South African telco plots 1,500 5G towers by December 2021
in partnership with FLUTTERWAVE, DAN HOLDINGS & DESCASIO 15.06.2020
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EbonyLife TV, the Nigerian media company owned by veteran producer Mo Abudu, will produce multiple original content for streaming video-on-demand platform Netflix. EbonyLife will adapt two literary works by authors Lola Shoneyin (The Secret Lives of Baba Segi's Wives) and Wole Soyinka (Death and the King's Horseman) into a series and film respectively. Netflix also announced that Abudu's company will produce two yet unnamed original shows, licensed films and another series. It's an incredible thrust signaling the grand take-off of the streaming platform's content investment in Nigeria. EbonyLife has had a hand in increasing the international appeal of Nigerian cinema, typified by the monetary and cultural success of the "Wedding Party" projects. Cinema receipts in Nigeria were lower in 2019 compared to 2018 and returns could be further adversely affected by the coronavirus. But Netflix's 183 million global customers are ever hungry for content and have the luxury of choosing from the safety of their homes. That makes these new projects a big coup for Abudu, and one hopes other Nollywood producers with talented projects/ideas land similar deals in the coming months. Meanwhile, here's your starter-pack on getting your African movie on Netflix.
Since launching commercial 5G in September 2019 in South Africa, Rain has rolled out 447 towers. The telco which operates only a mobile data service (no voice calls or SMS) plans to have 1,500 of such towers across the country's major cities by December 2021. That's according to African Rainbow Capital (ARC) Investments, the SA investment firm that owns a 27% stake in Rain. While the service currently covers only the Gauteng province, ARC's ultimate plan is to have more than 2,000 5G towers in larger metro areas throughout South Africa, "bringing ultra-fast broadband connections to homes and small businesses at affordable cost.” The promise of rapid internet with 5G is tantalizing but the costs are going to be significant. Mobile connection on the continent is still largely a 2G affair, as most telcos struggle to justify investments into sub-urban areas that may not provide return on investment. Only 7% of the 774 million connections on the continent are 4G compared to the global average of 44%.
East Africa Fruits, a Tanzanian agritech that recently secured $3.1 million in a Series A, is looking to power a pioneering digital marketplace for fruits exchange in East Africa. A B2B e-commerce platform, the startup is a medium to connect fruits sellers to buyers and has so far linked 2,300 retailers to 2,000 smallholder farmers in Dar es Salaam (Tanzania's capital) and Zanzibar, according to Disrupt Africa. The startup has plans to create vertical products that offer micro-loans to farmers, while ensuring that bottlenecks in the produce distribution value chain are eliminated. Tom Jackson's report highlights more.
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WeChat Wallet, the digital payments feature that comes with the Chinese chat platform, will no longer be active in South Africa after recurring problems with user-merchant payments. Customers who use the service will be migrated to become Standard Bank Instant Money users, owing to the initial partnership in 2015 between Standard Bank and WeChat which made the wallet service possible. WeChat has seen more adoption in South Africa than in any other African country since arriving the continent in 2013. It has not replicated the super app dominance it has in China - with integrated food, banking, dating, etc - but the company says it is "currently exploring different areas of growth" in Africa. PalmPay and OPay are two other China-backed startups angling to become Africa's first super app. While the former is finding its feet around town, OPay appears to be increasing its hold in Nigeria, its primary market, as our latest exclusive report explains.


East Africa, especially the nations of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda have a high concentration of off-grid renewable energy startups. The region has the highest share (45%) of off-grid tech startups in Sub-Saharan Africa according to TechCabal's dataset. It is followed only closely by West Africa at 40%. Friendly government policies, robust legal frameworks and a huge population without access to grid-connected electricity are some of the factors boosting the adoption of off-grid tech power in East Africa. Learn more about the conditions that precede and promote the rapid adoption of off-grid renewable energy in Sub-Saharan Africa in our new report, the Future of Energy in Sub-saharan Africa. The report was created in partnership with Stears Data. You can get 30% OFF if you purchase the report today.


Descasio, Microsoft Gold partners for cloud productivity, collaboration and content, is offering new customers Office 365 E1 and Microsoft Teams license free for 6 months. This applies when you sign up for a 12 months contract, which means you are getting an 18 months subscription, for the value of 12 months. Work better together with Office apps. Get Office 365 E1 license now. Offer ends June 30, 2020.

Have a great week,

See you tomorrow.
- Alexander

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