As lockdowns ease, will coworking spaces in Africa recover?
Coworking spaces in Africa have been hard hit by COVID-19
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE, RENSOURCE & UK-NIGERIA TECH HUB 01.06.2020
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“Coworking spaces and the traditional office spaces won’t go back to the way they were before COVID-19.

“We have to adapt to the new possibilities of working remotely and the positive impact it has on productivity, the environment and employee well-being."

That's Britta Dahms, the marketing manager at the South African coworking space, Workshop 17. In a conversation with TechCabal, Britta admits that coworking spaces will see changes as lockdowns begin to ease across the continent.

The sector has been hit hard by the global COVID-19 pandemic and what will be on the minds of coworking spaces is how to convince members to return.

In this article, I talked to some work spaces and one thing is clear: they will be counting on a sense of community to convince members to return.

In 2016, IBM announced its first data center on the African continent. It was an important first step and other companies have followed in the last four years. Microsoft and Amazon have data centers in South Africa and Huawei is currently working on opening data centers in Kenya and Nigeria. Apart from these big players, there are also other strategic cloud computing deals happening across the continent. It is expected that by the end of June, 20 new data facilities will come online across Africa. In this article, Abubakar Idris explains that this boom in cloud computing activity is a trend that that has been growing on the continent in the last decade. The proof is in the adoption of enterprise cloud services and rising internet penetration. Here's an excerpt from his article: "Meanwhile, across the continent, affordable mobile phones surging access to the internet have become ubiquitous and are aiding the growth of the digital economy. This will keep rising as phone brands like Nokia and Tecno introduce more affordable 4G devices. GSMA expects smartphone adoption to rise to 66% by 2025."

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“What we’re seeing now though is a tsunami of consumers ready to jump into online shopping, simply because it’s a necessity to stay home and, for many, work from home” - Hilton Eachus, DPD Laser chief customer officer A recent analysis by ACI Worldwide shows that global e-commerce sales rose by 209% in April 2020 compared to the same period in 2019. Thanks to lockdowns, many customers are more willing to shop online. In South Africa, My Broadband has gone for superlatives. "The lockdown has changed online shopping in South Africa forever", this headline reads. Read the article here.
Last week, Digital Nomads talked to a Nigerian living and working in Paris, the French capital. He shares his experience of leaving Nigeria more than seven years ago to study for an MBA seven years ago. He talks data, technology in Paris, banking and all the ways his new city is different from Lagos, Nigeria. Here's an excerpt from the article: “I always joke that my bank is my father in Europe, the relationship is personal. Even as a student, I had my own account officer.”
Survey Results: COVID-19 Impact Survey on Early-stage Start-ups and Investors in Nigeria

COVID-19 is by far the most significant theme to affect the global technology industry in 2020.

In April 2020, the UK-Nigeria Tech Hub, an initiative by the UK government's Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sports (DCMS) to support the growth of the start-up ecosystem in Nigeria, surveyed the tech-sector to better understand how start-ups are adapting in this unprecedented time. 
The goal in conducting this survey was to provide insights to help identify the interventions and support most beneficial to start-ups in Nigeria and to offer more insightful guidance to the Nigerian start-up community and other key stakeholders.

185 start-ups and investors completed the survey. They were quizzed on the impact coronavirus has on various aspects of their business, from operations to hiring, growth and fundraising plans.

The respondents ranged from pre-seed to Series A companies, in sectors including agriculture, education, financial services, health, amongst others.
Based on the survey, 80% of start-ups surveyed have either pivoted or are considering pivoting their business in response to the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, 69% of investors surveyed are looking for new opportunities in healthcare, logistics, and remote work solutions.

Find the full survey results here.

On a basic level, Sub-saharan African (SSA) households turn to solar home systems (SHS) as a solution to their need for quality electricity. One of the important factors that drive the growth of the SHS industry is government policy. One important policy decision is the use of import duty and VAT waivers for solar products as SHS components are difficult to source locally in most SSA countries. East Africa leads the way here as the East African Community (Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) have a common agreement on import duty waivers and VAT exemptions for solar modules. Notably, Nigeria previously had a zero-percent duty on solar modules but charged duties on other components like batteries and inverters. However, the government levied a 5% import duty and 5% VAT on solar modules in 2018. Learn more about the factors driving the adoption of off-grid renewable energy in SSA in our new report, the Future of Energy in Sub-saharan Africa. The report was created in partnership with Stears Data. You can preview the report here.
That's all for today,

Welcome, welcome to June!
- Olumuyiwa

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