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19 - 09 - 2019

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Did you know that the National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) has adopted September 16 as National ID Day to raise awareness about the important role identity plays in empowering individuals? At VerifyMe, our goal is to solve the trust issue so businesses can process and deliver more real-time services to their customers, while making the verification process painless and efficient. Request our KYC Solution now. 
South Africa’s youngest telecom, Rain, has launched a commercial 5G service, making them the first telecom to do so on the African continent. The newly launched service offers speed as much 700 megabytes per second and is only available in some parts of the country. Rain, a data-only network, has been working on the broadband infrastructure for quite some time. In February, it revealed that it had partnered Huawei, the Chinese telecom giant and leading 5G company, to help develop the capability. With no existing 2G and 3G infrastructure to maintain, Rain’s 5G service is supported by 4G infrastructure, and this allows it to leapfrog other telcos who need new spectrums to upgrade to the latest broadband. However, not every telco on the continent is in a rush to introduce 5G. On the one hand, 5G infrastructure is expensive to develop. On the other hand, the technology's major benefit is that it will have better support for connected devices and the development of smart cities. Neither of these is a major priority for Africa, with the CEO of MTN Group, Rob Shuter saying "3G is much more relevant in most of our markets." Meanwhile, in countries like Nigeria, broadband penetration is still below 40% and 4G adoption has not gotten deep enough. Telcos in the West African country have since doubled their efforts to onboard customers to 4G using promos and commercials. Also Vodafone Tanzania yesterday announced an expansion of its 4G services. So 5G can wait.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is stepping up implementation of its cashless policy initiative. The banking regulator has ordered commercial banks to reinstitute processing fees for cash deposits and has equally imposed new charges for withdrawals while maintaining existing onesFor individual accounts, banks will deduct 2% and 3% for every withdrawal and deposit respectively for transactions above N500,000 ($1,388). While for corporate accounts, withdrawals above N3 million ($8,271) will attract a 5% processing fee and depositing the same amount will draw a 3% processing fee. The rollout of the new policy is limited to a few states in the country, but the CBN says full cashless policy implementation will kick off by March 2020
Tala, a quick loans platform, has stopped its lending services in Tanzania without an explanation. An official of the company disclosed that due to legal reasons, no further details could be provided. But according to a statement from Tala’s Kenyan office, the US-based company is “undertaking a review” of its operations in Tanzania. This move comes just weeks after Google announced that it has changed Play Store rules to block predatory lending services. This includes services that require loan repayment within 60 days and often come with high-interest rates. Tala is one app affected by the new rules, others include Branch and Nigeria’s Carbon. Wole Olayinka writes that Google has offered them 30 days to comply with the rules or they will be removed from the platform. However, Tala and Carbon say they are communicating with Google to determine if the policy applies apps globally or those available to US customers.
In personnel, Gafar Lawal has rejoined Microsoft as the managing director of the African Development Centre (ADC) in Nigeria. Unveiled in May, the ADC attracts innovative African engineers to develop solutions for cloud services, artificial intelligence and mixed reality. Lawal has over 20 years’ worth of experience in the technology sector. Before the appointment, he was managing director and chief technology architect at the wealth management division of US investment bank, Morgan Stanley. Before that, he spent more than six years as partner architect at Microsoft’s Windows Phone division.
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Oracle wants to open a cloud data centre in South Africa. The African country is among the selected territories where Oracle will launch new cloud infrastructure by the end of 2020. Some of the other countries include Brazil, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Chile. Oracle is joins the growing number of companies locating their cloud data centres in South Africa. Amazon Web Services (AWS) will launch its data region next year, while Microsoft already operates Azure servers in the country.
Since Andela announced it was laying off over 400 developers recently, companies and various individuals have continued to show support to the developers. Flutterwave's CEO yesterday announced a job fair where employers can meet and interview with developers and possibly hire them. Companies like Cowrywise, Farmcrowdy, Access Bank, GT Bank, Kobo360, Mainone, Allpro, Wallets Africa, Wema Bank's ALAT and Thriveagric have already given their support and will be at the fair. It holds in Lagos, Nigeria on Saturday, September 21, 2019. Find out more here.  
The bus is moving! Are you ready? From September 22, our friends at Zikoko; Fu'ad, Kayode and Toke are travelling across 14 West African countries in a bus. They will go from Lagos, Nigeria, through Benin, Togo, Senegal, Mali, across West Africa and back. It's 80 days, 14 countries and lots of experiential stories around culture, cuisine, music, and everything in between. Check out http://jollofroad.com for more info and to follow them on this epic adventure.
In Zambia, Mobile Broadband Limited, which trades as Vodafone Zambia, has put itself on the market for a new owner. The company opened the bidding process on September 12 and issued a September 27 deadline. Originally launched in 2016, Vodafone was the first to introduce 4G services in the southern African country. One news report said 4G helped it to grow “rapidly” during its early years. But it has waned ever since, particularly due to financial distress. A company spokesperson disclosed that Vodafone Zambia’s holding company, Afrimax Holdings BV, was withholding funds from it. By October 2018, employees at the telco successfully secured the right to business rescue operations from a Zambian court. This entailed business restructuring to help shore it up while it finds a new owner. They originally tried to complete the sale process in August, but it is unclear what happened with that timeline.
The telecom industry is quite vulnerable to disruptions caused by digital services. Although companies like MTN continue to experience revenue growth, services like Whatsapp are causing a drop in voice income for many telcos. MyBroadband Africa’s Bradley Prior writes that “traditional voice usage has decreased in recent years”, forcing telecom companies to adapt, some times by developing their own internet services.
Omobola Johnson, Senior Partner at TLCom Capital, will be speaking at TC Townhall: Mobility, a forum about the future of Africa's transport and logistics tech sector holding on the 27th of September, 2019. The most knowledgeable and influential mobility entrepreneurs, investors and policymakers will gather to explore, discuss and define the potential of Africa’s mobility sector and the challenges. Get tickets to the event via this link. Companies and individuals buying at least five (5) tickets can get a 20% discount here.
Facebook's digital currency, Libra, is having a hard time appealing to European governments. From concerns about data privacy and its claims to decentralisation, Libra’s biggest challenge is its impact on sovereignty.
Applications are now open for the MEST Africa Class of 2021. MEST Africa is a one-year entrepreneurial training programme in Ghana. It grounds software entrepreneurs with understanding about business, communication and tech opportunities. After the training, participants will get the chance to pitch to investors for seed funding and a chance to work out of MEST incubators in Accra, Lagos, Cape Town and Nairobi. Deadline for applicants is February 7, 2020. Click here to apply.
That's it for today,  
We'll be back tomorrow   - Abubakar
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