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25 – 11 – 2019

Hello! Welcome to another Monday edition of TC Daily! Please take a moment to subscribe if you haven’t; join our Telegram channel as well, we are bringing you all the tech news and development from the continent! 

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The campaign to get the Nigerian Senate to discard the social media bill is still ongoing. Titled Protection from Internet Falsehood and Manipulation Bill 2019, the bill, if signed into law, could block free speech online, critics believe. Nigerians are resisting the bill and many are taking action by contacting the senators representing their respective districts. At TechCabal we created this template to make it easier for people to communicate their wishes to lawmakers.

Still on Nigeria, the real battle between fintechs and banks is here. In July, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ordered banks to give out at least 65% of deposits as loans. Failure to do so attracts a penalty. Many banks don’t like lending, especially retail lending. It’s too risky. But startups do it, absorbing the risks with relatively higher interest rates. However, for banks, the stakes are higher now as the CBN will “punish” erring banks at the end of each quarter. The next deadline is December 31. Abubakar Suleiman, the Managing Director of Sterling Bank, explained to me that banks have literally two options: reject deposits or give out more loans. No bank would want to reject deposits, so the focus is to lend more. To meet the target, banks are creating online lending platforms to reach more customers and to compete with fintech startups. In this article, I explore how this could impact startups.

Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni, has launched a hardware manufacturing and assembling plant in the country. It is the fourth African country to flag off a local device manufacturing plant in 2019. Developed in partnership with SIMI Technologies, the new plant will produce thousands of devices including smartphones, laptops, chargers, USB cables and earphones. Although the plan is to reduce electronics imports, any device produced by the Museveni-led regime may be treated with distrust. Afterall in August, the Wall Street Journal blew the lid on a secret cyber surveillance programme Uganda used to monitor citizens.

Folawe Omikunle is the Chief Executive Officer of Teach For Nigeria, a non-profit organization that recruits university graduates and working professionals to serve as full-time teachers in Nigeria’s most under-served schools.

It’s here guys, TC Townhall is holding this week! TC Townhall Edtech & the Future of Work will hold on November 29, 2019, at Zone Tech Park, Gbagada Expressway, Lagos. Here’s the agenda for the Townhall. We are bringing together regulators, government agencies, investors, entrepreneurs, NGOs, social enterprises and schools to set a strong agenda about how to use technology to leapfrog Africa’s education challenges and prepare our citizens for future jobs.

If you are an edtech startup looking to meet investors in the space, please fill this form to join our invite-only startup-investor matching session.

To attend the Townhall, click here to buy your tickets. To enjoy our favourable discount, click here or use the code TCEDTECH at checkout. Further discounts apply for companies/individuals buying at least 5 tickets. Please click here to enjoy our corporate discounts.

Orange, the French telco, has completed the sale of its Niger Republic subsidiary to Zamani Com SAS. Recently, the telco has had a rough patch with the government over tax issues, forcing it to reconsider its future in the country. It sold its operations to Zamani for an undisclosed fee.

In recent times, Nigeria has seen a growth in the number of fintechs providing innovative financial solutions. The end goal, or most desirable outcome, is a full-fledge digital solution that would provide seamless banking experience for users. Now, different digital banks have emerged, but people don’t seem excited enough. Why? Olumuyiwa Olowogboyega provides an answer in this article.

Jollof Rice. It is a popular food in Nigeria that we like to think is native to us, kinda like Nigerian English. Sigh. But like Play Station, hairdryers, Instagram and even toothpicks, Jollof Rice did not originate from Nigeria. Shocker! It was first made in the 1800s by Penda Mbaye in a place called Saint Louis in modern-day Senegal. The Jollof Road team had been anxious to get there; now they’re there. After 64 days on the road, the team is currently learning about the origins of the Jollof.

Don’t miss any of the stories and videos as the #JollofRoad trip draws closer to an end. There are 4 countries and less than 20 days to the end of the trip. For inside gist, join the conversation on Telegram and WhatsApp.

MultiChoice is stepping up its digital pivot

Multichoice has been slow to develop a strong digital pivot. For over 20 years, its DStv business, a pay-TV service which runs on decoders, has provided much of its revenue. It used to be Naspers’ cash-cow. But when Netflix launched in Africa in 2016, DStv became vulnerable and Multichoice became worried.

Between 2016 and 2018, Netflix gained around 400,000 subscribers in Africa, a growth rate that scared Multichoice so much it asked regulators to look into the American company. Such concerns led Naspers to divest from the South African company some months ago via an IPO.

While the Netflix challenge is real, MultiChoice has the advantage of having rich local content. But its problem has been to develop scalable online services. It launched Showmax, a Netflix clone in 2015, and DStv Now, an online version of DStv. Both platforms, especially DStv Now, didn’t really gain much traction early on. Only existing DStv users could use DStv Now; that is a small pool with less than 20 million subscribers.

However, with Netflix now facing stiff competition from Apple and Disney in its home market, Multichoice is taking the initiative in Africa.

The first game plan is DStv Now. By March 2020, the company plans to make DStv Now a standalone service, allowing it to take DStv’s deep pool of content and live TV to hundreds of millions of Africans. This could be huge, especially since localized online TV services are rare in Africa.

The second game plan is Showmax. Over the last couple of months, Showmax has tweaked its approach, increasing its focus on local content while including new offerings like live sports viewing. Although still in beta, users can watch club football matches, golf, among other sporting events.

Now, the Netflix clone has introduced a new pricing plan for users in Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya. The new plan is strictly for smartphone users and it is 50% cheaper than the standard plan. In Nigeria for instance, smartphone users will pay N1450 ($4.74) per month while the standard plan costs N2900 ($9.48). When compared to Netflix’s cheapest plan which costs $7.99, the new Showmax plan is more affordable.

In the last 12 months, Multichoice reported that both DStv Now and Showmax recorded 48% growth in monthly users. We’ll keep our eyes peeled on how the new plans impact user numbers.

As you head into the new week, how well did you read our work in the old week? Test your knowledge with our newly-introduced weekly quiz and let us know how you get on.

While we’re sure you know about our EdTech Townhall (Nov 29), here are other events happening this week.

Pitch Hotseat (Angola): Holding in Luanda, Angola, Pitch Hotseat helps would-be startup founders to vet their ideas and get feedback from top entrepreneurs. It holds on November 28.

GIZ, Ghana Investment Readiness Workshop (Ghana): This is an all-in-one course to help entrepreneurs fireproof their ideas, business strategies and ways they can secure investments. Two investors, Leticia Browne and Daniel Osei Antwi are the facilitators of this course. It holds on November 26 and 27 in Accra.

Lagos Startup Ideation Bootcamp (Nigeria): This bootcamp will help participants fine tune their startup ideas, develop new ones and understand how to recruit cofounders. Speakers at the event include Oluyomi Ojo, CEO of Printivo and Ehia Erhaboh, the Chief Transformation Officer at Interswitch. It holds on November 29 in Yaba, Lagos.

2nd African Islamic Fintech Summit (Senegal): Focused on digital financial inclusion, the summit will discuss topics like Islamic finance, financial technology (fintech) and economic empowerment and how they relate to West Africa. It holds on November 29 in Dakar, Senegal.

That’s it for today
We’ll see you tomorrow!

– Abubakar

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