Market Development, Sub Saharan Africa- MasterCard. Register for the event here.

DHL’s Africa eShop is now available in 34 countries. This week, the company just added 13 countries after adding 9 countries in May. The e-commerce platform which launched in April allows African consumers to buy from US & UK online retailers. The platform works by using Mall for Africa’s white label solution, Link Commerce. DHL is operating in a space that many have described as tough given how promising startups including Konga have struggled and failed in the past.

Jumia, the most prominent e-commerce startup is facing profitability and fraud challenges. But DHL will be looking to leverage its existing, well-developed delivery network while saving huge costs by outsourcing non-core operations and not holding inventory. The downside that is apparent is that the service is somewhat niche given its focus on foreign retailers and turn around time might sometimes be a problem for buyers.

Meanwhile, Jumia wants to significantly grow its lending service. This is part of its overall strategy to expand its fintech service, Jumia Pay. The company is hiring loan officers who will sign up thousands of vendors. Jumia is doubling down on its fintech solution which includes payments, microloans, and ticketing as it seeks new revenue sources. The company still remains a long way from making profits as Abubakar wrote in this story. Jumia has lost more than $100 million in the first half of 2019 alone.

The Nigerian Fintech Week has announced a partnership with Flourish Ventures, a subsidiary of Omidyar Network. The partnership will help enlighten startups about funding as a sustainable factor in fintech innovation as well as connect them to investment opportunities at the fourth edition of the Nigeria Fintech week. The event holds from October 20 – November 1st and registration is open now here.

Egyptian health tech startup, Doctoorum has closed a funding round led by Dubai-based Numu Capital. The startup will use the funds to expand its business within and outside Egypt. Doctoorum helps patients from around the world to access medical treatment in Egypt while it handles all the details of the medical trip including transport and accommodation. The startup plans to close a Series A funding round in the next few months.

Applications are open to the 2019 AI Ideathon organized by the Rise Labs, an initiative of Rise Networks. Interested individuals with ideas or solutions for Nigeria’s education, agriculture, healthcare and financial inclusion problems can register here before September 20. Entries are open to students, data scientists, working professionals, developers and academics.

Bye for now,

See you tomorrow!

– Olanrewaju

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