Fairfax Africa, a Canada-listed private equity firm, is merging with Helios Holdings

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Welcome to TC Daily! In today’s digest: Nigeria has a cybersecurity problem, Helios Holdings is merging with Fairfax Africa and Morocco’s OnePay raises $400,000 funding.
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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.

Over the last 12 months, South Africa has faced a number of cyberattacks that disrupted entities like public utility companies and bank networks. On the surface, the frequent disclosures suggest that the country has the most serious challenges of cybersecurity. However, according to a recent report by Sophos, a UK software security company, Nigeria has suffered more cybersecurity incidents than South Africa.

In the report, 86% of Nigerian organisations surveyed said they suffered cyberattacks in the last year; the second-highest after India and much higher than the 62% recorded in South Africa. 64% of cyberattacks in Nigeria exploited misconfigurations
on the organisational’s server. Importantly, the country ranked in the top five for major attacks including malware attacks, ransomware, stolen account credentials and crypto-jacking. But most worrisome, Nigerian organisations suffered the most data leaks than any country surveyed. 57% of Nigerian organisations said their public cloud data was exposed in the last year.

This report is deeply troubling but, unfortunately, it is no surprise. Cyber attacks are rarely reported in Nigeria, a reality that may be tied to the problem of secrecy that exists in Corporate Nigeria. Most organisations do not disclose attacks when they happen, neither do they respond to enquiries on regarding reported cases of data leaks.

Yet Nigeria is a highly
vulnerable country with an infamous international reputation for online fraud; an old problem that continues to harm the country. Each year, Nigerians both at home and abroad are indicted for running different types of scams including romance and sophisticated Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams.

In 2019, Nigeria’s anti-fraud agency, the EFCC and the FBI partnered with other international agencies to disrupt a network of online scammers and the flow of over $110 million illicit funds. In a recent high profile arrest last month, the Dubai police arrested two popular Nigerian Instagram users and ten others for allegedly conspiring to launder hundreds of millions of dollars through different scams.

If these fraudsters can and do breach corporate systems of different countries, doesn’t that raise the cyberattack risk for


Fairfax Africa, a Canada-listed private equity firm, has reached an agreement to merge with Helios Holdings, the Africa-focused investment firm founded by Tope Lawani and Babatunde Soyoye in 2004. The new entity will be called Helios Fairfax Partners (HFP) and it will trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Lawani and Soyeye will serve as co-CEOs of the new entity, while Fairfax Africa’s current
CEO, Michael Wilkerson, will become the Executive Vice Chairman of HFP. Once the merger is complete, Helios will own a 45.9% state in the new company.

Helios is one of the biggest investment companies focused on the African market with $3.6 billion under management according to Bloomberg. It has a deep understanding of the continent and over the last ten years, it has backed a number of companies including Interswitch, ZOLA Electric, MallForAfrica, Helios Towers and Egyptian fintech Fawry. In 2019, Helios was reportedly planning to raise a new $1.25 billion investment fund. Its merger with Fairfax significantly improves its standing and could allow it access to more financing to invest in Africa.

The merger announcement comes at a time when US firm, The Carlyle Group is spinning out its $700m Sub-Saharan investment fund. The fund will now be managed by Alterra Capital, a new company founded by Carlyle Group’s Sub-Saharan Africa team.

Egyptian e-commerce startup, Fatura has secured a seed round investment from Disruptech, an Egyptian VC focused on fintech startups. The actual amount was not disclosed, but according to Menabytes the round was a seven-figure raise. Barely a year old, Fatura is a B2B app that connects retailers to wholesalers. The startup is also developing lending solutions and plans to offer working capital financing to sellers on the app. Led by a former McKinsey consultant, Fatura plans to become the largest wholesale platform in Egypt and aims to onboard over 200 wholesalers on the app.

Kenyan schools will remain closed until January 2021. The government made the decision on July 7 and also announced that final year exams usually slated for October and November have been cancelled. Like most African countries,
the COVID-19 virus is still far from contained in Kenya. Within the last 20 days alone, the country has recorded 5,000 new cases, taking the total count to 10,294.

As Kenya grapples with possibilities of a lost school year, UK-based publication, the Balancing Act explores how learning can continue outside the classroom. It explores the digital and broadcast approaches adopted by a few African countries.

In the last 24 years, there has been a #SIMvolution of the SIM card. First, we had the Mini, then Micro, and Nano and now eSIM. Launched in 2016, the virtual SIM (eSIM) offers you freedom and flexibility. One eSIM profile can be used on multiple devices, and you have the power to switch from one network operator to another.

OnePay, a Moroccan fintech, has raised $400,000 funding from the MITC Capital’s Maroc Numeric Fund II. Founded in 2020, OnePay is a payments aggregator allowing users to pay for different services all from one app. With its new funding, the
startup says it will expand its operations in Morocco and double down on extending its payment network in the country.

TechCabal’s increasingly popular online event continues to put people on the spot, asking them hard questions about doing business in Africa. Last Friday, we spoke with Omowale David-Ashiru, VP for Global Operations at Andela. With
the level of coverage, some of them controversial, that Andela has received over the last few weeks, Omowale was on the hot seat fielding questions from the audience. She spoke on the changes at the company and why those changes are necessary for the business to thrive. Of course, she also reacted to some of the reports about the company. Here are the highlights from her interview at TechCabal Live.

  • Exposing the expat bias & local founder apathy engulfing Kenya’s startup scene.
  • Maybe those sky-high tech valuations make sense after all.
  • Free speech: Many prominent writers and thinkers seem invested in the notion that simply facing strong public criticism is a threat to free speech.

That’s it for today,

We’ll be back tomorrow,
– Abubakar

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