Low-cost tech against Kenya’s locusts
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Welcome to TC Daily! In today’s digest: Cinemas reel from four months of shutdowns, smartphone cameras are deployed against locusts, and the latest on funding and acquisition from around the continent.

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Medplus – A wholesale & retail pharmacy that not only sells locally manufactured & imported drugs but also your everyday essentials. Now you can order your COVID-19 essentials & have it delivered to you in one click.

Moses Babatope, co-founder and COO of FilmHouse cinemas, is not a very happy man right now. He has 500+ staff on unpaid leave or furloughed. In a chat with Business Daily, a BBC podcast, he estimates losses of up to ₦5 billion ($12.66 million) for his company since the COVID-19 threat appeared in February. Ticket sales, food, advertising, hall rentals. Nothing has been coming in.

FilmHouse owns the most multiplexes in West Africa. They have all been closed since the last week of March. Holidays and school breaks have come and gone. The release of big Hollywood and Nollywood movies has been postponed.

The absence of these coveted, seasonal opportunities for big receipts is hurting the cinema industry as a whole. Babatope puts the losses at ₦20 billion ($50.6 million), with up to 150,000 jobs threatened by continued inactivity.

FilmOne, the distribution arm for FilmHouse, is one of a
few content distribution agencies that licenses movies to streaming video on-demand platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime. Considering their dominance in the Nollywood-to-Netflix business, the FilmHouse group isn’t scraping the bottom pot at this time.

But that doesn’t compare to the revenue the company loses out on when its cinemas cannot screen movies. The elongated closures and a pandemic-induced apprehension around closed spaces could depress customer enthusiasm when those auditoriums re-open. “The cinema culture we’ve worked very hard to build is
under threat,” Babatope said.


Locusts are running rampage in East Africa, threatening food security of mass populations and livelihoods of farmers. Using a smartphone camera and a mobile app, a group of volunteers in Kenya have taken up the challenge to clamp down on the swarming pests.

Real time information from farms is collated at a centre where another team deploys the data for pesticide-spraying operations. It’s low cost tech, but a good starting point for fighting the real socioeconomic threat posed by locusts. Read more about it on CNBC Africa.

Our next TechCabal Live session holds on Friday, July 10 at 11 am and this time we are having Omowale David-Ashiru, Vice President – Global Operations at Andela.

The global tech talent provider recently pivoted to a fully remote model and has had to make tough decisions in the middle of the pandemic. Omowale’s team is responsible for creating an environment that fosters effective work for its fully remote workforce across seven countries with unit economics that is viable for sustained growth and scaling of the company.

She will answer questions about how Andela is navigating the crisis and will share lessons for business leaders. Register here to join the session.


Digital Africa is holding the 8th edition of its annual conference & exhibition from August 25-27, 2020. The virtual conference will feature industry experts who will discuss what’s next for the technology sector in Africa.

Confirmed speakers include Prof. Joe Amadi-Echendu, Professor, Engineering & Technology Management,
University of Pretoria; Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; Karima Rhanem, Chief Executive Officer, Africa My Home, Morocco, and Dr. Isa Pantami, Hon. Minister of Communications & Digital Economy. Visit www.digitalafrica.com.ng to learn more and register

Egyptian bus-hailing company SWVL has notified its users of a security breach which occurred on the 3rd of July 2020. The startup says no passwords or credit card information were exposed to intruders. However, names, email addresses and phone numbers were collected.

What have they done about this? According to TechWeez, SWVL says they have regenerated access keys and signed customers out from their accounts. They have supposedly hired some cybersecurity help to run a scan and forestall a future occurrence.

  • ProfitShare Partners, a South African fintech providing SME performance management solutions has raised $5.87million.
  • Cloud9xP, a Kenyan online marketplace for leisure experiences, has been acquired by HotelOnline, a hospitality booking platform with a focus on Africa and the Middle East.
  • Instagram is moving fast to replace Tik Tok in India with its ‘Reels’ feature, as Facebook shut downs Lasso, its Tik Tok clone.

That’s all for today,

See you tomorrow.
– Alexander

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