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11 - 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. Get started now.

Transsion Holdings has reactivated its initial public offering (IPO) efforts and will set a share price or range by September 17. According to Bloomberg, the Africa-focused smartphone company is planning to sell as much as 80 million class A-shares when it lists on the Star Board of the Shanghai Stock Exchange. Transsion is the biggest phone maker in Africa with a market share of 48.7%. Last year, the continent absorbed nearly 80% of the company’s 124 million phone sales, contributing a large portion of its $3.2 billion revenue. With the IPO, Transsion wants to expand its manufacturing bases as well as its research and development initiatives.
MTN Group is making executive management changes in some African countries. The company announced that Freddy Tchala and Philip van Dalsen, the CEOs of MTN Zambia and MTN Côte d’Ivoire respectively, are leaving the company at the end of the month. However, while Tchala’s replacement has not been announced Dalsen will be replaced by Bert Hofker, the CEO of MTN Rwanda. While Mitwa Kaemba Ng’ambi, the immediate past CEO of Airtel Tigo Ghana, will take up the reign as CEO of MTN Rwanda. Ng’ambi’s appointment marks the start of her second stint with MTN. She had formerly worked with the telco in Zambia and Benin Republic before joining rival company Airtel Tigo where she was CEO for Tigo Senegal and later CEO of Airtel Tigo Ghana.
What is the future of Africa's mobility industry? Aanu Adeoye provides an overview of industry trends in recent times ahead of our TC:Mobility townhall which holds on September 27.
Jack Ma has ended his reign at Alibaba Group. The former English teacher has stepped down as Executive Chairman of the Chinese conglomerate after 20 years of leadership. He first announced the decision last year, promising to step aside on his 55th birthday. Under his leadership, Ma transformed Alibaba into one of the world’s biggest technology company, with one Bloomberg analyst calling it “one of the most spectacular creations of wealth the world has ever seen.” Himself a billionaire, Ma’s Alibaba also created 10 other billionaires.
Applications are open for the Tech Meets Renewable Energy Hackathon organised by Clean Technology Hub. The competition is open to innovators who are solving problems in Nigeria power sector. The top three solutions will receive cash prizes of N150,000, N100,000 and N50,000 respectively and three months of business advisory. Follow here to apply.
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Endeavor Nigeria is launching our flagship annual scaleup entrepreneurship forum, Catalysing Conversations on Friday, September 13, 2019, in Lagos. Catalysing Conversations 2019 will be chaired by H.E. Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN, GCON), Vice-President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, and features guest speaker, Efosa Ojomo, co-author of ‘The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty’. 

Other speakers include Endeavor Entrepreneurs - Bukky George (HealthPlus), Etop Ikpe (Cars45), GB Agboola (Flutterwave) and Kene Okwuosa (FilmHouse). Catalysing Conversations is an invite-only event, but we are opening up 10 guest slots to TechCabal Daily readers. If you're interested in attending, please register your interest through this link.
Internationally, a few US states led by California are contemplating or proposing a legislature that could impact how we think about the gig economy. For the uninitiated, the gig economy is freelancing or independent work, and it is characterised by short-term contracts. The rise of the gig economy in Africa and globally has paralleled the growth of billion-dollar companies like Uber, Bolt, Fiverr, Freelancer.com, UpWork, among many others. Each of these services allows people to earn money while doing short term jobs on an independent basis, and these companies say their platforms help people work in a “flexible” way. However, California lawmakers believe that these companies are growing their revenues off the labour of gig workers, but have provided no support for these workers in terms of social security, insurance or minimum wage. Mbugua Njihia explained on iAfrikan that freelancing started out as supplemental work, but it has now evolved into full-time jobs for many people. “Our economy has stopped working for working people,” said California governor Gavin Newsom in an op-ed. The state is close to completing a law that will change the definition of who should be called “gig workers”, and could force gig companies to increase welfare and other benefits to these workers. This is the strongest governmental effort to control what many see as the dark side of the gig economy. A 2017 New Yorker article opined that gig companies are promoting a "cannibalistic" work culture that makes it "acceptable to applaud an individual for working himself to death." On Quartz, Alison Griswold writes that while many gig companies like Uber believe that the degree of independence of workers determines their classification, the proposed law holds that a worker is not a freelancer if they perform work that is the normal business of their clients. Andrew Hill writing on the Financial Times explains that user-based rating systems on these platforms show they truly control workers and can “deactivate” them if they fall below a threshold. But, the proposed law is restricted to California, and there's little chance that it will get federal support. Regardless, it is an interesting conversation and could become even more important if foreign governments including the European Union (EU) and Africa get interested in it. Already in Canada, gig workers working for Foodara, a food delivery app, are trying to unionise. In Europe, the reappointment of Margrethe Vestager as the EU's competition chief and the expansion of her work to include Europe's digital policy could also prop up moves in this direction. And in Africa, more governments are showing greater interests in the activities of digital platforms in recent times. This could mean conversations about the gig economy may not be so remote from the continent either.
Tomorrow, Wednesday, September 11th at 1 pm, TechCabal is holding a Twitter chat with Ridwan OlalereDirector 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 team@techcabal.com or fill this form. Learn more about TC Townhall: Mobility and get tickets by clicking here.
Vodacom Tanzania and Smart Lab have launched the Vodacom Digital Accelerator, an accelerator programme that will support early-stage and growth-stage tech startups in the country. The new tech hub will offer a three-month programme and allow startups a chance to pitch to investors. It will also provide extended mentoring and network support for startups lasting up to six months.  Vodacom has dedicated $150,000 to the tech hub and it targets startups in areas such as mobile services, telecom, fintech, media, health, education, and e-commerce.
Understanding the Challenges Confronting Digital Natives Learners and Digital Immigrant Educators
Digital technologies are changing how African businesses operate and they are also creating new venture opportunities across the continent. However, Elvira Bolat and Nasiru Taura explain that there are still challenges that have, so far, limited the benefits of technology for entrepreneurs.
 

That's all for today,

We'll see you tomorrow.   - Abubakar
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