AfCFTA trade agreement execution date may be shifted
in partnership
Good morning and welcome to TC Daily. This Monday, Safaricom to sell smartphones, the AfCFTA trade agreement won’t kick in till 2021, and a new M&A in Africa’s data centre business.

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Shopping in store is a little more high stakes than it used to be. Spar Nigeria, a full service supermarket has transitioned online to make it easier for you to get your necessities, thanks to Flutterwave. Order online, pay securely with Flutterwave and get your groceries delivered to you.

The implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) may be postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to Reuters, the Secretary-General of the AfCFTA, Wamkele Mene has advised the continent’s leaders to put off the original July 1 implementation till 2021. “The current circumstances simply are not conducive to the comprehensive trade we had imagined,” he said. With 44,113 cases, Africa has, statistically, the least number of regional COVID-19 infections in the world. But this hasn’t speared it from the economic and social crises caused by the pandemic. The IMF predicts that the region’s economy will shrink by 1.6% in 2020. In
the meantime, Mene has advised African leaders to relax some of their lockdown rules to allow free movement of goods across their borders and remove duties on 40 essential goods like soap.

Kenya telecom company, Safaricom will sell 4G smartphones in partnership with Google. The telco announced the plan during its earnings call on April 29. Under a device financing scheme, it will provide people with 4G smartphones, while they repay in instalments. Although details aren’t fully available, customers could pay as little as $0.20 per day to get these new smartphones.

But Safaricom is not trying to get into the hardware
business; far from it. The plan is to drive the adoption of mobile data services. According to the company’s latest financial report, voice services and M-Pesa account for over 67% of its revenue. Meanwhile, data services represent only 16% of its revenue. The company believes it is because “many people do not have smartphones.” It wants to address this with the new partnership with Google. It plans to onboard over 4 million 4G subscribers by the end of the year.

Egyptian startup Pravica has raised $500,000 pre-seed round of funding in a round led by 500Startups. Other investors that participated in the round include Modus Capital and DYRES Ventures. Founded in April 2019, Pravica is an email service provider that is powered by blockchain technology. According to the company, this guarantees full data privacy and security for customers. It plans to use the new funding to grow its team, expand its product
offerings and expand to more markets.

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Competition in Africa’s cloud and data centre business continues to heat up. In South Africa, Africa Data Centres (ADC) has secured regulatory approval to buy Standard Bank’s data centre. Located close to Pretoria, the data centre is built for financial services companies, ADC said. It will open up the data centre
for use by other companies. ADC’s acquisition move comes after Amazon Web Services launched its African data centre in South Africa last month. Other strong players like Microsoft are already in this market. The Seattle-based company has operated a data centre in South Africa since 2019. Meanwhile, UK investment firm, Actis plans to invest over $250 million in a chain of data centres in Africa.

Sumundi, a Ghanaian startup, has raised undisclosed funding from GreenTec Capital to help retailers manage their businesses. Launched in 2018, Sumundi operates a retail management platform that allows store owners organise their business including recording sales, receipt generation and inventory tracking. Last year, according to Disrupt Africa, the startup had been looking to secure funding to finance hardware components, grow its team and double down on marketing. GreenTec’s funding may be the answer it was looking

The Libyan government is using technology and online platforms to provide educational services for students. The country, which has been in crisis since the collapse of the Gadaffi regime, went into lockdown in March following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is now working with organisations like UNICEF to provide distance learning support to students.

Following the launch of a COVID-19 fund that raised $500,00 in donations and the close of a $15 million Series A round, Nigerian health tech company, 54Gene has rolled out a mobile laboratory in Ogun state, Southwest Nigeria. The mobile lab is its second lab in the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control’s network of coronavirus test centres.

As of press time on April 29, the number of labs in the NCDC’s network was 17 including 54Gene’s labs. As Nigeria continues to battle the virus, its testing capacity has been a
subject of debate. The country had conducted about 12,800 tests compared to South Africa’s 200,000 tests as of April 30.

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