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RIDING ON LOGISTICS
ORide will sell a “small percentage” of its motorbikes, retaining the rest for its new delivery startup called OExpress. The bike-hailing company operated by OPay ran into difficulties earlier in the year after the state government in Lagos, its main city of operations, banned two- and three-wheel vehicles on February 1.
According to Abubakar’s report, ORide has been selling the bikes from its Lagos warehouse for between ₦180,000 and ₦270,000 ($460 and $690) depending on how long they have been in use. It appears the 200cc bikes are selling fast as individuals and other logistics companies gobble up the bargain. ORide’s erstwhile competitors in the bike-hailing game, Gokada and MAX, have also pivoted to logistics.
Meanwhile, Uganda is formalizing their motorbike riding sector. Instead of taking Lagos’s route of outright prohibition, Uganda wants ‘boda bodas’ to go digital, standardizing them as a safe and useful mode of transportation. Muyiwa has more on what this means for SafeBoda,
Uberboda and the other already-digital players in that space.
FACEBOOK’S AFRICA RETURN
Facebook is building a 37,000-kilometer undersea cable to connect 23 African countries, Europe and the Middle East. The ‘2Africa’ project aims to provide the continent with better internet access.
They are not doing this alone. MTN, Orange, Vodafone and China Mobile are designated as partners on the project. Alcatel Submarine Networks, a company owned by Nokia, will build the sprawling cable network. When completed, the infrastructure will improve Africa’s current cable capacity by three folds according to Facebook’s announcement.
Facebook has had an interest in Africa’s 1.2 billion people for some time. They launched ‘Internet.org’ in 2013 as a humanitarian effort to provide internet access as a basic right in emerging markets. But that Facebook-centric scheme ran into problems as some countries accused Mark Zuckerberg of monopolistic and colonialist intentions. It
could be different this time with Facebook’s broader, cross-continental base of industry allies.
Yet, this may not dispel some of that old skepticism. After all, Facebook is building this in competition with its digital advertising arch-rival Google. The latter plans to have its 14th undersea cable run from Portugal to South Africa, with
one of many landing points in Nigeria. (Trivia: Both cables are being built by Alcatel Submarine Networks… hmmm)
AgVentures, a South African agric-tech investment company, has raised a R100million fund ($5.4m) to invest in companies building tech solutions for food production in Africa. They raised the fund from Acorn Agri & Food, a South African food group.
AgVentures aims to fund agric-tech companies in South Africa, Kenya and Israel (where they made their first investment in 2019). They are looking for companies that are “scalable and capital light, with competent founders who possess deep industry experience.” Agric-supporting technologies on their radarinclude farm management software, data analytics and AI, robotics and drones, safety and traceability systems, and sustainable packaging.
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BULLISH ON AFRICA
Today, May 15, 2020, TechCabal is holding a digital conference, themed Bullish on Africa, in partnership with Pariti. The event will speak to the future of Africa’s tech industry with optimism and strength and critical thinking about what it takes to get to a stronger industry from where we are today.
This digital conference will bring together experienced tech thinkers and doers from Africa and across the world including entrepreneurs and investors to speak about the opportunities they are looking at and to share their experiences about what the continent should be building and how to build strong, sustainable and profitable companies in a moment of crisis.
Confirmed speakers for the conference include Kola Aina, Founder, Ventures Platform; Andreata Muforo, Partner, TLcom TIDE Africa Fund; Benjamin Schmerler, Partner, SUNU Capital; Nisha Ligon, CEO, Ubongo; and Alain Nteff, CEO, Health Lane; among others.