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24 - 03 - 2020

Hi there! Welcome to a brand new week and today's edition of TC Daily! If this mail was forwarded to you, please take a moment to subscribeAlso, join us on Telegram! Below are some important tech happenings you should know about today:

The Flutterwave Women’s Day Grant is for women-led businesses in Nigeria, Ghana, South Africa, Rwanda and Kenya. The grant will support female-owned small to medium businesses with capital, as well as the leverage they need to expand their businesses locally, and across Africa. Application deadline has been extended to 6th April, 2020. Apply here.
Google's Project Loon is ready for take-off After two years of tests and bureaucratic delays in Kenya, Google’s Project Loon has secured government approval to operate. The balloon-powered internet project wants to bring high-speed internet connectivity to underserved and unconnected locations globally. It has been working with Telkom, the telecom company, to develop the technology in Kenya. According to the government, the approval process was accelerated because of the current pandemic, as more people are forced to work from home. Project Loon said it is working as quickly as possible to roll out the service in the country.
Will Nigerian telcos adjust internet plans because of COVID-19? A number of telcos in different African countries have announced new data bundles to support customers while they work from home. But so far, Nigerian telcos and other internet companies have done nothing. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has grown rapidly from 3 two weeks ago to 40 by Monday evening. One death has already been recorded. Many companies in the country have asked their staff to work from home and schools have shut down temporarily. The demand for internet services could surge. Meanwhile in South Africa, MTN and Telkom have expanded access to zero-rated websites and educational resources. MTN will also slash data prices by 50% in April for reasons that are unrelated to the pandemic. Rain, another South African telco, has launched an unlimited data plan. In Kenya, Airtel announced free internet access for students while the government just approved the Project Loon. So what’s holding Nigerian telecom companies from doing the same for their over 100 million data subscribers?
Delivery orders are surging in South Africa South African alcohol and grocery delivery startups have seen a surge in orders over the last week. The surge is coming at a time when the country is struggling with rising cases of COVID-19. The number of confirmed cases now stands at 402 in South Africa. Quench Delivery a liquor delivery company said orders from new users jumped 40% during last week and sales grew 65%. Orders at OneCart, a grocery delivery startup, have risen 300%, the company told Venture Burn. The growth may continue as the government has announced a three-week shut down to contain the virus.
Nigerians love the cinema Despite the coronavirus pandemic affecting the world, Nigerians have been going to the cinemas. Over 176,000 people went to the cinemas during the first two weeks of March, according to data from Cinema Exhibitors of Nigeria (CEAN). Moviegoers spent over ₦198 million ($525,328) during this period. Both figures are roughly the same from the same period in 2019. Nothing changed; Did Nigerians not know there was a pandemic? Well, these numbers are going to drop as coronavirus cases in the country escalate. On Monday, the number of cases jumped to 40 from three a little over a week ago. It will keep rising as more people get tested and others begin to show symptoms. The lax behaviour of many people regarding the virus will change. Last week, more Nigerians started practising social distancing as schools closed, workers were asked to work from home and religious gatherings got cancelled or restricted to 50 people. Cinemas will get deserted.
This eco company is waiting for Nigeria to ban the use of plastic bags Plastic bags are dangerous to the environment. They cannot biodegrade, yet most plastic materials are used once and thrown in the trash bin. They fill up dump sites and pollute grazing fields. 50% of cattles slaughtered in urban areas of Kenya had plastic materials in their stomach. The Nigerian parliament is close to banning the use of plastic in the country. Once that law is passed, The Paper Packaging Company (TPPC), an eco-sustainable company in Lagos, has positioned itself to be a supplier of what will replace plastic bags: paper bags. TechCabal's Kay Ugwuede provides a deep dive into how the company works.
Emojis look fun, but they could be dangerous In 2016, a French court sentenced a man to three months in prison for sending a gun emoji to his ex-girlfriend. Writing for The Conversation, linguists Zakeera Docrat and Russell Kashula, say emojis are gradually becoming evidence in court. They predict that it could feature more in cases ranging from defamation to contractual agreement.
Other stories we're reading + Nigerian VC firm, Ventures Platform has partnered with the Lagos State Science Research and Innovation Council (LASRIC) to support tech solutions to COVID-19. + Applications are open for the 2020 MEST Africa Challenge. Selected startups will get $50,000 equity funding, mentorship and a space at the MEST incubator. Deadline to apply is April 18. + Remote work is no walk in the park. It is challenging and fraught with distractions. Yet millions of people globally have been forced to work from home to avoid contracting COVID-19. Here's how to handle the stress of working from home. + Also be careful; hackers are lurking. Working from home means you'll probably use the internet a lot more and even register for new services that help improve your productivity. This could expose you to cyber threats. Reports say phishing scams and spams have spiked since the outbreak of the virus. + Applications are open for the maiden edition of Wimbart Office Hours, a webinar and mentorship programme designed to equip African start-ups with the PR tools required to achieve their business goals. Deadline to apply is April 3.
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That's it for today, Remember to stay safe and clean! - Abubakar       Share TC Daily with everyone!
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